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

Should you visit Kuala Lumpur or Rio de Janeiro?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Kuala Lumpur and Rio de Janeiro. 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. So, let's dig into it.

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.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is the most popular travel destination in Brazil. It is the second largest city in Brazil and the sixth largest in the Americas. A portion of the city has been designated a World Heritage Site. The peak time to visit is during the city's famous Carnival festival, which is one of the most famous festivals in the world. However, Rio's appeal as a travel destination is apparent year around. The city has a wonderful natural harbour that is surrounded by Sugar Loaf Mountain, Corcovado Peak, and the hills of Tijuca, creating an absolutely breathtaking and awe-inspiring setting. And you can't miss the beach, either!

Which city is cheaper, Rio de Janeiro or Kuala Lumpur?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Kuala Lumpur is $53, while the average daily cost in Rio de Janeiro is $81. 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 Kuala Lumpur and Rio de Janeiro in more detail.



Accommodation

For a normal double-occupancy room in Kuala Lumpur, $64 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Kuala Lumpur, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $32, such as in a hostel.

The average price for accommodation for two people in Rio de Janeiro is $100. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kuala Lumpur $32
    Rio de Janeiro $50
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kuala Lumpur $64
    Rio de Janeiro $100

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.

The average traveler spends about $15 per day in Rio de Janeiro 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
    Kuala Lumpur $11
    Rio de Janeiro $15
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
    $9.67
  • Roti Bread
    $0.24
  • Food Court Lunch
    $3.48
  • Dinner at Indian Restaurant (for Two)
    $5.20

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

Typical Food prices in Rio de Janeiro

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Rio de Janeiro:


  • Popcorn
    $0.57
  • Corn on the Cob
    $0.76
  • Hamburger
    $0.95

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rio de Janeiro

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Rio de Janeiro.

  • Food Tour Rio de Janeiro: $30
  • Cooking Class for Cacao Lovers: $51
  • Feijoada Food Tour in Rio de Janeiro with Hotel pick-up and drop-off: $55
  • Plant-based Brazilian Flavours Cooking Class: $56
  • Dinner & Rio Scenarium Nightclub Admission with Transfer: $60
  • Private Tour in Rio Scenarium with Dinner: $65
  • Skip the line: Samba Show Admission & Transfer with Dinner Option: $70
  • Dinner and Brazilian Music Show in Rio Scenarium: $70
  • Small-Group Boozy 7-Recipe Brazilian Cooking Class: $75
  • Brazilian Food And Caipirinhas Cooking Class: $75
  • Food Tour Experience in Rio de Janeiro (Small Groups or Private): $80
  • Secret Food Tours Rio de Janeiro: $82

Local Transportation

To get around in Kuala Lumpur, the average visitor spends $5.50 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.

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $6.22 per day to get around in Rio de Janeiro.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Kuala Lumpur $5.50
    Rio de Janeiro $6.22
Typical Local Transportation prices in Kuala Lumpur

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $3.63
  • Metro Ride (for Two)
    $0.77
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $3.63
  • Taxi From Airport
    $22
  • Bus from Airport
    $1.93
  • Train & Boat to Pulau Ketam
    $2.90

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kuala Lumpur

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

  • Premium Private Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Transfers: $82
  • Private City Transfer between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur : $119
  • Private City Transfers for Penang and Surrounding Cities : $134
  • Private Transfer Between Genting Highlands and Kuala Lumpur: $39
  • Private Transfer between Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur : $185
  • Private Transfer between Melaka and Kuala Lumpur : $82
  • Private Transfer between Penang and Kuala Lumpur : $194
  • Private Transfer between Port Klang and Kuala Lumpur : $40
  • Private Transfers between Cameron Highlands and Kuala Lumpur : $119
  • Private Transfers for Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Penang, Genting Highlands And More: $40
  • AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort Hotel TO Kuala Lumpur Hotel Door to Door Transfer: $23
  • Airport Transfer: $11

Typical Local Transportation prices in Rio de Janeiro

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Rio de Janeiro:


  • Taxi Ride
    $2.86

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Rio de Janeiro

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Rio de Janeiro:

  • Visit to an Original Historic Coffee Farm Guided Tour including Transfer: $140
  • Visit to Madureira Park in Rio de Janeiro with Transfer: $66
  • VIP Private Transfer Santos Dumond(SDU)-Rio de Janeiro: $65
  • Transfers: $139
  • Transfer in Rio: $35
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont Airport to City: $23
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont Airport to City: $73
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Rio de Janeiro Galeao(GIG) Airport to City: $73
  • Transfer in Private Car from Galeao Airpor t(GIG) to Rio de Janeiro city center: $23
  • Transfer from South Zone/Downtown to Santos Dumont Airport (SDU): $30
  • Transfer from Santos Dumont Airport (SDU) to South Zone/Downtown hotels: $47
  • Transfer from Santos Dumont Airport (SDU) to Barra da Tijuca/São Conrado: $71

Is it cheaper to fly into Kuala Lumpur or Rio de Janeiro?

Prices for flights to both Rio de Janeiro 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.





Entertainment

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

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $17 per person, per day in Rio de Janeiro. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kuala Lumpur $12
    Rio de Janeiro $17
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
    $1.21

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

Tours and Activities in Rio de Janeiro

Here are a few actual costs in Rio de Janeiro for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2 Days in Rio: Cultural & Ecologic Tours: $284
  • 2 Days in Rio: Tijuca Forest & Two Brothers Hiking Tours: $265
  • 2 Hour Vidigal Favela Tour Discovery the Most Laidback Favela: $19
  • 3 Hour Sailing Experience in Rio: $39
  • 3-Day Customizable Tour of Rio de Janeiro: $365
  • 4 horas - Tour private: Corcovado e praias: $154
  • 4 hours - Tour Private: Pão de Açúcar e Catedral Metropolitana: $154
  • 4-Day Private Guided Tour from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo – Coastal Trip: $990
  • 4-Days Ilha Grande Experience - Unlocking Brazil's 'Garden of Eden': $1,025
  • 4-Hour Urban Arts Walking Tour: $43
  • 4-hour Rio Downtown Sites & Bites Small Group Tour: $62
  • 4-hour Sum-up Of Rio de Janeiro "Private Tour" – Optional Airport & Port Pick-up: $92

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Kuala Lumpur spend on average $5.73 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Rio de Janeiro may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $9.43 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kuala Lumpur $5.73
    Rio de Janeiro $9.43
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

Sample the Local Flavors in Rio de Janeiro

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Rio de Janeiro:

  • Pub Crawl Rio de Janeiro: $11
  • Skip the line: Ipanema Pub Crawl: $28
  • Beautiful Imperial Petropolis City Tour Optional Lunch & Bohemia Brewery: $34
  • Rio By Night Tour: Pub Crawl Experiencing Music, Dancing, Drinks & Local Culture: $105
  • Petrópolis City and Brewery Bohemia Tour - Best of Rio's Mountains: $135
  • Rio: Sitio Burle Marx and Cachaça Distillery Private Tour: $160


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Kuala Lumpur and Rio de Janeiro, we can see that Rio de Janeiro 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 Rio de Janeiro is in South 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 Rio de Janeiro would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Rio de Janeiro than you might in Kuala Lumpur.

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Kuala Lumpur vs. Rio de Janeiro Travel Comparison

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