How to Enjoy Kuala Lumpur on a Budget

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Wall Painting of 10 and 20 Ringgit Bills - Malaysian Currency

Are you wondering how you save money on your trip to Kuala Lumpur? Continue reading as we share nine tried and tested tips to enjoy a budget-friendly Kuala Lumpur trip.

Amid the high-end shopping malls, luxury hotels, and fancy restaurants, Kuala Lumpur has a treasure trove of budget-friendly attractions and activities waiting to be explored. With that said, you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy your travels in Kuala Lumpur.

There are plenty of ways to make the most of your trip to KL without spending too much and staying within your budget. From budget accommodations and cheap transportation to taking advantage of free things to do in the city, our money-saving tips are the answer to an affordable and incredible experience in KL.

In this post, we’re giving you the best guide to a budget-friendly trip to Malaysia’s beautiful capital city!

Get the Best Accommodation Deals

Ensure a comfortable and affordable stay by getting the best accommodation deals. Luxury Escapes is one of our recommended travel sites for hotels and accommodations. They offer a library of excellent places to stay in Kuala Lumpur, catering to all international travelers, solo or traveling with family or friends. And if you sign up, you can get exclusive offers that can help you save up to 70% off!

Agoda is also an excellent option for awesome booking deals for hotels, flights, private stays, airport transfers, and activities! Find cheap offers and avail yourself of a bundle of flights + hotel to save costs. They also offer free cancellation plus mega discounts for a limited period, so stay updated to get the best deals.

Plan your trip to Kuala Lumpur with seamless transactions and affordable deals with the help of these sites.

TIP: Click here for our review of Hotels in Kuala Lumpur with Family Rooms

Hyatt House Mont Kiara Rooftop Pool With View

Take the Bus or the KLIA Ekspres Train from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to KL Sentral Station

We highly recommend taking public transportation, such as the bus or the KLIA Ekspres Train to the city center for cost-efficient transportation options.

The Kuala Lumpur Airport Bus is the cheapest way from the airport to KL Sentral, perfect if you’re staying near the area. Skybus Malaysia, Serobus, Airport Coach, and Suasana Edaran Express are the bus companies operating at the airport.

Alternatively, you can take the KLIA Ekspres Train from the airport to KL Sentral train station. The average travel time from KLIA1/KLIA2 to KL Sentral is 30 minutes, so the ride will be smooth and fast, great for traveling with family. A one-way ticket to the KLIA Ekspres Train costs RM 25.00 for children and RM 55.00 for adults. At the same time, return tickets start at RM 55.00 up to RM 100.00. And children below six years old get to ride for free!

TIP: Click here to read our How to Get From KLIA to KL Sentral and Vice Versa

KLIA Ekspres - the fastest way from KLIA to KL Sentral

Save on Entry Fees with the Kuala Lumpur Attraction Pass

Visit the best attractions in Kuala Lumpur with an all-in-one pass! The Kuala Lumpur Attraction Pass gives you access to the top family-friendly destinations in KL, like the Petronas Twin Towers, Aquaria KLCC, zoos, theme parks, water parks, and more.

Save on entrance fees with this KL Attraction Pass. You can choose 2 to 6 attractions with additional options, including SplashMania Waterpark, KidZania KL, Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, or Windlab Indoor Skydiving.

With this attraction pass, you can save up to 30% off! Price starts at RM 98.00 for adults and RM 88.00 for children aged 6 to 11. Another benefit is that you have to book your tickets in advance, so you can reserve your spot for the most popular activities that sell out quickly. Plus, you can skip the queue upon arrival. 

TIP: Click here to learn everything you need to know about the Kuala Lumpur Attraction Pass.

Klook.com

Enjoy FREE Activities in Kuala Lumpur

Did you know you can enjoy many of the good things in Kuala Lumpur without spending a dime? That’s right. From the city’s rich culture and relaxing nature scene in the town to their vibrant nightlife, KL offers a myriad of adventures and activities you can explore for FREE!

Explore majestic temples and mosques, including the Batu Caves, Jamek Mosque, and Thean Hou Temple. Or escape the bustling city and venture peacefully at the Perdana Botanical Gardens, the KL Forest Eco Park and Taman Tugu in Lake Gardens or another one of Kuala Lumpur’s best parks.

