When we moved to Kuala Lumpur (KL) in 2013, we were excited but also apprehensive. We read and heard stories of break in robberies, pick pockets and unscrupulous taxi drivers who instead of using the meter will argue with you for a fixed price to get you where you needed to go.
During the last 2 years we have been living in KL, we are extremely thankful not to have experienced any of these unfortunate incidents ourselves.
Tips that we use to stay safe in KL:
- Do make sure to take care when venturing out into areas of KL which are more prone to criminal activities or generally when being out and about at night. Not wearing expensive jewelry and watches helps as well.
- When driving please don’t leave your handbag or any valuables in the back or passenger seat or as I have heard cases of motorcyclists breaking the window while waiting at traffic light stops and snatching the bag from the car seat before speeding off.
- A lot of times, pedestrian lights don’t work here so please be aware of this and it is up to you to gauge when it is safe to cross the roads.
- Some expats living in KL have drivers provided for them by their companies but if you are expats like us without a driver another thing to be aware of when driving here is most drivers don’t use their indicators so be extra careful when you are on the road. Not to mention the many motorcyclists who tend to squeeze in between the cars.
- When you are walking around the city it is best to keep your handbag close to you and away from the side of the road if you are on a walkway as pickpockets on motorcycles can grab your handbag and speed away. One time when my husband was on his mobile phone while waiting at a junction to cross the road his mobile phone was almost snatched away by a motorcyclist driving past him. Luckily, he managed to hold on to his mobile phone without losing his grip…
Traveling around KL:
I prefer not to drive in KL, so the transportation I mainly use is Taxi. Now…now no need to panic, I never flag a taxi down and bargain for a fare. I ALWAYS use the MyTeksi App to make a booking. Its free to download from the App Store and there is a surcharge of RM2 for every booking but I think it’s a very very small price to pay for peace of mind and reliable drivers who will get you where you need to go. So far I have yet to have a bad experience with any of the MyTeksi drivers. Most of the MyTeksi drivers I have met were kind and very interesting to talk to during my taxi ride!
There is also the Monorail & LRT services but the stops are limited. Kuala Lumpur’s first Metro Line is under construction now and should be up and running in 2017 with another two lines in the pipeline.
Where to live in KL:
We live right in the middle of KL City Centre (KLCC) which is fantastic if you want to be in walking distance to shopping, cinemas and other facilities but not so good if you want to be away from the hustle and bustle and pollution. Most days in the city are not too bad as we do have many mornings with blue skies and the sun shining. Living right in the city centre we simply enjoy the convenience of having everything at our finger tips and not having to use the car all the time.
The 3 main areas where expats tend to live in KL will be KLCC, Mont Kiara and Bangsar. If you have a family and are looking for more space for your money then Bangsar or Mont Kiara will probably suit best.
There are large apartments in the KL city centre as well but the rent will cost about double of what you would have to pay for a similar size unit in Mont Kiara or Bangsar.
Two useful website to find the apartments you are looking for are:
Just remember rent prices are up for negotiation here in KL so you should always try and negotiate for a better deal.
Where to grocery shop in KL:
Finding a good supermarket in the beginning when we moved here was a challenge especially relocating to KL from Australia where the produce is super fresh and there is a huge range of quality free range meats to choose from. I have talked about where I buy good quality organic produce in KL here. They also stock gluten free & dairy free food items and many international food brands which I find is great.
In around KLCC there are a couple of supermarkets which are quite good – Isetan in KLCC and Hock Choon in Ampang. Aeon Supermarkets in Mid Valley City and Taman Maluri are also pretty good and they sell a huge selection of household products as well. There are 2 other ones, Mercato in Pavillion Shopping centre and Jaya Grocer in Intermark. I am a fresh food lover so lets just say I only go there for emergency supplies.
Online grocery shopping in KL:
We prefer to drink bottled mineral water in KL and we drink a lot! Lugging home cartons of mineral water every week was not how we wanted to spend our weekends. So water is something we order online from Redtick. They are a reliable company and have provided good service so far. Other grocery items can also be ordered from them including fresh produce although I prefer not to do that as there is always the risk of the produce not being that fresh and unfortunately that has been my experience so far. Tesco also does home deliveries although I have not used their service so far because when we moved to KL 2 years ago, Tesco was not doing home deliveries yet in KLCC area. So do check if they deliver to your area before ordering with them.
Homewares & Furniture in KL:
If you are getting an unfurnished apartment not to worry, there is always Ikea! Ethnicraft is a furniture store that makes sustainably sourced wood furniture which you may want to check out if you are into handmade quality furniture. H&M also has their Home range here in KLCC and another homewares store I absolutely love is Peter Hoe. They sell Malaysian inspired cushion covers, decor items and many more!
Hospitals and Specialist Clinics in KL:
The two I have been to are Gleneagles in Jalan Ampang and Prince Court Medical Centre. Both have their own specialist clinics where you can find Rheumalogists, Gynaes, Pediatricians etc. Prince Court Medical Centre itself is much more newer and nicer but I have always had better experience with the doctors in Gleneagles.
So there you go, these are some of the basics you will need to get settled in KL and I hope that this post helps you in at least a small way in reducing some of your moving stress!
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is not without its negatives but that is so with every city. In Asia, KL is a fantastic place to call home and Malaysians generally are friendly and kind hearted people.
This diverse and colourful city is pretty amazing to live in!
If you are an expat in Kl and have any other tips to share, please send in your comments below!