Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country known for pristine beaches and islands, a beautiful and rich culture, and an economy that makes it a financial powerhouse in Southeast Asia. Living in Malaysia opens doors for you to expand your career while experiencing the most of a beautiful country.
We’ll explore the cost of living in Malaysia, the job market, transportation, and other factors that you should take note of when making the decision of moving to Malaysia.
Of course, living in Malaysia has pros and cons, so before you make that final decision, check out the best reasons for you to take the dive and get moving ASAP.
1. Living In Malaysia Means The Pros Always Outweigh The Cons
The Pros Of Moving To Malaysia
An Easy And Stress-Free Life
Living in Malaysia is pretty low-key and stress-free. That’s why it’s one of the top destinations for expats looking to retire. The cost of living is pretty low, the country is filled to the brim with tourist destinations, and the people are known to be very friendly and hospitable.
The Food Is Mouthwatering
The flavours of Malay food are top-notch and won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Malaysian delicacies such as mee goreng mamak, ayam percik, rendang, and much more are bursting with flavours and unique textures. Don’t be afraid that the names might sound unknown to you. The delicacies will speak for themselves, and you will come back wanting to try more.
The Locals Speak English Really Well
Adding to the point of being stress-free, the country came out 30th out of 100 that were ranked for English proficiency. There’s no need to worry about communicating with locals as English is widely used, so there’s not much of a language barrier when you’re just settling in.
The Cons Of Moving To Malaysia
The Roads Can Be Hard If You’re New
Malaysia is one of the few countries worldwide that drives on the left side of the road. If you are unfamiliar, this might pose a problem as this might need time to get used to. Add to that the drivers are notorious for being reckless, and you have a challenge.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle, you could always opt for readily available public transport. Also, when you’re crossing the street, look both ways first!
2. The Cost Of Living In Malaysia Is More Affordable Than You Thought
When moving to a different country, be sure to do your research and figure out how much your monthly expenses will be.
The currency in Malaysia is called the Malaysian Ringgit, and one US Dollar is about 4.4 RM. In recent estimates, a single person will spend an average of 1,982.92RM (448.41 USD) monthly without rent, while a family of four will cost 7,075.57RM (1,600 USD).
The rent depends on which city and the location within the city you choose to live in. As with most highly developed cities, there are affluent neighbourhoods, and there are cheaper neighbourhoods.
In the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, rent is between 1,200 to 3,000 RM (271 to 671 USD). In addition, other major cities like George Town, Johor Bahru, or Kota Kinabalu will fetch anywhere from 350 to 2,500 RM (79 to 565 USD) for a one-bedroom apartment.
Always spend within your budget and set aside money for your savings and emergencies.
3. Exploring Malaysia Is Easy And Affordable
For daily commuters in Malaysia, the state-run railway system is the transportation of choice. It’s fast, easy, fairly cheap, and you won’t need to trouble yourself too much with reckless drivers. Most major cities are serviced by the system, which consists of heavy rail, a light rapid transit (LRT), a mass rapid transit (MRT), and monorails.
Besides the railway systems, bus systems are also very common in Malaysia, with both state-run and private bus operators servicing the general populace. If you see yourself taking the bus often, it’s best to get a TouchNGo or TnG Card, so you won’t have to spend time in long queues or busy yourself with having the exact change to pay for the fares. TnG Cards go for 20 RM (4.5 USD) plus credit of 10 RM (2.2 USD).
If you don’t like public transport, there are always taxis and ride-sharing apps that offer a whole lot more comfort but at a steeper price. Scooter rentals are also available through a ride-sharing app if you want to feel the wind in your hair.
Malaysia is divided into two, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia, and they are located rather far apart geographically. Because of this, air travel is also very important to get from one part of the country to the other. Several airports serve the country, especially in major cities, as well as a number of airlines.
4. Malaysia Has So Many Beautiful Cities To Live In
The Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur is at the top of the list for so many reasons. It’s the financial centre of Malaysia, providing lots of opportunities. It already hosts a huge expat population, making it one of the most expat-friendly cities in the region.
In Kuala Lumpur, you will find many malls and shops, multiple choices to go partying and enjoy the nightlife, and restaurants that serve amazing food at every corner, all while having top-notch residential areas to choose from.
Penang is a very urbanised and populated state of Malaysia. The state’s capital, George Town, is home to the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, a tech hub regarded as the Silicon Valley of the East. If you are looking for a career in tech, this might be the perfect place to be.
If you prefer a more quiet life in Malaysia, Johor might be your choice. The cost of living in Johor is relatively low, and its proximity to Singapore highlights it as a popular tourist destination. This has made it one of the favourite states for expats to call their home in Malaysia.
5. The Malaysian Job Market Is Thriving And Full Of Opportunities
Already mentioned is the Silicon Valley of the East, the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone in Penang. This tech hub has become a home to factories and plants of electronics and engineering giants such as Bosch, Dell, Intel, and HP. Adjacent to the Zone is Bayan Baru which is being actively developed by the government as a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) hub that’s sure to attract even more business and investors.
The capital city of Kuala Lumpur is a financial destination and also hosts several multinational companies and offices. Over the past years, some of the most in-demand jobs in Malaysia have been Computer Science and Development, Engineering, Business and Finance, Data Science, Healthcare, and Multimedia.
Globalisation and the rise in tech have paved the way for new jobs to take centre stage in the market, so you should always look out for any chance to up-skill.
