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Life In Kuala Lumpur  
User currently offlineAlexEU From Serbia, joined Oct 2007, 1817 posts, RR: 2
Posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2749 times:

Hi,

I have an opportunity to go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for a one year studies. As I have never been in any Asian city, I would appreciate any info about:
1. Lifestile
2. Nightlife
3. Safety
4. People

And anything that comes to your mind.

Cheers, Alex

[Edited 2009-05-12 10:19:04]

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMIAspotter From Spain, joined Nov 2001, 2735 posts, RR: 25
Reply 1, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 2701 times:

I went there last year as a tourist so I could only give you an opinion based on that.

1. Lifestile: Hmm, same as most western and asian countries, modern, they are a multi-religious society but the majority are muslims.
2. Nightlife: seems to be quite active (I did not experienced it sadly)
3. Safety: I never felt unsafe whilst staying there, KL does have its rough parts but with a bit of common sense you will be fine.
4. People: Very friendly, did not had any trouble communicating or anything for the matter.

One word of advice, It is really hot there and humid so be prepared.

If you need any more info don't hesitate to contact me, happy to help.

MIAspotter.



I think, therefore I don´t fly Ryanair.
User currently offlineAllrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2007 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2684 times:

Hi Alex,

Something to keep in mind is the food. I cannot rave enough about Malaysian cuisine. Furthermore, it is cheap! So cheap that many people rarely cook and just buy food from the hawker stalls (which may look a bit dirty but so far I've survived - might be a good idea to get a Hepatitis A vaccination prior to going just in case though).

When it comes to food (and certain other aspects of life) one sad aspect of Malaysian life is that there is still some separation between the Malays (Bhumiputera), the Chinese and the Indians. Try it all! Don't be dissuaded by the comments of others*.

There are some societal differences with mainstream western society. Something that Malaysian handle poorly is external criticism and debate, getting very defensive (although they feel quite free to criticise other countries). This has also lead to some quite amusing boosterism about the country. There is a bit of a national inferiority complex coming into play.

There is an automatic deference to figures in power. It's also very important to understand face.

Of course, these are generalisations and you will certainly find plenty of exceptions.

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 1):
It is really hot there and humid so be prepared.

Absolutely true! Very easy to slow down and become lazy.

I think that you would find plenty to do in a year in KL. It's not the most interesting of cities in the world, but thanks to AirAsia and other LCC's there are very cheap fares around the region. I recommend getting out into the countryside as well to experience the life and food.

* Except for durian. Yuck!  Wink



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offlineBeowulf From Singapore, joined exactly 11 years ago today! , 730 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2646 times:

Hi Alex,

As Allrite mentioned, KL is not the most interesting city in the world, but the country side and the beaches are worth a visit. And sure, AirAsia flies to many cities in the region for little money.

KL is a bit chaotic (more so than Singapore) and public transport is not that well organized. Most KL'ites thus rely on a car to get them from A to B. Especially if you come from Europe, you might have the expectation to have great public transport, and I don't find that in KL.

Cheers,
Nick (who lives in SIN for the next few years)


User currently offlineMillwallSean From Singapore, joined Apr 2008, 1240 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2636 times:



Quoting AlexEU (Thread starter):
Hi,

I have an opportunity to go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for a one year studies. As I have never been in any Asian city, I would appreciate any info about:



Quoting AlexEU (Thread starter):
1. Lifestile

Whatever you want it to be.
KL is a modern city with everything you can ask for. Its shopping ranges from Louis Vitton to IKEA. generally alot is cheaper than Western Europe.

Pubs, restaurants are all there in various shapes and for various tastes and wallets. Eat the local food and your wallet will be very happy. Malaysian cuisine is according to me the worlds best kept secret.

Malaysian Chinese speaks good English, especially the older generation their school was only in English. In general you get by quite well on English in the city.
Malay is however an easy language to grasp and it wont take long before youre out there ordering in malay using words like sotong, ayam and kopi kosong like it was your native language.

KL is a fairly liberal city with a mix of nationalities residing; Chinese, malays, indians, natives and SE Asian immigrants. Add on all the expats and its a fairly interesting mix of people there and thats why you can find that small businesses that caters to almost anyone taste.

Supermarkets are there, oldschool markets as well.
Tesco and Carrefour are the two most common western supermarkets seen. Giant is a large chain of Malaysian supermarkets. They are like any supermarket in Europe.

Pirated IT stuff is everywhere, however it takes a little bit of time to understand how to order it. Its not upfront like it once used to be.

Quoting AlexEU (Thread starter):
2. Nightlife

Its not top notch but enough for a year. I used to be a VIP Member in a club called Zouk and they brought in DJ:s from all over Europe.

The gay/lesbian scene is mostly underground and its really not a rainbow city.

