Kuala Lumpur City Guide for Nomads & Expats
Welcome to the beautiful scenery of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! This is a great destination for nomads and expats looking to experience something new and exciting.
From its diverse culture, vibrant nightlife, and incredible cuisine, there is something for everyone in Kuala Lumpur. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of the best places to visit, activities to do, along with some helpful tips as you plan your stay in the city.
With this guide, you will have all the information you need to make the most of your time in Kuala Lumpur. Whether you’re a digital nomad, a student abroad, or a business person, Kuala Lumpur has plenty to offer.
What are the Best Places to Work Remotely In Kuala Lumpur?
Kuala Lumpur offers numerous excellent places for remote work. Here are some of the best places we’ve found to work remotely in Kuala Lumpur:
- Common Ground: With multiple locations across the city, Common Ground provides modern and well-equipped co-working spaces with comfortable workstations, meeting rooms, and community events.
- WORQ: Located in TTDI and Bangsar South, WORQ offers flexible co-working spaces, meeting rooms, and event spaces with a vibrant community and networking opportunities.
- The Co. Kuala Lumpur: Situated in Bangsar, The Co. Kuala Lumpur offers a stylish and productive co-working environment with ergonomic furniture, high-speed internet, and various amenities.
Cafes and Coffee Shops:
- VCR: This popular cafe in Bangsar is known for its cozy atmosphere, delicious food, and quality coffee. It has a dedicated space for laptop work and provides free Wi-Fi.
- PULP by Papa Palheta: Located in Bangsar, PULP is a specialty coffee bar with a relaxed ambiance, great coffee, and a conducive environment for work.
- Artisan Roast Coffee: Situated in TTDI, Artisan Roast Coffee offers a laid-back atmosphere, good coffee, and a cozy space to work or have meetings.
- Kuala Lumpur Library: The Kuala Lumpur Library in Jalan Raja features a designated co-working space, the Startup Learning Space, equipped with Wi-Fi and workstations.
- Selangor State Library: Located in Shah Alam, the Selangor State Library offers a conducive environment for work, study, and research, with free Wi-Fi and ample resources.
Business Centers in Shopping Malls:
- NU Sentral Mall: This mall in the KL Sentral area has a business center with dedicated workspaces, meeting rooms, and facilities for remote work.
- The Vertical: Situated in Bangsar South, The Vertical offers co-working spaces and serviced offices with modern amenities and a professional environment.
Hotels with Co-working Spaces:
- The Kuala Lumpur Journal: This boutique hotel in Bukit Bintang features a co-working space called Workers’ Union, providing a comfortable work environment and free Wi-Fi.
- The Chow Kit: Located in Chow Kit, this hotel offers The Chow Kit Workspace, a dedicated co-working area with a minimalist design and business amenities.
Don’t forget when choosing a place to work remotely, to consider factors such as the availability of Wi-Fi, comfortable seating, accessibility, noise levels, and the overall ambiance that suits your work personal preferences. It’s always a good idea to check the opening hours, availability of power outlets, and any membership or usage fees associated with the workspace or cafe.
Culture In Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, is a vibrant and multicultural metropolis with a rich cultural heritage. Here are some educating and interesting aspects of the culture in Kuala Lumpur:
Kuala Lumpur is known for its multicultural society, influenced by the three main ethnic groups: Malays, Chinese, and Indians. Each group contributes to the city’s diverse cultural fabric, including their traditions, festivals, cuisine, and languages.
Kuala Lumpur boasts a variety of cultural and religious festivals throughout the year! Some notable festivals include Hari Raya Aidilfitri (celebrated by Muslims after Ramadan), Chinese New Year, Deepavali (Festival of Lights), and Thaipusam (a Hindu festival). These festivities are marked by vibrant decorations, traditional performances, and delicious food.
Islam is the predominant religion in Malaysia, however, the city also has temples, churches, and other places of worship representing various faiths, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Sikhism. Religious tolerance and respect are very important values in Malaysian society.
Kuala Lumpur is a food lover’s paradise, offering a diverse culinary scene influenced by its blend of different ethnic communities. Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisines are widely available, along with international options. From street food stalls to upscale restaurants, Kuala Lumpur is renowned for its delicious and affordable food.
The cityscape of Kuala Lumpur is a blend of modern skyscrapers, colonial-era buildings, and traditional architecture. Iconic landmarks such as the Petronas Twin Towers, Sultan Abdul Samad Building, and Jamek Mosque showcase the city’s architectural diversity and cultural influences.