6. You’ll Be Amazed By The Local Culture And Holiday Celebrations
For anyone living in a new country, one of the best ways to make new friends and connect with the locals is to take part in the culture. Malaysia is home to an amazing culture and celebrates fun and colourful festivals throughout the year. Here are some festivals you should check out once you’ve settled into Malaysia:
Thaipusam is a festival observed by the Hindu Tamil community and is usually held on the full moon in the month of Thai (January or February) in the Tamil Calendar. It is a huge draw for tourists and locals alike joining the procession.
Lunar New Year
As with many other Asian countries, the Lunar New Year is a highly celebrated event that draws tourists and locals together. It’s a great time to let go of the negativity of the past year and look forward to future opportunities and fortunes.
Also known as Buddha Day, this holiday is one of the most important for Buddhists to honour the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha. Devotees gather in temples and also have processions with flowers and candles.
Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures, and the beauty of the community is seen as each one celebrates and shares their stories. If you are in Malaysia, look up the many festivals and activities conducted near you and build relationships with the very friendly locals.
7. Tropical Weather Means Warmth And A Lot Of Sunshine
Malaysia is a tropical country that is divided into two: Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. The former is located south of Thailand, north of Singapore and east of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, while the latter is located on Borneo island.
As Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia are located rather far apart geographically, they experience different climates. In November and February, East Malaysia tends to experience wet weather, while the peninsula to the west is sunny and dry. And in contrast, the peninsula’s wet months from April to October are when the eastern side experiences its driest months.
Malaysia experiences an annual average temperature of 25.4°C with very minimal variability between months. If you enjoy warm, bright, and sunny days, then you’ll be happy in Malaysia.
8. There’s So Many Fun Things To Do And Places To See
If you’re looking for the sights and sounds typical of major cities, the capital city of Kuala Lumpur has got you covered. Visit the Petronas twin towers and take in the breathtaking skyline, or the soon-to-be-completed Merdeka 118, which is set to be the second tallest building in the world. You can also check out the Golden Triangle, visit the numerous shops and restaurants, and shop ’til you drop in the Suria KLCC.
If you plan to take to the sights outside the city, explore the caves as you ascend to the colourful steps of the Batu Caves at Selangor.
If you’re a fan of the sea, walk the beach trails, and go through the jungle paths of the Perhentian Islands.
You can also go to a higher elevation; take the Penang Hill Railway, climb to Habitat Penang Hill, and enjoy the green views.
If you want to go even higher, the Langkawi SkyCab in Kedah is a great destination for thrill-seekers wanting to touch the sky.
Those are just a few of what Malaysia has to offer, and so if you want to have an adventure, you’ll have unlimited choices.
9. Relocating To Malaysia Is Quick And Easy If You Plan Ahead
If you plan on staying in Malaysia for long, then getting an employment pass from the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) is your first priority. But before being issued one, the Expatriate Committee or a regulatory agency has to grant your employer approval.
What’s great about getting an Employment Pass (EP) is that it allows you to apply for a Dependent Pass for your children, spouse, or parents/in-law or a Long-Term Social Visit Pass for your children or parents/in-law. A Social Visit (Temporary Employment) for a Maid can also be applied by someone possessing an EP.
Organise Important Documents And Helpful Materials
When moving to a different country, you need to be organised. Make a checklist in advance and ensure that all your materials are accounted for and easily accessible (i.e. not at the bottom of your bag). These include:
- Paperwork and IDs (Visa, Passport, Employment Pass)
- Luggage is accounted for
- Travel tickets, especially if you have connecting flights
- Local currency and transportation passes
Sometimes, you might want to download apps in advance, such as ride-sharing apps or food delivery services. Figure out how they work and discover prices so you can better stick to your budget.
Connect With Sanelo To Help With Your Belongings
Conclusion On Moving To Malaysia
Whether you’re looking for a busy metropolis, or a quiet life, moving to Malaysia is a great choice. There’s always something for everyone; a new adventure to have, food to taste, and sights to see.
To make the decision even easier, engage Sanelo to make your move to Malaysia worry-free by making use of our international moving services.
Frequently Asked Questions About Moving To Malaysia
Are There A Lot Of Expats In Malaysia?
Yes. Since Malaysia offers great living conditions while being relatively cheaper compared to western cities like London, Paris and New York, the country has become a choice destination for many expats. Not to mention, the locals in Malaysia are known to be very hospitable and friendly, as well as being very good English speakers, so communication rarely becomes an issue here.
Can Expats Purchase Property In Malaysia?
Yes. With many thriving expat communities, expats can most definitely purchase a property. There are, of course, some restrictions, which are totally reasonable, such as reserved land or low-cost housing. However, if you conduct proper research, follow the rules, and acquire all necessary permissions, you shouldn’t be facing any huge problems.
Is Malaysia Safe For Expats?
Yes. Malaysians are very friendly and hospitable, and the country is a comfortable place to live in with very low crime rates. There are cases of petty crimes in cities, but as long as you keep an eye out, you should be fine.
How Is The Healthcare In Malaysia?
Under the Malaysian Health Ministry, universal healthcare is offered and is very accessible. The Malaysian government has put in a lot of investment and research into the health sector. However, public healthcare is only available to Malaysian nationals but private healthcare service is equally top-notch and getting insured is quite affordable.
Can Sanelo Help With Both International And Local Moving In Malaysia?
Sanelo can help with both international and local moving. If you need to relocate your belongings, just get in touch with a representative, share your details and worry no more. Safe, simple, and stress-free, contact Sanelo today.