Average Cost of Living in Malaysia in 2024
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Average Cost of Living in Malaysia in 2024

post by Austin

by Austin

Dec 3, 2023
at 2:39 PM

Malaysia, a vibrant country in Southeast Asia, is renowned for its rich cultural tapestry, breathtaking beaches, and surprisingly affordable cost of living. While living costs vary across states, Malaysia generally offers a comfortable lifestyle without straining your budget. Let's look at what we can expect for the cost of living in Malaysia in 2024. We'll break down all the expenses by state to give you a better understanding.

Housing typically constitutes the most significant expense for individuals residing in Malaysia. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in major cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang ranges from RM1,500 to RM3,000 per month. However, rent prices can drop considerably if you venture into smaller towns or rural areas.

State-wise Accommodation Breakdown:

  • Kuala Lumpur: RM1,500 - RM4,000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment
  • Penang: RM1,200 - RM3,500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment
  • Johor Bahru: RM1,000 - RM2,500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment
  • Sarawak: RM800 - RM1,800 per month for a one-bedroom apartment
  • Sabah: RM700 - RM1,500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment


Food, another major expense for Malaysians, can be tailored to suit your lifestyle and dietary preferences. If you opt for home-cooked meals, grocery expenses typically range from RM200 to RM300 per month. However, food costs will naturally increase if you frequently dine out.

Navigating Malaysia's transportation network is relatively affordable. Public transportation options, including buses and trains, are widely available and economical. For longer distances, taxis, grab, and car rentals are readily accessible.

State-wise Public Transportation Breakdown:

  • Kuala Lumpur: RM50 - RM100 per month
  • Penang: RM30 - RM60 per month 
  • Johor Bahru: RM20 - RM40 per month
  • Sarawak: RM10 - RM20 per month
  • Sabah: RM15 - RM30 per month


Utilities like electricity, water, and gas are relatively affordable in Malaysia. The average monthly utility cost ranges from RM100 to RM150 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Miscellaneous expenses such as clothing, entertainment, and healthcare are generally affordable in Malaysia, though costs may vary depending on your needs and lifestyle. 

Tips for Saving Money in Malaysia

Living expenses in Malaysia can add up quickly if you're not careful. If you want to save money, embracing a frugal lifestyle is a great place to start. Here are some cost-saving tips that you can consider:

  • Prioritize home-cooked meals: Dining out can be expensive, especially if you do it frequently. You can save a lot of money on food costs by cooking your meals at home. Additionally, cooking at home gives you more control over the ingredients you use, which can also be a healthier option.
  • Utilize public transportation: Owning a car in Malaysia can be expensive due to high fuel prices, maintenance costs, and toll fees. Using public transportation like trains, buses, and taxis can be a cheaper alternative. Additionally, it can help reduce traffic congestion and contribute to a cleaner environment.
  • Consider living in smaller towns or rural areas: Living in major cities like Kuala Lumpur or Penang can be expensive due to higher housing and living expenses. If you're willing to live in smaller towns or rural areas, you can save money on rent or mortgage payments and other living expenses.
  • Seek out discounts and promotions: Groceries, utilities, and other costs can add up quickly. Look for discounts and promotions through loyalty programs, credit cards, or online sales to save money. This can help you save money on everyday purchases and long-term expenses.
  • Embrace free activities: There are plenty of free activities that you can enjoy in Malaysia, such as hiking, visiting museums, and exploring local parks. These activities can help you save money and allow you to explore the local culture and scenery.

Malaysia has become popular for people who want an affordable and fulfilling living experience. To make the most of it, you must plan, budget, and be open to local customs. Even on a limited budget, you can still enjoy everything Malaysia offers. However, managing your expenses is essential by assessing your lifestyle needs and making wise choices. 

Written by Siti Khairina Mohd Fikri