Kuala Lumpur crowned the most expat-friendly city in Asia
Share this on

Kuala Lumpur crowned the most expat-friendly city in Asia

MALAYSIA has been named the “biggest winner” in a study examining expat experiences around the world.

The Internations survey places Kuala Lumpur fourth in the overall list of 51 cities ranked best to worst for expats to set up home in, with Manama, Prague, and Madrid just slightly ahead. The city is highly appreciated for how easy it is to settle down and feel at home in such a short space of time.

The study was formed using responses from nearly 13,000 people living and working abroad, Expat Insider 2017 is one of the most extensive expat studies worldwide. Apart from offering an in-depth analysis of expat life in 51 cities, the survey ranks them by a variety of factors from the area’s quality of urban living, getting settled, urban work life, as well as finance and housing.

SEE ALSO: Malaysia: A growing Hybrid rebrands, relocates Kuala Lumpur home

According to all these rating factors, the top 10 cities for expats are Manama, Prague, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Johannesburg, Bangkok, Basel, and Frankfurt am Main.

Kuala Lumpur also has very little language barriers as many nationalities and cultures exist alongside each other. The nearly 32 million strong population homes many foreigners, and a high proportion of Chinese and India nationals have made Malaysia their home, meaning Hindi, Mandarin and English are commonly used languages, alongside Bahasa Malaysia, the national language.


Performers hold up flags during the 60th Merdeka Day (Independence Day) celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Aug 31, 2017. Source: Reuters/Lai Seng Sin

Less than a quarter of respondents (22 percent) consider the local language particularly hard to learn, compared to half the survey participants around the world who say the same about the language(s) of their respective country of residence.

Although Islam is the main recognised religion of Malaysia, many other faiths are celebrated through public holidays, like Diwali and Chinese New Year.

Being an expat in Kuala Lumpur will also make your bank account smile. The city came in second in the category of finance and housing, just marginally behind Bangkok.

Expats in Kuala Lumpur have reported finding the housing search particularly easy, with 46 percent reporting that it is usually little or no difficulty in scooping up a place to live. As well as the ease of finding a house, the cost of upkeep and rent is kept to a minimal also.

With an average two-bedroom apartment in the city coming in at around US$650 per month in rent and 69 percent of expats surveyed said the financial pressures in Kuala Lumpur are kept to an absolute minimum.


Malaysian Indians prepare for the Hindu festival Diwali in October 2017. Source: Lee Lian Kong

The position of disposable income for expats living in Malaysia is certainly a positive one. 61 percent said they are generally satisfied with their own financial situation and 85 percent are thrilled to have more than enough to balance their budgets and still have fun.

SEE ALSO: Kuala Lumpur named the best city to rent in the world

“It’s possible to afford a far better lifestyle than back home,” a respondent from the UK, currently residing in Kuala Lumpur, told Internations.

Bangkok, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai also feature in the top 20 destinations for expats to move to, which comes as little surprise. The mix of cultures, colours, and cuisines available in these countries will open your world up to new experiences.

So, if you’re thinking of migrating to another country, whether for a short while or long term, it is important to do thorough research. But, don’t be afraid, because there are opportunities to be had.

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister website Travel Wire Asia