Thursday, April 28, 2011

Latest News... On Living in KL

Hi Friends... I am guilty of not posting anything for a while now. It has been a colorful journey so far, and yes, we still love living here in Kuala Lumpur.

In the past months, I have been receiving a number of inquiries about living in Kuala Lumpur -- from people outside Malaysia who have plans to move here. I am so happy to hear that they find my posts useful... and so I feel I must update everyone with some entries which you may find helpful.


Let  me just bullet it out so that it is short, concise and you can browse easily:
  •  Finding a place to stay: I seriously recommend you meet at least 2-3 agents so you can get more choices as they tend to narrow down to those they
    are familiar with – which means you will get less choices (and if they don’t know how to nego in your behalf then you are stuck)
  •  Areas to live: for newcomers who are not yet decided on where to stay ... the immediate recommendations would be Mont Kiara and Bangsar areas. Although lately I hear a lot of expats moving also to the Desa Park City area. Choosing the right place really depends on a few factors: like the place of work for daddy/hubby, priorities on mobility (can walk around or has free shuttle), having a nice community or neighborhood, etc. For couples with at least 1 baby and new to KL, I would highly recommend Mont Kiara. Though please dont get me wrong, there are plenty of other places to stay apart from what I mentioned. I know of families who are quite happy living in KLCC area, as well as other areas like TTDI and Tropicana. Lots of options. You need to do your homework.

  •  CARS: the perception is that it is very expensive here. Well, yeah , when I compare it to buying a car in Manila, the price is higher bec of the import taxes. But they have made some cars quite affordable bec they started making cars that are partially assembled in Malaysia... so for example Honda City and some models of Suzuki Swift and other brands have affordable prices here in KL ... If you opt for fully imported of course the price will be higher. All I know is I find that the interest rate of cars (if you borrow money from the bank) it is quite low and affordable... the interest is around the range of 3-4% from what I know (and close to what we are paying the bank currently). In fact, for some of the newcomers, they may be surprised to see that there are TONS and TONS of Benz / BMWs around .... well, that is a different story bec it seems Malaysia has access to some of the "recons" from other countries like Japan. In short, they import used cars (that are still super nice but used), they jazz it up and resell it to people. Hence, you will see lots of Muranos, Harriers, etc...
  •  GAS / PETROL: Malaysia gov't subsidizing some cost which means the petrol or gas prices here are LOW... and I say low / cheap when I compare it to MANILA and when hubby compares it to France...
  • FOOD PRICES: Malaysia and Malaysians love their food! Food prices are so cheap.... most of the locals DONT cook regularly and instead they "take-away" food from food stalls/restaurants. I find that the grocery and market prices are reasonable, and some of the stuff are cheaper than in Manila. Of course you will occasionally find some imported items more pricey that in your country (due to import taxes of Malaysia)... but at least it is made available! I love groceries here .. they are open until 10PM!!! In Manila Unimart shuts down by 8-830pm. When  I got here I was amazed with the opening hours of groceries... My fave groceries are MERCATO (in Plaza Damas  Hartamas Shopping Centre), Village Grocer (in Bangsar or in Mont Kiara). You can find easy access to COLD STORAGE in a lot of areas. Bottomline, you have access to a lot of stuff -- local or imported. Oh, and once there was someone who contacted me asking about ORGANIC food here in KL... PLENTY of organic stuff! In groceries or even specialized ORGANIC stores... no shortage on that front.
  •  MAID: well, if you want a live-in maid it is possible and just be ready to pay for the permit. the gov't will grant a working  permit for the maid and for you to get this you might fork out some money in the range of RM 2,500 to Rm5,000 depending on the agent, fees, etc... Basically a maid needs to have a permit to stay legally in Malaysia. They have all sorts of maids available -- Filipinos, Cambodians, Indonesians... Most of the expats prefer Filipinos bec they are more loving, give better service as well as speak better English. Though I have encountered some good Cambodians/Indons as well. Salary of Filipinos will be higher than the latter... and be ready to pay the range of RM1,000 to RM1,600 for a Filipino maid.
  •  HOSPITALS / PEDIA/ MEDICAL: I find Malaysia a superb place for access to medical stuff: be it my safe and wonderful delivery of baby (at GLENEAGLES HOSPITAL in AMPANG), to access to pedia (GLOBAL DOCTORS in Mont Kiara). They even have a 5-star hotel looking hospital called PRINCE COURT where many people have good experiences. I also visited the Sunway group which was pricey but great service. So no worries on that front.

Those are typical questions from expats or people who have plan to come over. I will post more in the coming days. Hope this helps.
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