Cost of Living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, has a higher standard of living than most other cities in this country.

Still, if you plan on moving here, the cost of your living will depend on which area you will be working/staying at, because Kuala Lumpur is, honestly, huge.

Due to the recent inflation, the Malaysian currency has dropped so it has became a little less expensive if you’re going to Kuala Lumpur for a vacation.

Also, if you’re a foreigner from a first world country, Malaysia is a cheap place to live, definitely, but if you want to live and work here, count in the lower incomes that come with low prices, too.



Local Malaysians love to eat outside in Kuala Lumpur and the quality of food is good. If you are eating out everyday at a decent place, it comes around 5$ for your meals for a whole day (so that includes your breakfast, lunch and dinner). Of course, it depends on where you are eating, but you can find some decent and delicious food for these figures.



The good news is you can always shop for fresh fruits and vegetables at street markets: for example, if you plan on cooking by yourself, you can find a bunch of grocery stores in Brickfields area that only sell fresh veggies. If you want some more luxury items you can find them at Cold Storage and Jaya supermarket.



Kuala Lumpur has a very impressive public transport connecting almost every corner of the city with trains, monorail and buses. The tickets for all these means of transport are cheap. If you decide to buy a car, which is the cheapest option for Malaysia, you can get a good used car for about 2500$ and a liter of gasoline costs 0.50$.



Monthly utilities in Kuala Lumpur are very cheap. Depending on the size of the apartment you want to rent and the place you’ll be located, utilities can move anywhere from 20$ to 50$. For an apartment that has 85m2, all basic utilities will cost less than 50$. Internet, however, is pretty pricey compared to this.

Sports and leisure


Like everything else, prices in Kuala Lumpur of sports and pastime activities are low too, though a bit more expensive than is the country’s average. If you want a gym or a fitness club membership, the price you’ll pay is only about 40$. This is very cheap compared to the prices around the world. If you want to go cinema, the prices of tickets aren’t high either – they only cost about 4$.

Clothing and shoes


Kuala Lumpur is really brimming with gorgeous shopping centers and the best part about it, is that shopping for clothes in them isn’t even that expensive. For example, quality jeans will cost you around 60$, while a pair of Nike running shoes can cost as much as 70$. Kuala Lumpur is actually cheaper than most other Malaysian cities, when it comes to shopping for clothes.

Rent per month


The most expensive thing about living in Kuala Lumpur is the rent. Of course the price of rent depends on what you want from a home: a room, an apartment, a house, furnished, un-furnished, the number of rooms… It also highly depends on your location. Usually, the expatriates live in more luxurious apartments that cost around 1000$ for rent alone.

Cost of Living Averages Table for Kuala Lumpur

Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant) $2.93
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter) $3.66
Water (0.33 Liter) $0.36
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter) $1.68
Loaf Bread (500g) $0.80
Eggs (12) $1.29
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket $0.73
Monthly Pass $24.40
Gasoline $0.54
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling) $48.80
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local $0.06
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) $34.62
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult $38.59
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour) $6.87
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release $3.90
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable) $58.32
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...) $29.95
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range) $72.07
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center $576.66
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center $332.11
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center $332.11

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Kuala Lumpur?

A vast percentage of an average person’s salary gets spent on food in Malaysia’s capital – as much as 36% of one’s entire salary.

Another quite big expense for the people of Kuala Lumpur is the rent, since the prices are pretty high for the average salary in Malaysia.

Transportation is third on the list: even though it’s not too expensive it is an everyday necessity and it basically sends money down the drain each day.

Restaurants are also quite an expense.

What’s interesting is that sports and leisure draw more money than utilities in Kuala Lumpur.

Utilities (Monthly)
Sports & Leisure
Clothing & Shoes
Rent Per Month

Kuala Lumpur: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

Considering their monthly salaries, people of Kuala Lumpur might find it hard to make ends meet sometimes, though the situation is not dire.

Their minimum monthly wage is, shockingly, only about 230$, which is definitely a small amount of money, and there’s a huge gap between the minimum wage and the average monthly wage.

With their average monthly net salaries that are around 1000$, however, people can cover most of their expenses, even if they’re renting, though rent is a huge financial burden.

If you want to travel to Kuala Lumpur, the optimal amount of money for you is around 1500$.

Average Salary$1028.14
Minimum Wage$230.90
Mortgage Interest Rate4.51%

Cost of Living by City in Malaysia

*Click the name of the city for more information.

City Cost of Living Index
Johor Bahru 42.59
Kota Kinabalu 42.15
Kuala Lumpur 42.44
Kuching 42.15
Penang 43.98
Petaling Jaya 44.31
Selangor 44.53

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