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Your Expat Community in Malaysia

  • Connect with fellow expats in Malaysia

  • Join exciting events and groups for expats

  • Get information in our expat guides

  • Exchange tips about expat life in Malaysia

  • Adam Malewski

    With all the great information on this site, getting settled in Kuala Lumpur was a piece of cake.

Our Community of Expats in Malaysia Welcomes You!

As-salām 'alaykum and a huge welcome to the expat community in Malaysia! On InterNations, you will receive support and help from fellow expatriates about how to start your new life in the country. You will face both challenges and obstacles when making the big move, but the members of our InterNations Communities in Malaysia can help you get clued-up and settled in. Draw on the years of experience and cultural understanding of other expats, who will be happy to answer any questions you might have about taking the next step. You might be wondering: “what part of Malaysia has the best international schools for my kids?”, “what's the cost of buying a property in Penang?”, or “what's a safe area to live in Kuala Lumpur?”. Whatever you need to know, the Malaysian expat community is here to help. Through the InterNations communities in Malaysia you can also experience the local Malaysian culture, join in with the Vesak Festival, try traditional foods such as nasi lemak, enjoy some local music, and much more.

With InterNations, you never stand alone. Whether you are moving to another country or going on a business trip somewhere — our communities around the world are there to make you feel at home wherever you are. Feel free to check out our vibrant InterNations Communities in countries like China or France.

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Living in Malaysia: Your Questions, Answered

As a newcomer or future expat in Malaysia, it's natural to have questions about what life will be like in this new country. We've put together answers to some of the most common questions expats have about life in Malaysia. To ask more specific questions or share your tips, consider joining InterNations, a community of expats who love to help each other.

1. Is it necessary to speak the local language?
While Malay is the official language of Malaysia, English is widely spoken, especially in urban areas and expat communities. However, learning some Malay can be beneficial for daily interactions, building relationships with locals, and understanding the culture better.

2. What is the cost of living in Malaysia?
The cost of living in Malaysia is generally lower compared to many Western countries. Here are some average monthly expenses for reference:

  • Rent: Varies by location and type of accommodation
  • Utilities: 150–300 MYR (36–72 USD) per month
  • Groceries: 400–800 MYR (96–193 USD) per month
  • Transportation: 100–300 MYR (24–72 USD) per month

3. What are the average rent prices in popular expat locations?

Kuala Lumpur:

  • Single-room flat: 1,500–2,500 MYR (362–604 USD) per month
  • Three-bedroom flat: 3,500–6,000 MYR (846–1,450 USD) per month

Penang:

  • Single-room flat: 1,000–1,800 MYR (241–434 USD) per month
  • Three-bedroom flat: 2,500–4,500 MYR (604–1,088 USD) per month

Johor Bahru:

  • Single-room flat: 800–1,500 MYR (193–362 USD) per month
  • Three-bedroom flat: 2,000–3,500 MYR (483–846 USD) per month

4. What is the healthcare system like in Malaysia?
Malaysia has a public healthcare system that provides a range of services for residents, including expats. However, many expats choose to use private healthcare facilities, which tend to offer higher-quality care and shorter waiting times, although they can be more expensive.

5. What's the process of obtaining a residence visa?
To stay in Malaysia for an extended period, expats need a visa. There are several types of visas, including work visas, student visas, and the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) visa for long-term residency. The specific visa you need depends on your reason for moving to Malaysia, and you'll need to meet certain requirements and provide the necessary documentation when applying.

6. How safe is Malaysia for expats?
Malaysia is generally a safe country for expats, but it's important to stay aware of your surroundings and take common-sense precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. Petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching can occur in crowded areas and tourist hotspots.

7. Can I drive in Malaysia with my foreign driver's license?
If you have a valid driver's license from your home country, you can drive in Malaysia for up to three months with an International Driving Permit (IDP). After three months, you'll need to obtain a Malaysian driver's license.

