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

Should you visit Istanbul or Kuala Lumpur?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Istanbul or Kuala Lumpur, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Istanbul

Istanbul is strategically located on the Bosphorus and is split between Europe and Asia. It truly is a city where east meets west. Istanbul is the cultural and financial hub of Turkey, and also the most populous city. The sites are countless and there's something for everybody, whether you're interested in art, music, food, or adventure. You can pass many days exploring both the residential and commercial pockets of this city. Much of the appeal is hidden away along back alleys or within corner shops.

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 Istanbul?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Istanbul is $91, 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 Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur in more detail.



Accommodation

A hotel room in Istanbul is about $112 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

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
    Istanbul $56
    Kuala Lumpur $31
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Istanbul $112
    Kuala Lumpur $62

Food

On average, meal and food prices in Istanbul cost around $23 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $9.20.

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
    Istanbul $23
    Kuala Lumpur $11
Typical Food prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of dining costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Juice
    $0.23
  • Turkish Delight
    $0.07
  • Dessert
    $0.96
  • Pastries
    $0.17

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Istanbul

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Istanbul.

  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $29
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise Show: $30
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise Inc. Dinner and Belly Dance Show with Hotel Transfer: $34
  • Alaturca Ottoman Dramatic Stage Show & Dinner Cruise ( Non - Alcoholic ): $35
  • Bosphorus Dinner Show Cruise With Non Alcoholic Menu ISTANBUL Dinner cruise: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner & Show Cruise (All Inclusive): $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise An Unforgettable Experience in Istanbul: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Night Show from Istanbul: $37
  • Istanbul Cruise&Show with Dinner: $37
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $39
  • Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Soft Drinks: $40
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise&Show: $40

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

The cost of a taxi ride in Istanbul is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $5.31 per person, per day, on local transportation in Istanbul.

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.
    Istanbul $5.31
    Kuala Lumpur $5.44
Typical Local Transportation prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Ferry
    $0.32
  • Local Bus
    $0.34

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • ─░stanbul Private Airport Transfer: $19
  • ─░stanbul Airport Transfer: $45
  • istanbul airport transfer-sabiha gokcen airport transfer-vip transfer: $28
  • istanbul airport cheapest vip transfer by private car: $14
  • istanbul airport & sabiha gokcen airport transfer by private car: $30
  • VIP Transfer Services for Airports, Hotels or Other Location: $80
  • VIP Airport Transfer and Shuttle: $62
  • VIP Airport Transfer: $56
  • Turkish Bath in Istanbul with transfer: $199
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Istanbul Old City to Sabiha Gokcen Airport: $57
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Istanbul Old City to Istanbul Airport: $51
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Istanbul Old City to Sabiha Gokcen Airport: $61

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:

  • Shared Bus Transfers for Senai International Airport (JHB): $1.95
  • Private Transfer : Kuala Lumpur Attractions: $7.84
  • Ferry Transfers between Langkawi and Penang by Super Fast Ferry: $8.40
  • Ferry Transfers between Langkawi and Penang by Super Fast Ferry: $8.40
  • Shared Boat Transfer Between Langkawi, Beras Basah, Dayung Bunting and Singa Besar Island: $8.45
  • KL Bird Park Admission Ticket With One Way Transfer: $8.49
  • Shared Bus Transfer between Cameron Highlands and Kuala Lumpur by Unititi Express: $9.05
  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport Departure Transfer: $10
  • Airport Transfer: $11
  • Kuala Lumpur Shared Attraction Transfers: $11
  • Upside Down House Gallery and Busquarium Tickets with Transfers in Langkawi: $11
  • Kuala Lumpur Hotels to Sunway Lagoon Theme Park Transfer (1-way): $12

Is it cheaper to fly into Istanbul or Kuala Lumpur?

Prices for flights to both Kuala Lumpur and Istanbul 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

Entertainment and activities in Istanbul typically cost an average of $33 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

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.
    Istanbul $33
    Kuala Lumpur $12
Typical Entertainment prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
    $2.26
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
    $2.26
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
    $1.13
  • Hagia Sofia entrance
    $3.39

Tours and Activities in Istanbul

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Istanbul are as follows:

  • 1 Day - Istanbul Tour: $315
  • 1 Day Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Tour From Istanbul: $300
  • 1 Day Istanbul & Ephesus Tour By Plane - YK230: $419
  • 1 Day Regular Cappadocia Tour by Plane - YK0011: $384
  • 1 Day Tour - Sapanca: $300
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Tour from Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $496
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Travel from Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $509
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Trip from/to Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $513
  • 1 Night 1 Day Trip from Istanbul to Cappadocia - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $490
  • 1 Night 2 Days Cappadocia Trip from/to Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $521
  • 1 Night 2 Days Ephesus, Kusadasi, Hierapolis & Pamukkale Tour from/to Istanbul: $372
  • 1 Night Cappadocia Trip with Hot Air Balloon Tour: $525

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:

  • Kidzooona Ticket in Sabah: $1.69
  • The Sheep Sanctuary Admission Ticket at Cameron Highland: $1.95
  • Kidzooona Ticket in Melaka: $2.05
  • Kidzooona Ticket in Ipoh, Taiping and Kelantan: $2.05
  • Kidzooona Ticket in Penang and Kedah: $2.05
  • Musical Carousel & Jelly Bump Admission Ticket at The TOP Komtar: $2.19
  • Kidzooona Ticket in Sarawak: $2.35
  • Magic Art Museum Admission Ticket in Melaka: $3.15
  • Penang 3D Trick Art Museum Admission Ticket: $3.15
  • Urban Playz Admission Ticket in Penang: $3.25
  • Melaka Crocodile and Recreation Park Ticket: $3.49
  • White Water Rafting Adventure in Slim River : $3.65

Alcohol

The average person spends about $8.13 on alcoholic beverages in Istanbul per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

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


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Istanbul $8.13
    Kuala Lumpur $5.66

Sample the Local Flavors in Istanbul

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Istanbul:

  • Daily Tekirdag Wine Tasting Tour from Istanbul: $427

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

Budget Your Trip

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Istanbul vs. Kuala Lumpur Travel Comparison

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