Sunday, March 01, 2009

Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur if you are expat?

I received several emails from people in different places asking which area is good to stay if they move to Kuala Lumpur. It seems the number of people moving to KL is on the rise (despite the economic downturn phenomenon around the world).

Well, the good news is that the cost of living in KL is quite low compared to European countries. Service is good. Life is great. But you need to know where to stay to avoid a "bad experience". I say this because a number of friends and acquaintances raised their bad experience of break-in! Yes, I mean robbers / thieves going into your house or apartment and ransacking your stuff. The number of incident around people I know or who knows someone else, has been on the rise. I am worried for other people who may not know about this. The news of this came to me starting last NOV 2008 ... and still ongoing until now. A colleague of mine got robbed (while her dad was at home) and this happened just last week = Feb 2009.

Therefore, the place of resident and type of security is VERY important. Don't just go for value for money, or bec you like the interior design. Please check carefully on the kind of security and neighborhood.

The Sunrise properties have always been known for GOOD quality and good security. No wonder so many expats choose to live in their properties. Mostly, the apartments are around the Mont Kiara area. It's also a plus that a number of the international schools are within the area.

Bangsar is also another popular expat area... though I cannot comment much because I have not stayed there. Currently, I am enjoying the beautiful neighborhood of Mont Kiara. No regrets! It's been a year since we moved in... and we love it.

Nearby, you can walk to a Coffee Bean cafe, or some restaurants. There's an every-Thurs flea market at Plaza Mont Kiara where most expats buy their evening dinner take-away for their families. Now, Solaris Mont Kiara is nearby which gives you access to a big Cold Storage grocery. And massage / nail salon places!

Well, no wonder the community of expats is constantly growing here. A lot of Japanese, Korean, European ... I guess they value safety, too.

Depending on the budget, you can get a super new apartment with 2,xxx sq ft area. Or maybe opt for the older apartments which are well maintained. If I am not mistaken, you need to have at least a budget of Malaysian Ringgit (RM) 2,500 or more if you want to stay within this area. Other expats I know are ready to fork out RM 14,000 for rental. So it really depends on your taste or budget.

Bottomline, my only recommendation is check the security. That is the most important especially if your hubby is constantly travelling and you may end up alone in your condo. You need to feel safe!

Hope this helps other expats who plan to move into Malaysia. Until next blog...


  1. Thank you so much for your recent blog about safety. I've been following your blog a lot now because of the big possibility that my husband and I are moving there in about 2 months. He should be hearing from the company in KL to finalize some things before he can really make a decision but we're almost certain that we're moving. Based on your blog and other blogs I've read, Mont Kiara seems to be a good area to live in and I'm hoping to live around there too. I'm looking into a 2 bedroom or a 2 bedroom with den to rent out. How much do you think that would be in the Mont Kiara area?

    Thanks again!


  2. For Mont Kiara apartments, my personal experience & own "asking around", you should at least be ready to fork out RM (Ringgit Malaysia) RM 2,500 minimum. It can swing from RM2,500 to RM7,000 depending on the "newness", type of apartment, the furnishing & interior design, the location vs international school. I had a friend who rented 2-bedroom at RM2,600 last year. Rates should be competitive now bec of the economic crunch. Hope this helps and good luck on your hunt! Hope you can find a bargain!

  3. Thank you so much for blogging about KL. I am moving to Malaysia with hubby and teenager and will most likely end up in Mont Kiara. I have been on the computer endlessly looking at places to stay. First i was researching Ampang because we thought his office was over that way. Then realizing it was closer to Mont Kiara i am now looking at all condos and villas in Mont Kiara, Bangsar, Damansara Heights... etc. We keep going back and forth between condo living and villa living (in a gated community). Reading your blog as helped me greatly to get a feel of the area! Thanks!

  4. Most welcome and happy that it helped you out. All the best on your search. I am sure you will find KL a wonderful place to stay. The community in Mont Kiara is wonderful and good stepping stone to settle down. Eventually if you want to move to another place after a year you can consider that.. meanwhile it is important that it is easy for you to settle down (groceries, see other kids and moms, know where to shop / market) .. and hubby can always drive to work... traffic isn't as bad as Manila/Jakarta/Bangkok so really it is not that bad to drive around.

  5. Hi hi, I am living in Mont Kiara too. Currently we are renting one of the unit in one of the condo here. The condo is consider one of the oldest in MK however the rental is not cheap though. So we planning to buy our own soon. Are you renting or you own the place? I am asking this because if you own the place, I wish to ask some details perhaps you can help us to understand how expat buy house in Malaysia. Thanks

    H.I. Yoo

    1. We bought our mont kiara unit after 8 month living in KL! We knew then we wanted to stay so we didn't waste much time. Interest rate is interesting plus their home loans scheme is fantastic. Check out foreign banks like standard chartered and HSBC. Ask for a sales rep from their bank to come discuss it with u and they will meet u at your convenient place. Takes about 6 months to complete the transaction since we are foreigners. Very easy... Don't worry . Best of luck !

    2. Thanks for the reply! will drop by HSBC at plaza MK to get some info. thanks once again :)

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