If you’ve ever planned to sign up as a digital nomad in Kuala Lumpur (KL), you are in the right place. Because this guide will tell you all you need to know about working remotely in the capital city of Malaysia.
I know how daunting it can be to come to a place where you have never been. You don’t know whether your life in Kuala Lumpur would be worth your time and money.
Having experienced firsthand living as a digital nomad Kuala Lumpur….
I have explored the city, the food, the facilities, and the people and I am happy to share my experience with you and hope to clear any of your uncertainty.
The city is labelled as an Asian melting pot thanks to its population of different religions and ethnicities who coexist in harmony.
The three major ethnicities in Kuala Lumpur are Malay, Indian and Chinese.
Kuala Lumpur has been the hub for remote workers and expats for many years. The cost of living is affordable, the living standards are excellent, and it offers great amenities for digital nomads.
Here is a summary of what’ll you see in today’s digital nomad article:
- Why Become A Digital Nomad Kuala Lumpur?
- Cost Of Living In Kuala Lumpur
- Internet Connection
- Kuala Lumpur Weather
- Digital Nomad Visas In Kuala Lumpur
- Top Destinations For Digital Nomads In Kuala Lumpur
- Coworking Kuala Lumpur
- Coliving Kuala Lumpur
- Best Places To Stay in Kuala Lumpur
- Best Food To Try In Kuala Lumpur
- Getting Around
- Things You Should Know
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Why Become A Digital Nomad Kuala Lumpur?
There are thousands of reasons to live as a Kuala Lumpur digital nomad but to summarise, wifi is fast, the city is beautiful and inexpensive, getting around is easy, and it offers easy access to much-needed escapades.
The Wifi Is Fast
According to Speedtest, Malaysia’s WiFi speed ranks third in SE Asia and Kuala Lumpur ranks the fastest city (for fixed broadband).
- Average internet speed: 93.07Mbps
- Average download speed: 82.38 Mbps
- Average upload speed: 53.96 Mbps
So fret not YouTubers, vloggers and online teachers – we got you covered!
The City Is Beautiful And Inexpensive
Kuala Lumpur is home to the Kuala Lumpur Twin Towers (KLCC), the highest twin towers in the world. The architectural wonder is Malaysia’s proudest icon, packed with an endless shopping and touring experience.
With a combination of urban and traditional elements, there are so many things for you to see and do. It’s possible living in Kuala Lumpur for a digital nomad to do touristy things in between work breaks.
Here’s an appropriate breakdown of the cost of living Kuala Lumpur expenses on average according to Numbeo:
- Accommodation: $500
- Transportation: $70
- Food: $100
- Leisure: $100
Total = $870
Getting Around Is Easy
Popular areas in Kuala Lumpur are pretty easy to reach. There are train lines such as the LRT, MRT and KTM connecting expats’ hotspots to the city centre.
Alternatively, you can download the Grab app which comes in handy not just for mobility but also for food and parcel delivery.
Another popular option is to rent a car via Socar. This app has become increasingly popular thanks to the affordable rate it offers.
Easy Access To Weekend Getaways
Read these articles to find out more about the gorgeous weekend getaways in Malaysia.
- Malaysia Short Getaway : 21 Places To Explore
- The Best Short Getaway In Selangor
- Best Short Getaway In Malaysia For Couples
- Best Nyonya Food in Melaka
- 11 Best Things To Do In Ipoh, Malaysia
- 47 Things To Do In JB, Malaysia
These places are accessible by car and the journey doesn’t take more than an hour from Kuala Lumpur. With plenty of affordable yet comfortable hotels for you to wind down, they are worth a visit.
Cost Of Living In Kuala Lumpur
If you’re a single traveler, living in Kuala Lumpur cost less than $1000 per month, and you can live a comfortable life in Kuala Lumpur.
For a family of four, $3000 is a pretty decent amount.
Depending on your preference, Kuala Lumpur’s accommodation choices spur from hostels to fancy apartments.You can also find many options of cheap room for rent in Kuala Lumpur on Mudah.my or iProperty.
Let’s break the cost of living Kuala Lumpur expenses (on average) into three basic needs – accommodation, food, transportation, and utilities.
