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Typical prices in Malaysia

As a Western expat or traveller in Malaysia, your western currency goes a long way. Most western currencies have a high value relative to the Malaysian currency, which is called the ringgit. In the post I list typical Malaysian prices for everyday products and services.

To start with, and as I said in my video and post about Malaysian currency value, here is the approximate conversion rates (in late 2018):

Approximate Malaysia currency value vs Western currencies

  • USA USD $1 = Approx 4 ringgit
  • Europe EUR $1 = Approx 5 ringgit
  • UK GBP $1 = Approx 5 ringgit
  • Canada CAD $1 = Approx 3 ringgit

See real time conversion rates at xe.com

Malaysia grocery store - Typical Malaysian prices

Malaysian grocery store

Now, you know approximately how many ringgit you can get for your currency, here is the price of some common products and services you might buy in Malaysia as an expat or as a traveller, and the approximate amount of money in ringgit (RM) vs. $USD:

Prices of typical things you’d buy in Malaysia as an expat

  • Malaysian lunch at a mall = 20-40 RM = US$5 to US$10
  • Malaysian lunch at a local restaurant = 5-10 RM = US$1.25 to US$2.50
  • Pint of lager beer = 20-40 RM = US$5 to US$7 (beer is taxed at a very high rate)
  • Bottle of decent red wine = 20-40 RM = US$20 to US$25 (wine is taxed at a very high rate)
  • Teeth cleaning / descaling at the dentist = RM 150  = US$37.50
  • Flight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore on discount airline Air Asia (one way) = 50 RM to 100 RM =  US$12.50 to US $25 (seat select etc drives the rate up)
  • Block of Aussie cheddar cheese = RM 25 RM
  • Block of Stilton cheese = RM 40 = US $10
  • Taxi ride or Uber type service locally called “Grab” (10-15 minute ride) = RM 10 to RM 20 = $2.50 to US $5
  • Grab ride from KL to KLIA (airport) = 75 RM = US $25
  • Admission to Kuala Lumpur city attractions = RM 100-150 for a family of 4 = US$25 to US$37
  • A nice luxury AirBnB condo with pool access in or around KL = RM 200 / night = US $50 / night
  • Nice pair of custom reading glasses = RM 250 = US $60
  • Chinese-made leather purse (women’s) 25 RM = US $6
  • Rent on a nice 1 bedroom condo /apartment = 3200 RM = US $800
  • Rent on a upscale 3 bedroom condo = 6000 RM = US $1500
  • 0.5 kg (1.1 lbs) of fresh king prawns = 45 RM = US $11
  • 1 carton of milk = 20 RM = US $5
  • Women’s dress or top from a fashion outlet at a mall = RM 20 to RM 50 = US $5  to $12.50
  • A compact car (used) = 40,000 RM = US $10,000
  • A compact car (new) = 88,000+ RM = US $22,000
  • Car insurance (per month) = RM 200 = US $50
  • Mobile phones (hardware) = RM 400 (basic Nokia smartphone) to RM 4000 (the latest high-end Samsung smartphone) = US $100 to US $1000 – no discounts on International electronics brands
  • Mobile phone airtime = Pay as you go with data is 20 RM to 50 RM per month with moderate voice and data use = US $5 to US $12.50 per month
  • Home Internet @ 100 Mbps service =  200 RM per month = US $50 per month

Note about typical Malaysian prices here

The prices of typical Malaysian products and services quoted here are approximate. You can also get a slightly better deal if you shop around or if you live in less desirable neighborhoods. If you shop at markets with the locals (or outside KL), you will almost always get a better deal than the prices quoted here.

For your reference, my family lives in Bangsar, a close suburb of KL, which is an expat friendly neighborhood. Locals tell us it is very expensive. We shop in a Western style grocery store for the comforts of home. Fruits and vegetables, if local, are a steal, and can be had for less at the street markets. If you shop in a megamall you will see great deals on clothes and household items, but in less pretty establishments patronized by locals you might pay 20-30% less.

Imported name brand products  are almost always full price and sometimes more.