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.


  1. Hi Anabelle,

    I came across your blog 2 months ago when I was googling around for driving experiences around KL and I've been following it ever since. I find your blog extremely helpful as I have also just recently moved over to M'sia, now settling in and trying to find my way around. Anyway just wanted to say its nice to see that you've updated your blog & keep up the good work :)


  2. Thanks so much for the message ... Appreciate it and happy to know some people do follow the blog bec of its usefulness.hope u settled well in KL!

  3. Hmm, the recommendations are mostly for high earning expats, and there are a whole lot of other places with more options and cheaper too. For example Mercato and Cold Storage mostly offer imported and overpriced groceries and you can get the same (if they do carry them) from Giant, Carrefour, etc for a much cheaper price.

    As for medical attention, the hospitals mentioned are labelled as 5 stars especially for Prince Court. There are a lot of government clinics in housing areas if you look closely, but they're mostly packed with patients unless you have appointment scheduled. As for hospitals, the Sg Buloh or Ampang hospital seem to be quite good from my experience as they are quite new. I'm not sure the charges for expats, but we were admitted once in Langkawi and it was free for us, good service and we're quite impressed.

  4. Hi Anonymous, thanks for your comments. You are right... I have missed out some facts that may be useful, thanks for pointing out.

    For cheaper prices on stuff like laundry detergent, household stuff, or bulk buying, one can go to these places for a good bargain: Jusco, Tesco, Carrefour or Giant. They have many different branches and easy access. Their prices are usually cheaper than Cold Storage or Mercato.

  5. Hello...
    your blogs are so informative! Thank you..
    Well I am from USA and planning to move to M'ysia in about 5 to 8 years. By that time I would be taking retirement (57 yrs old).. Had enough of engineering you know!! Where do the 'young' retirees tend to live? My pension would be fairly handsome. As a fact if I get bored I might do some consultant Mech engineering (automotive) job. Oh BTW, my wife and I are the two souls who would be moving!!. Thanks in advance and please be encouraged and keep on writing.. Bye..

  6. hi Ferdous Happy to know I was able to help some people out there. you should check out the latest blog post I have which is about this new product that Malaysia Government launched which grants certain individuals a 10-year visa allowing expats to work and live in Malaysia (including spouse). Best of luck and hope you and your wife will find your way here and enjoy the great lifestyle that Malaysia has to offer!

  7. hello again,
    Thank you for your response. I have already checked with the new program to support Malaysian development by espats. It is only applicable for the expats who are currently residing in M'ysia and not for prospective expats like me. Obviously this will not deter me of my plan. I shall apply through MM2H program and I believe I shall meet all their criteria.
    However, I asked you a question regarding the young retirees preferable location to live. Please let me know. Also Is the weather cooperative! meaning does it get 'sticky' enough that makes it miserable? Thanks in advance.

  8. Hi ferdous most welcome. About the location I would recommend the following should you come for a look-see trip (and ask several agents to show you around)
    Mont Kiara, Bangsar, a new area called Desa Park City
    These 3 will be enough to help you decide... Assuming you want to stay in or near Kuala Lumpur. I have seen expats who are happily settled at more remote areas ... I can't comment much on that front.
    Lastly, the weather is lovely all year round. For caucasians maybe when they
    first arrive they will need a bit of time for adjustment bec of the tropical weather. If you love summer all year round then this is the place for you. Good luck! If you apply MM2h be sure to get a legitimate agent who will run those requirements for you. The expat magazine used to write some articles about it and I remember reading about it.
    Best of luck !

  9. Hello PA... Thank you for your above response... since then, I have visited KL last December for four days and absolutely loved it! I also got a job offer from a well known Car company at a reasonably high salary but because of the contractual nature (2+2 yrs), I am very hesitant in accepting the offer. In addition, it may not cover my son's american school that he may be attending if I am to move to KL. Negotiation is still going on. If we settle down in an agreeable format, I may very well move in the near future and of course, try to find a residence in the suggested areas above. Thanks again and by the way Congratulations in your obtaining the Resident pass. Best wishes...

  10. Hi and thank you for useful information!
    Me and my boyfriend, both Swedish and in our early 20's, are thinking about moving to KL. Which area would you say is nicest for a young couple without children? Which are the posh areas in KL? Also do you have any opinion about Pudu as I know they are "transforming" that area? Thanks a lot! Malin

  11. MM2H
    I want to check all the good information available here but alas! Time is very limited for this as I’m very busy in work these days. I hope to check out all the information in free time.


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