A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Kuala Lumpur vs. New York City for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Kuala Lumpur or New York City?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Kuala Lumpur and New York City. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a colorful, historic, and modern city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include food, shopping, and museums.

New York City

New York City is a one-of-a-kind, vibrant, and energetic city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include shopping, museums, and theater.

How is Kuala Lumpur different from New York City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is Kuala Lumpur or New York City better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Spend time exploring the signts and museum in either Kuala Lumpur or New York City.

Travelers visit Kuala Lumpur from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. The most notable landmark in the city is the famed Petronas Twin Towers, but other popular sights include Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur Tower, and the National Museum.

Travelers visit New York City from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. The sights and museums around the city are too numerous to list, but some of the most famous include the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Central Park, and the Empire State Building.


Is Kuala Lumpur or New York City better for Food?

Foodies will find both Kuala Lumpur and New York City both to be unique destinations.

Eat your way through Kuala Lumpur, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. The food is influenced by the populations that live here and you'll find a lot of Malay, Chinese and Indian flavors. Spicy curries and noodle dishes are very common. Street food is also a mainstay in this city and it's an experience to wander the market streets and sample dishes from the different vendors.

Eat your way through New York City, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. The city has a diverse variety of restaurants, from local dives to Michelin star options. Quintessential NYC dishes include NYC pizza, NYC hot dogs, bagels, and Chinese dim sum.

Is Kuala Lumpur or New York City better for Nightlife?

The nightlife scene is relatively similar in Kuala Lumpur and New York City.

Kuala Lumpur has a large number of nightlife venues. Rooftop bars and lounges are popular hangout spots after the sun sets. For classy pubs and clubs head to the Golden Triangle district, but if drinking and partying isn't your thing, the city's night markets are not to be missed.

New York City is a world class party destination. Known as the city that never sleeps, you can be assured that NYC has some of the best nightlife in the world. Several famous clubs include Paul's Cocktail Lounge, Le Bain, and Avant Gardner.

Is Kuala Lumpur or New York City better for Shopping?

Shoppers can find a variety of stores in both Kuala Lumpur and New York City.

People travel from around the world to go shopping in Kuala Lumpur. The city is filled with shopping malls, and a big appeal of shopping in this city is the very affordable prices. Some of the most popular shopping malls are Suria KLCC at the base of the Petronas Towers as well as the malls in the Bukit Bintang/Jalan Imbi areas.

People travel from around the world to go shopping in New York City. The shopping is as diverse as the city itself. Head for Fifth Avenue for high end shopping or check out any of the many street markets for local items.

Is Kuala Lumpur or New York City better for Families?

Both Kuala Lumpur and New York City are family-friendly destinations.

Kuala Lumpur is a very family-friendly destination. This family-friendly city includes a surprising number of opportunities to experience wildlife. There's an aquarium, petting zoos, and places to see the wild monkeys. There are also large playgrounds including one by the Petronas Towers. Kids will also enjoy exploring the Botanical Gardens, Butterfly Park, and the Forest Eco Park.

New York City is a very family-friendly destination. The city has many activities for kids of all ages including world class museums, beautifully designed playgrounds, and theater shows designed just for young ones.


Is Kuala Lumpur or New York City better for Couples?

Kuala Lumpur and New York City both fun destinations for a couple.

Kuala Lumpur makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. This city has diverse restaurants and a number of luxury hotels at affordable prices. For couples who enjoy romance on a budget, this is a good city.

New York City makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. From a beautiful carriage ride through Central Park, to a romantic river cruise at night, there is an endless list of unique activities that couples can enjoy in the city.

Is Kuala Lumpur or New York City better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Kuala Lumpur and New York City are both good destinations for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Kuala Lumpur. This is a popular stop for backpackers on the Southeast Asia circuit. It's modern and comfortable but also affordable and diverse. The city has a number of affordable hostels, but it also has a more laid back and authentic vibe than you'll find in many other Southeast Asian cities. The city also isn't as touristy as some other cities, so the people are down to Earth and helpful without being jaded by all of the vacationers.

Many backpackers visit New York City. It isn't a particularly budget friendly destination, but it does get its share of backpackers, so you'll find a nice list of hostels and affordable hangouts that are perfect for the backpacker crowd.

Is Kuala Lumpur or New York City better for Students?

Both Kuala Lumpur and New York City are popular destinations for students.

Kuala Lumpur is a very popular place to visit for students. It's affordability, diversity, and dynamic atmosphere make this a great city for international students.

New York City is a very popular place to visit for students. The city has a diverse population, and international students will feel right at home here exploring the city. There are also plenty of major universities including NYU, Columbia University, and Cornell University.

Is Kuala Lumpur or New York City better for Public Transit?

Visitors will find public transit in both Kuala Lumpur and New York City.

With a huge network, the transit system in Kuala Lumpur can get you around easily. The system is relatively easy to navigate with most signs in English. There are buses, a monorail, light rail transit and commuter trains.