To immerse yourself in Malaysia’s different cultures, visit Chinatown, Little India, and Merdeka Square. Start your budget-friendly trip and see what else Kuala Lumpur has to offer for tourists for free!

TIP: Click here to read our blog about Top Free Things to Do With Kids in Kuala Lumpur

KLCC Lake Fountain Light and Music Show
Watch the FREE KLCC Lake Symphony Light and Music Show. Every day at 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm.

Eat & Drink Like a Local

Money spent on food is never wasted! We recommend you enjoy Kuala Lumpur’s culinary scene by eating local food and drinking like a local.

Enjoy various cuisines like Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, etc., the lazy way with GrabFood! If you don’t feel like going out and just want to relax in your hotel while eating delicious meals, GrabFood can save your day. This food delivery service from Grab allows you to conveniently order food from top merchants in the city. Whether you’re looking for halal, non-halal, Malaysian, Chinese, Western, or fast food, there’s something for everyone at GrabFood!

But if you want to eat out, plenty of food courts in Kuala Lumpur offer cheap food affordable and savory meals. Some of the most popular food courts in KL are the Hutong food court in Lot 10, Malaysia Food Village by Yong Kee, and Sungei Wang Plaza in Bukit Bintang.

And for the best street food, wander the lively and vibrant streets of Jalan Alor. Try the different food stalls serving various local delicacies or dine at one of the local restaurants. Jalan Alor is always bustling with locals and tourists who want to taste KL’s diverse cuisine.

Traveling with kids? No problem! Kuala Lumpur is filled with restaurants that include promos where kids can eat for free! Enjoy and savor different cuisines like Japanese, Western, Korean, Italian, etc., in these restaurants in KL, and treat your family to an exceptional dining experience. These restaurants include TGI Fridays, Sakae Sushi, Italiannie’s, and Seoul Garden.

TIP: Learn more about our favorite restaurants in Kuala Lumpur where kids eat for free

Rice with pork at Malaysia Food Village in KLCC
Rice with pork at Malaysian Food Village in KLCC

Shop for Souvenirs at Central Market 

Don’t get easily swayed by the souvenirs you see at airports and KL’s luxurious shopping malls. If you want to buy a souvenir to take home as a gift or remembrance, the Central Market near Dataran Merdeka is the best place to shop!

Built in 1888 as a wet market, Central Market became a historical landmark as it was transformed into a cultural center. This is where you’ll find many local handicrafts, clothes, art, and souvenirs to buy.

You can appreciate the building’s well-preserved Art Deco style as you step inside. There are also art galleries showcasing arts and crafts by local artists. Central Market is one of the best places in Kuala Lumpur to witness the different cultures in Malaysia, like the Malay, Indian, and Chinese cultures. You can learn to appreciate their beauty through art, food, and cultural performances.

If you want to see more historical places in KL near the Central Market, check out our blog about the 13 Historical Places to Explore with Kids in Kuala Lumpur.

Souvenir shops at Central Market

Save Money on Transactions with WISE

Want to know how to manage and budget your money for travel? While carrying credit and travel cards is handy, it’s not the most cost-effective option for travelers. These bank and travel cards come with expensive withdrawal and currency conversion fees that might cost you more than your budget.

We highly recommend getting a WISE card if you want to save on pricy sum fees. WISE gives you the best exchange rates with low fees. And the best part is you can do seamless international transfers whenever and wherever you are with just a few taps on the screen.

When you sign up for a WISE card, you can enjoy fantastic travel benefits like spending money abroad like a local. You can set up multiple balances in your WISE account in the currency of your destination. For example, if you’re traveling to Kuala Lumpur, you can set up an account for Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) and top up in advance in your own currency with a small one-time fee. With WISE, you can get the best mid-market exchange rates with minimal costs.

What we personally like about WISE is that they automatically deduct your spend from the currency account with the best possible conversion rate. I, for example, have a USD, IDR, and MYR account. When I make a transaction in EUR, WISE will deduct automatically check which of my currencies (USD, IDR, or MYR) has the lowest conversion rate and deduct the amount from that respective account. 

Now, you won’t have to deal with hefty fees, and you can use the WISE card for withdrawing and paying for local services.

Order a Wise Card

Use Online Apps for Transport in Kuala Lumpur

Save on transportation costs with online ride-hailing apps like Grab! Grab is like Uber but for Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, etc. This Singapore-based company is the leading company for ride-hailing and other services such as food delivery, grocery delivery, and online payments.

