A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Ho Chi Minh City vs. Kuala Lumpur for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Ho Chi Minh City 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 Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur can help you decide which place is right for you.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam. It previously served as the capital of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). The metropolitan area, including Ho Chi Minh City, Thu Dau Mot, Di An, Bien Hoa, and other surrounding towns, has a population of more than 9 million people and continues to grow.

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 Ho Chi Minh City?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Ho Chi Minh City is $71, 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 Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur in more detail.



Accommodation

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $86 in Ho Chi Minh City 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
    Ho Chi Minh City $43
    Kuala Lumpur $31
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ho Chi Minh City $86
    Kuala Lumpur $62

Food

The average traveler spends about $13 per day in Ho Chi Minh City 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
    Ho Chi Minh City $13
    Kuala Lumpur $11
Typical Food prices in Ho Chi Minh City

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Ho Chi Minh City:


  • Street Food Dinner (for Two)
    $4.70
  • Pizza
    $5.71
  • Sweet Rice
    $1.32
  • Pork Sandwich
    $0.66
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $7.46
  • Western Lunch (for Two)
    $13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Ho Chi Minh City

For Ho Chi Minh City, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Seafood Dinner in Altitude Rooftop Bar at Sheraton Nha Trang : $15
  • Ho Chi Minh Private Half Day Street Food Tour with Local Students: $18
  • The Home Pizza Phu Quoc Cash Voucher 500.000VND : $19
  • SaiGon Street Food Tour By Scooter With Student: $22
  • Tra Que Vegetable Village and Cooking Class Experience in Hoi An: $24
  • Tam Giang Lagoon Private Half Day Tour with Seafood Dinner: $26
  • Half-Day Tam Giang Sunset Tour with Dinner on Floating Restaurant: $26
  • Walking Food Tour With Local Student: $26
  • Private Street Food Tour on Motorbikes: $28
  • Hoi An City and Food Tour with Foot Massage: $28
  • Vegetarian Cooking Class in Hanoi: $28
  • Private Half-Day Ho Chi Minh Food Tour with Local Students: $28

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

Ho Chi Minh City'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 $13 per person, per day on transportation in Ho Chi Minh City.

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.
    Ho Chi Minh City $13
    Kuala Lumpur $5.44
Typical Local Transportation prices in Ho Chi Minh City

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Ho Chi Minh City:


  • Short Taxi Ride
    $1.54
  • Taxi From Airport
    $8.79
  • Cyclo Ride (One Hour)
    $1.76

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ho Chi Minh City

Also for Ho Chi Minh City, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • [Summer Offer] Premier Residences Phu Quoc Emerald Bay with Breakfast and Free Airport Transfers: $73
  • [Off 40%] Combo Vinpearl Resort & Golf Phu Quoc with Vinwonder + Vinpearl Safari, Optional Roundtrip Airport Transfers: $93
  • [Flash Sale] Six Senses Con Dao with Breakfast and Transfer: $528
  • Transfer Tan Son Nhat Airport to Mui Ne (Beach resort): $150
  • The Mist Dance Show In Saigon With Roundtrip Transfer: $48
  • Taxi Transfers from Ho Chi Minh To Cat Tien Park: $110
  • Taxi Transfers From Ho Chi Minh Airport to Muine: $99
  • Taxi Transfers From Ho Chi Minh Airport To Can Tho: $108
  • Taxi Transfers From Ho Chi Minh Airport To Cai Be: $85
  • Taxi Transfer From Ho Chi Minh Airport To Ben Tre: $79
  • Tan Son Nhat International Airport Transfer: $23
  • Sunset Sanato Phu Quoc Hotel with Breakfast and Roundtrip Airport Transfer : $62

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 Ho Chi Minh City or Kuala Lumpur?

Prices for flights to both Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City 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 Ho Chi Minh City can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $18 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.
    Ho Chi Minh City $18
    Kuala Lumpur $12
Typical Entertainment prices in Ho Chi Minh City

For Ho Chi Minh City, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Massage
    $6.15

Tours and Activities in Ho Chi Minh City

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Ho Chi Minh City.

  • An Spa Experience in Da Nang: $13
  • Aroma Spa Foot & Body Massage Experience in Ho Chi Minh City: $9.79
  • Belle Maison Parosand Spa Experience in Da Nang: $5.75
  • Coconut Spa Experience in Ho Chi Minh: $5.05
  • Datanla New Alpine Coaster Experience in Da Lat: $6.95
  • Hai Van Pass and Lang Co Beach Private Sidecar Tour from Hoi An: $163
  • Hoi An Countryside Private Sidecar Tour (1 or 2 Hours): $50
  • Hue City Tour from Da Nang: $35
  • Laguna Luxury Private Sidecar Tour from Hoi An: $185
  • Lasenta Spa Experience in Ho Chi Minh City: $2.39
  • Linda Spa Experience in Da Nang: $5.49
  • Mam Gao Spa Experience in Ho Chi Minh: $15

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 Ho Chi Minh City, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.02.

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


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ho Chi Minh City $7.02
    Kuala Lumpur $5.66
Typical Alcohol prices in Ho Chi Minh City

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Ho Chi Minh City:


  • Beer
    $0.44

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 Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur, we can see that Ho Chi Minh City is more expensive. And not only is Kuala Lumpur much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. 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 Ho Chi Minh City would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Ho Chi Minh City than you might in Kuala Lumpur.

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Ho Chi Minh City vs. Kuala Lumpur Travel Comparison

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