But there are plenty of nightclubs and plenty of bars and pubs that look just like they do in Europe; same Irish stuff with the same names.
Lots of small beercafes were the locals hang out, beer is much cheaper there but be careful and dont be cocky in the karaoke clubs if you ever go in there.
The Chinese organised crime syndicates are powerful and they have more than one westerner cry and wish he hadn't tried to be tough towards what he perceived was a small and tiny Asian.

Expat places tend to be overpriced for quite a few of the population though.
As a westerner you are very popular among the Malaysian Chinese ladies and the native ladies. In fact its one of the few places where you get to much invites. Be careful with the ladies though, the malay girls are not to be touched despite the fact that quite a few of them are very keen on you.
There are a few stories about Malay ladies dating westerners and being found out and that has meant commitments that perhaps wasn't expected.
Most of the uni girls are out partying quite a bit so you will enjoy your time there for sure.

Quoting AlexEU (Thread starter):
3. Safety

KL is safer than almost every European city in regards to your personal safety.
Burglaries happens all the time though. If you rent an apartment you will see that they often come with bars for the windows etc. Make sure to remember to keep your valuables in safe locations and to lock etc always.
Often its the immigrants that do the burglaries and they scout areas.

Quoting AlexEU (Thread starter):
4. People

Open, friendly and easygoing.
Certain corruption in more rural parts of the country.
Dont be afraid to venture away from Mt Kiara and the other expat ghettos. they are like gated communities and the people that live there hardly understands what country they live in.

Quoting AlexEU (Thread starter):
5. And anything that comes to your mind.

Cars are expensive unless you fancy the local brands.

Best city you can imagine to use as a base for travelling. AirAsia will allow you to travel cheaply all over South East Asia.

Universities are soso. UM, University Malaya is good some of the smaller ones are really not up to standards.

Great place to rent an apartment in, avoid western "gated communities" like the above mentioned Mt Kiara at all cost.

Certain taxidrivers are a lot more likely to try to cheat you. Most have arrived from another country to the Northwest (and it isnt Burma) and they are a pain to deal with. the best thing the Malaysian government has done is introduce mandatory visas for them.

Avoid drugs at all costs.



First to get the most of the opportunity and enjoy the place you must be open and ready accept that things are different in Asia.
Some things are great other are; well different. But Asia is a lifechanging experience if youre prepared to understand and listen to it.
Malaysia is like a miniasia. You will see the differences between ten different Chinese, malays, 25 different indonesian people, filipinos, burmese, karen and you nawhat we in the western with one name call Chinese etc.



No One Likes Us - We Dont Care.
User currently offlineAlexEU From Serbia, joined Oct 2007, 1817 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2572 times:

Thanks for replies!
Apart from Europe, I only lived in a few Southern African countries. I hope that KL is not like Johannesburg.

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 1):
they are a multi-religious society but the majority are muslims.

It seems that Muslims have tolerance for Christians? So far I have a feeling that it is a tolerant society.

Quoting Allrite (Reply 2):
Something to keep in mind is the food. I cannot rave enough about Malaysian cuisine. Furthermore, it is cheap!

I like Asian food, and that is what most people told me about Malaysia....However I don't want to spent a year eating food...Anyway, nice to try something new.

Quoting Allrite (Reply 2):
Something that Malaysian handle poorly is external criticism and debate, getting very defensive (although they feel quite free to criticise other countries). This has also lead to some quite amusing boosterism about the country. There is a bit of a national inferiority complex coming into play.

My country has very bad relations with Malaysia (virtually no relations). I could not enter Malaysia until 2007.

Quoting Allrite (Reply 2):
I think that you would find plenty to do in a year in KL. It's not the most interesting of cities in the world, but thanks to AirAsia and other LCC's there are very cheap fares around the region. I recommend getting out into the countryside as well to experience the life and food.

That's what I am looking forward to, since I love traveling.
Could you compare KL to Australian cities? I've never been to AUS either, but I've hear people telling me that Melbourne is pretty boring city compered to European cities (which I don't believe either)?

Quoting Beowulf (Reply 3):
KL is a bit chaotic (more so than Singapore) and public transport is not that well organized.

I prefer public transport, as I don't like car 2 car traveling. You get to know country and people by using it's public transport.

Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 4):
As a westerner you are very popular among the Malaysian Chinese ladies and the native ladies. In fact its one of the few places where you get to much invites. Be careful with the ladies though, the malay girls are not to be touched despite the fact that quite a few of them are very keen on you.
There are a few stories about Malay ladies dating westerners and being found out and that has meant commitments that perhaps wasn't expected.

I hope that they are not doing it in order to ''be seen'' or immigrate to Europe...but I am glad that westerners are popular !

Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 4):
Universities are soso. UM, University Malaya is good some of the smaller ones are really not up to standards.

