A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Dubai vs. Kuala Lumpur for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Dubai or Kuala Lumpur?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Dubai and Kuala Lumpur can help you decide which place is right for you.

Dubai

Ever wonder what it would be like to see the lifestyles of the rich and famous up close. There's no more upscale destination than Dubai. It's by far and away the spot for shopping, partying, sunbathing, fine dining and the most luxurious of luxury. As the most modern and progressive of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates, this area has experienced an unbelievable economic boom and tourism spike. It's a desert city with an amazing infrastructure.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, often referred to as KL, is the cosmopolitan capital of Malaysia. It is also the largest city in the country, having grown out of a small Chinese mining village. Today Kuala Lumpur is a microcosm of the country of Malaysia. The population is split between the Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures which you can see reflected in the city's neighborhoods, cuisine, and entertainment. It's also an incredibly affordable city, even if you're looking for the comforts of a five star hotel or a luxury restaurant. Prices are almost always a fraction of what you would pay in Europe or the United States.

Which city is cheaper, Kuala Lumpur or Dubai?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Dubai is $198, while the average daily cost in Kuala Lumpur is $52. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Dubai and Kuala Lumpur in more detail.



Accommodation

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $272 in Dubai For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.

For a normal double-occupancy room in Kuala Lumpur, $62 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Kuala Lumpur, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $31, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Dubai $136
    Kuala Lumpur $31
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Dubai $272
    Kuala Lumpur $62

Food

The average traveler spends about $45 per day in Dubai for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

The average traveler spends about $11 per day in Kuala Lumpur for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Dubai $45
    Kuala Lumpur $11
Typical Food prices in Dubai

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Dubai:


  • French bread
    $0.95
  • Sumo salad in Dubai Mall + Juice
    $10
  • Lemon Mint Tea
    $4.36
  • Coffee & Cake
    $6.53
  • Smoothie
    $5.45
  • Shawarma
    $1.91

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Dubai

For Dubai, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Romantic Dhow Creek Dinner Cruise With Live Shows and International Buffet: $17
  • Sightseeing Dhow Cruise Dinner: $18
  • Dubai Deira Cruise with International Buffet Dinner with Live Shows: $19
  • Cruising with Dinner and Live Shows at Dubai Creek: $20
  • Dubai Creek Dhow Cruise Dinner: $20
  • Dhow Dinner Cruise at Dubai Creek (Without Transfers): $20
  • Sail along the Dubai Creek Dhow cruise with a delectable Dinner from AED 60: $21
  • Sightseeing Romantic Dhow Cruise Dinner: $21
  • Dhow Cruise Dinner Dubai: $22
  • Dhow Cruise Dinner on Dubai Creek: $22
  • Evening Dhow Dinner Cruise in Dubai: $22
  • Dubai Creek 2-Hour Romantic Dhow Cruise Dinner: $23

Typical Food prices in Kuala Lumpur

For Kuala Lumpur, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Dinner at Ding Tai Fung
    $9.55
  • Roti Bread
    $0.24
  • Food Court Lunch
    $3.44
  • Dinner at Indian Restaurant (for Two)
    $5.14

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Kuala Lumpur

For Kuala Lumpur, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Bachelor's Pizza Co. at EPiC Food Hall: $1.75
  • US PIZZA in Malaysia: $3.70
  • US PIZZA in Malaysia: $3.70
  • US PIZZA in Malaysia: $3.70
  • Pizza Mansion in Klang Valley: $19
  • Amazing Local Food Tour in Kuala Lumpur: $29
  • Cooking Class With Garden Tours in Penang: $38
  • Discover the Best Local Food Tour by Night in Kuala Lumpur: $39
  • Local Evening Food Tour in Kuala Lumpur: $40
  • Malaysian Ramadhan Buffet Dinner Cultural Show - nearby KLCC: $40
  • Bayu Balau Beach Resort 2D1N Stay at Standard Room with Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: $41
  • Kota Kinabalu City Night Tour with Seafood Dinner: $43

Local Transportation

Dubai's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $10 per person, per day on transportation in Dubai.

To get around in Kuala Lumpur, the average visitor spends $5.44 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Dubai $10
    Kuala Lumpur $5.44
Typical Local Transportation prices in Dubai

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Dubai:


  • Taxi Ride
    $12
  • Airport Taxi
    $12
  • Sea Taxi
    $0.54

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Dubai

Also for Dubai, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • airport transfers/arival and departures: $28
  • Zipline Experience in Dubai Marina with Private transfers: $286
  • Wild Wadi tickets with Sharing Transfers: $87
  • Wild Wadi Without Transfer: $92
  • Wild Wadi Waterpark Experience with Private Transfers: $150
  • Wild Wadi Water Park with Transfer: $100
  • Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai With 2 way Transfer: $125
  • Wild Wadi Water Park Dubai on Sharing Transfer: $72
  • Wild Wadi Tickets with Transfers: $110
  • Wild Wadi Dubai water park Entrance with Optional Private transfers in Dubai: $66
  • Wheelchair Accessible Airport Transfer in Dubai: $107
  • Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi with Private Transfer From Dubai for 1 to 6 people: $808

