10 Tips for Saving Money in KL

Enjoy Kuala Lumpur with a Small Budget

Exploring Kuala Lumpur on the cheap is easier than ever before with this comprehensive guide on saving money in the Malaysian capital. Like most capital cities, KL isn’t the most cost-friendly destination in the country, but it’s relatively easy to get by on less USD20 a day as there are plenty of inexpensive restaurants, shopping venues, and even free-to-enter attractions.

We’ve covered just about every aspect of a fulfilling holiday experience in Kuala Lumpur, such as sightseeing, accommodation, shopping, eating, and transport, as well as common scams that drains your wallet, not to mention the unnecessary grievances. Ideal for backpackers and budget-conscious travellers, this section also proves that you don’t have to spend an excessive amount of money to experience KL to the fullest.

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Kuala Lumpur’s public transportation is both efficient and cheap, making it easy to explore the city if you’re travelling on a tight budget. Notable sights, hotels, nightlife districts, and shopping malls are within walking distance of monorail and light-rail trains, with one-way fares starting at RM1.20 (less than USD0.50). These trains are also perfect for when you need to get to your destination in a short amount of time, as KL is prone to traffic congestion during peak hours. Alternatively, hop on the Go KL City Bus to visit popular districts, train stations, shopping malls, and landmarks - completely free of charge! Easily recognized by its lilac-coloured exterior, the air-conditioned bus is equipped with free Wi-Fi and wheelchair ramps for the disabled. Read More...

Eating out can be expensive in most destinations, but it’s possible to save money in Kuala Lumpur thanks to its many local dining options. Food courts in shopping malls are a great for those in big groups with different tastes, as there are varieties of food sold at reasonable prices. For even cheaper eats, make your way to a kopitiam (Chinese coffee shop) or 24-hour mamak (South Indian eatery) to savour authentic Asian dishes such as chicken rice, nasi lemak, fried noodles, and roti canai. Prices may vary depending on the restaurant, but RM15 should buy you a filling meal, complete with a main, side dish and drink. Read More...

The KL Pass is a budget-friendly tourist pass that allows visitors to visit prominent attractions and skip queues with special Fast Track lanes for free. Available in validities of one (RM165), three (RM395), and six (RM675) days, the pass also allows you to get around the city via the KL Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Bus. You also get to enjoy exclusive discounts and offers at selected shopping malls, dining and retail outlets. If you’re looking to plan out your own travel itinerary, it also comes with a complimentary guidebook that contains useful information about Kuala Lumpur. Read More...

Compared most cities in Southeast Asia, alcohol is expensive in Kuala Lumpur as it’s heavily taxed by the government. However, it’s still possible to drink cheaper in KL as there are plenty of bars and nightclubs that offer attractive happy hour promos. Usually taking place on weekday evenings, you can save big by taking advantage of the discount deals. If you’re female and looking to party (for free!), then check out this helpful guide of the best ladies night deals in Kuala Lumpur. Read More...

Kuala Lumpur’s street markets are arguably the best places for shopping on a tight budget, most of which are located within the city centre and easily accessible via LRT or monorail trains. Chinatown’s Petaling Street houses hundreds of stalls selling knock-off clothes, handicrafts, accessories and jewellery all at excellent prices, as well as hawker stalls serving local Chinese dishes such as chicken rice, wonton mee (noodles served with meat dumplings), and dim sum (bite-sized foods served in steamer baskets). Do note that these outdoor bazaars can get pretty hot and humid, so wear comfortable shoes and drink plenty of water throughout your visit. Read More...

Like any destination around the world, Kuala Lumpur has its fair share of scams and petty thefts from time to time. While these unfortunate incidents are few and far between, it’s important to keep yourself, your money, and your possessions safe during your travels. It may be slightly daunting at times (especially when you’re jetlagged) as most tricksters can differentiate between tourists and expats, taking extra precautions and being aware of your surroundings are crucial for a pleasant vacation in Kuala Lumpur. Read More...

If you’re on a tight budget but want to explore Kuala Lumpur through the eyes of a local, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of free walking tours throughout the city. Check out the Heritage Walk, which is a free guided tour of 11 historical landmarks within the vicinity of Merdeka Square. Held every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, you only need to make your way to the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery at 09:00 to enjoy this 2½ hour-long tour. Read More...

For those who prefer exploring on their own, free attractions and unique activities are plentiful in the city. Temples, such as Thean Hou Temple, Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, and Kuan Yin Temple are open to the public, but be sure to dress appropriately out of respect for the monks and devotees. If you’re a nature lover, the KL Forest Eco Park is a must visit. Conveniently located beside the Menara KL Tower, this forest reserve is the only remaining tropical rainforest in the middle of Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Here, visitors can find beginner-friendly hiking trails and campsites, as well as a 200-metre-tall Canopy Walk Bridge that towers above the forest reserve. Read More...

Travellers can often fall prey to irresponsible cabbies who refuse to switch on their taxi metres and ask for a flat (and inflated) rate. To avoid getting scammed, there are taxi counters located within Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), KL Sentral Station and bus terminals, where you can buy taxi coupons to get a fair deal. Alternatively, use a dependable taxi app (such as MyTeksi or EasyTaxi) to book your ride. Read More...

Accommodation-wise, it’s always good to do your research instead of booking a hotel just because it’s cheap. Fortunately, Kuala Lumpur has plenty of charming guesthouses, hostels, and backpacker inns that are close to public transport links like light rail transit (LRT) and monorail train stations. Not only do these stay options cost less than USD50 per night, you also get to enjoy breakfast, Wi-Fi access, and even toiletries without any additional charge. Read More...

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