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Kuala Lumpur is a very diverse city. From its different neighbourhoods and inhabitants to its religions and cuisines, Kuala Lumpur is certainly 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 Kuala Lumpur 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, as well as 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 cafés or mini-markets. Although it can be very pricy to live in these downtown high-rises, most are incredibly spacious and residents do benefit from the conveniences of living within all the action. Singles, couples and families all find their homes in KLCC, mainly those who work within the downtown area.
Suburban life in Kuala Lumpur
Ampang is very close to the KLCC area and attracts many expats due to the fact that it has been informally named 'Embassy Row', as well as the international schools that are located here. Ampang is home to virtually all of the foreign embassies in Kuala Lumpur and many diplomats live near here. Housing options in Ampang are diverse, but most condos and apartments are within lower-rise buildings. The construction can vary from new to 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. Private and international schools in this area are highly acclaimed. Expats will also find a few highly rated private hospitals in Ampang.
Mont Kiara is the typical 'suburban lifestyle' neighbourhood. Virtually all of the families who live in Mont Kiara are expats due to the various international schools in the area. 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. Due to the convenient presence of shopping malls and services, some find no need to leave the area much at all. Many places also boast beautiful views of the KLCC skyline.
Mutiara Damansara/Damansara Perdana/Taman Tun Dr Ismail
These three neighbourhoods are grouped together due 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 a plethora of expats and locals alike. All types of housing are found here, many with more traditional characteristics due to the age of the area. Another popular aspect of this area is a large mall, The Curve, which is home to IKEA, TESCO and many home and personal goods stores.
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.
Seputeh is a centrally located neighbourhood right in the heart of Mid Valley City. Mid Valley is the largest shopping mall in the area, connected by the upper-end Gardens Mall. Seputeh is popular with expats due to its proximity to international schooling options. It is also popular for families who work in KLCC due to the nearby KL Sentral train station. Housing options range across the board and the residents are a mixture of expat and local.
Affluent areas in Kuala Lumpur
Damansara Heights is a very 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 the wealthy local community as well. It contains a few international schools and some quaint neighbourhood cafés 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 has a lot of overflow of 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.
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.
I currently live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with my husband and absolutely love this adventure. I have a huge passion for travel, cuisine, culture, meeting new people, charity work, writing, and experiencing new things. Lucky for me I live in the best place to "do it all", at least within SE Asia! I've created an expat travel blog detailing our travels, trials and tribulations as expats, misc culture and cuisine, and really anything else that strikes my fancy. Stop by and check it out! I look forward to "meeting" you :-)
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