One of the many reasons for Malaysia being one of the top destinations for international students is the affordable living cost in Malaysia. In a 2016 survey on the ‘Most Affordable Cities for Students in 2016’ QS University Ranking found that “Kuala Lumpur receives a near-perfect score for affordability, with a winning combination of low living costs and relatively low tuition fees”.
Staying away from home in a foreign land for a student means staying on budget. Along with ensuring that you qualify all the mandatory modules and receive the required credits in your academics, you also need to make sure that you stick to your budget every month.
While your actual living cost in Malaysia per month will largely depend on where you live and how you choose to live, living costs for students in Malaysia both on and off-campus is still a lot more affordable than all the other nations. For most students living in Malaysia will cost an average of RM 1,500 ($469) per month.
Let’s break this cost of living in Malaysia into some essential elements.
Accommodation cost in Malaysia
You should keep aside an estimated RM300-600 as your accommodation cost in Malaysia per month. The rentals will depend on where you choose to live and the type of accommodation – whether it is on-campus in a hall of residence; or off-campus in an condominium, apartment, single-storey or double-storey house, furnished studio, single occupancy or shared. The facilities provided will also vary with every property. These facilities will typically include air-conditioning, attached bath, furniture, camera surveillance, hot water and laundry etc.
I should emphasize here that Kuala Lumpur is expensive, being the capital of the country. Some universities provide fully-catered accommodation including food for a price anywhere between MYR10-20 per student per day. Most on-campus accommodation is self-catered.
To give you a rough idea, the cost of living in Malaysia for a single person should be:
- Single bedroom (On-campus): MYR100-600/month
- Bedroom in shared apartment (Off-campus): MYR350-700/month
- Condominium (Off-campus): MYR1000-1500/month [serviced or non-serviced]
- Larger apartments (Off-campus) – shared with several students: MYR1500-2500/month.
*Non-serviced apartments are cheaper.
Cost of living in Malaysia compared to UK or USA is a lot more affordable, and the standard of living is also pretty high in Malaysia. For instance, even if we consider a 1-bed apartment in a prime location in Kuala Lumpur, you would get it for RM 2,500 per month vis-à-vis one in London in a similar location, you will have to shell out RM 9,300 (1000GBP= 5,410 RM). So, that should give you a fair idea.
Food Cost in Malaysia
Your food cost in Malaysia should be around RM600-900 (US$150-225) a month. This is when you spend about RM20-30 on three meals everyday day. If you do have a cooking space in your accommodation and you live in a shared accommodation, naturally, you can substantially bring it down. You can have a fast food meal for RM10. A basic lunch time menu in a business district (including drinks) will cost you somewhere in the range of RM 17. Local food like rice and noodles or some coffee shops will be around RM 5 – 10. Life in Malaysia for international students is full of choices when it comes to food. Apart from the local cuisine, these students have access to global food chains like KFC, McDonalds, Burger King and Subway. However, they will not be as cheap as local food stalls. For day-to-day groceries there are stores like Carrefour and Tesco and local smaller grocery stores in neighborhoods.
Transport cost in Malaysia
When we are talking about the cost of living in Malaysia for international students, transport cost is an important factor consider; especially for those students who reside in off-campus accommodation. For students who stay on-campus or close to the university, may not have to spend money for commuting every day. Transport cost in Malaysia may vary between RM 80 – 150 per month, depending on you are from the campus. The different ways you can move around in Malaysia include the trains and public bus services. One of the benefits for students living in Malaysia is the discounts you get in transportation services; and as an international student also you are entitled to purchase the Students’ Rapid Pass (Rapidpass Pelajar) and use public transport as often as you want at a standard cost. You can also apply for a ‘Touch ‘n Go Card’ using your passport which also allows you to get some discounts.
Clothing cost in Malaysia
Your living cost in Malaysia will also include your clothing and laundry like washing, ironing and dry-cleaning. This may cost you somewhere around RM 60 per month. However, if you are doing all this at your house, then you get to save this money substantially.
Education cost in Malaysia
Although this constitutes the major chunk of your living cost in Malaysia, a lot of it can be actually waived through scholarships, grants, and funding offered by universities. We at Study2Malaysia are able to reduce the education cost from the cost of living in Malaysia for international students substantially because of our personal reputation with the different universities. We connect our students to the universities offering the best scholarships.
Although education cost will largely depend on the courses you undertake and the university you enroll yourself in, annual cost of education will vary between RM 65,000-70,000 for a 3-year Bachelor degree.
Medical cost in Malaysia
It is highly unlikely that you will need to set aside a sum of money every month as treatment cost in Malaysia, you could keep about RM 500 for a year towards medical emergencies. This would be sufficient for any outpatient care you might need at a private clinic during the year. This amount however, does not include the amount for your medical & hospitalization insurance of about RM500 per year.
Hotel cost in Malaysia
A decent hotel in Kuala Lumpur will cost you around RM 75 – RM 90 per night. However, there are quite a few budget hotel options in and around Kuala Lumpur and around universities.
Other personal costs in Malaysia
You might want to keep RM 100-RM 200 every month as a part of your living cost of Malaysia towards some personal expenses like toiletries and personal care, haircuts and shopping, movies etc.
This is a country where people are warm and friendly, you will have plenty to do when you are not studying, food options include a beautiful combination of local and international cuisines and overall you will have a great standard of living with such low living cost in Malaysia.
Study2malaysia.com also known as Malaysian Universities information center (MUIC) was set up with the sole intention of providing valuable information to those students and aspirants who want to pursue their higher education in Malaysia. We are one of the leading and specialized teams who have been associated with assistingstudents from across the world to move to Malaysia for higher education for more than a decade now. We have, till now, successfully sent around 5000 students (including medical students) to Malaysia, most of who are now successfully placed in different professional careers.