Travel Cost Comparison Malaysia vs. Philippines

Malaysia or Philippines: which country is more expensive?

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

  • Malaysia Prices
    Philippines Prices
  • Average Daily Cost Per person, per day
    Malaysia $39
    Philippines $51
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Malaysia $19
    Philippines $15
  • Food Meals for one day
    Malaysia $9.14
    Philippines $13
  • Water Bottled water for one day
    Malaysia $0.68
    Philippines $1.31
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Malaysia $9.38
    Philippines $18
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Malaysia $5.56
    Philippines $12
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Malaysia $5.87
    Philippines $8.11
Should you visit Malaysia or Philippines?
Malaysia, being a more developed nation, is more expensive than the Philippines. Both countries offer great beaches, jungle adventures, eco-tourism, world class scuba diving, and more.

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.

The Philippines is an island nation known for stunning beaches and beautiful jungles, as well as affordable prices. The colonial history has left an interesting mix of culture, as well as historic landmarks. It's possible to visit colonial churches, typical Southeast Asian rice paddies, deserted islands, and beaches with crystal clear blue waters on a trip to this archipelago of a nation.
When is the best time to visit Malaysia and Philippines?
Langkawi, Malaysia Langkawi, Malaysia
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.

The Philippines are the hottest from March to May, and from June to October it can be quite rainy. The coolest months are from November to February, but it is still warm and tropical. Don't let the rainy season scare you away, as the rains are not torrential and it still can rain during other parts of the year.
Why is Malaysia more expensive than Philippines?
The prospering economy of Malaysia means that prices are generally rising. As the Malaysian people become wealthier, more domestic tourists are visiting other locations within Malaysia, resulting in higher prices than some of the neighboring countries.

Overall, the Philippines are a very affordable destination due to the low cost of living, low wages, and significant competition for tourism. Many local families have opened their doors to create family-run hotels or restaurants, especially in the larger urban areas, leading to an increase in competition. Overall, while the economy is growing as a whole, the country must compete against its neighbors for revenue from tourism, leading to low prices.
What are the most expensive and cheapest cities and regions in Malaysia and Philippines?
Boracay, Philippines Boracay, Philippines
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.

While the Philippines are overall very inexpensive, the popular beach resort areas tend to be higher in price. These destinations are why visitors come to this beautiful country, after all. Tourists flock to the beach, driving up prices for everything from hotels and hostels to restaurants and activities.

The rural parts of the countryside are much cheaper, especially if you can get away from the areas that are more frequently visited.

As in most countries, the larger cities can be expensive, but budget options are available. Some neighborhoods have higher prices due to high-end luxury accommodations, nightlife, and restaurants. But shop around to find better prices if you're on a budget.
How you can save money when visiting Malaysia and Philippines?
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.

Stay with the locally owned hotels or hostels instead of international or national chain hotels. It's cheaper, better for the local economy, and you'll have a more authentic experience, too.

As transportation between the various islands of the Philippines and Malaysia can get expensive with flights and ferries, choose one or two destinations and stay put. Hopping around will cost you a good deal more unless you're traveling overland on a bus or train.

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