Art and Music:
Kuala Lumpur has a growing art and music scene. Art galleries, music venues, and theaters host exhibitions, performances, and cultural events showcasing local and international talent. The city’s street art scene has also been gaining recognition.
The official language of Malaysia is Bahasa Malaysia (Malay). English is widely spoken, especially in urban areas, and many Malaysians are bilingual or multilingual, speaking Mandarin Chinese, Tamil, or other Chinese and Indian dialects.
Malaysians are known for their warm hospitality and friendliness. Visitors to Kuala Lumpur can expect a welcoming atmosphere and an eager willingness to assist.
Of course, as visitors, it’s so important to respect local customs and cultural practices while in Kuala Lumpur. Modest attire is recommended when visiting religious sites, and it’s customary to remove shoes before entering certain establishments or homes. Embracing the multicultural spirit and engaging in cultural experiences can provide a deeper appreciation of Kuala Lumpur’s rich cultural heritage.
Food In Kuala Lumpur
As you may have already noted, Kuala Lumpur is a food lover’s paradise, offering a diverse culinary scene that reflects the multicultural fabric of the city.
Kuala Lumpur is the perfect place to explore authentic Malaysian cuisine. Don’t miss trying popular dishes like Nasi Lemak (coconut rice with anchovies, peanuts, and sambal), Satay (grilled skewered meat), Roti Canai (flaky flatbread served with curry), and Laksa (spicy noodle soup). Visit local hawker centers and street food stalls for an affordable and authentic Malaysian food experience.
Additionally, Kuala Lumpur has a thriving Chinese food scene, ranging from Cantonese to Hokkien and Hakka cuisines. Indulge in delicious dim sum, roasted meats like Char Siew (barbecue pork), flavorful stir-fries, and hearty noodle dishes. Head to Chinatown or other Chinese neighborhoods to find a wide array of Chinese restaurants and street food vendors.
The vibrant Indian community in Kuala Lumpur offers a variety of Indian culinary delights. Sample mouthwatering dishes like Banana Leaf Rice (rice served on a banana leaf with various curries), Roti Canai (flaky bread served with curry), Tandoori Chicken, and Biryani. Brickfields, also known as Little India, is a great neighborhood to explore for Indian food.
Kuala Lumpur is renowned for its street food culture, and you’ll find an abundance of stalls and food courts offering delicious Malay street food. Try dishes like Murtabak (stuffed pancake), Rojak (fruit and vegetable salad with a spicy peanut sauce), and Curry Mee (spicy coconut curry noodle soup). Jalan Alor and Taman Connaught Night Market are popular spots for street food in the city.
Kuala Lumpur is a melting pot of cultures, and this is reflected in its international and fusion food scene. You can find a wide range of international cuisines, including Japanese, Korean, Middle Eastern, Western, and more. The city boasts numerous upscale restaurants, food courts, and trendy cafes where you can indulge in global flavors.
And finally, my favorite part: don’t miss trying Malaysian desserts like Cendol (shaved ice dessert with coconut milk, palm sugar, and toppings), Durian (the infamous “king of fruits”), and Ais Kacang (mixed shaved ice dessert). You’ll also find a variety of sweet treats like Kuih (traditional Malay cakes), Nyonya Kuih (Peranakan desserts), and local pastries.
Kuala Lumpur offers an incredible culinary experience for food enthusiasts, catering to various tastes, budgets, and preferences. Whether you explore street food stalls, dine in local eateries, or indulge in upscale restaurants, the food in Kuala Lumpur is sure to satisfy your cravings and leave you wanting more!
Healthcare in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, as the capital city of Malaysia, has a well-developed healthcare system that offers a range of medical services to residents and visitors. Here’s an overview of healthcare experiences in Kuala Lumpur:
Malaysia has a two-tier healthcare system consisting of public and private sectors. Public healthcare is provided by government hospitals and clinics, which offer subsidized healthcare services to citizens and permanent residents. Some prominent public hospitals in Kuala Lumpur include Kuala Lumpur Hospital and University Malaya Medical Centre.
Private healthcare in Kuala Lumpur is known for its modern facilities, advanced medical technology, and shorter waiting times. Private hospitals and medical centers offer a wide range of specialized services and cater to both locals and international patients. Some renowned private hospitals in Kuala Lumpur include Prince Court Medical Centre, Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, and Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur has become a popular destination for medical tourism due to its high-quality healthcare services and comparatively lower costs. Many private hospitals in the city offer specialized medical treatments and services catering to international patients.
