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Kuala Lumpur, Asia's best city

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  • Kuala Lumpur, Asia's best city

    I've spent a combined five months here over the past five years, and as of last month month it's replaced Singapore as the winter home base.

    I've yet to check out the major cities of the Philippines, and I'll be paying a visit to Kuching soon to see how East Malaysia compares, but based on the dozens of other Asian cities I've spent at least a week in since 2002, I rank KL as Asia's most liveable city for westerners. This is based on:

    - Widely spoken English. It's great to be able to chat in detail with your Grab driver or 7-eleven member of staff without needing to know the local lingo.

    - Cost of living. With the exception of the beer tax which makes beer more expensive than places such as Vietnam but barely any more expensive than Thailand, everything is great value for money here.

    - Infrastructure. The 52 kilometre MRT (with another half constructed) is the best I've ever used and it adds greatly to the city's already extensive public transport system. Each MRT station also has a complement of brand new aircon feeder buses that run on an accurate timetable and cost the equivalent of 7.5 baht on a smartcard.

    - Traffic. I've yet to be caught up in a traffic jam. Granted, I don't travel in rush hour, but most Asian cities seem to be congested throughout the day.

    - Climate. It has no dry dusty cloudless season thank god, and it reliably rains a couple of times per week at least, throughout the year. Not hot season either thank god. Cool breezes are the norm here blowing over the mountains to the east, and most afternoons are cloudy, making being outdoors a joy.

    - Next to awesome mountains yet easily accessible to the sea. I spent Monday in Port Dickson, a charming coastal town an easy day trip from here. And I spent Tuesday in the Genting Highlands, some spectacular easily accessible mountains in the other direction with 20 celsius daytime temps. Off to Fraser's Hill for more highland adventures tomorrow.

    - Greenery and topography. This city really is within a rainforest, and it shows. There are large areas of huge trees within the city, and the city is surrounded by green mountains. There are also hills throughout the city, something I love. I could never go back to living in a flat grey concrete mess like Bangkok.

    - Connectivity. The home of AirAsia. Need I say more.

    - Multicultural. The city is 45% Malay, 43% Chinese, and 10% Indian. This makes it far more interesting and diverse than other Asian countries, and everyone fits in and goes mostly unnoticed regardless of their ethnicity. Plus the diversity of food is unbeatable.

    - Commonwealth. It's part of the Commonwealth, which can only be a good thing. Its British ancestry also shows, from the landscaping of its streets to a love of British accents.

    - Visa exemption and house ownership. 90 days visa exempt on arrival, with longer stays easily arranged. I'm currently looking into the MM2H scheme for an even longer stay, along with a house purchase.

    - Accommodation - The city is awash with brand new luxury condo buildings which are highly affordable on monthly Airbnb bookings.

    I've probably forgotten some others.

    I might post up some piccies sometime.

  • #2
    Actually mate, I think you are probably right. And you can even get a hassle free visa there- MM2H.
    The cities in Thai & Fils are basically filth pits, the visa situation a mess. Sing & HK are very expensive.
    Malaysia is the best place in Asia to live as an expat right now. Seconded.

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    • #3
      Doing my daytrip research now. Might make it an overnighter.

      That could be the Cotswolds.



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      • #4
        Originally posted by sabang View Post
        Actually mate, I think you are probably right. And you can even get a hassle free visa there- MM2H.
        The cities in Thai & Fils are basically filth pits, the visa situation a mess. Sing & HK are very expensive.
        Malaysia is the best place in Asia to live as an expat right now. Seconded.
        I'm looking forward to checking out Kuching on Borneo Island, the capital of Sarawak province. Apparently that part of Malaysia is more Christian than Muslim, and has partial autonomy, which should add an interesting extra dynamic.

