I'm about to leave Malaysia and expect to get a much better rate for my Ringgit here in Chinatown than at the airport.

So after having paid for my plane ticket and transportation to the airport, are there going to be any surprise fees or costs between getting to the airport and departing?

(In other countries over the years there have been things such as departure taxes and airport improvement taxes that I was not expecting.)

  • For those interested, the rate differences were substantial. For just under $100 AUD, it would cost me $5 AUD more to change my MYR at the airport than in Chinatown. One sell rate in Chinatown matched the official rate on my app! Aug 2, 2017 at 12:09

2 Answers 2


No, there are no surprise fees.

Not sure how I'm supposed to prove a negative here, but there haven't been any in KL in the ~15 years I've been flying in and there weren't any when my partner visited last month.

  • 1
    As it happens I failed to change money before getting to the airport as the shuttle was in motion when I got to the bus stop. But indeed there were no surprises where I would've needed MYR. Aug 2, 2017 at 12:06

I don't know when was the last time you flew, but airport taxes and fees have been included in the fare for quite a few many years now.

You will need Ringgit if you:

a. Plan on doing any shopping; since you will be getting change in Ringgit and horrible rates at the vendors for your foreign currency, it is best to use any local currency that you have.

b. Have to pay any immigration exit penalties.

c. Have any excess baggage or oversize / overweight fees that you need to pay at the counter. Again, like point a, it is best to use local currency and not foreign currency. If you are out of local currency, use your card so you don't have to get change back.

Other than that, you don't need local currency post immigration.

  • Sometimes airports or governments add some stupid tax. The two I can think of was once when I was departing Canada from Vancouver more than ten years ago. The airport tax and departure tax were included in my ticket but there was an "airport improvement tax" (or fee or levee or ??) that you had to pay in cash at the airport. I had to sign a form promising to pay later by mail, which I did. The other was I believe in Australia but perhaps somewhere else where you had to pay I think an arrival tax in cash. It was scrapped quickly since many people don't get local cash until after they arrive. Aug 2, 2017 at 12:04
  • @hippietrail there are a few places where you have to pay for the visa on arrival, and of course they only accept limited currencies, and only in cash. IIRC that was the case in Bali a few years back, not sure whether that applied to the rest of Indonesia and/or it’s still the case.
    – jcaron
    May 13, 2019 at 11:05

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