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Cost of Living in Malaysia: Guide for International Students

Cost of Living in Malaysia: Guide for International Students

Cost of Living in Malaysia: Guide for International Students

One of Malaysia’s greatest selling points to international students is the affordable cost of living. Compared to other student destinations in the world, Malaysia offers a wonderful experience at a reasonable price.

International education is indeed expensive, with the cost of living constituting a major portion of expenses. It is necessary to learn about these expenses before flying to Malaysia.

Even now as an emerging hub for international students, Malaysia remains a budget-friendly destination. Here’s a quick look at the cost of living in Malaysia:


You would be delighted with how affordable food is in Malaysia. From fast food to fine dining, traditional dishes to exotic cuisine, Malaysian food comes at a reasonable price tag.

There are plenty of food stalls (some within campus, some inside malls) that offer student pricing on meals. A complete lunch would typically cost you only $1 to $3. 

If you want a more hearty meal, Malaysia also has mid-range restaurants that offer affordable dishes. For only $5 to $10, you can enjoy a sumptuous dinner. 

All the ingredients you need are available at supermarkets if you prefer making your own meals. These stores also sell imported goods so you can really experiment with seasonings and other international flavors. 


Online shopping is one of the most convenient ways to purchase goods. You can buy anything from basic groceries to clothing and even digital items such as mobile internet. 

Malaysia has three e-commerce giants that cater to millions of customers: Lazada, Shopee and RedMart. If you have vouchers, you can even save on your purchases as long as you meet the store’s conditions.

If you’re a big fan of high fashion and exquisite couture, the Pavilion KL is a great shopping destination. The shopping center is packed with boutiques from luxury brands and renowned designers.

Mobile and Internet

There are certain cities in Malaysia where there are WiFi hotspots. These provide free internet services although they may not be as fast as home WiFi.

Malaysia has three major telecommunications providers: Digi, Celcom, and Maxis Mobile. They provide services that fit your mobile needs such as texting, calling, and mobile internet surfing. 

You can opt for either a prepaid or a postpaid mobile plan. All companies also offer a variety of mobile packages at varying costs. 


Laundry is often overlooked in costs, but you shouldn’t forget it when setting your budget. Doing laundry is essential to keep your clothes clean and tidy.

A 10kg wash would usually only cost $3. If you want to use the dryer too, it would only cost you an extra dollar for a 30-minute cycle. 

If you’re a stickler for budget, you can hang your clothes to dry under the sun. Drying your clothes in the humid and generally warm Malaysian weather wouldn’t cost you a penny. 

During your stay in Malaysia, it’s also important to save some budget for emergency needs. You’ll never know when they might come in handy.

The cost of living in Malaysia is relatively more affordable for international students. Keep up with our stories here on MSM Unify to get the latest stories on life abroad.


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