I still haven't decided which university or college to do. Is there anybody with experience? I have a degree in aviation, and I found out that there is an aviation university, any comments on that?

Cheers, Alex


User currently offlineSignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 2995 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2555 times:



Quoting AlexEU (Reply 5):
I prefer public transport

I've only been to KL for a few days, but it seems to have a wide variety of areas, with different feels to them. There is a metro system, though not extensive, but it went to most places that we wanted.

http://www.urbanrail.net/as/kual/kuala-lumpur.htm

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4748 posts, RR: 26
Reply 7, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2345 times:

Welcome to Asia! I feel so excited for you...

Good things first... For me, KL is a playground which I so often come to for the party scene is one of the best in the world. Zouk, Velvet Underground, Market Place, Beach Club, Luna Bar, La Maison are just a handful of top class clubs that you JUST have to visit if you are into the scene. People are generally friendly to westerners and KL-lites are a welcoming bunch. Yes, the local girls always flock to anything white but so do the gay boys as well. So make your orientation known from the start otherwise you would be surprised how straight forward the people can be there, so much for the shy-Asian persona.

The feel of anything-goes in the night scene cannot be more apparent by the rampant use of drugs which is very easily available. Ecstasy, wa-wa, ice, speed, you name it. Unless you intend to have a control, do not even start. Rave parties and circuit dances are the norm and are sometimes held at far flung places only the well connected get the invites. So if you infiltrate the right crowd, party on!

Food wise, it is a glutton's galore. But you need to have a stomach for street food otherwise you are in the wrong country. I say this because the street is where all the good stuff is found. Many people associate Malaysian cuisine with Malay food but that is only one small part of the puzzle. There are so many other delicacies from the Indian, Chinese, Portugese and Peranakan races. Sometimes it all combines into one confusing kaleidoscope you do not even know where to begin. Take time and savour, I say - you will be living there for one year.

KL City proper is actually a very small area which is easily navigable by foot, monorail or LRT. Those are the transport system to use because traffic snarls happen at all times of the day and during the weekends it is choked full of cars from sunrise to sunset.

But Malaysia isn't only KL. It is a huge country and you have other places like Penang, Melaka and other islands to explore. Not to mention across the South China Sea lies Sabah and Sarawak where a whole new experience on its own awaits. Some of the world's most beautiful beaches and dive sites are found in Sabah. use this opportunity to use Air Asia to explore the region.

Now for a reality check...

Malaysia, for someone coming from a western society, needs a little getting used to. The said disparity between the Malays and the rest of the races in the country is often a sensitive topic to be broached upon so try not to bring it up unless you are VERY familiar with the person you are talking to.

Read more about the bumiputera policy here.

Moderate Malays living in KL don't really bother about these tensions although you do have pockets of traditionalists trumping the race issue as a necessity, or even strongly backing the calls to avoid all things western. Pass by the KL City Mosque and you will see banners urging the boycott of brands like Coke, Starbucks etc because America supports Israel in the bombing of Palestine etc... Sigh... I believe Malaysia banned the entry of Serbian passport holders because of what happened during the Yugoslavian conflict in the early 90s. The Muslim-laden politics do get a little heavy at times but by and large it is peaceful if not for some emotional rhetorics being thrown about.

No country is perfect so while it is generally considered alright to acknowledge shortcomings, do not criticise. Last thing anyone needs is an arrogant white guy going about comparing "Why is Malaysia like this? Back home it isn't like that...". Remember, you are in a different country so the saying "when in rome..." comes to play. I have seen too many expats commiting the sin of complaining about their host country openly causing much distress to the people around. It is not polite, plain and simple.

Most people drive in KL because public transport in the city is rather lacking, for the want of a better word. There are different train systems and bus route networks but because they are all privately operated by different companies, they are hardly integrated. Taxis are more often than not a pain to use more than a necessary assistance. KL was recently voted as having the city with the world's worst taxi drivers because of their incessant habit of not using the meter. When it rains, forget about being able to hail a cab that will turn on the meter. Unless you are planning on living in a suburb along a train route which connects you to the city, otherwise buy a cheap locally made car like Proton, Perodua, Naza or Inokom. Be patient afterwards because welcome to the infamous KL traffic jam. But as a consolation, their jams aren't as bad as Bangkok, London or Jakarta.

Feel free to email me if you have some more questions. Also if you need someone to show you around when you get there, I am only 380km away in Singapore and I am always looking for an excuse to go up to KL and party (and eat, of course).

[Edited 2009-05-19 18:34:28]


Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineAlexEU From Serbia, joined Oct 2007, 1817 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (5 years 2 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2166 times:

Hi Ryanair!!! I would like to send you a private messege, but it seems like your profile aint working??

Regards, Alex


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