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Malaysia – Cost of Living

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country known for its diverse culture, stunning beaches, and delicious cuisine. In this article, we will explore the cost of living in Malaysia, including its currency, comparisons to the UK and USA, breakdown of costs, and common forms of payment.

Local Currency in Malaysia

The local currency in Malaysia is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). One MYR is divided into 100 sen. Coins are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 sen, as well as 1 MYR coins. Banknotes are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 MYR.

Cost of Living in Malaysia Compared to the UK and USA

The cost of living in Malaysia is generally considered to be lower than that of the UK and the USA. According to Numbeo, a website that compares the cost of living in different countries, the cost of living index in Malaysia is 44.57, while the UK is 69.08 and the USA is 76.86. This means that on average, it is less expensive to live in Malaysia than in the UK or USA.

Breakdown of Costs in Malaysia

The cost of living in Malaysia can vary depending on the location and size of the household. Here is a breakdown of some of the typical costs for singles, couples, and families of four in Malaysia:


Housing costs in Malaysia can vary greatly depending on the location and size of the property. In Kuala Lumpur, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost around 1,500-2,500 MYR per month, while a three-bedroom apartment can cost around 3,000-6,000 MYR per month. In other areas, such as Penang, housing can be more affordable, with a one-bedroom apartment costing around 1,000-1,500 MYR per month.

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Malaysia is known for its delicious and diverse cuisine, with a variety of affordable food options available. Eating out can be relatively inexpensive, with a local meal costing around 5-15 MYR per person. Grocery shopping can also be affordable, with a loaf of bread costing around 2-4 MYR and a liter of milk costing around 2-4 MYR.


The cost of utilities in Malaysia varies depending on the size of the household and the location. On average, electricity, water, and gas bills for a family of four can add up to around 300-400 MYR per month. Internet and mobile phone plans are also relatively affordable, with a typical plan costing around 50-100 MYR per month.


Malaysia offers a variety of leisure activities, from visiting cultural landmarks to exploring its beautiful nature. Many activities in Malaysia can be relatively affordable, such as visiting a local museum or enjoying a day at the beach. Paid activities can cost between 20-50 MYR per person.


Public transportation in Malaysia is widely available and relatively affordable, with a monthly pass costing around 100-200 MYR. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also available and can be affordable, with a typical 10-kilometer ride costing around 15-30 MYR.


The cost of clothing in Malaysia varies depending on the brand and quality. Affordable clothing options can be found at local stores, with t-shirts costing around 20-40 MYR and jeans costing around 80-150 MYR. High-end designer clothing can also be found at luxury shopping malls, with a designer dress costing around 500-1,000 MYR or more.

Household Goods

Household goods in Malaysia can vary in cost depending on the quality and brand. Basic necessities such as cleaning supplies and toiletries can be found at affordable prices, with a bottle of shampoo costing around 10-20 MYR and a roll of toilet paper costing around 2-4 MYR. Appliances and electronics can also be found at affordable prices, with a mid-range refrigerator costing around 2,000-3,000 MYR and a mid-range television costing around 1,500-2,500 MYR.

Common Forms of Payment in Malaysia

Cash is widely accepted in Malaysia, but electronic payment methods are becoming increasingly popular. Credit and debit cards are accepted at most businesses, and ATMs are widely available throughout the country. Many businesses also accept mobile payment methods, such as GrabPay and Boost. It is important to note that some smaller businesses may only accept cash, so it is always a good idea to carry some cash.

Overall, the cost of living in Malaysia can be relatively affordable compared to the UK and USA. Housing and food costs can vary depending on the location, but there are many affordable options available. Utilities and leisure activities are also relatively affordable, while transportation and clothing costs can be affordable with some research. Electronic payment methods are becoming more popular, but cash is still widely accepted. Malaysia offers a unique and diverse culture, making it an exciting and affordable place to live.

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