A Travel Price Comparison for Malaysia Penang vs. Kuala Lumpur for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Penang or Kuala Lumpur?

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 Penang and Kuala Lumpur. 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.

Where Should I go: Penang or Kuala Lumpur?

Penang

Just off the northwestern coast of Malaysia is the charming and diverse island state of Penang. As the link between the ancient kingdoms of Asia and Europe's colonial empire, this area is enriched with Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences. This exciting culture is centered in George Town, the main city of the state.

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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 10-Day Tours in Malaysia, The Best 2-Week Tours in Malaysia, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in Malaysia, and The Best Adventure Tours to Malaysia.


Which place is cheaper, Kuala Lumpur or Penang?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Penang is $104, while the average daily cost in Kuala Lumpur is $63. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Penang and Kuala Lumpur in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Penang $49
    Kuala Lumpur $37
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Penang $98
    Kuala Lumpur $74
Compare Hotels in Penang and Kuala Lumpur

Looking for a hotel in Penang or Kuala Lumpur? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Penang


Hotels in Kuala Lumpur


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Penang Hotel Prices and Kuala Lumpur Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Penang $12
    Kuala Lumpur $6.49
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Penang

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


  • Local Bus
    $1.27
  • Island Ferry
    $0.51
  • Bus From Airport to George Town
    $0.57
  • Taxi From Airport to George Town
    $9.77
  • Motorbike Rental (One Day)
    $6.37
  • Bicycle Rental (One Day)
    $2.12

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Penang

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Penang:

  • Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal: Transfer to Penang Island: $118
  • Swettenham Cruise Port to Penang Island hotels - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $77
  • Private Transfer: Penang Island to or from Perak: $131
  • Private Transfer: Penang International Airport to or from Hotel: $49
  • Private Transfer from Penang Island to Swettenham Cruise Terminal: $39
  • Private Transfer : Penang International Airport Departure: $13
  • Private Transfer : Penang Hotel to Kuala Lumpur Hotel: $200
  • Private Transfer - Swettenham Cruise Port to Penang Airport (PEN): $39
  • Private Penang Arrival transfer to Hotel: $12
  • Private Half Day Tour to Penang Island with Transfer Included: $70
  • Private Economy Penang Airport Transfer-Departure: $29
  • Private Economy Penang Airport Transfer-Arrival: $25

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Kuala Lumpur

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $3.18
  • Metro Ride (for Two)
    $0.68
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $3.18
  • Taxi From Airport
    $19
  • Bus from Airport
    $1.70
  • Train & Boat to Pulau Ketam
    $2.55

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kuala Lumpur

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

  • Private Airport Transfer in Kuala Lumpur: $35
  • 2 Way Transfer To/From Kuala Lumpur International Airport : $50
  • AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort Hotel TO Kuala Lumpur Hotel Door to Door Transfer: $59
  • Airport Transfer KLIA & KLIA2 (per vehicle): $60
  • Airport transfer: $27
  • Airport transfer : $40
  • Arrival Private Transfer Kuala Lumpur Airport KUL to Kuala Lumpur by Minivan: $48
  • Arrival Private Transfers from Airport KUL to Kuala Lumpur in Business Car: $86
  • Arrival Transfer - Kuala Lumpur Airport To Genting Highlands: $41
  • Arrival Transfer : Kuala Lumpur Airport: $22
  • Arrival Transfer from KLIA/KLIA2 to Lumut Jetty: $186
  • Arrival Transfer from KLIA/KLIA2 to Port Dickson: $85

Is it cheaper to fly into Penang or Kuala Lumpur?

Prices for flights to both Kuala Lumpur and Penang 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
    Penang $33
    Kuala Lumpur $15
Typical Food Prices in Penang

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Penang:


  • Snack
    $1.70
  • Dinner at The Suffolk House (for 2)
    $73
  • Lunch at Sakae Sushi (for 2)
    $61
  • Lassy Juice
    $1.49
  • Dinner for 2
    $3.18
  • Street Stall Food
    $0.59
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $4.03
  • Italian Lunch (for Two)
    $10

