If you’re thinking about moving to Kuala Lumpur with your children, you’ve come to the right place.
As a parent, you want the best for your children. The best healthcare, the best education, the best entertainment and food. You want welcoming communities, those that will integrate you and happily support you and your children through the transition — whether that’s through social events, after-school activities or plain old networking.
And Kuala Lumpur has it all.
Kuala Lumpur is one of the most child-friendly cities in Asia and is packed with exciting, fun-filled activities and cultural experiences that are designed to educate and broaden young minds.
From nature and wildlife experiences to museums and temples, you and your children can immerse yourself in everything Kuala Lumpur has to offer. It’s also very affordable for families and was the sixth most popular city destination amongst international overnight visitors in 2019.
As for education, Kuala Lumpur offers a variety of international schools so your children will feel right at home and will quickly become part of the local community.
Of course, before you decide to move to Kuala Lumpur, it’s important that you get as much information as possible about the healthcare, education, accommodation, cultures, activities and more.
Which is why in this article, we’re going to take you through what you need to know.
What’s it like living in Kuala Lumpur?
Kuala Lumpur — officially the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and colloquially referred to as KL — is the financial, cultural and economic centre of Malaysia and a popular destination for tourists and expat families. It’s a bustling, growing, multicultural metropolis that has everything to offer — from traditional cuisines and nature reserves to high-quality schools and activities for children.
A modern, yet traditional city
Kuala Lumpur blends the best of modernity with tradition — from high-rise skyscrapers and historical buildings to native dishes and European cuisine.
Many of the buildings are new, contemporary and spacious, with open-plan areas and floor-to -ceiling windows that allow sunshine to shine through. Newer homes have at least three bedrooms, while condos and bungalows can have as many as five or six.
The people are a delight and can express themselves and their cultures and religions freely. The Malaysian government honours a variety of holidays to ensure this is the case.
And even with this blend of architecture and culture, everyone has a clear sense of identity. It’s a harmonious combination that takes the best humanity has to offer and makes it even better.
But what about the amenities, healthcare, accommodation, activities and weather?
Climate and weather
Kuala Lumpur has a tropical rainforest climate; it’s hot, humid, sunny and frequented by abundant rainfall (particularly during monsoon season which runs from October to March).
On average, temperatures hover between 32 and 35 °C, but can reach as low as 17.8°C. That said, you’ll never feel cold and it’s usually sunny throughout the year.
Best places to live
The city of Kuala Lumpur might be the 6th most-visited city in the world (according to Mastercard’s 2019 Global Destination Cities Index), but what about the great places surrounding it?
If you’re moving to Kuala Lumpur, but want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city centre, there are plenty of affordable and comfortable towns outside of the city.
Selangor is the richest state in Malaysia. Its booming economy and high standard of living make it an ideal place to set up home if you’re thinking of moving to Kuala Lumpur.
It has a lively business district, plenty of shopping centres and some cozy suburban areas, offering a great mix of peace and city-style living. You and your children will get to experience the best of both worlds!
Desa Park City
A self-contained town on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Desa Park City has become popular with families looking for a peaceful suburban life that isn’t too detached from the city.
Featuring a large central park, a lake, local amenities and shops, Desa Park City is definitely one to consider if you’re moving to Kuala Lumpur with your children.
If you want to find out more about the other fantastic locations around Kuala Lumpur, our guide (which you can download here) has everything you need to know.
Expenses and budget
One of the great things about Kuala Lumpur is that the cost of living there is relatively low.
According to the 2020 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Kuala Lumpur is 144th out of 209 cities worldwide, making it one of the most affordable places to live in the world.
For example, the average cost of a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre is around MYR 3,700 a month (about £635), while outside the city centre would be closer to MYR 2,000 (£352). Stats from Numbeo show that rent in Kuala Lumpur is 81.42% lower than in London.
Also, don’t expect to have to pay a lot for food and drink; essential items cost very little, i.e. a litre of milk costs MYR 6.75 (£1.16) and 12 eggs, a kilo of rice and a 500g loaf of bread costMYR 14.59 (£2.51). You and your children could even venture out to food courts for breakfast, lunch and dinner and get to experience a variety of cuisines without squeezing your wallet dry.
Many of Asia’s most skilled nurses, doctors and medical professionals are based in Kuala Lumpur. A large proportion of them have trained overseas before returning to practice in their home country.
As a result, Kuala Lumpur offers some of the best healthcare (and healthcare facilities in Southeast Asia, with most hospitals being Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited — meaning they provide “gold standard” healthcare.
If transportation is what’s stopping you from moving to Kuala Lumpur — don’t worry.
Kuala Lumpur has one of the most robust and effective transport networks in the world. The main railway station is KL Sentral, the largest station in Southeast Asia.
KL Sentral connects six rail networks across Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, as well as Singapore and Thailand — which is great if you plan to go further afield or take a family holiday.
You can also use free buses, shuttles and grab cars.
Overall, Kuala Lumpur’s education system is considered good and there are plenty of private and international schools that cater to children of expats. These schools mostly follow the American, British, Australian or International Baccalaureate curriculum.
Public schools can be attended free of charge by both expats and local children. Classes are, however, taught in Malay, Tamil or Mandarin so unless your family already speaks one of these languages — or your children are young enough to pick them up — it can be a challenge.
From free museums and national parks to adventure centres and theme parks, there’s no shortage of activities in Kuala Lumpur.
You’ll all love the Petrosains Discovery Centre, KL Aquarium, Sunway Lagoon Park — and those are just a few of the attractions! Also, if you’re worried about lockdown fatigue, we’ve listed 15 things you and your family can do to combat it.
Ready to make the move?
Our advice? Get out there and try everything with your children. Immerse yourselves in the traditions and cultures of Kuala Lumpur and you’ll quickly see how incredible the city is.
The city is vast, diverse and buzzing with life, so you and your kids will always be in awe of what’s around you. And it’s this excitement and interest that will keep you all engaged and wanting more.
Once again, it’s all about getting the best for your children — and by now you know just how much Kuala Lumpur can offer you and your family.
But there’s even more that it can offer… and our free guide can provide more information (you’ll also be able to share it with others). If you want to learn more about moving to Kuala Lumpur, including some other great places to live, more activities, further information on healthcare and education prospects for your children, just download our guide below. It’s completely free.