5 Pro Tips to Live in Malaysia for Expats

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Living in Malaysia can be a MAJOR culture shock, especially to those who’ve never been to South East Asia before. Even so, it could be one of the most life-changing experiences for you – in a positive way! Are you an ex-pat thinking of moving to Malaysia? You came to the right place, as we’ll provide you with 5 pro tips to live in Malaysia!

Pro Tip 1: Try out the food from different cultures!

Some of our favorite dishes include nasi lemak, char kuey teow and roti canai. These are the comfort food for us Malaysians, often eaten for breakfast but some eat for lunch too!

Once people try the food here, they will stop eating anything else. There’s a place called mamak where you can order Malaysian breakfast/street food dishes. Fun fact: Malaysia is a multicultural country with three major races which are Malays, Chinese, and Indians, and guess what? You can find food from every culture here!

There are also some restaurants and shops where you can taste food from other cultures as well. Bukit Bintang is the place to go to find Western cafés, Asian restaurants, Middle Eastern cuisine, and more!

If you’re the type to stay at home, you could make use of the various apps on your phone. Especially nowadays with COVID-19, applications such as GrabFood and Foodpanda are better alternatives where you can order whatever your heart desires!

Pro Tip 2: Compare the best mobile data for you!

Some tel-co offer unlimited data quota while some have high-speed internet plans. With so many options, which one is the best for you? 

Among the high-speed internet plans, Red One’s Amazing 8 plan is the cheapest option at RM8 per month, but only providing 1GB. Its other plan redFAST 30 provides more value at RM30 per month, as you’re able to get 30GB of data and unlimited calls. If that is still not enough data for you, Yes’s Kasi Up Postpaid 49 plan offers 100GB at RM49 per month. However, do take note that a foreigner deposit of RM200 needs to be paid before subscribing to any of Yes’s postpaid plans.

If you prefer unlimited data plans, uMobile’s GX68 is the best value for money at RM68 per month. It also offers high-speed internet but its average download speed is slower than other operators. If you want a cheaper plan, uMobile’s GX50 saves you RM28 per month but its speed can only go up to 5Mbps.

However, do take note that some tel-co advertise their plans as “unlimited data” but has a hidden limit on the amount of data that you could use. Some may suspend your service if you’re using a tremendous amount of data consistently, so do check each tel-co’s Fair Usage policy before deciding on one. 

Pro Tip 3: Make use of public transportation!

If you don’t have a car, you’re able to get a ride using the Grab ride-hailing application. However, it is best to commute using rail transportation (such as LRT and MRT) and buses.

The RapidKL transportations are all interconnected, meaning you’re able to access the whole city while avoiding the city traffic! Most areas are accessible by public transport either by rail or bus, whether you live in the city or the suburbs. You can find the map for public transportation by clicking here.

For those who don’t want to get lost in KL’s public transportation, download the Moovit app! You’ll be able to see the routes from Place A to Place B, knowing which line to take and also which station to change at. Besides that, it can estimate how long it’ll take to reach your destination! Neat right?

If you ever need to travel in a car there is an app called SOCAR. Never heard of it before? Well, it’s a Malaysian car-sharing network which allows you to rent a car, for a certain fee of course! From only RM6 per hour, you could use it to travel anywhere, even outside the city!

Pro Tip 4: Travel outside the city!

Once you’ve gotten bored of the urban lifestyle, there are many places to travel to outside of KL. Travel platforms such as Klook and KKday make it easy for you to organise your next trip!

If you are into islands and beaches, the state of Terengganu is only 5 hours away by car and ferry. There’s a plethora of exciting activities to be done, such as going scuba diving, jungle trekking, and kayaking. Seeing the crystal-clear waters will surely make you want to unwind and have a nice cold drink by the beach.

If you’re not a beach person, Pahang could be the state for you. Sure, rural towns are usually quiet and isolated, but not this one! You could do various activities in Bilut Extreme Park, such as paintball and riding the ATV through the hills.

Not the active kind? Worry not, you may find that the right place for you is a 4-hour drive away in Penang! If you ask any locals, the best thing about Penang is their food scene. Spoilt for choices of hawker centers and stalls, 1 trip to Penang is definitely not enough!

Pro Tip 5: There are many ways to transfer money overseas

After spending some time in this new country you may call home, you might miss your actual home. You could show your family some love by sending them money.

There are various ways to send money back home, one of them is by using money transfer operators (MTOs). There are many MTOs available for you to use, such as MoneyMatch, for instance. Our service is fast and used by many locals AND expats in Malaysia.

There are also banks, which are very secure. However, their processing fees can be costly.

At MoneyMatch, we provide you transparent transfer fees and affordable exchange rates so YOU could save more and send more to your loved ones. Our service is also as secured as banks, requiring users to go through an online verification or e-KYC. If you seek greater convenience and value for money, read more about it in our other article.

So that’s all the pro tips to live in Malaysia, coming from a born and bred Malaysian! When it comes to food and travel, there are plenty of options to choose from. There is no communication barrier to be worried about, as many Malaysians here in the city do speak in English and more!

If you’re sending money back home, use MoneyMatch to save more and spend more. Head to our website and register now!

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