Malaysia's most expensive cities

Hello everyone,

What are the most expensive cities to live in Malaysia? What are the costs of things such as rent, utilities, weekly groceries, dining out, etc.?

What is the lifestyle like in these cities, for expats and locals?

What are the different neighbourhoods like? Are there more affordable areas?

Do you have any experience living in any of Malaysia's most expensive cities? What was it like?

Which cities in Malaysia would you recommend? Are there any that offer particularly good value for money when it comes to cost of living?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


I live in shah alam it is expensive but no place to go out.I like kuala Lumpur it's good.


I moved to KL,Malaysia very recently, Haven't been to other cities in Malaysia so cant really comment how expensive those places are.


Hi priscilla . I am leaving in kuala lumpur past 4 months and i stay in city centre. Which means accomodation is bit expensive in this region. As i dont prepare food and eat outside i searched lot for restaurants near me. And i tell u food is not that expensive if u can find good one. If you dont have commitments to stay in city centre then its best to move little far away say, 2-3 km far then you get accomodation for cheap. And leaving in kuala lumpur is good. As u have uber and grab . One advice avoid travelling in peak hour. So it all depends on which country u come from and how u see Malaysia should be.

Shrinivas H

Kuala lumpur

Puchong was more expensive than Kajang. Melaka seems cheaper than Puchong and Kajang except for Indian restaurants. Most of the Indian restaurants in Melaka seem to be more expensive than those in KL.

If you want to avoid rush hour jams, it is best to travel between 10 am and 3 pm. Leave the house around 10 am and return home at around 3 pm wherever you are. I did that for many years while I was living in KL. Travelling by train is great too.

Kuala Lumpur (KL) is definitely the most expensive city in Malaysia! Parking is superexpensive in KL. They can charge you rm15 per entry or if it’s hourly and you leave your car there for the whole working day it may cost you up to rm40-50 a day. Food it depends where you eat. But definitely more expensive than those food stalls in the villages. When we lived in Kerteh (Terengganu) local breakfast for 2 people can cost about rm10-15, while in KL up to rm30. Groceries will definitely be more expensive in KL than other Malaysia cities.

In the old days you could expect Kuala Lumpur to be the most expensive city because thats where most of the people were and therefore the most demand for goods and services. Not anymore. Now all places are high.

It takes a creative person to seek out a reasonable cost of living. Even in KL you can still find things cheap if you put a high amount of time and energy into finding them. You have to think how and what to substitute, what to change in your own life. You need those skills because I promise you things are not going to be cheaper or better later on. You also have to think how to increase your income. In terms of prices alone, Malaysia is slowly becoming a scary place to live--but so are many other places too.

Before, I could recommend specific areas but I cant anymore. As I travel  the country I find that everyone is leap-frogging each other to raise prices. "Well if he can do it, so can I." Everyone is chasing money like I have never seen before.

As far as quality of life, it depends what you want. Some people are excited by a vibrant city life, especially night life. For that, stay in Bangsar, I guess.  As for living outside KL and commuting, the jams are terrible now and you can expect a very long commute. In fact, if I were new in Malaysia, I wouldnt take a job in KL itself because of the difficult commute. Putrajaya would be better as an area for a job, and though less jams there is no night life. If you have the budget and your job is in KL itself, you can live around KL Sentral because you have plenty of trains and taxis. If you live outside KL, likely you will need a car. I stayed in Taman Tun and also Sri Damasara which are quiet, nice, near IKEA and 1Utama mall, and I avoided going to KL city most of the time. Rawang is is up and coming place and though a bit further out from the city, its cheaper and quieter.

Penang is not any improvement. Island jams are terrible, and mainland jams and prices are steadily rising. The problem in all the cities is that the government didnt plan the infrastructure to match a rising population. There are not enough roads, and there are very few places to add them. New trains can absorb some of the mess, but there are none in Penang. Few taxis there too. The east side will have to get more development but this cant happen unless the government spends billions for a major highways to there from KL, Penang and Johor. Then jobs can open up on that side.

If I didnt have to work, I would go far outside, either north by Thailand or northeast in the Baling area. Ipoh is a possibility but there is no airport.  South, Johor, near to Singapore....I dont see the advantage there but some people might.

How and where to live in Malaysia is becoming an increasing challenge!

Kuala Lumpur of course is still the most expensive city.

Nothing is really cheap anymore.

I live in Ipoh,  rents between RM1000 and rm2000,  food from RM130 for roti to perhaps rm 15,  more if you attend the stembot or centre town restaurants.  Forget the bus,  have to use grab taxi or own car.  Nice town mostly Chinese,  very scenic,  more could be done to promote the river in centre of town.  Has airport but mainly for Singapore or Thailand.  Road access to kl or Penang good,  and good long distance bus services,  friendly people,  l enjoy living here. Schools from RM3000 pcm,  many hospitals,  but not cheap.

Kuala Lumpur is the most expensive city the accommodation expensive.

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