New York City has a world-class public transit network to take passengers everywhere in the city. The city has one of the largest subway systems in the world. There's also an elaborate bus system, ferry system, and yellow taxis all around town.


Is Kuala Lumpur or New York City a more walkable city?

Kuala Lumpur and New York City are similar when it comes to walkability.

Kuala Lumpur is very walkable. Traffic can be congested, but there are many wide sidewalks and pedestrian areas around town. The River of Life waterfront area offers nice paths that connect many tourist areas.

It's very easy to get around on foot in New York City. The majority of the neighborhoods in Manhattan are very walkable and easy to explore on foot. Most people prefer not to drive here as it can be overwhelming and chaotic.

Kuala Lumpur and New York City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities


Should I spend more time in New York City or Kuala Lumpur?

How long in Kuala Lumpur or New York City?

Both Kuala Lumpur and New York City have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in New York City than Kuala Lumpur.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Kuala Lumpur is 1-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to New York City is 3-7 days.


  • How many days in Kuala Lumpur or New York City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Kuala Lumpur 1-5 
    New York City 3-7

One day in Kuala Lumpur or New York City?

Kuala Lumpur is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. Your budget might influence how long you stay. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one day is just the right amount of time to spend here.

In New York City, many people enjoy the live music and food that this vibrant city offers. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

A weekend in Kuala Lumpur or New York City?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Kuala Lumpur. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. A weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

New York City is a fun place to experience. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring.

Five days in Kuala Lumpur or New York City?

Kuala Lumpur is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have five days, this is a great place to go. Five days is usually enough time for a trip here.

In New York City, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this one-of-a-kind big city offers. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area. Plenty of people spend five days here when traveling. So, five days is just the right amount of time to spend here.


A week in Kuala Lumpur or New York City?

You'll find food and shopping around the beautiful city of Kuala Lumpur. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

New York City is a popular place to visit. Many people spend one week here. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. The entire area has lots to do.

Which city is cheaper, New York City or Kuala Lumpur?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Kuala Lumpur is $49, while the average daily cost in New York City is $238. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Kuala Lumpur and New York City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kuala Lumpur $30
    New York City $137
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kuala Lumpur $60
    New York City $274

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Kuala Lumpur $5.17
    New York City $39
Typical Local Transportation prices in Kuala Lumpur

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $3.41
  • Metro Ride (for Two)
    $0.73
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $3.41
  • Taxi From Airport
    $20
  • Bus from Airport
    $1.82
  • Train & Boat to Pulau Ketam
    $2.73

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kuala Lumpur

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

  • i-City Shah Alam Theme Park Adventure with Return Transfer: $60
  • VIP Departure Transfer : Kuala Lumpur Airport: $196
  • Sunway Lagoon Theme Park Ticket With Return Transfer: $144
  • Sunway Lagoon One-Day Admission Tickets Including Transfer: $91
  • Sunway Lagoon Admission Ticket with Return Transfer from Kuala Lumpur: $68
  • Subang Airport Private Car Transfer: $27
  • Skip the Line: Petrosains The Discovery Centre Ticket with One Way Transfer: $26
  • Skip the Line: Petronas Twin Tower Ticket Lunch & Round Trip Hotel Transfer: $80
  • Skip the Line: PETRONAS Twin Towers Admission + One Way Transfer: $25
  • Skip The Line: Petronas Twin Tower Tickets & Round Trip Transfers: $60
  • Skip The Line: Petronas Tower & KL Tower Ticket with Round Trip Hotel Transfers: $80
  • Skip The Line Petronas Twin Towers Admission Ticket with Return Transfer & Lunch: $77

Typical Local Transportation prices in New York City

Some typical examples of transportation costs in New York City are as follows:


  • Subway
    $4.50
  • Taxi Ride
    $8.00
  • Subway
    $2.50

Hired Cars and Shuttles in New York City

Also for New York City, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Very affordable Car and Luxury Airports Transfer located in New York City: $140
  • Transfer Aeroporto-Hotel NYC até 4 pessoas: $160
  • Shared Transfer from Hotel to JFK Airport: $137
  • Round Trip John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) Transfer to New York City Center: $147
  • Private transfer: New York to New York Airport (LGA): $86
  • Private transfer from or to JFK , LGA , EWR , PHL airports , NY and Philadelphia: $288
  • Private arrival OR departure transfer in New York (hotel OR airport pick-up): $142
  • Private Transfer: New York city to Airport (JFK): $117
  • Private Transfer from New York City to LaGuardia Airport: $85
  • Private Transfer from Manhattan to John F Kennedy Airport JFK by Luxury Car: $111
  • Private Sedan New York City Airport Departure Transfer: $115
  • Private SUV New York City Airport Departure Transfer: $190

Is it cheaper to fly into Kuala Lumpur or New York City?

