Kuala lumpur kl vs pj petaling jaya cost of living 1
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Living in the city is a dream sought after by many of us. Surrounded by the city lights, booming skyscrapers, shopping malls of all kinds, and a McDonald’s at every corner, does indeed sound like a dream come true for most people, while this also comes with a hefty price tag.

But, is there a city that costs more than another to live in? Today, we place two major cities in our nation, Petaling Jaya (PJ) in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur (KL), under the microscope and evaluate which city costs more to live in.


How many meals can you have in a day before you start burning a hole in your wallet? According to user contributed database, Numbeo, meals at inexpensive restaurants (your usual Mamak restaurant or hawker centre) in PJ tend to range from RM7 - RM15. Now, this can be either higher or lower depending on where you go, but this is the average range you can find in PJ. KL, on the other hand, tends to range much higher, around RM10 - RM20, particularly at restaurants in the business district.

Mid-range restaurants provide the perfect atmosphere for a cosy date or even business meetings. PJ and KL are known for their variety of restaurants serving anything ranging from Asian cuisine to Western delicacies. If you fancy eating at a mid-range restaurant, the ones in PJ usually cost about RM40 - RM70 (average cost for a three-course meal for 2). Meanwhile, in KL, the price range is steeper at around RM50 to as high as RM100.

Overall, food-wise, PJ takes the cake for having a cheaper dining bill compared to KL. According to a comparison review from Expatistan.com, on average, meals in PJ are about 8% cheaper than KL. But of course, it all comes down to preference. If you enjoy splurging a bit more for meals and exciting atmospheres, both cities provide plenty to dine for.


Perhaps one of the most beneficial traits KL and PJ share is the convenience of public transport. Travelling from one place to another has never been easier since the extension of the LRT Kelana Jaya line, and the commencement of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT line.

Convenient apps like Uber and Grab also make it easy to get you around (which is sometimes FREE with the right promo codes). In these cities, owning a car is no longer a necessity. But, there is still a minor price difference between the two.

If you are planning on using the express train line (MRT/LRT), the average one-way ticket price is about RM2 – RM3.80 in PJ, while in KL the prices range from RM2 - RM3.50. You can also opt for a monthly pass which costs about RM100 - RM150 if you use the train often. Overall, there is not a huge price difference between both cities as both lines tend to overlap.

Anyhow, owning a car comes with a totally different budget. Besides your typical car payments, there are also other factors to consider. In PJ and KL specifically, huge factors that can make or break your banks such as fuel, tolls and parking rates are always causing the shift in a motorist’s budget.

Petrol prices are alternating every week and in turn, makes it difficult to set a proper budget for how much you spend on petrol per week. On average, the prices usually range from RM1.75 to RM2.30 per litre (for RON 95).

The striking difference between the two cities lies with tolls and parking rates. PJ and KL are littered with tolls surrounding major highways heading to and out of the city. In PJ, the minimum rate is RM2 while the maximum is about RM3. That being said, KL has a higher rate with some tolls going as high as RM3.50.

Parking rates are also different in both cities. Both have high parking rates, especially at major malls and office buildings. On average, PJ’s parking rates can start from RM2 per hour up to RM5 per hour. KL has similar rates, but some charging higher for daily rates and can go as high as RM20 at most major malls and offices.

Overall, there isn’t a huge difference in terms of cost to commute in KL and PJ as they tend to overlap in commodities.


The cost of housing sets the biggest contrast between the different states in Malaysia. Having the advantage of living in the city, with amenities just a stone’s throw away, it all comes down to a pretty steep price. Depending on your location and square feet, rental can go above the average income. Most of them who stays in the city rent by room instead of a whole unit, but this all depends on preference, as well as income.

Rental in KL’s more expensive areas (city centres) can range from RM1,600 to as high as RM3,280 per month. More expensive areas in PJ start from RM1,600 to as high as RM3,100. However, in most common areas in KL, rental usually varies with rates spanning from as low as RM800 a month to as high as RM1,880, while in PJ it is only up to about RM1,700.

From this, we can see that rental rate in KL is a lot higher than in PJ. On average, rental in PJ is cheaper by 7% compared to KL.


To properly reap the benefits of living in the city, entertainment is an essential expenditure to set your budget on. As important as it is to set aside time to enjoy yourself, it is equally as important to set your money aside so you can savour happy hour.

KL has a notorious mix of bars and clubs that offer a wide variety of food, drinks, and entertainment. Beer can cost up to RM21 and cocktails can go as high as RM32 - depends on the location. Happy hour can usually cut costs in half and even lower during various promotions. You can find several bars in PJ with various concoctions of drinks to choose from. In PJ, you can find beer as high as RM19 and cocktails up to RM25.

If you’re on the healthier side, you can find many gyms littered across the two cities. If your current residence does not offer a fitness centre, hit up a prominent gym chain like Fitness First or Anytime Fitness or, go to smaller establishments where you can pay per entry.

If you are a gym junkie, paying per month is the way to go. In KL, the average price for gym membership per month is about RM120 to RM195. While in PJ, gym membership is usually around RM140 to RM160 per month.

On average, entertainment outlets in PJ is 8% cheaper compared to those in KL. This is because KL has a higher tourist traffic, and it has a wider variety of entertainment outlets.

**Disclaimer: The numbers displayed in the article may fluctuate from time to time based on current economy.

So, Which is Better?

Overall, cost of living in Kuala Lumpur is higher as compared to Petaling Jaya. Nevertheless, not by a huge margin. Both cities are pricier when in comparison to other states in Malaysia, but they do provide a wider variety of options not often found anywhere else. At the end of the day, it all boils down to personal preferences, ot depends on what you are willing to splurge on, as well as where you draw the line on your budget. 

Start looking for KL and PJ properties at PropSocial!

(Written by: Putri Alya, 23rd Feb 2018)


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This place is good and nice for family and friends

Own dp small

I find PJ to have more food choices to eat. Just my thoughts. KL for me is consider a more high end and everything cost way more than normal especially the city centre

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I believe PJ is considered a Satellite City to KL City  

Just ask a local, and they should be able to point you to the right direction for cheap and nice food around the neighborhood. 

I wonder where is the boundary and size of KL and PJ?

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KL will be definitely more expensive but somehow if you used to stay in KL, you very hard to move to PJ. (Like me)

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@admin_ps thanks for sharing