- One-bedroom apartment in the city centre: between $250 to $800
- One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre: between $180 to $450
- 3-bedroom apartment in the city centre: between $600 to $1465
- 3-bedroom apartment outside of city centre: from $552
- Train ticket: from $0.70
- Monthly train pass: from $25
- Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: between $2 to $5
- Meal for 2 at a mid-range restaurant: between $13 to $37
- Combo meal at fast-food restaurants: between $3.70 to $4.90
- Electricity and water: between $36 to $98
- Mobile prepaid (one-min): between $0.02 to $0.07
- Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data): between $22 to $37
Most apartments come with a kitchen, so cooking is another option if you feel like firing up the chef in you. You can check out Numbeo for a more detailed breakdown of fresh produce and groceries.
Almost all cafes and restaurants provide free Wi-Fi so using mobile data for the Internet is not necessary.Even if your work requires you to upload large files, it’s certainly doable with Kuala Lumpur’s Wi-Fi speed.
If you’re planning to have Wi-Fi in your house, you can refer to this website for more information.
At the time of writing, TIME Fibre is offering the fastest internet speed of 1Gbps.
Best Time To Visit Kuala Lumpur
There are only two types of weather in Kuala Lumpur – rain or shine.
The climate is typically hot and humid throughout the year, with temperatures ranging from 22 to 32 degrees. Showers occur almost every day.
Heavy rain usually takes place between April to October but not much heavier than the rest of the year and this can bring relief to the scorching hot weather.
I also recommend that you carry a bottle of water with you at all times for hydration and an umbrella in case of unexpected rainfall.
The majority of indoor places will have AC, and many parts of KL like shopping malls and train stations are connected by covered walkways which will make getting around during hot or rainy days bearable.
Nomad Kuala Lumpur tip: If you drive a car, avoid going out when it’s raining if you don’t want to be stuck in traffic for hours, especially on Fridays.
Digital Nomad Visas In Kuala Lumpur
You can stay in Malaysia visa-free for less than 90 days provided you hold a return ticket or other proof you’re leaving the country within 90 days.
If you plan to extend your stay for more than 90 days, you have to do a ‘visa run’. this is where you leave to a neighbouring country (Indonesia/Thailand/Singapore) and fly back into Malaysia to get a new 90-day tourist visa.
Although a visa run is not a legitimate practice, it’s completely practical. As long as you stay abroad for a longer period, you should be fine.
Good news, you actually do not need to do a visa run.
Malaysia has launched the De Rantau Program to accommodate digital nomads. With this new program, you can extend coworking and coliving Kuala Lumpur from three months to one year with this new visa.
The application visa cost is $225.00 or MYR 1000. If you bring an accompanying dependent. For each one of them, you have to pay an additional fee of RM500 or $112.
Processing time after the application will take about 4 weeks or more and confirmation will be sent through your registered email.
You can visit this website for further information on the Department of Malaysian Immigration website.
- Also, here is a detailed guide on the best digital nomad visa for Malaysia
Top Destinations For Digital Nomads In Kuala Lumpur
If you are wondering about the best areas to live in Kuala Lumpur for expats, don’t worry as I have shortlisted the best place to live in Kuala Lumpur just for you.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), Bukit Bintang and Chinatown
If you prefer more private accommodation, you can rent a digital nomad studio apartment for around $700.
The coworking KL scene is strong here. There are ample selections of cafes where the staff won’t mind your presence all day.
Getting around is possible by walking if you feel like visiting the reggae bars, cool cafes and street food markets in Chinatown.
Although more crowded than other areas in Kuala Lumpur, Bangsar is popular among the international community. It is located within a short train ride from the KL city centre.
There are many coworking spaces, co-living spaces, cafes with good Wi-Fi connection and shopping malls in Bangsar.
Mont Kiara is a long-time expat neighbourhood. Located further out of town, this area is considered a high-end area packed with foreigners who call Malaysia home.
There are many international schools, grocery stores, fancy highrises, shopping malls and little cafes here.
Somehow, you can feel the ‘expat vibe’ just by watching them jog around the area or bring their dogs for a walk.
Co living Kuala Lumpur and working scene can be very expensive. But it’s possible to find a room in a basic shared apartment for as low as $250 per month.
Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI)
TTDI is a quiet neighbourhood that is also located further out of town.