Typical Local Transportation prices in Kuala Lumpur

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Kuala Lumpur are as follows:


  • Taxi Ride
    $3.58
  • Metro Ride (for Two)
    $0.76
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $3.58
  • Taxi From Airport
    $21
  • Bus from Airport
    $1.91
  • Train & Boat to Pulau Ketam
    $2.87

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kuala Lumpur

Also for Kuala Lumpur, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Snorkeling Tour with Transfers to Pulau Payar in Langkawi: $743
  • Hired And Drive - Transfer: $730
  • KLIA Group Perway Private Transfer with VIP Meet and Greet: $375
  • Private Land Transfer from KL Hotels and KLIA to Taman Negara: $361
  • Private Transfer to Singapore with sightseeing in Putra Mosque and Malacca: $353
  • Land Transfer from Kuala Lumpur to Redang Island (Merang Jetty): $348
  • Chauffeur: Kuala Lumpur to Singapore Transfer [Car]: $335
  • Kuala Lumpur To Singapore Transfer: $309
  • Kuala Lumpur City Hotel to Penang Island (One Way Private Transfer): $290
  • Chauffeur: Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan Transfer [Car]: $289
  • KUL Hotel to Singapore(One Way Transfer): $270
  • Cameron Highlands One Way Transfer: $259

Is it cheaper to fly into Dubai or Kuala Lumpur?

Prices for flights to both Kuala Lumpur and Dubai change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Entertainment

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Dubai can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $15 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

In Kuala Lumpur, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $12 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Dubai $15
    Kuala Lumpur $12
Typical Entertainment prices in Dubai

For Dubai, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Visit to the Dubai Museum
    $0.82

Tours and Activities in Dubai

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Dubai.

  • "Glimps of History"-4 Hrs Dubai city tour: $163
  • 04 Days Best of Dubai With Desert Safari, Dhow Cruise and City Tour: $305
  • 1 Day 2 Tours Combo: $76
  • 1 Hour Jet Ski Tour of Dubai Atlantis: $153
  • 1 Hour Private 800cc Buggy Tour Good for 2 persons: $220
  • 1 Hour Private Jet Ski Tour in Dubai: $195
  • 1 hour Mina Seyahi Jetski Tour: $160
  • 1.5-Hours Dubai Historic Old Town Walking Tour: Covid-19 safe & PRIVATE tour: $60
  • 1001 Adventure Tour: $71
  • 12 Hours Dubai Stopover Tour: $350
  • 2 Days TRIO-Dubai City Tour with Desert Safari and Full Day Abu Dhabi City Tour.: $136
  • 2 Hour Adventure Experience - TEPfactor Dubai: $55

Typical Entertainment prices in Kuala Lumpur

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Kuala Lumpur's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • KL Tower Admission (for Two)
    $11
  • Canopy Walk at FRIM Forest Reserve
    $1.19

Tours and Activities in Kuala Lumpur

For Kuala Lumpur, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast Ticket in Johor: $12
  • Binsuluk River Cruise Tour: $40
  • Dinawan Island Experience from Kota Kinabalu: $46
  • Heritage Staycation at Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion with Breakfast & Guided House Tour: $100
  • Historical Klang & Orchard City of Selangor Walking Tour: $64
  • Ice Skating Experience with Blue Ice Skating Rink in Johor: $4.85
  • Langkawi Private Guided Mangrove River Cruise Tour: $116
  • Little India & Mah Meri Cultural Village Tour: $126
  • Private Island Adventure at Paradise 101 in Langkawi: $49
  • Putrajaya Islamic Walking Tour from Kuala Lumpur: $64
  • Sepanggar Island Diving Experience: $67
  • The Sheep Sanctuary Admission Ticket at Cameron Highland: $1.95

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Dubai, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $18.

Typically, people visiting Kuala Lumpur spend on average $5.66 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Dubai $18
    Kuala Lumpur $5.66
Typical Alcohol prices in Dubai

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Dubai:


  • A Couple Drinks
    $25

Typical Alcohol prices in Kuala Lumpur

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Kuala Lumpur are as follows:


  • Bottle of Wine
    $11


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, we can see that Dubai is more expensive. And not only is Kuala Lumpur much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. Since Dubai is in Middle East and Kuala Lumpur is in Asia, this is one of the main reasons why the costs are so different, as different regions of the world tend to have overall different travel costs. So, traveling to Kuala Lumpur would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Kuala Lumpur and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Dubai would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Dubai than you might in Kuala Lumpur.

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Dubai vs. Kuala Lumpur Travel Comparison

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