Where to Live in Malaysia as an Expat

by | Feb 14, 2022 | APAC - Other Countries | 1 comment

Malaysia as an expat? This small country has become popular with many expats, as they consider it one of the best places to live in Southeast Asia. Malaysians are a hospitable people, and the country has thrived extensively throughout the years, making it the home to some top technology companies.

But which parts of Malaysia should you consider if you’re planning to move there? Here are some places you can evaluate if you are thinking about living in Malaysia as an expat:

Kuala Lumpur

The first area is Kuala Lumpur. This is where I moved to six years ago. It is the capital of the country and its major hub for business. No matter where you go, there are countless amenities and benefits that you can’t find in the countryside as easily, such as malls, airports, and even commercial centers. Fortunately, although it is the country’s capital, the quality of life is still impressive, since you can find several great places to rent or purchase at affordable rates in the city.


Straits Quay, Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Bungah, Penang, Malaysia by Unsplash
Straits Quay, Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Bungah, Penang, Malaysia by Unsplash

Want to learn more about Malaysia’s culture and heritage? Penang may be the place for you. If I had to make a second choice, this is where I would love to go.

Penang is known as Malaysia’s very own Chinese area, as most of the people who live there have Chinese ethnicity.

It is located on an island, making it a nice place to live in if you want to be close to nature and the sea. For living spaces, it is quite easy to find homes close to the beach or in the city centre.


Ipoh is a developing city in the northwestern end of Malaysia, and most people visit this area for its natural attractions that are open all-year-round. It has also preserved its history by conserving the British colonial-era architecture throughout the city, making it an attractive residential area for many. Also, many people say that it is a paradise because it is the cleanest city in Malaysia. Ipoh offers lot of activities to choose from for enjoyment and recreation.


Malacca is a great weekend getaway for many people since it is only 2 hours from Kuala Lumpur. Situated near the Strait of Malacca, the region will make you feel you are in Europe because of the houses and infrastructures that reflect the historic Dutch and Portuguese influences. Thanks to its location, life in Malacca is very relaxed; perfect for expats who look to enjoy Malaysia at a slow and peaceful pace.

Johor Bahru

If you want to experience the perfect combination of living the city and island life, check out Johor Bahru. This region has been developed in recent years, and it is divided into various sections. This made life easier for people, especially when navigating around and accessing places, such as government offices, schools, residential areas, and commercial spaces. It is the perfect place to live and relax as it offers a delicate balance of the marina views and the cityscape.


The Tip of Borneo, Jalan Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia By Onsplash
The Tip of Borneo, Jalan Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia By Unsplash

We know Sabah as a tourist destination for many, because it comprises several unique islands.

Not only is it a great tourist destination for expats, it is also a fantastic place to live if you want to be close to the coast without spending too much.

There are a lot of significant developments in the area thanks to the booming tourism of the city.

You can easily find a home surrounded by nature and the sea there.


As an expat, you need to be very clear about the things you want to experience in your new home. In Malaysia, you will have many options to choose from. Whether you want to live in the city or enjoy the country life, it is up to you to decide since you can still have access to great amenities anywhere. Check the areas that we listed above to get you started. Once you researched more about these places, you may finally find the home you are looking for.

If you want to know why I love living in Malaysia so much, follow my adventures here! Let me know if you are considering Malaysia as an expat destination. If you do, I, and many others in our Alliance team, can give you valuable information.

by: Kally Tay