Things to do in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur on a Budget: Tips for Affordable Travel

Last Updated:

Malaysia often remains underrated as a budget-friendly travel destination. While many travelers have explored famously affordable nations like Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, Malaysia has sometimes been perceived as the pricier corner of Southeast Asia. However, the reality is quite the opposite. Malaysia offers reasonable travel costs, and the slight increase in expenses is accompanied by commendable infrastructure, even in rural regions.

In this guide, we'll show you how to experience the beauty of Malaysia's capital city, Kuala Lumpur, without draining your wallet. From budget-friendly attractions to affordable dining options, we've got you covered. Discover the best places for budget shopping and learn about the cheapest areas to stay in, all while enjoying comfortable and wallet-friendly accommodation. Whether you're a backpacker, a frugal traveler, or just looking to save, our budget travel tips will make your journey through Kuala Lumpur both unforgettable and cost-effective.

Top budget-friendly attractions in Kuala Lumpur

Budget shopping in Kuala Lumpur

Ready to bag some bargains in Kuala Lumpur? Get set for a budget shopping spree! From bustling markets to hidden gems, KL's got you covered without emptying your wallet. Let's dive into the city's affordable shopping havens!

  • Petaling Street

  • Central Market

  • Berjaya Times Square

  • Kasturi Walk

  • Taman Connaught Night Market

Stroll through the vibrant tapestry of Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown gem. Immerse yourself in the local hustle, where budget-friendly treasures await—from trendy clothes to chic accessories. But it's not just about the bargains; brace yourself for a sensory feast, with tempting street eats adding a delicious twist to your shopping spree!

Petaling Street: Open 24 hours

Best budget-friendly dining in Kuala Lumpur

From bustling street markets dishing out flavorful local delights to hidden gems serving up affordable meals, this guide will navigate you through the city's diverse food landscape. Get ready to try out some of the tastiest and most affordable food you've had.

Mutton curry from Asian cuisine in Kuala Lumpur

Step into Lawanya, a South Indian food haven in Kuala Lumpur, where the aromatic allure has kept locals hooked since '83. The lunchtime queue speaks volumes as patrons line up for the famed chicken varuval and mutton curry. Offering a buffet-style feast, load your plate with staples like bhindi fry and fish curry. Priced by your plate, a hearty meal of rice, meat, veggies, and sides costs around RM15.

Popular Malaysian food Chilli Pan Mee
Restoran Kin Kin

Discover the birthplace of chilli pan mee at Restoran Kin Kin in Chow Kit. This OG spot set the standard for the dish, with fresh, springy noodles embracing the crunch of ikan bilis, minced pork, a runny egg, and the star—the dry, pan-roasted chilli flakes. Priced at RM10.50, it's a flavorsome journey through the origins of this iconic Malaysian delight.

Pineapple fried rice in Kuala Lumpur
Phraya Thai

Dive into the taste of Thailand at Phraya Thai, where Wan's family brings the Chao Phraya River's essence to Kuala Lumpur. With a simple yet cozy setup featuring wooden tables and Thai-inspired decor, the menu is a culinary journey researched with care. Don't miss their iconic pineapple fried rice and other delights like Thai-style omelette and tom yum goong—all served with a touch of Thai authenticity at wallet-friendly prices.

A bowl of udon noodles with egg in Kuala Lumpur
Sanuki Udon

Head over to Sanuki Udon in Taman Desa for a cozy udon haven. Picture this: steaming bowls of their house special, a delightful blend of sanuki udon in flavorful dashi, crowned with egg, scallions, and crispy tempura bits—for just RM7! Everything on the menu, except the kakiage udon, is under RM10. Don't miss out on their karaage, sweet potato skewer, and prawn tempura, all adding to the affordable feast!

Soong Kee Beef Noodles in Kuala Lumpur
Soong Kee Beef Noodles

Craving a taste of tradition? Soong Kee Beef Noodles, an enduring gem for almost eight decades, stands as a testament to classic flavors. This third-generation spot dishes out a must-try: thin, springy egg noodles draped in a signature braised minced beef sauce. Pair it with options like beef ball soup or mixed soup for a satisfying meal. Wallet-friendly at RM10 for small and RM12 for a big portion.

Cheapest areas for long term rentals in Kuala Lumpur

Affordable accommodation in Kuala Lumpur

1. Birdnest Collective Café & Guesthouse
Step into Birdnest Collective Café & Guesthouse, your cozy retreat in the heart of Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur. More than a guesthouse, it's a labor of love, offering safe, friendly vibes since 2009. Enjoy budget-friendly air-conditioned rooms with en suite bathrooms. Connect with fellow travelers in the rooftop café, where sunset views and chill vibes await. MYR 30 per day onward.

2. Bestow Hostel
Bestow Hostel is a cozy haven in Kuala Lumpur! Their budget-friendly private capsule rooms come fully loaded with TV, aircon, and safety perks. Share bathrooms with fellow travelers, chill in the common area with games, or soak up the city view on the rooftop terrace. Their central location means easy access to local gems. MYR 38 per day onward.

3. Chinatown Hostel by Mingle
Discover the buzz of Chinatown Kuala Lumpur at Mingle Hostel! Housed in a cool 1920s building, this is the first upscale hostel in the area. They've nailed the fusion of history and modern vibes, keeping it social with spaces that scream "Let's mingle!" Embrace the cultural richness, connect with global travelers, and soak in the charm. MYR 55 per day onward.

4. Travelogue Guesthouse
Discover the perfect home away from home at Travelogue Guesthouse in the heart of Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle. With famous attractions, vibrant nightlife, and Jalan Alor's food street just steps away, it's a backpacker's dream. Enjoy affordable comfort with 24-hour service, free Wi-Fi, and a cozy environment. Your budget-friendly stay in the city center starts here! MYR 43 per day onward.

Insider tips for budget travel in Kuala Lumpur

Paris Travel guide

  1. Bag Bargains: Score genuine designer clothes at bargain prices in Lot 10, one of Southeast Asia's cheapest spots for souvenirs.
  2. Chinatown Crash: Save on lodging in Chinatown, a wallet-friendly neighborhood close to major attractions.
  3. Stroll Smart: Explore Chinatown and Little India on foot – they're packed with attractions and easily covered in a day.
  4. Scam Alert: Know attraction costs upfront; Batu Caves, for example, are free. Beware of fake ticket sellers.
  5. Local Crash Pad: Couchsurfing offers free stays with locals, giving you budget digs and insider insights.
  6. Grab It Cheap: Opt for Grab rides, Malaysia's Uber alternative, for wallet-friendly city travel.
  7. Hop On, Hop Off: Grab a 24-hour pass for MYR 60 on the Hop On Hop Off bus to explore Kuala Lumpur's top spots. Check out the route here.
  8. Sim card: Get a cheap 30-day unlimited data sim card for just MYR 30 at 7-11. It not only lets you book Grab taxis but also navigate with Google Maps, making walking a money-saving breeze.
  9. Budget-Friendly Buses: Rely on the efficient and affordable bus system for city transport.
  10. Street Feast: Savor local delights at Jalan Alor, a street food haven in the Golden Triangle, offering budget-friendly and delicious eats.
Budget-friendly Kuala Lumpur Guide