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Penang

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

  • Penang Plates Food Tour with 15+ Tastings: $45
  • Good Morning Penang Food Tour with 15+ Tastings: $45
  • Eat Like A Local: Penang Street Food Tour: $62
  • Local Street Food Tour in Georgetown Penang : $62
  • 3-Hour Heritage on a Plate Dinner Hop in George Town Penang: $66
  • 4-Hour Georgetown Food Tour: $88
  • Private Half Day Penang Tasty Local Street Food Tour: $89
  • Penang Cooking Class:Dive into Malaysian Cuisine with PenangChiak: $93
  • Dinner at Penang Hill: $102
  • Chef Samuel's Private Malaysian Cooking Class with Wet Market Tour: $116
  • Food Tour at Penang - Eat Like a Local, Feel Like a Local: $120
  • Dinner at Penang Hill Including Train Ride: $141

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
    $8.49
  • Roti Bread
    $0.21
  • Food Court Lunch
    $3.06
  • Dinner at Indian Restaurant (for Two)
    $4.56

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:

  • ARAS Restaurant at KL Tower Buffet Dinner: $29
  • Authentic Malaysian Street Food Tour in Kampung Baru: $35
  • Nightlife Street Food Tour with 6 Tastings: $36
  • Malaysian Culture and Street Food Tour : $44
  • Sambal Streets Kuala Lumpur Food Tour with 15+ Tastings: $49
  • Laksa Lanes Kuala Lumpur Food Tour with 14+ Tastings: $49
  • Street Food Tour with 15+ Tastings: $51
  • From Kuala Selangor Fireflies Tour with Dinner: $54
  • Best Local Food Tour by Night at Kuala Lumpur : $55
  • Kuala Lumpur Food Tour: $59
  • Eat Like a Local: Kuala Lumpur Hawker Center and Street Food Tour by Night: $62
  • Kuala Lumpur by Night and Malaysian Food Tour: $62

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Penang $49
    Kuala Lumpur $14
Typical Entertainment Prices in Penang

Here are a few typical costs in Penang for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Butterfly Gardens
    $6.58
  • Trishaw Tour (One Hour)
    $6.37
  • Fort Cornwallis Entrance
    $0.42
  • Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Entrance
    $2.12

Tours and Activities in Penang

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

  • Penang City Temple Tour with Penang Hill(Fast Lane) & Kek Lok Si: $100
  • 4-Hour Heritage Walking Tour of Georgetown: $58
  • 4-Hour Private Heritage Tour in George Town: $61
  • 6-Hours Penang Private Tour: $153
  • 8 Hours of Penang Tour: $65
  • Admission Ticket for Dark Mansion Glow-in-the-Dark Museum in Penang: $8.80
  • Asia Camera Museum Admission Ticket: $5.45
  • Bukit Merah Orang Utan and Penang City Private Tour: $140
  • Colors of George Town Walking Tour: $114
  • Countryside Cycling Tour by Matahari: $83
  • Discover Georgetown Heritage Private Tour in Penang: $51
  • Discover Penang City in Amazing Tour: $83

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)
    $9.55
  • Canopy Walk at FRIM Forest Reserve
    $1.06

Tours and Activities in Kuala Lumpur

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

  • KL Tower Admission E-Ticket with Options: $3.99
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Pass: $7.92
  • Zoo Negara Instant Entry E-Ticket: $8.20
  • Aquaria KLCC Entry Ticket: $9.97
  • KL Tower Observation Deck Entry Ticket: $11
  • KL Tower Admission Ticket: $12
  • Kuala Lumpur's Cultural Highlights and Landmarks: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $12
  • Malaysia: Aquaria KLCC Entry Ticket: $13
  • KL Tower Admission Ticket: $13
  • KL Tower Admission Ticket: $13
  • Half-Day City Tour: $13
  • 24-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour & Audio Guide: $13

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Penang $16
    Kuala Lumpur $6.29
Typical Alcohol Prices in Penang

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


  • Beer
    $1.70

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
    $9.55


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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Penang Expensive? and Is Kuala Lumpur Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Penang or Kuala Lumpur?

Kuala Lumpur has a larger population, and is about 8 times larger than the population of Penang. When comparing the sizes of Penang and Kuala Lumpur, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Penang or Kuala Lumpur?

Both destinations experience a warmer climate most of the year. Instead of summer and winter seasons, they usually have a rainy season and a dry season. Although in the rainy season, it doesn't necessarily rain every day.

Should I visit Penang or Kuala Lumpur in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Penang as well as Kuala Lumpur. Penang attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate. The warm climate attracts visitors to Kuala Lumpur throughout the year.