Health Insurance: It is advisable to have health insurance coverage when residing or visiting Kuala Lumpur. Health insurance can provide financial protection in case of medical emergencies or the need for specialized treatments. Check with your insurance provider to ensure coverage in Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur specifically.
Kuala Lumpur has numerous pharmacies where you can purchase prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs. Look for pharmacies in shopping malls, commercial areas, or near hospitals.
Several international clinics and medical centers cater specifically to expatriates and foreigners in Kuala Lumpur. These clinics offer a range of services, including general healthcare, specialist consultations, vaccinations, and preventive care.
In case of a medical emergency, dial 999 for an ambulance or visit the nearest hospital’s emergency department. Private hospitals generally have 24/7 emergency services, while public hospitals provide emergency care as well.
It’s important to note that healthcare practices and regulations can vary, so it’s advisable to research and familiarize yourself with the specific healthcare facilities and services available in Kuala Lumpur.
Staying Fit and Healthy in Kuala Lumpur
Staying fit and healthy in Kuala Lumpur is so easily achievable with the city’s numerous fitness options, recreational activities, and wellness facilities.
Kuala Lumpur has a wide range of fitness centers and gyms catering to different preferences and budgets. Some popular gym chains include Fitness First, Celebrity Fitness, along with Anytime Fitness. These facilities offer state-of-the-art equipment, group fitness classes, personal training, and often have multiple locations throughout the city.
If you prefer to keep your fitness activities outdoors, take advantage of Kuala Lumpur’s beautiful parks and green spaces for activities centered in nature. The Lake Gardens (Perdana Botanical Gardens) offers jogging tracks, walking paths, and exercise stations. Taman Titiwangsa and Bukit Kiara Park are also great options for outdoor workouts, jogging, and cycling.
The city also sports complexes and recreational centers that offer facilities for various indoor sports activities. You can find swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, and football fields in places like Bukit Jalil National Stadium, National Sports Complex, and DBKL Sports Complex.
Explore Kuala Lumpur’s running and cycling routes to stay active and enjoy the city’s sights. The KLCC Park, Taman Botani Perdana, and Putrajaya Wetlands Park are popular spots for running or cycling. The city also hosts occasional running events and marathons for fitness enthusiasts.
For a more relaxed approach to maintaining healthy habits, treat yourself to wellness centers and spas in Kuala Lumpur for relaxation and self-care. Enjoy a massage, indulge in spa treatments, or practice meditation and yoga at centers like Energy Day Spa, Ozmosis Health & Day Spa, or Urban Spring.
Diet will obviously play a huge role in one’s health journey and thankfully, Kuala Lumpur offers a variety of healthy eating options. Look for restaurants and cafes that serve fresh salads, vegetarian or vegan dishes, and locally sourced ingredients. Check out health-focused cafes like Life Juice, Sala, or La Juiceria for nutritious meals, smoothies, and cold-pressed juices.
If accountability is needed, have no fear! Keep an eye out for community fitness events and initiatives happening in Kuala Lumpur. These can include group workouts, yoga sessions, or fitness classes held in public spaces or organized by fitness communities. Grab a friend and build community while breaking a sweat!
Lastly, Kuala Lumpur’s tropical climate can be hot and humid, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you and drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially during outdoor activities.
Things to Do In Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, the bustling capital city of Malaysia, offers a wide array of attractions and activities to explore. Here are some popular things to do in Kuala Lumpur:
Petronas Twin Towers:
Visit the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world. Explore the Skybridge and observation deck for breathtaking views of the city skyline.
Discover the Batu Caves, a limestone hill with a series of caves and Hindu temples. Climb the 272 colorful steps to reach the main cave and admire the stunning Hindu shrines.
Explore Merdeka Square, the historical heart of Kuala Lumpur. Visit landmarks like Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Jamek Mosque, and the Royal Selangor Club. Don’t miss the National Museum nearby.
Immerse yourself in Malaysian culture at the Central Market. Browse through a variety of handicrafts, artwork, and souvenirs. Sample local snacks and street food at the bustling food court.
Relax in KLCC Park, a beautifully landscaped park located near the Petronas Twin Towers. Enjoy a leisurely walk, have a picnic, or watch the mesmerizing Lake Symphony Fountain show in the evenings.
Explore Chinatown, a vibrant neighborhood filled with shops, markets, and delicious food stalls. Bargain for souvenirs at Petaling Street, and try local delicacies at the famous Jalan Alor food street.
Islamic Arts Museum:
Visit the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, one of the largest Islamic art museums in Southeast Asia. Explore its impressive collection of Islamic artifacts, calligraphy, textiles, and architectural models.
Thean Hou Temple:
Experience the grandeur of Thean Hou Temple, a six-tiered Chinese temple dedicated to the goddess Tian Hou (the Heavenly Mother). Enjoy panoramic views of the city from its elevated location.
Take a guided tour of the National Mosque (Masjid Negara), a beautiful modern mosque that can accommodate thousands of worshippers. Don’t forget to respect the appropriate dress code and observe prayer times.
Shop till you drop in Bukit Bintang, the city’s main shopping and entertainment district. Explore upscale malls like Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and Starhill Gallery, and enjoy vibrant nightlife at Changkat Bukit Bintang.
Sunway Lagoon Theme Park:
Have a thrilling day at Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, located just outside Kuala Lumpur. Enjoy water slides, rides, and attractions suitable for all ages.
Attend cultural performances such as traditional dance shows, wayang kulit (shadow puppetry), or music concerts showcasing Malaysian and Southeast Asian arts and traditions.
These are just a few of the many things to do in Kuala Lumpur. The city offers a mix of historical landmarks, modern attractions, shopping, dining, and cultural experiences that cater to different interests and preferences.
Weather & Best Time to Visit Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur has a tropical rainforest climate, characterized by high humidity and relatively consistent temperatures throughout the year. We’ve made an overview of the weather in Kuala Lumpur along with our opinion on the best time to visit:
Dry Season (December to February): This period experiences less rainfall, making it a popular time to visit Kuala Lumpur. The weather is generally warm with average temperatures ranging from 22°C to 32°C (72°F to 90°F). It’s advisable to pack light clothing and carry an umbrella or raincoat as occasional showers can still occur.
Monsoon Season (March to April, October to November):
Kuala Lumpur experiences two monsoon seasons, which bring increased rainfall. The weather can be unpredictable during these months, with heavy downpours and occasional thunderstorms. However, rain showers are usually short-lived, and there are still plenty of sunny days in between.
Hot Season (May to September):
The months from May to September are typically hotter with higher humidity. Average temperatures range from 24°C to 33°C (75°F to 91°F). It’s advisable to dress in lightweight, breathable clothing and stay hydrated during this period.
The best time to visit Kuala Lumpur is during the dry season from December to February when the weather is relatively cooler and rainfall is less frequent. This period is ideal for exploring outdoor attractions, visiting landmarks, and enjoying outdoor activities.
However, Kuala Lumpur can be visited year-round due to its tropical climate. Even during the monsoon or hot seasons, there are still plenty of indoor attractions, shopping malls, and cultural experiences to enjoy!
Cost of Living in Kuala Lumpur
The cost of living in Kuala Lumpur can vary depending on factors such as accommodation, transportation, food, and lifestyle choices. Below is a breakdown of the pricing in Kuala Lumpur along with a currency converter to determine how much your local currency is worth in Malaysian Ringgit:
- Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center: MYR 2,000 to MYR 4,000 per month
- Rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside the city center: MYR 1,500 to MYR 2,500 per month
- Utilities (electricity, water, gas, internet): MYR 200 to MYR 400 per month
- Public transportation (LRT, MRT, buses): MYR 2 to MYR 6 per trip, depending on the distance
- Monthly pass for public transportation: MYR 100 to MYR 200, depending on the type of pass and distance traveled
- Taxi starting fare: MYR 3 to MYR 6, plus MYR 1.50 to MYR 2 per kilometer
- Basic lunch menu in a local restaurant: MYR 10 to MYR 20
- Dinner for two at a mid-range restaurant: MYR 60 to MYR 120
- Groceries for one person per month: MYR 400 to MYR 600
- Imported beer (0.33L bottle): MYR 10 to MYR 15
- Basic doctor’s visit (without insurance): MYR 50 to MYR 100
- Health insurance (monthly premium): MYR 100 to MYR 300, depending on coverage and provider
- Movie ticket: MYR 12 to MYR 25
- Fitness club or gym membership: MYR 100 to MYR 300 per month
- Concert or theater ticket: MYR 50 to MYR 300, depending on the event
These prices are approximate and can vary based on location, lifestyle choices, and personal preferences and it’s important to remember that prices may change over time, so it’s always advisable to research and budget accordingly based on your specific needs and circumstances.
Visa Requirements in Kuala Lumpur
As Kuala Lumpur is located in Malaysia, the visa requirements for visiting or residing in Kuala Lumpur would fall under Malaysia’s visa regulations. Here’s an overview of the visa requirements for different purposes:
Citizens of many countries can enter Malaysia as tourists without a visa for a designated period, typically up to 90 days. This is subject to the visa exemption agreement with Malaysia. However, please note that the specific visa requirements can vary depending on your nationality, so it’s advisable to check the visa requirements for your country on the website of the nearest Malaysian embassy or consulate.
Social Visit Visa:
If you plan to visit family or friends in Kuala Lumpur or Malaysia for an extended period, you may need to apply for a Social Visit Visa (also known as a Visit Pass). This visa allows you to stay in Malaysia for up to 90 days and can be extended further if required.
If you plan to work in Kuala Lumpur or anywhere else in Malaysia, you will generally need to obtain a work visa. The specific work visa category will depend on the nature of your employment, such as an Employment Pass for professionals, a Professional Visit Pass for short-term work assignments, or a Residence Pass for long-term employment. Your prospective employer in Malaysia will act as your sponsor and guide you through the visa application process.
If you are a student planning to pursue academics in Kuala Lumpur or any other city in Malaysia, you will need to obtain a student visa. To apply for a student visa, you will need to be accepted into an educational institution in Malaysia and provide necessary documents, including a certificate of enrollment and proof of financial support.
If you wish to reside permanently in Kuala Lumpur or Malaysia, you can explore the options for long-term residency. This includes the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program, which allows foreigners to live in Malaysia on a long-term basis, subject to certain financial and age requirements.
It’s important to note that visa requirements and regulations can change over time, so it’s always advisable to check the latest information on the official website of the nearest Malaysian embassy or consulate in your country.
For any specific questions or inquiries regarding visa requirements for your situation, it is recommended to consult with the nearest Malaysian embassy or consulate. They can provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information based on your individual circumstances.
Jobs & Work Requirements in Kuala Lumpur
Understanding the work requirements in Kuala Lumpur is essential if you plan to work in the city. Here’s an overview of the job market and work requirements in Kuala Lumpur:
Work Visa: To work legally in Kuala Lumpur or anywhere in Malaysia, you will generally need to obtain a work visa. The specific visa category will depend on the nature of your employment, such as an Employment Pass (EP) for professionals, a Professional Visit Pass (PVP) for short-term work assignments, or a Residence Pass (RP) for long-term employment. Your prospective employer in Malaysia will act as your sponsor and guide you through the visa application process.
Kuala Lumpur has a diverse job market across various sectors. It is a hub for industries such as finance, information technology, engineering, telecommunications, oil and gas, and hospitality. International companies, local businesses, and startups offer job opportunities in Kuala Lumpur.
Job Search Platforms:
Utilize online job search platforms and websites to explore job opportunities in Kuala Lumpur. Some popular job search websites in Malaysia include JobStreet, Indeed Malaysia, LinkedIn, and Monster Malaysia. Additionally, companies in Kuala Lumpur may advertise job openings on their official websites or through recruitment agencies.
Proficiency in English is highly valued in Kuala Lumpur’s job market, particularly in multinational companies. Depending on the specific role and industry, knowledge of Malay or other languages may also be beneficial.
Building a professional network is essential in Kuala Lumpur’s job market. Attend industry events, networking sessions, and career fairs to connect with potential employers, colleagues, and industry influencers.
Working in Kuala Lumpur may require adapting to Malaysian work culture. Malaysians value politeness, respect for hierarchy, and building personal relationships. It’s important to understand local customs, business etiquette, and norms to succeed in the professional environment.
Qualification and Certification:
Some professions in Malaysia may require specific qualifications, certifications, or licensing. For example, healthcare professionals, engineers, and teachers may need to have their qualifications recognized by relevant Malaysian authorities.
Employment Contracts and Benefits: Familiarize yourself with the terms of your employment contract, including salary, benefits, working hours, and leave entitlements. Employment laws in Malaysia provide certain rights and protections for employees.
It’s important to note that job availability, requirements, and processes can vary depending on the industry, company, and individual circumstances. Researching specific job sectors, consulting with recruitment agencies or professionals in your field, and understanding the legal requirements can provide more insights tailored to your interests and qualifications.
We hope you enjoy your trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!
Always blue skies,
The Insured Nomads Team