Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Report of what it's like to live there - 05/27/22

Personal Experiences from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 05/27/22

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, have also lived in Mexico and Europe.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Trip is long, 30+ hours just about any way back to the states. Connect in Doha/Japan/Korea usually depending on which way you go.

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3. What years did you live here?

2021-2022

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4. How long have you lived here?

1+ year

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5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic Mission

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is 98% apartments. Most are pretty nice and spacious. Commute time to school and work is amazing/doesn't get much better. Five min drive or less depending on which apt you live in. Most apartments are three beds w/ maid quarters. Bigger families get four beds. Embassy also owns four townhomes and two older single family houses. Those usually go to higher-ups but I've heard always have maintenance issues. Most apartments are located close to shopping and have a good community feel.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You can get most things here (maybe not specific baking stuff). Meat and dairy are expensive, as well as american brand name goods. But most things can be had (at a price). Local items/food are usually pretty cheap.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Baking goods.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There is a little bit of everything here.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Lots of ants, but nothing too bad.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO- takes 2 to 4 weeks. Stuff gets lost sometimes, but overall pretty good.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Help is available for about 25 RM per hour of 2,500 RM to 3,500 RM per month for live out help. Good helpers go fast and can be hard to find.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Lots of gyms.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Yes.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Several.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You can get by with only English very easily, but Malay/Chinese can help at times.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

For the most part. People use grab a lot here and its pretty cheap.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Most anything will do. Smaller cars with decent clearance are best, but lots of bigger vans are around/good for larger families. Roads can be rough.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, usually installed before you arrive.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Use Google Fi.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Yes, but pain to get pets in.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Telecommute, some gigs at the embassy.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Lots.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business casual/conservative.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Just the regular big city stuff/overall pretty safe.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is surprisingly good.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Can get bad during the burn season.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Very hot and humid year round.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

ISKL is a great school. Good teachers and lots of programs.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Great accommodations for mild to moderate needs.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There are many preschools and they are a little spendy considering the overall cost of living here.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Lots of after school activities and other sports.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

pretty good size

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2. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Great for singles and family.

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3. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

Yes.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Muslim/conservative culture is not good for LGBT people in my opinion.

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Yes, mild problems mostly between local races (Malay, Chinese, Indian)

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Great family post, lots of beachs, easy living, low cost of living, cheap flights to all of SE Asia.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Tons of nice islands and scuba diving.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Definitely, I would extend or come back in a heart beat.

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