But the recently established MRT line from the city centre to TTDI makes the place even more desirable these days. It gives out the ‘family vibe’ where it’s rather unlikely for singles to live here as it’s quite far away from all the action.
This area is like a little town with a decent selection of eating places, hipster cafes, schools, clinics, pubs, gyms and the list goes on.
$800 can get you a spacious 3-bedroom apartment complete with amenities and direct link to the MRT station.
Coworking Kuala Lumpur
The vibe of coworking space KL is more or less similar – modern and well-equipped with basic office amenities.
Here are some of the popular coworking spaces you can consider:
This coworking space in KL has an outdoor Zen Garden, showers, lounge, conference room, pantry, and offers office design services.
Dojo Cost Per Desk Kuala Lumpur: from $122 per month or $11 per day.
- Found8, Coworking Space KL Sentral
Found8 KL Sentral coworking Kuala Lumpur space provides member access to community engagement programs, access to Found8’s group of mentors, and online events from founders, venture capitalists, and innovators and offers a Corporate Innovation program.
- Flexible desk from $22 per month.
- Standard hotdesk pass for $121 per month.
- Trial passes cost $12 per day and $24 per month.
This coworking space aims to be the home base for entrepreneurs. Members get retail and lifestyle partners’ discount benefits. There’s free flow coffee and snacks, showers and meeting rooms. The selected branch has a gym, nap pods, mother’s room and games room.
- Hotdesk membership costs between $73 to $122 per month.
- Free access to all WORQ locations costs $134.
- A day pass costs between $7 to $10.
- Virtual office services cost $37 per month.
This working space in KL offers mentorship programmes for members, amenities include a recreational lounge, pantry, nap pods, wellness area, nursing rooms and a photography studio.
- Hotdesk membership costs $122 per month.
- A daily pass costs $9.50 and a weekly pass costs $36.
- Virtual office service costs $36 per month.
One of the largest coworking networks in Asia, Common Ground Bukit Bintang has made its presence at 13 locations including Bangkok, Manila, and Pasig City. If you’re a member, you have global access. This coworking space is complete with refreshments and perks from Common Ground’s corporate partners and business support services.
- Membership costs $97 per month.
- Virtual office solutions cost $85 per month.
The Colony is a stylish co-working space with amenities including a front concierge, pantry, printers and scanners, common lounge, in-house cafe. Selected branches have a nap area, kids’ play area and with additional charges, you can access the gym, pool, and spa centre.
- Hot desk membership costs $83 for 100 hours per month or unlimited access at $100 per month.
- Virtual office solutions cost $29 per month.
WeWork Kuala Lumpur is a well-established co-working space headquartered in New York with offices around the globe and two in Kuala Lumpur. Amenities (in selected offices) include wellness rooms, mother’s rooms, a common area, a pantry and an Architecture materials library, a barista bar, and showers.
Hot desk membership begins at $147 per month.
Originated in Sydney, Servcorp offers a real-life office environment for its dedicated desks with ergonomic chairs, video phones, lockable cabinet and multi-purpose docking station. Amenities include a printer and scanner, private phone booths and free flow of coffee and tea.
- Hot desk membership starts at $97 per month.
- Virtual office services start at $39 per month.
Coliving Kuala Lumpur
Co living in Kuala Lumpur is an option that will help you network and make friends. Plus, you won’t have to deal with filling your space with furniture.
If you prefer this arrangement, we’ve listed the five best coliving KL spaces to save your time searching.
Best Places To Stay in Kuala Lumpur
Choosing the best place to stay in Kuala Lumpur can be overwhelming.
To save you some time, we’ve filtered some insanely affordable yet comfortable accommodations for you:
- Monkey Mansion Jalan Ipoh – from $5 per night.
- Mandria Apartment Berjaya Times Square – from $15 per night.
- ROOMA @ Hostel KLCC – from $16 per night.
- Malaysia Suites at Times Square KL – from $22 per night.
- Summer Suite KLCC – from $24 per night.
- The Bed KLCC – from $24 per night.
- Suite @ Suasana Bukit Ceylon – from $26 per night.
- Parkview Suite KLCC – from $27 per night.
- Max home @ Robertson Residence Suite – from $27 per night.
- Panorama KL Suites – from $30 per night.
Best Food To Try In Kuala Lumpur
As the Asian melting pot, Kuala Lumpur is like 10 countries in one.