Grab offers a cheap alternative to taxis, plus the convenience of stress-free transportation without any stops. Their ride-hailing services include GrabCar, JustGrab, and Grab Taxi, with seats that range from 4 to 6, perfect for families and groups. They also have Grab Rent, where you can book a 4- or 6-seater car, so you can drive anytime and anywhere, giving you the flexibility to visit all the attractions you want to see on your own time.

With Grab, you can pay in cash or link your WISE card for automatic payments, saving you the hassle of carrying cash around. You can even tip your driver if you’re satisfied with their service with just one tap, and the amount will be deducted automatically from your account. Easy and fast.

TIP: Click here to read our ultimate guide to using Grab in Kuala Lumpur

GrabCar waiting to pick up a passenger in Kuala Lumpur

Save on Data Roaming with a Local SIM Card

Access to services like WISE and Grab is perfect for traveling but can’t be done without the internet. You can use your regular SIM for data roaming, but the international roaming charges can be costly.

If you want to save, buying a local SIM card for Malaysia is the way to go! You can save on international roaming charges and have better access to local services with a local number.

Malaysian SIM cards are readily available at most airports, or you can buy them in convenience stores and shopping malls. You can also buy them online, like this DiGi 4G SIM from Klook. Once you purchase the SIM voucher, you can redeem the SIM Card at KLIA2 and have it activated.

With local SIM cards, you can access affordable data plans and have no problem staying connected with your family. You can use the data to browse the internet, make online banking transfers, and pay for local services.

TIP: Discover more benefits and find our top recommendations for Malaysian SIM cards for tourists in our article: The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Best SIM Cards for Tourists in Malaysia

Best Sim Card in Malaysia for Internet pickup booth at KLIA

Get Travel Insurance

Travel smart and safe with travel insurance for your trip to Kuala Lumpur. Getting travel insurance will save you costs for the many possible and unprecedented things that can happen before or during your trip to KL.

While getting travel insurance in Malaysia is not mandatory, it can help you in emergencies. Travel insurance usually covers lost or delayed luggage, medical expenses due to accident or injury, medical emergencies, last-minute trip cancellation, and accidental death and dismemberment.

Travel insurance allows you to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. You can find travel insurance online with cheaper options to save on insurance costs. You can also take advantage of discounts like some travel insurance companies offer discounts for an early purchase. Or, if you’re a student, senior citizen, or a member of a certain organization, ask if they’re offering discount deals.

TIP: Click here to learn everything you need to know about travel insurance in Malaysia and how to choose the best option that meets your needs.

Final Words on Enjoying Kuala Lumpur on a Budget

Unlocking the wonders of Kuala Lumpur on a budget is not only feasible but also immensely rewarding. 

From savvy accommodation choices with exclusive deals on platforms like Luxury Escapes and Agoda to cost-efficient transportation via buses and the KLIA Ekspres Train, we’ve mapped out a budget-friendly itinerary for your Malaysian adventure.

Dive into the vibrant culture and history of KL at Central Market, enjoy seamless financial transactions with a WISE card, and optimize your travel with Grab’s convenient ride-hailing services.

Stay connected affordably with a local SIM card, explore top attractions with the Kuala Lumpur Attraction Pass, and savor the city’s rich culinary scene without breaking the bank.

Remember to travel smart by securing travel insurance, ensuring a worry-free and unforgettable experience in this dynamic and diverse capital city. 

Embrace the charm of Kuala Lumpur without compromising your budget, and let your journey be a testament to the incredible adventures that await those who seek them out.

Do you have any other tips? Let is know in the comments below so we can keep this article updated.


Related Posts:

How to Get From KLIA to KL Sentral and Vice Versa

Grab App: Everything You Need To Know About How To Use It

Kuala Lumpur Attraction Pass: The Ultimate Pass to the Best KL Attractions

The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Best SIM Card in Malaysia for Internet (2024)

KL Hop-On Hop-Off Bus City Sightseeing Tour


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About Marlieke Kemp-Janssen:

Marlieke is the mom of a four-year-old girl and, together with daddy, they love living in and exploring Kuala Lumpur. As well as being the founder of Kuala Lumpur with Kids, Marlieke is a digital marketing consultant who has helped small businesses grow through her company Aureum Hospitality Advisers.

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