Thailand/Vietnam VS Malaysia: cost of travelling?

I’ve been to Thailand plenty of times (eight), and recently visited Vietnam.

Both are very affordable countries for travelling, on my salary.

This summer I want to check out Malaysia, partly as I’m thinking of a move there. Partly because I need a break from China and/or a semi-needed holiday.

My question is, to those of you who’ve been to all three in the last couple of years as travellers - is Malaysia comparable in costs? By that I mean accommodation, transport, food, entrance fees, nightlife (drinks, not girls!), etc.

Look forward to your replies!


Haven’t been to Thailand is recent years, or Vietnam so can’t really make the comparison that way but if you give me a general daily budget for them these days, I can tell you how that compares to Malaysia.

Malaysia will generally cost you more, but if you are smart it can be comparable (my experience is based on several trips to West Malaysia).

The Cheap:

Buses are cheap and plentiful in Malaysia, and if planned ahead, air travel can be insanely cheap with the thorough Air Asia network in the country.

Malaysians eat well, so if you eat like a local, enjoy your meals and cut costs as well.

For big cities, KL can be done on the cheap if you stick to the metro and eat at reasonably priced restaurants. IT is also a great place to splurge on high end hotels because they are much cheaper than in most big cities (4 and 5 star hotels can be easily found for well under $100/night online if booked in advanced. I usually end up paying around $70 for a 4 star place a stone’s throw from the twin towers.

The Pricey:

BOOZE. If you are a six pack a day kind of dude, or if your vacation = piss up, Malaysia will take your wallet, tie it up with duct tape and dry anal rape it. The only place I ever saw booze on the cheap was a bar on Asian Heritage Row(or is it ‘road’) that had a ladies drink free policy. Islands like Langkawi and Tioman will advertise the fuck out of ‘duty free available’ but it is still only cheap if you are coming from Singapore.

Activities and attractions tend to run higher than they should.

Accommodations in tourist areas. If you go to an island or somewhere touristy outside of kl, you will pay a lot of money for subpar lodgings. What you could get for 1500 Baht in Thailand will run you well over $100 in Malaysia (outside KL).

Malaysia needn’t be any more expensive than Thailand. I actually spent less travelling around Sabah than I did in most of Thailand. KL is fairly expensive and the “sin tax” on booze will certainly set you back a ways. Avoid those two things and you’ll make out okay.