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Expats moving to Kuala Lumpur will enjoy all the benefits of living in a world-class destination. 'KL' is a bustling, multicultural city, evident in its range of shopping, cuisine and nightlife options. As the city is such a cultural melting pot, it is widely influenced by the diversity of people who call it home and, as such, expats will find plenty to explore and loads of variety.
Shopping in Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia is a well-loved shopping destination, so much so that exploring the city’s countless shopping malls is a popular pastime adopted by locals, tourists and expats alike.
Expats moving to KL need not worry about bringing a wardrobe's worth of clothing along. One trip to the Golden Triangle, the city’s premier shopping area, will see all the old favourites replaced, renewed and revitalised.
The Golden Triangle is central to KL in terms of entertainment and business. Bukit Bintang Street is lined with shops and malls stocked with electronic goods, fashion merchandise and designer brands. Malls such as Low Yat Plaza, Sungei Wang Plaza, Lot 10 and Berjaya Times Square also stock all these items and more. At the base of the Petronas Twin Towers, shoppers can find the popular Suria KLCC, which has a host of designer goods.
Jalan Hang Kasturi is the place to go if looking for the Kuala Lumpur Central Market, which is the best place to buy arts and crafts, antiques, paintings, handicrafts and quirky souvenirs. Nearby Chinatown is an ideal destination for finding a bargain and has everything from herbal medicines and dried food to jewellery, wallets and handbags.
Eating out in Kuala Lumpur
Expats in Malaysia are in for a treat for the senses when it comes to the range of dining-out options available. KL is home to a fusion of cultures and cuisines and this is particularly evident when sampling the delicious fare on offer in the exotic, trendy and stylish restaurants of the city.
Being a meeting point of cultures and immigrant communities, Malaysia frequently has its own version (or sometimes many versions) of popular dishes from all over Asia. Nasi goreng, or fried rice, can be found in more than a dozen styles throughout Malaysia, borrowing from all sorts of cultures along the way. Meanwhile, the mixture of fragrant spices, coconut milk and curry leaves make mamak – a local style of Indian food sold at open-air stalls – some of KL’s most popular cuisine. Chinese dishes are also a firm favourite with prominent dishes such as Hokkien mee, a fried noodle dish, readily available throughout the city.
Western food is also available in Malaysia for expats looking for a taste of home, but with Malaysian food being much more affordable and widely praised as one of the world's most delicious cuisines, there is little reason to stray from local favourites.
Nightlife and entertainment in Kuala Lumpur
Despite the majority of Malaysia’s population being Muslim, KL’s many other cultures and religions are welcome. The local population is largely tolerant of many of the indulgences which Western expats enjoy. Alcohol is widely available (though on the expensive side), and there are a range of bars and nightclubs operating across the city.
From rooftop bars with city-skyline views to trendy cocktail lounges and glitzy dance clubs, KL has something to suit every night owl’s tastes. Karaoke is also a particularly popular activity in KL and most establishments have happy hours with drinks specials.
The Golden Triangle is KL’s nightlife hub. Jalan Bukit Bintang, one of the city's busiest streets, is lined with bars, restaurants and clubs, while Bangsar Baru, once a run-down business district, has also become a trendy area with many bars and restaurants.
Outdoor activities in Kuala Lumpur
Weekends allow expats with families to travel the region and experience its natural beauty. There are also clubs and gyms to join for those interested in the sports scene in KL, as well as social groups within the city that meet over the weekends.
Kuala Lumpur also has many beautiful parks for the whole family to enjoy, including the Perdana Botanical Garden, Kanching Rainforest Waterfall and the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park.
►To learn more about entertainment and fun things to do in the city have a look at See and Do in Kuala Lumpur
"I love the food! You can find so much good, and inexpensive, local food that’s a mix of Chinese, Indian, and Malay." Emily tells us all about her life in Malaysia in her expat interview.
"Kuala Lumpur has so much to offer. You can enjoy city life to the fullest – there are a massive amount of shopping malls here, a variety of restaurants and cuisines, and people from all over the world." Read more about American expat Kimbra's experiences here.
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