Living In Malaysia

16 December 2017

Malaysia is a beautiful country occupying parts of the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo in the Southeast of Asia. The range of stunning beaches and rainforests create a magnificent vista for anyone who visits or lives there, and the mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences makes this country culturally rich and completely unique. The capital city, Kuala Lumpur, houses a range of traditional and colonial buildings, shopping districts such as the famous Bukit Bintang, and iconic skyscrapers like the Petronas Twin Towers, which soar over the city standing at an awe-inspiring 451 meters. Malaysia has so much to offer, so why would you not want to live there?

Where To Live

Where Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic city, the city of Penang is seen by many to be a lot more laid back and the years of cultural influence can be seen through the state capital of Penang Island; George Town. You can see the colonial Fort Cornwallis, the Kek Lok Si Temple, the ornate Chinese clan house Khoo Kongsi and the Kapitan Keling Mosque all within this wonderful city.

Living in the city can be extremely expensive, and, as with any country, the further away from the city you live, the better the price is. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Have a look at these Top 100 Popular Condo For Sale in Malaysia to get a good idea of the areas and prices around the country. Each state has a capital city surrounded by fantastic countryside, rainforests, small towns and villages, offering a huge range of places to live and experiences to have.


The currency in Malaysia is the Malaysian ringgit, how that translates to your normal currency you can see here. As we mentioned before, cities are going to be much more expensive to live in than in towns or villages where rents can be as low as US $100 for a house. In Kuala Lumpur and Penang, home prices get absurdly high and quite unreasonably priced. Living in Kuala Lumpur, excluding rent, health care and transport, you will need around RM 10,000 minimum to comfortably live and save a little. A lot of food has to be exported into Malaysia as there isn’t enough space in the country to grow enough for everyone, and because of that, there are foods that seem so much more expensive than you would pay back home. At the same time, street food and local delicacies are mostly locally sourced and so can be bought for a great price. Look here for more information on the cost of living in Malaysia.


When you think about moving to a different country, there is always the fear of not being able to converse with anyone. The native language of Malaysia is Malay; however, due to years of cultural influence, it isn’t strange to hear Chinese, Hindi and Urdu, along with a range of other languages, as you walk down the street. Which can make the fear grow because now you have to learn even more languages to get by, right? Wrong. Most citizens in Malaysia speak English at a semi-fluent level, and many are completely fluent. So you don’t have to worry about learning Malay. However, if you’re moving there rather than just visiting, it is a great idea to start learning the native tongue. You can learn through classes, or with the help of apps like Babel. At the very least learn common phrases to show that you respect their culture and completely immerse yourself.


Compared to your home country, it is very probable that driving will be a bit of a nightmare for you in Malaysia; there are poor traffic controls, missing signs, misplaced signs, outdated and inaccurate maps, and a total haphazard design to all roads. Taxis are everywhere and easy to get hold of, and the prices are nowhere near what you would be used to coming from the UK or US. Buses don’t operate in a lot of areas, and a city is big enough that you couldn’t walk everywhere, especially if you have kids, and driving anywhere, especially in Kuala Lumpur, on a motorbike is just a death sentence. Motorbikes weave through traffic, often ignoring stop signs, and using empty oncoming traffic lanes as fair game.

Locals and taxis are apt at driving around, but it can be a terrifying experience due to the inadequate roads and a general feel of aggressive driving. The best vehicles are big, tall and nasty looking. Remember that traffic moves on the left side of the road, vehicles are right-hand drive. By law, you must use your front and back seat belts in Malaysia and must not use your phone while driving unless it is hands-free and laws against drinking and driving are strictly enforced and carry serious penalties.


Due to its history, Malaysia is one of the most diverse countries in Asia. The general feel of the country is a complete acceptance of race and religion, in fact, all major religious holidays are public holidays in Malaysia and often celebrated by people not of that faith.

However, after saying this, there are two groups of people who are not welcomed in Malaysia; Jews and homosexuals. As with many Muslim countries, Judaism isn’t a welcome addition, and it has been known for people with a dual nationality with Israel not to be given admittance into the country. Since the 1970s the Malaysian government has pursued anti-Israel and anti-semitic laws throughout the country, meaning that the Jewish community that once resided in the Penang state has all but disappeared, and the only Mosque closed in 1976.

As for LGBT individuals - Malaysia can be a dangerous place to live. The government recognises no rights for LGBT. There are extremely strict rules surrounding gay couples, and sodomy, meaning oral and anal sex, is completely illegal and punishable by heavy fines, imprisonment for up to twenty years, and even corporal punishment. And where there has been talk amongst public organisations for a reform of the law to allow non-commercialised sex acts between consenting adults of any persuasion, no political member has broached the subject.

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