Like many other metropolitan cities in the world, Kuala Lumpur is a vast city with many districts. Picking the best place to live in can be difficult for newcomers. Everything that an expat needs is easily accessible in the city, from international supermarkets to expat communities and international schools for children. However, every neighborhood also offers something different to expats, and the price range for accommodations varies extensively.
So, to help you out with your search, here is a list of the 5 best areas to live in Kuala Lumpur that expats like yourself will feel very welcomed.
Kuala Lumpur Mont Kiara
Many consider Mont Kiara as one of the best neighborhoods in the country for expats.
It is a popular area to start in, as it is within walking distance to most amenities. It is also the home of the two top international schools, the Garden International School and the Mont Kiara International School.
However, if you choose to live in Mont Kiara, you will need to keep up with the traffic, as it is a constant pain in this area. Also, the food and groceries are more expensive here since they cater to expats.
Another downside to this neighborhood is the ever-present construction in the area. Many plots are earmarked for condo development or shopping; it may block the view that you will get on the 32nd floor out by another adjacent building.
Kuala Lumpur Bangsar
If you are focused on getting a location where you can have good access to the MRT and LRT while still being close to other key facilities, you could consider Bangsar. Now, the MRT is short for Mass Rapid Transit, an equivalent of a subway in the US or tube in the UK. The LRT stands for Light Rapid Transit and is a much smaller version of the trains, usually driverless and with shorter routes that link to MRT.
This neighborhood is very peaceful, and you can walk to restaurants and bars easily. There are also high-end supermarkets in the area, which is perfect if you need some things to feel right at home.
Unfortunately, you may end up having to pay a lot more for your property because of its good access to public transportation. Also, if you are moving with your children, you may need to travel to Mont Kiara because there are few international schools in this area.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Kuala Lumpur City Centre is another great place for expats to check out if you will work in this area. The country’s top malls, such as Pavilion and Suria KLCC are within walking distance, and the main central transport station is also in the area. You can travel around by bus or train, depending on your preference.
For houses, there are condominiums and apartments in the area that both offer amenities such as pools, gyms, markets, and so on.
If you decide to stay at KLCC, you need to be aware of the expensive property fees. The rental fees can be as much as 5 figures (in Malaysian currency) whereas other locations such as Bangsar or Mont Kiara, will cost less (around 4 figures) for a 3-bedroom apartment with the same floor size. To bring this into perspective, the mid-range 5-figures in RM is around USD$4000 and the mid-range 4-figures in RM is around USD$1300.
But another disadvantage living at KLCC is the noise and air pollution in the city. You may also not find an apartment with greenery surroundings. Remember that KLCC is always buzzing with traffic since it is the heart of KL.
Kuala Lumpur Taman Tun Dr Ismail
If you want to feel like a local, Taman Tun Dr Ismail or TTDI is the best place to live. It is located in Petaling Jaya, and its location is full of various amenities, such as restaurants, bars, and even Halal restaurants.
There are also lots of properties available for expats, such as commercial areas and residential properties. Public transportation is also excellent in TTDI since it is linked to the Penchala Link, Damansara–Puchong Expressway (LDP), and New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE).
Kuala Lumpur Desa Park City
Desa Park City was made as a suburban area, which gives the residents a sense of the countryside while still living in the capital.
If you are moving with your dogs, this may be the best place for you. The area is dog-friendly compared to other locations, since you may have a hard time finding an apartment that allows dogs because of the sensitive religious nature surrounding this animal.
All the amenities you can imagine are in the area, including restaurants, jogging areas, and shops. It also has The Waterfront, a man-made lake that is the key feature of this place. And thanks to the infrastructure, your children can easily walk or bike to school.
The only issue about Desa Park City is its location from KL Central. It is quite far and it can be a headache to navigate out of the area. If you are working at KLCC or you are a frequent traveler and need to get to the airport often, you may need to consider a different area.
Why I Chose to Stay in Bangsar
Given that we are a young family, schools were not in our criteria when we searched for a neighborhood to settle in. As I planned to homeschool my daughter, I searched for a family-friendly neighborhood with lots of nature and green surroundings, and that is why we ended up, here in Bangsar.
Our condo compound is huge compared with other condos that we viewed in the same area. It was a wise decision on our part, especially during the pandemic lockdowns. Even when the condo’s amenities are closed, like the swimming pool and gym, we have enough area to jog within the compound.
Living most of our lives in bustling cities, we’re now finally waking up to the birds chirping in the morning. Another perk of living here is that we are just located in front of one of the popular hill trails here in Kuala Lumpur.
Whether you are a first-time expat or a long-term one, you will surely feel at home in Malaysia. The people here are very welcoming, and the country has a lot to offer to expats. And before looking for a place to move in, assess your current situation and check what you need. Make sure that the things you need are available in the area you are eyeing on. With a little patience, you will find your ‘forever home’ in Malaysia.
You can reach out to me to find out more on other areas in Kuala Lumpur or follow me to read my articles on living in Malaysia as an expatriate!
by: Kally Tay