Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Exploring the Major Cities of Malaysia


Kuala Lumpur

This is the capital and largest city in Malaysia, with a population of about 1.6 million. Its greater metropolitan area has about 7.2 million inhabitants, and it continues to grow both in people and in economy. It is the seat of the Parliament of Malaysia, and the king lives here. It is an alpha world city, and the only global city in the country. Residents of this city are called KLites. It contains many colonial artifacts from the British rule, but is also a very modern, cosmopolitan city. Some consider it at a loss of local Malaysian culture and tradition, but others consider it a great cultural crossroads. It is located along the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, about 35 kilometers away from the coast. It has many cultural institutions, like the Central Market and National Museum. It also contains the Petronas Towers, the tallest double building in the world. It has a tropical rain forest climate all year round, so don’t move here if you hate heat or rain!



This is a mainly-Chinese populated city of 700,000, but there is also a strong Malay and Indian presence. It is a former boom town when the mining industry was popular, but the population is in decline, so it is a good place to be if you want city conveniences but not as many people. The one problem is that it was designed with roads in mind, so it is not the most pedestrian-friendly city.

Ipoh is the city to move to if you are a foodee! It is famous for its tasty dishes, due to the high alkali content in the water. One famous food is a Chinese dish, Sar Hor Fun. It consists of flat rice noodles, soup, chicken and prawns. Because of the ethnic makeup, it also has amazing Malay and Indian cuisine, so if you love all Asian foods, this is the place to be.



Kuching is located in East Malaysia, away from the Asian mainland continent. It is the largest city on the island of Borneo, at about 600,000 inhabitants. Its population is made up of Chinese, Malays, Ibans, Indians and other local indigenous groups. It is very religiously diverse, and different people may practice Islam, Buddhism, Christianity or Taoism. It is one of the cleanest spots in Malaysia, and one of the healthiest cities in the world. Most people who live here can speak both the Malay language and English, so it is probably the easiest place in Malaysia to be an expat from the English-speaking world. People also speak regional and ethnic dialects on top of that. The city has a lot of malls to make shopping convenient. It is located close to the equator, so the climate is rather hot and humid year round, and it creates a lot of potholes in the roads.


One thought on “Exploring the Major Cities of Malaysia

  1. How about Kota Kinabalu and Penang? I believe expats should also give both cities a chance. The former is blessed with welcoming quaint city life (and English is spoken widely) and serves as the capital of a state that is among the most (if not already the most) environmentally-literate and savvy in Malaysia. Meanwhile, the latter is multi-culturally vibrant and blessed with a UNESCO World Heritage Site, though the cost of living here may be among the highest in Malaysia.

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