Currency & Spending Money (Borneo)

Borneo is an island that is shared by several countries including Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia. The currency used in Malaysian Borneo is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) and represented by ‘RM’. One ringgit is divided into 100 sen. Notes come in denominations of RM1, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50 and RM100 whilst you’ll find coins come as 5, 10, 20 and 50s.

Here is a reference table of approximate exchange rates (for up-to-date exchange rates, please check before you travel):

1 unit of current Malaysian MYR
AU$1 3.08
NZ$1 2.86
US$1 4.70

Correct as of December 2023 

Exchanging Money & ATMs

It is extremely easy to change money throughout Malaysia, and the exchange booths generally accept all major currencies. It is also best to change all your money on arrival in Malaysia as you will get a better exchange rate here than at home. You can change your money at the bank, or try one of the many moneychanger kiosks that are found in bigger towns – they tend to have a slightly better exchange rate. Hotels do often offer currency exchange, but the rates will not be as good as the banks and moneychangers. Ripped, damaged and scruffy notes will not be exchanged. Whilst the use of credit and debit cards is becoming more widespread, particularly in the cities, Malaysia is still a cash-based society, so it’s better to have the cash to pay for everything. ATMS are easy to find in the cities and tourist spots – try Maybank or Public Bank. Please note you are likely to be charged for using your debit card overseas and it is always a good idea to let your bank know you are travelling abroad.

Spending Money

Please ensure you have sufficient funds to pay for personal expenses such as drinks and snacks not included in the tour price. There are also plenty of opportunities to pick up some lovely souvenirs, so you might like to budget for this. On a two-week Classic Tour, we would recommend approximately AU$1,000 per person spending money, although this depends greatly on your individual needs.

The cost of food and drinks in Borneo can vary depending on where you are and what you are looking for. Here are some rough estimates of the cost of common food and drink items in Borneo:

  • Snacks: around 2 to 5 MYR (0.70 to 1.70 AUD)
  • Meal at a local restaurant: around 10 to 20 MYR (3.50 to 6.90 AUD)
  • Meal at a mid-range restaurant: around 30 to 50 MYR (10.30 to 17.20 AUD)
  • Meal at a high-end restaurant: around 80 to 150 MYR (27.50 to 51.50 AUD)
  • Cup of coffee at a coffee shop: around 5 to 10 MYR (1.70 to 3.50 AUD)
  • Bottle of water (500ml): around 1 to 2 MYR (0.35 to 0.70 AUD)
  • Bottle of beer at a local bar or restaurant: around 8 to 15 MYR (2.80 to 5.20 AUD)

It's important to note that prices can vary depending on the location and type of establishment. In general, eating at a local restaurant or street vendor will be more affordable than dining at a higher-end restaurant or café.