Frequently Asked Questions about Kuala Lumpur
Those expats who are moving to Malaysia will no doubt want to learn more about their adoptive country. From health issues, pollution and safety to meeting other like-minded foreigners, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about expat life in Kuala Lumpur.
What are the biggest health concerns in Kuala Lumpur?
Malaysian weather is hot and humid and perhaps the biggest health concern is keeping one's body properly hydrated. Tap water should either be boiled or purified before drinking.
Dengue fever is a risk in all parts of Malaysia. The mosquitoes transmitting dengue tend to bite during the day so it is best to remain vigilant.
Kuala Lumpur and most of the west coast tend to be covered in a blanket of smoke when burning is conducted during the dry season (June to October). This decreases visibility and is particularly problematic for those suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems.
What are the pollution levels like?
Air pollution levels are a concern in Kuala Lumpur. Forest fires, vehicle emissions and industrial pollution all detract from Kuala Lumpur’s air quality. Many expats will notice the pollution on first arrival. Spending weekends outside of the city in areas such as the Cameron Highlands does help, and wearing a facemask is recommended on particularly smoggy days, especially for children.
How safe is Kuala Lumpur?
Violent crime involving expats in Malaysia is relatively uncommon. There are occasional instances of petty theft and pickpocketing and some expats have reported burglaries. However, this is not the norm and the levels of petty crime are more or less the same as in most large cities around the world. The number to call in an emergency in Malaysia is 999. It is best to always be aware of one's surroundings, as pickpocketing can occur. Female expats should be particularly vigilant at all times, and it is generally recommended that women shouldn’t get into a cab or lift alone late at night.
Is it easy to meet other foreigners in Kuala Lumpur?
Meeting other foreigners is not an issue in Kuala Lumpur, where there is a well-established expat community. A steady flow of international visitors means the city offers many opportunities to socialise. There are a number of expat organisations in Kuala Lumpur that arrange expat get-togethers. For those who enjoy getting out of the city, the local Hash House Harriers meets fairly regularly. Families with kids will find that the local international schools also tend to be great when building a friendship network.