How Much We Spent Traveling in Malaysia

Malaysia is often overlooked in favor of its cheaper neighbors, such as Thailand. While I can’t say Malaysia was my favorite country, it’s definitely worth spending some time there. It has a completely different culture and vibe from the rest of southeast Asia, and that alone makes it interesting. Here’s a look at how much we spent traveling in Malaysia.

Total Malaysia Spending

Expenses are listed in Malaysian ringgit (MYR) and US dollars. The exchange rate while we were in Malaysia was roughly 3.25 ringgit per dollar.

1,262 MYR / $384.90 – accommodation
145.40 MYR / $44.35 – transportation
708.55 MYR / $216.11 – food and alcohol
60 MYR / $18.30 – activities
35.50 MYR / $10.83 – miscellaneous
2,211.45 MYR / $674.49 – total

This does not include our transportation in and out of Malaysia. Our bus tickets from Krabi to Penang, Malaysia, which cost 1,400 baht or about $42.42, and our bus tickets from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Singapore cost 90 ringgit or about $27.45.

Accommodation spending – $384.90

Andy and I spent four nights at Apollo Hotel in Penang and five nights at Crossroads Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Both hotels were nice, though our room in Penang had no window, the bed was very hard, and they played elevator music in the hallway starting around 9am every morning. It did have one of the best showers of our trip. The hotel in Kuala Lumpur had such comfy beds, I almost didn’t want to leave. For nine nights in Malaysia, we spent an average of about $42.77 per night, or $21.83 per person per night.

how much we spent traveling in Malaysia

Transportation spending – $44.35

The bus from Penang to Kuala Lumpur cost about $21.35, or $10.68 per person. The other $23 was for public transportation in both places. We ended up using public transport a lot more in Kuala Lumpur, and a typical ride on the monorail for one person one way was $0.49. We averaged about $2.56 per day, or $1.28 per person per day, on public transportation over the nine days. As you can see, it’s pretty cheap to get around.

Food and alcohol spending – $216.11

We didn’t like the breakfast options at either hotel, so instead we bought a couple of boxes of granola bars. During our time in Penang, we sort of ran out of energy for seeking out food, and we ended up eating at Subway quite a few times. We also escaped the scorching heat by sitting in the overly air conditioned Starbucks a few times. Once we got to Kuala Lumpur, we found that they had Papa John’s and Wendy’s, and we couldn’t resist eating some American junk we haven’t had in years. Rest assured, we did eat some amazing satay several times in Penang as well as a few other more local meals in Kuala Lumpur. We had a few beers one night, but skipped alcohol beyond that. In nine days, we averaged $24.01 per day, or $12 per person per day, on food and alcohol.

how much we spent traveling in Malaysia

Activities spending – $18.30

While in Penang we took the cable car up to Penang Hill, which was about $9.15 per person. The views were nice, but I’m not sure it was worth the money. Everything else we did was free. We walked to the old British fort but decided not to go inside. In Kuala Lumpur, we went to see the Petronas Towers but didn’t want to spend the money to go up. It was not the most eventful nine days we’ve ever spent traveling.

Miscellaneous spending – $10.83

I spent $3.05 on contact solution, and the rest was two loads of laundry. We didn’t buy any souvenirs in Malaysia.

how much we spent traveling in Malaysia

Even though Malaysia is one of the more expensive countries in Southeast Asia, we managed to spend less here per day than we did in Thailand. We averaged $74.94 per day, or $37.47 per person per day, traveling in Malaysia mostly because we didn’t do many things that weren’t free. There certainly are other things you can do in Penang and Kuala Lumpur that will add to your expenses. You can also spend less on food by sticking to local food and not eating at the American chain restaurants we ate at a few times. But overall I’m pretty happy with how much we spent traveling in Malaysia.

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I use the Trail Wallet – Travel Budget & Expense Tracker app on my iPhone to track our expenses, and I really love how helpful it is. I even use it to track my spending at home. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for an easy way to track your travel expenses.

how much we spent traveling in Malaysia
how much we spent traveling in Malaysia