Cost of Living for an International Student in Malaysia - Updated 2018

If you are trying to find out updated information on the cost of living in Malaysia, you are in the right place. the Aside from affordable tuition fees, another great reason to study in Malaysia is the relatively low cost of living. Kuala Lumpur has been ranked one of the least expensive cities in the world to live in. Whether you choose to live on or off campus, you will find that it is quite possible to live very comfortably within a budget of USD5,500 per year.

study in malaysia for international students

To give you an indication, here’s a breakdown of living costs for students in Malaysia:


Your average monthly rental for a single room on a twin-sharing basis could be between USD100 and USD150, depending on the area, the type of accommodation and the facilities available.

You should estimate about US$90 - 190 for your accommodation per month. The rental will vary depending on the geographical area, the type of accommodation (on-campus living in a hall of residence; or off-campus living in an apartment, condominium, single-storey house, double-storey house, etc.), the facilities provided in the house (e.g. with or without air-conditioning) and of course, the number of people sharing the room (or apartment or house).

As an indication, monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sq ft) furnished studio in normal area: RM1,200.

Food and Beverage

You can have an immensely satisfying meal at a shop for just USD1.50, while three meals can be enjoyed for under USD5 per day. So, if you’re prudent, your food bill for a month can be contained within USD150. 

A complete protein (or whole protein) is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of an organism. Examples of complete proteins are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, soybeans and quinoa.

Nutritious food not necessarily has to be expensive. As shown above, eggs and milk are a good source of complete protein and they are relatively cheaper than red meat, poultry and fish.

Your food and housekeeping expenses are estimated to be around US$140-190. This is based on about US$4.60-6.20 for three meals per day. Naturally, it would be cheaper if you cook and share the cooking expenses with your friends.

mcdonald menu prices malaysia
Prices are in RM*
* USD 1 = RM 4.0
* RM 8.99 = USD 2

Pricing of common food & drinks:
  • Combo meal in fast food restaurant (Big Mac Meal or similar): RM 11
  • 1 liter (1 qt.) of whole fat milk: RM 7
  • 12 eggs, large RM 7
  • 500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese: RM 20
  • 2 liters of Coca-Cola: RM 4.15
  • Bread for 2 people for 1 day: RM 3.20


The cost of washing and ironing your clothes can be from as low as USD20 per month if you lead a normal student lifestyle.

Telecommunication/Mobile Phone Bills and Utilities

Your costs in this area would depend on your usage charges and could be anything from USD10 onwards.
data plan malaysia 2018
Data Plan Malaysia 2018
Public Transport

Students who stay on or near campus may not incur any travel costs going to and from classes. However, other travel costs could come up to USD15 per month.

Check out this taxi fare estimator in Malaysia: taxi fare estimator.

Medical Insurance

Be prepared to allocate an average of at least USD 15 per month to cover medical and hospitalisation insurance as well as for outpatient treatment at a private clinic in case you are taken ill. A normal out-patient visit to a private GP clinic should not cost you more than USD 15 to USD 20 per visit in Malaysia.

Personal Expenses

This would very much depend on your personal lifestyle. Your cost for toiletries, grooming, clothes and other necessities can start from as low as USD35 per month. Add another USD 20 for the occasional movie or social outing, and you can lead a decent student lifestyle.

Adding all of the above up, you have a figure of USD410 per month, or just short of USD5,000 per year in living expenses if you are prudent.





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