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Find Out More about Being an Expat in Malaysia

Malaysia's peninsula has Malay, Indian and Chinese influences, so is already very multicultural. The other half of Malaysia is known as East Malaysia or Malaysian Borneo (the northern part of the island of Borneo), where you may find wild jungle orangutans, remote tribes, and incredible peaks — next to most of Malaysia’s natural resources. From the modern high-rise buildings and thriving street food scene in Kuala Lumpur, to the tolerant and exciting island of Penang, Malaysia is one of the most diverse Asian countries you can live in. Many expats find that the language barrier is too much of a problem when settling in Malaysia, with many city dwellers in particular speaking very good English. As the cost of living is very low, you can have an active lifestyle in Malaysia with plenty of cash to see its bubbling culture and try its exciting cuisine. Malaysia is a middle-income economy, but is aiming to achieve a high-income status by 2020. Largely known for exporting oil, gas, electronics, palm oil and rubber, Malaysia has benefited from high world energy prices, and the large urban growth in Kuala Lumpur has opened up a number of business opportunities. You may also be interested in working in the eco-sector; with over 50% of Malaysia covered in dense jungle, there is plenty of volunteer and paid work for expats in the Malaysian Borneo region.

InterNations is the largest global network for expatriates, with communities in 420 cities around the world. Meet fellow global minds in your city of residence or get to know local expatriates before you're moving or traveling abroad and never feel like a stranger. InterNations makes it easy for you to stay in touch with your expat friends, both online and offline, so you can grow your network of friends and contacts from all over the world. Whether they live in Qatar or Bahrain, InterNations allows you to be close to them even if they are miles away.

Make Friends and Build Your Expat Network before You Arrive in Malaysia

Unlike other platforms, InterNations members are always checked and approved before they can become a part of our community. This ensure that InterNations remains a safe environment where friendliness, open communication, and a welcoming culture are highly valued. When your initial relocation preparation is complete, and you are all set to make the move, you might want to think about other fun things you can get involved with in the country. InterNations Malaysia has a number of interest-based groups as well as regular events taking place; try the best Malaysian food in Penang with the Penang Food Group or enjoy attending traditional and modern concerts with new expats friends in Kuala Lumpur. Whether you have a hobby that you want to continue, like hiking or cycling, or maybe you want to try something new, like dancing or diving, there is bound to be a suitable InterNations Group in Malaysia that you can sign up with. And if not, we encourage you to start your own group on InterNations! Getting together with like-minded people in a new country is an important element in making your move abroad a success. Sharing your new life with new people is invaluable, and if you get to learn some new skills at the same time, then why not?

Join Our Online and In-Person Events in Malaysia

Attend our many events to get to know like-minded expats, both in Malaysia and around the world! Our new online events even let you find connection and inspiration without leaving your home.

✅I’ve got requests from the guests to host, events at Changkat again. Alright, let's do this! 🟢THE EVENT WILL TAKE PLACE AT @WHY NOT BAR (upstairs) 🗓️ 01 June - Saturday ⏰ 7:30 pm 🕢7:30 pm to
Olá Newcomers! Adriana here :) Are you new to Kuala Lumpur or new to InterNations? If so, we have an event just for you! The Newcomers' Event (NCE) is a small gathering designed exclusively for ne
🟡ENTRANCE FEE PREPAYMENT IS REQUIRED TO ATTEND THIS EVENT🟡 Olá InterNations Fam! Join us for a sizzling evening of Fire & Ice at Sky Bar! 🗓️ 08June (Saturday) ⏰ 7:30 p.m. 📍Sky Bar Level 33,
Jun 9, 2024, 8:00 AM
1 attendee
Intermediate level player please. We want to be able to rally! :) See below. Please bring your own racquet, balls and water. Court will be half in the sun - be warned. We can go for a coffee at a caf

Want to see all the upcoming events in Malaysia?

Connect with Like-Minded Expatriates in Malaysia

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Meet other expats like you in Malaysia

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Share your hobbies and interests with expats in Malaysia

  • Adam Malewski

    With all the great information on this site, getting settled in Kuala Lumpur was a piece of cake.

  • Yasmin Krüger-Darango

    A former business partner recommended InterNations to me when I moved abroad to Malaysia. We still use it to stay in touch.

Our Global Partners

Communities in Malaysia

Like-Minded Expatriates in Malaysia

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