Travel Cost Comparison Australia vs. Malaysia

Australia or Malaysia: which country is more expensive?

This comparison of travel costs between Malaysia and Australia examines average prices across multiple categories. Please visit each country's individual budget page for more detailed information.

  • Average Daily Cost Per person, per day
    Australia $189
    Malaysia $35
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Australia $105
    Malaysia $16
  • Food Meals for one day
    Australia $33
    Malaysia $9.71
  • Water Bottled water for one day
    Australia $2.88
    Malaysia $0.82
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Australia $32
    Malaysia $6.26
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Australia $39
    Malaysia $11
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Australia $11
    Malaysia $6.68
Should you visit Australia or Malaysia?
Malaysia is a much cheaper travel destination than Australia for a variety of reasons. Its overall lower cost of living means that tourists can enjoy all of the great sights and activities in Malaysia for much less than the comparable activities in Australia.

Australia is a large and diverse country both in its landscapes and cultures. On the coasts you'll find great beautiful beaches and big cities. In the north are tropical areas known for wildlife. And in the center is deserts, forests, and geological wonders like no place else on Earth. The Outback, the Great Barrier Reef, the Blue Mountains, Ayers Rock, Surfer's Paradise, and the Sydney Opera House are just a few of the world famous locations to see in Australia.

Malaysia offers a great deal to visitors from gorgeous beaches, crystal clear waters for snorkeling and scuba diving, exotic jungles, cooler highlands with agricultural landscapes, and delicious cuisine.

In general, Malaysia's economy is less driven by tourism than many other countries. This makes it easier to have a more "authentic" experience in Malaysia, as one can mingle with the locals to see how they live and work, as well as vacation along side them instead of having them provide a service for you in the tourism industry.
When is the best time to visit Australia and Malaysia?
Rundle Mall, Adelaide (South Australian Tourism Commission) Rundle Mall, Adelaide (South Australian Tourism Commission)
Australia, being in the southern hemisphere, experiences warm summer months from November to April, and colder winter months from May to October. However, northern Australia is fairly close to the equator, and experiences warmer weather year-round. At the same time, southern Australia experiences four full seasons (much like the U.S. and Europe), with cold winters and warm, humid summers.

Much of northern Australia can be visited year-round due to the warm tropical climate and mild winters. However, the best time to visit Australia's beaches and big cities of the southeast is in the Spring, Summer, and Fall (avoiding June, July, and August as they are the coldest months). Traveling to Australia in the shoulder seasons can often lead to cheaper prices.

Malaysia stays hot and humid throughout the year. Due to shifting seasonal winds, the wet season on the eastern coasts is between November and February, while the wettest months on the western coasts are April and October. These wet seasons are usually not to be of any concern, as the rains are not so bad that they would ruin a vacation. However, scuba diving enthusiasts should take note because the water visibility is dramatically affected during the rainy seasons.
Why is Australia more expensive than Malaysia?
Australia is a modern, first world nation with a high cost of living, modern technological and industrial economy, and thriving middle class. All of these factors raise the overall prices for travel in Australia compared to much of the world, especially some of its Pacific and Asian neighbors.

Modern hotels and restaurants can be found everywhere in Australia, providing the level of luxury and modern conveniences that western tourists from the U.S. and Europe expect. However, this level of luxury comes at a higher price.

Malaysia's economy is much less dependent on tourism than some of its neighboring countries. Therefore, visitors usually depend on the same general infrastructure and transportation system as the locals. Public transportation is modern, efficient, and cheap. Accommodation also tends to be better in quality for a lower price in Malaysia due to the overall pro-business economy, and a diverse range of restaurants keeps prices for food competitive throughout the country.
What are the most expensive and cheapest cities and regions in Australia and Malaysia?
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The beach areas of Australia can be fairly expensive, especially in the peak summer months. The east coast beaches in Queensland from Bisbane and the Gold Coast all the way up to Cairns are full of higher-end hotels and restaurants. However, cheaper options can be found as there are also plenty of hostels, budget hotels, and less expensive restaurants. The areas around the Whitsunday Islands and the launching points for the Great Barrier Reef can also be pricey.

The larger cities of Australia, especially those in the southeast, can get expensive as well. While budget options are available, expect prices to be generally higher for most services.

Tours and excursions into the Outback and central areas of Australia can sometimes be expensive due to the great distances that must be traveled as well as the prices for activities such as visiting national parks, hiking and trekking, etc.

Prices in Malaysia are relatively cheap throughout. As the capital city, prices in Kuala Lumpur can be a bit more expensive than in rural areas, but budget options are still plentiful.

If you visit the most popular areas for tourists, such as some of the islands or the Cameron Highlands, you might pay a bit more for a rental car or a tour. Also, public transportation in some touristy areas can be a bit limited, leaving you to take a taxi or rent a car.

Compared to peninsula Malaysia, Borneo can be quite expensive. Although budget accommodation and cheap food are available, most people in Borneo choose to do a variety of activities. This is where the price starts to climb (but is well worth it). Depending on what you choose to do, Borneo can quickly become one of the more expensive places to visit in the area.
How you can save money when visiting Australia and Malaysia?
In Australia, booking ahead for hotels and hostels can often save you money and provide the ability to shop around.

Public transportation in Australian cities is cheap and efficient, and sometimes even free. Likewise, public transportation in Malaysia is terrific in urban areas and very good elsewhere. Use it whenever possible. Look for long distance bus routes between major cities if renting a car is too expensive. Also, the train can be an affordable and relaxing option, too.

Slow down. If you're rushing through the area you're going to spend more money. Transportation costs can be expensive so the more places you visit, the more money you're going to spend.

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