Prices for flights to both New York City and Kuala Lumpur 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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Kuala Lumpur $10
    New York City $37
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
    $9.09
  • Roti Bread
    $0.23
  • Food Court Lunch
    $3.27
  • Dinner at Indian Restaurant (for Two)
    $4.88

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:

  • Amazing Local Food Tour in Kuala Lumpur: $29
  • Discover the Best Local Food Tour by Night in Kuala Lumpur: $39
  • Malaysian Ramadhan Buffet Dinner Cultural Show - nearby KLCC: $40
  • Small group epic food tour! Immerse yourself in the local culture too!: $44
  • Best Local Food Tour by Night at Kuala Lumpur: $45
  • Market Visit & Garden-to-Table Cooking Class: $47
  • Yummy Yummy Street Food Tour - Kuala Lumpur By Night (Guided With Transport): $53
  • Old Markets & Beyond: Kuala Lumpur Food Tour: $55
  • Cultural Night Tour with Dinner: $55
  • Kuala Lumpur Food Tour: $59
  • Chef-Designed Small-Group Food Tour: $60
  • Withlocals The 10 Tastings: Kuala Lumpur Private Street Food Tour: $61

Typical Food prices in New York City

For New York City, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Gelato
    $7.50
  • Snacks for Two at Yankees Game
    $34
  • Coffee
    $6.53
  • Smoothie
    $6.95

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in New York City

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

  • New York Pizza, Beer, and History Tour: $69
  • Greenwich Village History, Culture, and Food Tour with Local Expert: $129
  • Private New York City Food Tour of East Village and Greenwich Village: $147
  • JAPANESE guided tour! Bateaux Dinner Cruise tour with hotel transportation. The best way to enjoy the Manhattan night view from the river & sea. Full course French dinner, live band music included.: $333
  • Limo trip Hotel to Dinner round trip in NEW MKT Limousine: $481

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kuala Lumpur $12
    New York City $77
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)
    $10
  • Canopy Walk at FRIM Forest Reserve
    $1.14

Tours and Activities in Kuala Lumpur

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

  • "Port Weld"+ Orang Utan Island + Eagle Feeding + Charcoal Factory (Private Tour): $234
  • "Waterfall In The Rainforest" Templer Park, Batu Caves & Natural Hotspring Tour: $46
  • (Base On Per Vehicle Price) KL Private City Tour: $123
  • 11 Hours Nostalgic Urban Car Tour to Sekinchan from Kuala Lumpur: $195
  • 11 Hours Nostalgic Urban Van Tour to Sekinchan from Kuala Lumpur: $56
  • 11 Top Attractions: Guided Kuala Lumpur City Tour: $45
  • 11 Top Attractions: Kuala Lumpur City Tour: $21
  • 12 Hrs Kuala Lumpur Flexible Full Day & Night Van Tour: $65
  • 12 Hrs Kuala Lumpur Ultimate Full Day & Night Car Tour: $193
  • 13 Attractions Half-Day Kuala Lumpur City Tour - SIC: $10
  • 13 Attractions Half-day Kuala Lumpur City Tour - Sic: $10
  • 13 Attractions: Kuala Lumpur Half-Day City Tour: $23

Typical Entertainment prices in New York City

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for New York City's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Comedy Show Tickets
    $56
  • City Map
    $8.00
  • Broadway Musical
    $111
  • Broadway Show Program
    $10
  • Magazine
    $6.99

Tours and Activities in New York City

For New York City, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 24-Hour NYC Downtown Hop-On Hop-Off Tour with Statue of Liberty Cruise: $35
  • 9/11 Memorial & Ground Zero Tour with Optional Skip-the-Line 9/11 Museum Ticket: $35
  • 9/11 Memorial Museum Admission Ticket: $28
  • 9/11 Memorial Tour with Optional One World Observatory Entry: $42
  • 9/11 Tribute Museum Admission Ticket: $12
  • American Dream: Indoor Ice Skating Rink Admission Ticket: $25
  • American Dream: TiLT Interactive Museum Admission Ticket: $21
  • American Museum of Natural History Admission Ticket: $23
  • Amish Country Private Tour from New York plus Outlet Shopping: $999
  • Art Studio Tour of New York City: $140
  • Attraction entrance tickets: $200
  • Best NYC VIP Luxury Photography Sightseeing Leisure Tour ( Up to 4 People ): $5,500

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Things to do in New York City with Kids, Things to Do in Central Park in NYC, and The Best Museums in New York City.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kuala Lumpur $5.38
    New York City $23
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
    $10

Sample the Local Flavors in New York City

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in New York City:

  • Pub Crawl Tour of Historic Stone Street: $40


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Kuala Lumpur and New York City, we can see that New York City is more expensive. And not only is Kuala Lumpur much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. Since Kuala Lumpur is in Asia and New York City is in North America, 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 New York City would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in New York City than you might in Kuala Lumpur.

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Kuala Lumpur vs. New York City Travel Comparison

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