It's quite rainy in Kuala Lumpur. Penang receives a lot of rain in the summer. Penang usually gets more rain in July than Kuala Lumpur. Penang gets 210 mm (8.3 in) of rain, while Kuala Lumpur receives 150 mm (5.9 in) of rain this time of the year.

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Kuala Lumpur. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Penang this time of the year. In the summer, Penang often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Kuala Lumpur. Penang gets 211 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Kuala Lumpur receives 200 hours of full sun.

In the summer, Penang is around the same temperature as Kuala Lumpur. Typically, the summer temperatures in Penang in July average around 27°C (81°F), and Kuala Lumpur averages at about 28°C (82°F).


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Penang 27°C (81°F) 
    Kuala Lumpur 28°C (82°F)

Should I visit Penang or Kuala Lumpur in the Autumn?

Both Kuala Lumpur and Penang are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The warm climate attracts visitors to Penang throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Kuala Lumpur because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Kuala Lumpur. It's quite rainy in Penang. In October, Penang usually receives more rain than Kuala Lumpur. Penang gets 340 mm (13.4 in) of rain, while Kuala Lumpur receives 280 mm (11 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

In October, Penang is generally around the same temperature as Kuala Lumpur. Daily temperatures in Penang average around 27°C (81°F), and Kuala Lumpur fluctuates around 27°C (81°F).


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Penang 27°C (81°F) 
    Kuala Lumpur 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit Penang or Kuala Lumpur in the Winter?

Both Kuala Lumpur and Penang during the winter are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to Penang because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Kuala Lumpur year-round.

Kuala Lumpur gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Penang usually gets less rain in January than Kuala Lumpur. Penang gets 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain, while Kuala Lumpur receives 239 mm (9.4 in) of rain this time of the year.

Penang is around the same temperature as Kuala Lumpur in the winter. The daily temperature in Penang averages around 28°C (82°F) in January, and Kuala Lumpur fluctuates around 27°C (81°F).


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Penang 28°C (82°F) 
    Kuala Lumpur 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit Penang or Kuala Lumpur in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Penang year-round. Kuala Lumpur attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate.

Kuala Lumpur receives a lot of rain in the spring. Penang gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Penang usually receives around the same amount of rain as Kuala Lumpur. Penang gets 240 mm (9.4 in) of rain, while Kuala Lumpur receives 240 mm (9.4 in) of rain each month for the spring.

In Penang, it's very sunny this time of the year. Penang usually receives more sunshine than Kuala Lumpur during spring. Penang gets 218 hours of sunny skies, while Kuala Lumpur receives 199 hours of full sun in the spring.

In the spring, Penang is around the same temperature as Kuala Lumpur. Typically, the spring temperatures in Penang in April average around 28°C (82°F), and Kuala Lumpur averages at about 28°C (82°F).


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Penang 28°C (82°F) 
    Kuala Lumpur 28°C (82°F)

Typical Weather for Kuala Lumpur and Penang

Penang Kuala Lumpur
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 28°C (82°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 27°C (81°F) 239 mm (9.4 in)
Feb 28°C (82°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 28°C (82°F) 200 mm (7.9 in)
Mar 28°C (82°F) 120 mm (4.7 in) 28°C (82°F) 260 mm (10.2 in)
Apr 28°C (82°F) 240 mm (9.4 in) 28°C (82°F) 240 mm (9.4 in)
May 28°C (82°F) 240 mm (9.4 in) 28°C (82°F) 190 mm (7.5 in)
Jun 28°C (82°F) 170 mm (6.7 in) 28°C (82°F) 160 mm (6.3 in)
Jul 27°C (81°F) 210 mm (8.3 in) 28°C (82°F) 150 mm (5.9 in)
Aug 27°C (81°F) 190 mm (7.5 in) 28°C (82°F) 160 mm (6.3 in)
Sep 27°C (81°F) 330 mm (13 in) 27°C (81°F) 200 mm (7.9 in)
Oct 27°C (81°F) 340 mm (13.4 in) 27°C (81°F) 280 mm (11 in)
Nov 27°C (81°F) 230 mm (9.1 in) 27°C (81°F) 290 mm (11.4 in)
Dec 28°C (82°F) 140 mm (5.5 in) 27°C (81°F) 250 mm (9.8 in)