What living in Kuala Lumpur is like for an expat

Expat in Kuala Lumpur

Miriam and her husband made the decision to take a leap of faith to live the life of travel they’ve always wanted. After quitting their jobs to travel and work online, their first adventure started in Kuala Lumpur. Miriam enjoys life in Kuala Lumpur especially because she can enjoy the comforts of life back home, as well as a lot of culture and history.

There is no better way to learn about a new country and a new culture than living there. Here’s what Miriam has to say about Kuala Lumpur.

Where do you live?

I live in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia.

Where are you originally from?

I am originally half Malaysian and half German, but I am British by nationality. I grew up living the life of an expat, having lived in 9 countries (across 11 cities). From 2010-2018 I lived in Australia, and this year my husband and I quit our jobs to travel and work online.

What work did you do there?

I have my own travel blog, with a focus on travel and food in Southeast Asia. I use Kuala Lumpur as a base, while I slowly travel around Southeast Asia.

What does a regular day look like for you?

We have two bedrooms, and one is converted into an office space. With a very good internet connection and my laptop, I am able to work from home. I am most productive in the morning, so most mornings I will be working away on my travel blog. Then in the afternoons, I will take a break to go somewhere, such as to the gym or swimming pool, or I will head into the city to explore some more.

Why did you choose Kuala Lumpur?

I have family who currently live in Kuala Lumpur, so the place is familiar to me. I also find that Kuala Lumpur is very affordable, it is a city easy to get around in, and I find it easy to adapt to the way of life here.

What do you love about living in Kuala Lumpur?

THE FOOD! I love the food very much. I absolutely love how easy it is to get good quality and affordable Malaysian food. And there are plenty of options if I would like another cuisine.

What are the locals like?

I find it very easy to adapt to life in Kuala Lumpur because the local people are friendly and welcoming. Many of them speak English, which makes it even easier to get around, but it also helps if you make an effort to speak a bit of the local language as well.

What is living like in Kuala Lumpur as an expat?

Kuala Lumpur is an easy live in. It is very easy to get around, the supermarkets are full of foreign and local products, there are lots of restaurants available to eat for every budget, and the shopping is fantastic and affordable.

What is the cost of living in Kuala Lumpur each month?

As an expat, it is possible to live off approximately RM3,000-RM4,000 per month. For comfortable living, I would recommend budgeting about RM6,000 per month.

What’s the availability of short term accommodation?

Throughout Kuala Lumpur, there is a wide range of accommodation available, and many you can find on various websites. The closer to the center, the more expensive and usually the smaller the place is, compared to if you look further away from the city.

What is the food like?

The food options in Kuala Lumper are never-ending. Any cuisine you are looking for, you will find it. The local food is very delicious and cheap. Their food is the one thing the Malaysians do love, so a lot of local restaurants are normally packed during lunch and dinner time. You must try to include Banana Leaf, Nasi Lemak, and Roti Canai.

The supermarkets are fantastic as well. In local supermarkets you will find cheap products. In case you are looking for some foreign goods then there are a number of very good supermarkets like ‘Jasons,’ and ‘Village Grocer’ which offer a large selection of foreign and local products.

How safe is Kuala Lumpur?

Overall the city is safe, but it is important to be aware of your surroundings as well. I recommend not to roam the streets alone late at night. Also hang tight to your bags, because unfortunately there are cases of snatching.

Is there a large expat community?

Yes, there is a huge expat community living in the city. The best way to find them is through joining the Facebook group Expats World in Kuala Lumpur or the website www.expatsworld.com and join the Kuala Lumpur City Page.

Are there any other good places to travel to nearby?

Yes, there are many lovely places to visit around Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia. Malacca is a couple of hours drive from the city. It’s a great city that is actually protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, because of its heritage architecture and history. I also recommend you visit places such as Georgetown in Penang, Langkawi, and Tioman Island.

Do you have other advice and tips for someone who wants to live there?

Do some research in advance to learn about the different areas of the city. If you are going to be working as an expat in a certain area, then do some research and find places to stay not too far. Kuala Lumpur does have some terrible traffic jams in the morning and after work, so if you can try to avoid it. The public transportation system is fantastic and very cheap.

Any advice for someone wanting to take the leap and live overseas?

It’s the best thing that I have done. I have experienced amazing cities and cultures, and I have met many fantastic people along the way. The life of an expat is not always easy, but it is a wonderful experience. It’ll challenge you, but it will make you a stronger person. It will teach you how to be more tolerant and adaptable and since you will come by different people and cultures. You will also learn things about yourself that you probably didn’t know before.

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