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Kuala Lumpur Is the Best City in the World for Expats — Here’s Why

By Sabrina Loh

According to a survey by InterNations, Kuala Lumpur was voted the best city in the world for expats to live and work in 2021. Over 12,000 expats participated in the survey, representing a total of 171 nationalities living in 186 countries across the globe.

The survey asks respondents to rate their satisfaction in four different areas, which are:

  • Quality of life

  • Ease of settling in

  • Finance and housing

  • Urban work life

It’s conducted annually and the criteria for countries being considered in the survey include having a minimum sample size of 50 respondents from each city.

Here’s why Kuala Lumpur is the no.1 choice for expats:

1. Making new friends is easy

Nothing makes a new city feel more warm and inviting than the people you surround yourself with. The survey shows that 74% of expats are happy with their social life in KL and 65% say that making new friends is easy.

2. Almost everyone speaks English

Over 92% of participants agree that it’s easy to live in KL without speaking the local language, because 60% of Malaysians speak English. We’re also very friendly and welcoming towards foreigners!

3. Affordable cost of living

KL has consistently ranked in the top 3 for the finance and housing category since 2017, making it THE destination for affordable and easily available expat housing.

The survey reported that 78% of participants are happy with the cost of living, and 71% are happy with their jobs. We’re also home to some of the best street food in the world — especially Penang!

4. Financial services are easy to access

Financial service providers are easy to sign up for, making the process of settling abroad easier and smoother. Speaking of which, it only takes 5 minutes to sign up for BigPay!

5. Cutting edge healthcare

KL is consistently one of the best medical tourism destinations in the world. The survey reported that 78% are happy with the quality of medical care here.

6. It’s beautiful and green

Did you know that KL is one of the ‘greenest’ cities in the world? Literally. Although it’s full of skyscrapers and condos, you can still see the jungle that surrounds the city from virtually every peak, and large pockets of green within. Many expats cherish the year-round sunny days here and have taken a liking to hiking.

85% of expats reported that they’re happy with life in KL. So pack your bags and we’ll see you on the next flight out here!

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