Malaysia, Expat Living For Dummies?

I have heard numerous people state that Malaysia is “Asia Living – Lite,”  in reference to how simple it is to live here. Some would argue that it is too easy to live here.  Expats who have had overseas postings in places such as Africa, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan ae shocked to find such modern conveniences in Malaysia.  Malls, which span six city blocks, rise five stories high and take all day to browse, litter every town.  Movie theaters, which play the latest showings from Hollywood to Bollywood, have waiter service and recliner chairs with pillows and blankets.  Expats can conveniently purchase imported foods from all over the world at most grocery stores.  International restaurant chains encourage the foreigners and the locals to try out the latest store opening of Chili’s, T. G. I. Friday’s, and Tony Roma’s.  Mercedes, Fords, BMWs, Chevys, Toyotas and Land Rovers cruise the super highways.  It is true, for those who chose to close their eyes and continue living as they did in their home countries, Malaysia can be Asia Living-Lite!          


I choose to have my eyes wide open because there is an amazing melting pot of culture, religion, language, food and beauty!  “Malaysia, truly Asia!”    Malaysia is alive with three distinct ethnic groups, Malaysian, Indian and Chinese. The Hari Raya and Deepavali festivals have recently ended and the country looks forward to the Christmas and the Chinese New Year celebrations on the horizon. In every shop lot there is a dizzying array of Indian, Malaysian, Chinese and even western products for sale.  Every night we must make dinner choices, which may include chicken tikka with naan bread, nasi lemak, chicken rice, pizza, sweet and sour pork, or curry served on banana leaf.  Once the food choice is finalized, I have to decide if I will eat at a five—star restaurant or simply sit out on the street in a roadside stall.  When driving around Kuala Lumpur, I am in awe of the contrasting beauty between the striking architecture and the lush rainforest.           


Malaysia is not Expat Living for Dummies!  It is a unique country with so many diverse cultural, natural, and gastronomical experiences.  On each side of our house, my female neighbors wear different types of clothing; one wears a sari, one wears jeans and short shorts, and one wears a headscarf.  Each morning when I shuffle downstairs, I can hear at least six different languages through my open kitchen window.  I smell the curries, the sausages, the rice, the fish and the pancakes cooking at 6 am.  When I take my morning walk, the call for prayer sounds from the local mosque as I see my Chinese neighbors doing Tai Chi in the park.  I am constantly immersed in international culture!          


If my friends and readers have been wondering where I have been lately because of my lack of postings, I have been here trying to make some tough decisions.  My family and I had concluded that we might leave KL after this year. This option did not feel right to any of us.  We are NOT ready to leave this extraordinary country that we have called home for almost four years. We have decided that we will stay right here for another year and continue to explore all of the fantastic sights in and around Malaysia!  A friend of mine laughs at me and says, “Anni, you are still astounded by seeing a coconut on the side of the road!”  This is true!  I guess the day that I cease to be excited by wild coconuts will be the day I leave KL!



  1. Danie said,

    November 21, 2007 at 5:31 am

    This is what I refer to as the expat judgment “are you expat enough?” There seems to be a judgment among expats…you are more expat if you have lived in tougher conditions. What is up with that? Great blog. Although there seems to be a problem with your comment section…I cannot seem to type an apostrophe without skipping to a different field.

  2. Preyanka said,

    November 29, 2007 at 1:23 am

    That’s awesome that you want to stay and explore more! One of the reasons I so want to return to Vietnam is that it opens up the door to further travels in Asia; Malaysia is at the top of my list:)

  3. globalanni said,

    November 29, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Thanks Preya,
    I see from your blog that you had an awesome trip to Hanoi! You should see Malaysia. It is really amazing!

  4. superkimbo said,

    January 27, 2008 at 9:41 am

    I’m sure you’re going to love another year in KL! We would have gladly stayed longer had this opportunity not presented itself. KL is such a wonderful place to live – you can really make it anything you want – expat easy, or expat experience 🙂

  5. Three's Company said,

    September 22, 2008 at 6:35 am

    Sounds like you love it – are you still there? My husband is a secondary school teacher and Malaysia is at the top of the list for an international posting. Would love to correspond directly regarding your thoughts on the international schools in Malaysia and suggested places to live!

  6. Alex said,

    September 17, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Hi. I just discovered your blog and I love it! I’m originally from France but moved to Canada 10 years ago when I met my husband. We now have 2 children and I want to take your family to see the world. I would love to start with Malaysia. We are giving ourselves 2 years to plan our adventure. Any tips on where to start? I think the work visas are what worries me the most. Thank you for sharing your journey!

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