Working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Monthly Earnings 90,000

Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?

I earn the equivalent of 90,000 baht (before tax) working at a mid-tier international school on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?

It really depends on the month. If I have a weekend away, I save almost nothing but I think I regularly save around 25,000 baht in a normal month.

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

I live in a nice modern condo in a KL suburb and pay 13,500 baht a month. It takes just ten minutes to walk to the nearest MRT train station, so it's in a good location. The building also has a rooftop pool and gym.

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?


I don't have a car so I take Grab and Uber to most places. This is cheap at first but can add up after a while. I think maybe 1,000-1,500 baht a month.

Utility bills

Lloyd did not answer this question.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Local food is very cheap and I will often eat this sort of stuff at school and also for breakfast but then I usually eat Western food in the evening. I eat mostly take-aways which adds another 10-12,000 baht to my food bill.

Nightlife and drinking

The nightlife in KL is fairly average and also expensive. I will often have a few beers on a Friday or Saturday and if you end up drinking after the happy hours have finished, this can end up expensive - maybe around 10,000 per month. I also play golf once a week for 750 baht and joined a gym and taekwondo club for around 1,500.

Books, computers

Lloyd did not answer this question.

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

I live a very Western lifestyle I guess, I can buy most Western items that I want at around the same price as back home. The lifestyle is more relaxed and the weather is sunny all year round. The biggest difference for me is the price of housing. I wouldn't be able to afford my own condo for the price I would need to pay back home.

Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?

Housing and street food

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

I would say you can live on maybe 60,000 baht a month here and not live too different a lifestyle to back home.

Phil's analysis and comment

I think you are our very first cost of living survey from Malaysia, Lloyd. 

I haven't been for many years but I always liked what I saw in KL and I can imagine it being a place where you can live a very Western lifestyle - if that's what you're after. 

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