        Yep it's just so easy to live here. It's devoid of such nonsense as Thailand's TM30 bullshit, ATM fees for foreigners, and signs threatening arrest of airbnbers in condos. Plus no crop burning nonsense as the crops are mostly palm trees, and I've yet to see a pickup truck with its particulate filter removed so it sounds sporty to the thoughtless retard driving it.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by sabang View Post
          Malaysia is the best place in Asia to live as an expat right now. Seconded.
          I was leaning towards Kaohsiung in Taiwan but have opted for KL. Kaohsiung has the same 90 day visa exempts and a cooler climate for most of the year, and it's almost as cheap. It's probably the better choice for TEFLers because of the ease of working there, although brand new luxury accommodation isn't nearly as available as here.

          It's just that, whereas Taiwan feels like a hybrid of Thailand and Japan, Malaysia feels like a hybrid of Thailand and the UK (as does Singapore), which makes it more comfortable long-term for westerners.

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          • #6
            Other pros

            No immigration card on arrival. They thus want visitors to feel welcome and don't pry into where you're staying or make you feel like a potential criminal whose location needs monitoring each day.

            They drive on the logical side of the road unlike Philippines Vietnam and Taiwan

            Drivers notice zebra crossings and don't think they're an entitled demigod because they bought a car

            Contactless credit card payments almost everywhere, with no 7-eleven 300 baht minimum spend type bullshit

            Originally posted by sabang View Post
            The cities in Thai & Fils are basically filth pits, the visa situation a mess. Sing & HK are very expensive.
            This sums up an important pro - KL is pretty much as developed as Sing and HK whilst being as cheap as cities in the shitpit countries.

            While not being as landscaped as Singapore, it's much easier to escape to nature. Singapore can feel somewhat claustrophobic, needing a trip through immigration to visit wide open countryside and jungle. I have jungle trails and waterfalls within walking distance of my condo.

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            • #7
              ....with the MRT a pleasant 25 minute walk in the other direction through forested housing estates should I prefer to walk than use the MRT feeder bus...

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              • #8
                I could go for a nice Nazi Goring Special about now.

                ...or however you spell it...
                God, the panic within the Dems, MSM, and left must be horrifying...realizing that Joe is really the best they've got.

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                • #9
                  I Used to live in Ubon booner- the birth place of Hitler Chicken!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sabang View Post
                    I Used to live in Ubon booner- the birth place of Hitler Chicken!
                    Nothing wrong with Ubon, sabang. Some of the most beautiful gals in Thailand hail from Issan.

                    So goes the saying: "You can score on Route 24"
                    God, the panic within the Dems, MSM, and left must be horrifying...realizing that Joe is really the best they've got.

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                    • #11
                      Beware of Malayophiles who believe KL is the 7th heaven!
                      “Don’t get sick of me just yet, for I will be here for quite a while”

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                      • #12
                        Compared to Bangkok?

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                        • #13
                          Compared to anywhere in Thailand. Given no alternative, the only places I would consider living there are Phuket and Hat Yai. I could never return to living with the increasingly backward bullshit of that land though.

                          Hat Yai is a comfortable electric train ride from here (changing to an ancient rattly piece of shit for the final 30 minutes once over the border) but it only appeals as an occasional long weekend destination. Such trips will likely be to places such as Bali Sarawak and Langkawi (Malaysia's duty free island off the coast of Thailand's Satun province) though.
                          Last edited by Nitcha; 02-21-2020, 08:15 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Langkawi sounds good to me- a duty free island, enough dining and entertainment options because of the tourism sector, and a short direct ferry ride to southern Thailand for a jaunt, or to Penang to catch international flights, or another jaunt. KL is certainly a pleasant city, but I think I'd wanna be working to live there.

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                            • #15
                              Good for cheap bars and great beaches. Possible to fly there from here but it's a domestic airport only.

                              I'm still undecided on the jobs front. Unlike in Singapore I can fund permanent retirement here now. I want to continue to work part time or part year for the next five years though. I'll either continue to spend half of each year working back in the UK or look at online business options run from here.

                              There are jobs for foreigners here but they'd be full time and full year, something I haven't done for many years and don't want or need to return to.

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