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The weather and greenery in Kuala Lumpur make it an ideal place for families. With some excellent international schooling options and a host of extra-curricular activities on offer, expat families moving to Kuala Lumpur will find it an easy city in which to keep children busy and happy.
Local attitudes to children are overwhelmingly positive and they are welcomed almost everywhere in a city that is accepting of different cultures and faiths. As well as boasting some fun attractions in its own right, Kuala Lumpur is a gateway to the rest of the country and the region, where families will be spoilt for choice with beautiful beaches, jungles and other exciting cities to visit.
Activities for kids in Kuala Lumpur
There are all sorts of activities for children living in Kuala Lumpur. Possible weekend outings include visiting water parks, zoos, craft centres, forest reserves, museums and science centres. Parents will also find almost every sport or hobby on offer around the city.
The excellent Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra puts on a number of children’s concerts throughout the year known as 'family fun days' and there are often excellent theatre productions aimed at the little ones. Kuala Lumpur’s many malls also provide an abundance of activities, including cinemas, indoor play centres and ice skating.
Families also have myriad options when it comes to weekend getaways and holidays. As Kuala Lumpur is the home of Air Asia, it’s easy and often relatively cheap for the whole family to visit local islands and other cities within the broader Southeast Asian region.
Environment and climate in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is a green city. It is surrounded by jungle and the nearby national parks are well worth a visit. That said, the heat and humidity in the country can get quite overpowering, and many expats are surprised by how much time they spend indoors.
Midday is generally too hot for outdoor activities, apart from swimming, so most people find they need to plan around this and get out and about in the earlier part of the morning or the later part of the afternoon.
Medical facilities for children in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is home to good quality hospitals, many of which have excellent reputations. Most expats use paediatricians based in these hospitals for their children’s immunisations and health needs. In-patient, antenatal and postnatal care are also excellent here. Word-of-mouth is often the best way to find a practitioner in the country.
Parent networks in Kuala Lumpur
There are many parent networks in Kuala Lumpur that can be valuable sources of information and support for expat families. Ibu Family Resource Group is a popular organisation that connects parents of local and expat children through playgroups, seminars and support groups. Many expat groups also have affiliated playgroups and parent networks. A lot of expat families live in condos, and these also provide excellent opportunities for meeting other parents and families from all over the world.
Challenges for families in Kuala Lumpur
Traffic can be an issue in Kuala Lumpur, with long jams and sometimes unpredictable driving to contend with. While the railways are highly efficient and clean, public transport does not reach all areas of the city and most expat families find that it’s difficult to get around without a car.
It’s also worth remembering that Kuala Lumpur occasionally experiences haze, brought about by annual forest fires in the region. Luckily, the government is good at ensuring people are informed about pollution levels and a school-closure policy may be instigated if necessary.
►For more on educating your children in the city, see Education and Schools in Kuala Lumpur
"It’s very safe and everyone we’ve interacted with have been exceptionally kind, especially with our young child." Read more about American-born Emily's experience of expat life in Malaysia.
"I feel that our quality of life is higher here, as life moves at a more family-friendly pace." British expat Nicola shares her experiences in her expat interview about Malaysia.
Are you an expat living in Kuala Lumpur?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Kuala Lumpur. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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