Expat Exchange
View from The Kuala Lumpur Tower
View from The Kuala Lumpur Tower
View from The Kuala Lumpur Tower

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 05, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

What do I need to know before moving to Kuala Lumpur?

Live in Kuala Lumpur? Answer this Question

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Kuala Lumpur, they said:

"Most expats here tend to live in either Bukit Damansara, or if able to afford it - Kenny Hills. These are dominated by larger houses, usually with pools and nice gardens. You will need to consider proximity to the office/schools etc, since traffic here can be diabolical, especially in the rainy season. It is often better to ask among existing expats for house availability. This can be a lot cheaper than using an agent," remarked another expat living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Kuala Lumpur?

Live in Kuala Lumpur? Answer this Question

"We live in a 4 bedroom standalone house [bungalow]. Most expats take either a house or apartment, depending on whether or not they have children, or major security concerns. Apartments have better security and amenities, but are typically smaller. Many houses have pools," said another expat in Kuala Lumpur.

What is the average cost of housing in Kuala Lumpur?

Live in Kuala Lumpur? Answer this Question

If you are thinking about moving to Kuala Lumpur, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Housing rental charges are a lot higher here than in my native New Zealand. Typical monthly rental for a house is between 8000 and 12000 ringgit - say 2500 to 4000 USD. Apartments are cheaper, maybe 1000 to 2500 USD per month," remarked another expat living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

What should I bring when moving to Kuala Lumpur?

Live in Kuala Lumpur? Answer this Question

People living in Kuala Lumpur were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"I wish I had brought a couple cases of wine, a decent barbecue and insect repellant. Those things I brought and didn't need - jeans, long-sleeved shirts," said another expat in Kuala Lumpur.

What do expats in Kuala Lumpur appreciate most about the local culture?

Live in Kuala Lumpur? Answer this Question

"The opportunity to travel, to earn more money and give my children different opportunities," remarked another expat living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"Finger on the pulse with the latest happenings. Potential to go overseas easier (although we found not so much driving domestically like we had thought)," added another expat in Kuala Lumpur.

What do expats find most challenging?

Live in Kuala Lumpur? Answer this Question

"Missing friends. Trying to drive around this city, which is such a congested nightmare on complicated roads," remarked another expat who made the move to Kuala Lumpur.

"The SMOG!!! The TRAFFIC!!! and the POLLUTION!! Everyone just throws rubbish about and they don't care about the environment. Very sad. Also missing access to the outdoors (too hot here and too many snakes and bugs that bite) and playing sport," explained one expat living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

What are the schools in Kuala Lumpur like?

Live in Kuala Lumpur? Answer this Question

"If you dont mind buying a music instrument for your child-as it is compulsory to learn an instrument (violin/cello/trumpet/trombone/fluye) This school claims to use the IB syllabus from grade 1 - diploma; but then it is rather confusing especially for secondary kids as they will sit for igcse paper in grade 10. There's nothing fantastic about this school really," explained one expat living in Kuala lumpur, Malaysia.

"Garden is generally a good school, but very commercial, school doe not really care about individual kid, which is obviously seen from the way they treat kids with special need. Much higher (than other international schools) percentage of local business men's kids are there (could range up to 40~50%) and some of those kids were taught by their parents not to get involved with expat kids as those expats might leave anytime and waste time in making friends with them," said another parent with children at Garden International School in Kuala Lumpur.

"If you want to experience the local school atmosphere and you are looking for a way to waste your money,well, this is the IDEAL place. I highly doubt most of the fees paid are used to improve education for the student. All the money seems to be sucked by the owners themselves. Also some teachers are Malaysians who can't even speak proper English - how can that be international, I wonder? Well, may be just the students are from various countries. Other than that, parents should do a lot of 'homework' before enrolling their children to this "Forever Backward, Always Behind" school," commented one expat when asked about Sri Utama International School in Kuala Lumpur.

"Great community school on one campus, academically rigorous but with the holistic approach of developing every child to reach their potential by creating so many opportunities," explained one expat in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with kids at Australian International School Malaysia.

"I would advise them not to put their kids there. We did because it was convenient and close to where we lived but it was a bad decision - poor teaching, poor results in the IB exams, no discipline...all in all a bad experience," wrote an expat living in Kuala Lumpur with children attending Mont Kiara International.

"Don't delay, the balance of fun and top-end academics is incredible. A broad range of IB and AP subjects available. Strong emphasis on inquiry-based learning and formative assessment (not just summative snapshots); high parental involvement. Best pedagogy implementation I have seen in an international school," said one commented one expat when asked about Iskl (International School of Kuala lumpur in kuala lumpur.

Is the cost of living in Kuala Lumpur high?

Live in Kuala Lumpur? Answer this Question

We asked people about the cost of living in Kuala Lumpur, they wrote:

"Quite cheap. Renting a loft in Cheras will cost RM1,300-1,500 More expensive options in the city center will be more like RM2,500 Food shopping is around RM200 a week (for 2 people)," added one expat living in Kuala Lumpur.

What are the visa & residency requirements in Kuala Lumpur?

Live in Kuala Lumpur? Answer this Question

"Work visa, business visa, student visa, or MM2H are long-term options. The easiest one is a student visa," mentioned another expat living in Kuala Lumpur.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Expats Kuala LumpurExpats in Kuala Lumpur

Expats, digital nomads & retirees talk about what it's like living in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia Index Kuala Lumpur Index
An index of all of our site's Kuala Lumpur information.

Malaysia Forum Malaysia Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Malaysia on our Malaysia forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Contribute to Malaysia Network Contribute
Help others in Malaysia by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Malaysia.

Expat Healthcare Advice in MalaysiaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Malaysia

Expats in Malaysia offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Malaysia.

Pros Cons of Living in MalaysiaPros & Cons of Living in Malaysia

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Malaysia.

10-Tips-for-Living-in-Malaysia10 Tips for Living in Malaysia

Expats in Malaysia agree that living in Malaysia has its pros and cons. Expats love the welcoming Malay people, cultural diversity, lower cost of living and amazing food. Many find that the noisiness, dirty city streets and dangerous driving conditions can be a challenge. Where you choose to live makes a big difference in lifestyle as well.

View from The Kuala Lumpur Tower

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Expats Kuala LumpurExpats in Kuala Lumpur

Expats, digital nomads & retirees talk about what it's like living in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia Index Kuala Lumpur Index
An index of all of our site's Kuala Lumpur information.

Malaysia Forum Malaysia Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Malaysia on our Malaysia forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Contribute to Malaysia Network Contribute
Help others in Malaysia by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Malaysia.

Expat Healthcare Advice in MalaysiaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Malaysia

Expats in Malaysia offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Malaysia.

Pros Cons of Living in MalaysiaPros & Cons of Living in Malaysia

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Malaysia.

10-Things-to-Know-Before-Moving-to-Malaysia10 Things to Know Before Moving to Malaysia

Expats are attracted to Malaysia's lower cost of living, bustling cities, multicultural vibe, climate and proximity to Singapore. Many expat retirees take advantage of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program. For others who don't qualify, visa runs become a inconvenient part of expat life that often dissuade them from staying in Malaysia long-term.

Guides to Cities in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur Malacca Penang
Country Resources
Health Insurance Moving & Shipping More Resources

Copyright 1997-2022 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal