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Kuala Lumpur is a diverse city. From its different neighbourhoods and inhabitants to its religions and cuisines, KL is nothing if not unique. There is such an assortment of lifestyles here that there really is a fit for every expat and every family, especially when it comes to choosing the right area or suburb in Kuala Lumpur to call home.
Here are some of the most popular areas and suburbs of KL for expats.
City dwellers in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) is exactly what the name implies. It is directly downtown and within walking distance to the major shopping malls such as Suria KLCC, Pavilion, Fahrenheit88 and more. KLCC is also in the heart of the famous Golden Triangle entertainment, commercial and shopping district, as well as the lively Bukit Bintang area. Accommodation in the city centre consists mainly of condominiums and apartments. Both furnished and unfurnished units are available in KLCC, and there's also the option of serviced apartments.
Almost all of the housing complexes contain their own fitness facility and pool area, and some will also include children’s playgrounds and cafes or mini markets. Although it can be very pricey to live in these downtown high-rises, most are incredibly spacious and residents do benefit from the conveniences of living right in the middle of all the action.
Suburban life in Kuala Lumpur
Mont Kiara is the typical 'suburban lifestyle' neighbourhood with many an expat family lured to the area by its well respected selection of international schools.
There are more high-rise condos here than in any other suburbs, yet scattered throughout are also town houses and semi-detached houses, as well as bungalow-style homes. There are also several serviced apartments available to expats in Mont Kiara.
Thanks to the convenient presence of shopping malls and services, some find no need to leave the area much at all. Many places here also boast beautiful views of the KLCC skyline.
Ampang is home to virtually all of the foreign embassies in Kuala Lumpur and many diplomats live near here. As such, the area is immensely popular among expats and is commonly referred to as 'embassy row'. Unsurprisingly, there are a number of international schools that are located here to cater for the expat community, though there are also some good private school options to consider.
Housing options in Ampang are diverse, but most condos and apartments are within lower-rise buildings. The construction can vary from new to somewhat dated and the streets are generally quiet and safe. There are numerous stores for everyday needs, as well as a couple of shopping malls for bigger purchases. Expats will also find a few highly rated private hospitals in Ampang.
Mutiara Damansara/Damansara Perdana/Taman Tun Dr Ismail
These three neighbourhoods are grouped together owing to their proximity to one another. Although Damansara Perdana and Taman Tun Dr Ismail are both quiet and a bit more upper class than their neighbour, Mutiara Damansara, all three options attract expats and locals alike. All types of housing are found here, many with more traditional characteristics due to the age of the area.
Cultural centres in Kuala Lumpur
Bangsar and Pantai
Bangsar and Pantai are neighbours. While Bangsar is the more popular choice, some residences are on the outskirts in or near Pantai, where the expat-friendly and popular private hospital, Pantai Medical Centre, is located.
Bangsar is a diverse neighbourhood full of both expats as well as middle- and upper-class locals. Bangsar is a mere 10 minutes from KLCC and is situated upon a hill boasting glorious views of the skyline.
Bansgar is home to the famed Bangsar Village, as well as the Bangsar Shopping Centre. Both are very popular with expats and locals alike, making shopping very easy and the availability of both local and imported goods common. Bangsar is also known for its thriving nightlife and street markets.
Homes here can be pricey, but may be worth it for all the conveniences. There are also a couple choices for serviced apartments.
Affluent areas in Kuala Lumpur
Damansara Heights is a highly popular choice for expats as it is close to Bangsar, Mid Valley, KL Sentral, and still only 15 minutes outside of KLCC. Damansara is home to a wealthy local community as well. It contains a few international schools and some quaint neighbourhood cafes and restaurants. Most shopping is done in nearby Bangsar, about a five-minute drive away.
Homes here are on the expensive side but are of newer construction, mainly consisting of semi-detached houses and bungalows.
Sri Hartamas is located very close to Mont Kiara and is ideal for expat singles, couples and families wanting the conveniences of Mont Kiara amenities, yet a removed living atmosphere. Homes are on the higher end but include condos, townhouses and semi-detached houses, as well as serviced apartment complexes. Shopping centres are convenient and the restaurants are cozy and intimate and offer a wide range of cuisine.
►For more on finding the perfect home in Kuala Lumpur, see Accommodation in Kuala Lumpur
►For info on the transport options and finding your way around the city, read our Getting Around in Kuala Lumpur page
Image credits: KLCC by Nazarizal Mohammed (Unsplash), Mont Kiara by Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi (Flickr), Bangsar by Timothy Tan (Unsplash), Damansara by Billy Wong (Unsplash)
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