Food is one of KL’s major highlights. There’s Malay food, Chinese, Indian, Western, Italian, French, Pakistani, Arab…
From street food to wallet-friendly fancy restaurants, it’d be hard for you to feel homesick in KL unless you want mama’s cooking.
Here’s a list of must-try eating places in Kuala Lumpur:
- Nasi Lemak Wanjo, Kampung Baru
- Jalan Alor
- Wong Ah Wah Chicken Wings
- Cheese Naan @ RSMY
- Claypot Chicken Rice @ 168 Coffee Shop
- Roti John Titiwangsa
- Roti Canai @ Mansion Tea Stall
- Satay Sri Melaka Lembah Keramat
- Foong Foong Yong Tau Foo
- PMK Dessert (for some serious Malaysian sweet cravings)
- THIRTY8, Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
- Dinner date Malaysia, Element Kuala Lumpur Hotel
- Hanare Japanese Restaurant
- Skillet At 163
- Tamarind Springs
Getting around in Kuala Lumpur is guaranteed to be the least of your problem (besides finding food).
To make life easier, it’s recommended to download the Grab app. The rate depends on the type of car you choose and the distance of your destination.
The city centre is also accessible by train.
For trips outside KL, you can visit Easybook for information on ticket pricing, routes and schedule.
If you feel like driving, you can download the Socar app. You just need to have a driving license and an international driving license is accepted. The rate depends on the type of car you’re renting and how long you’re renting it for.
Things You Should Know
- Tap water is not drinkable.
It’s best to bring your water bottle because Kuala Lumpur is hot!
- Driving is on the right lane.
Yep, and drive safely, please.
- English is widely spoken.
Nonetheless, it would be fun to learn simple Malay phrases like terima kasih (thank you).
- There’s plenty of coffee shops and cafes with reliable Wi-Fi.
- Credit and debit cards are widely accepted.
Online payments are encouraged.
- Nightlife is not THAT happening, but it’s there.
There are some clubs and bars, but partying isn’t really a thing here. But supper is!
- Food is life in Malaysia so try everything recommended in this article.
You’ll never get the chance to feel hungry.
- Malaysia is a multicultural world.
There are beautiful mosques, temples and churches in KL. Visit them all if you have the time.
- You’ll need to dress appropriately.
Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country, so it’s advisable that you dress decently, at least not exposing too much skin.
- It took only 6 years to complete building the Twin Towers.
You can read all about it here.
- A visit to a mamak restaurant is a must.
In KL, you’ll see many mamak restaurants – open-air eateries where hungry locals sip teh tarik (pulled tea) and eat roti canai. Mamak restaurants are where friendship, supper, and watching football games happen.
FAQs On Digital Nomad In Kuala Lumpur
Is Kuala Lumpur Good For Digital Nomads?
Yes, Kuala Lumpur is good for digital nomads as it has all the required essentials for digital nomads to live and enjoy a high standard of living in Southeast Asia from fast and cheap internet to affordable living, dining options, and entertainment.
How Much Does It Cost To Live In Kuala Lumpur As A Digital Nomad?
Cost to live in Kuala Lumpur as a digital nomad is shown in the table below:
|Cost of living for nomad KL
|Cost of living for expat
|Cost of living for family
|Cost of living for local
Can Digital Nomads Work In Malaysia?
Yes, digital nomads can work in Malaysia. You can apply for Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa under the De Rantau Program which allows remote workers to stay in the country from three to one year. If you want to extend, you can apply for another extra of one year.
Has Malaysia Launched A Digital Nomad Visa?
Yes, Malaysia launched a digital nomad visa on 1st October 2022. It can grant permission to stay in Malaysia for a minimum of three months to a maximum of 12 months. And it can be renewed for another year. Travelers with dependents like a spouse or children can come along under this visa.
Do Digital Nomads Pay Tax In Malaysia?
Digital nomads pay taxes in Malaysia only if their income is generated from Malaysian companies and clients however if income is earned from companies outside the country then no need to pay taxes to the Malaysian government.
Who Is Eligible For Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa?
As long as you are older than 18 years old you are eligible for Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa. You also need to meet the requirement that is required in order to successfully obtain the nomad visa. You can check the De Rantau Program Website.
What Are The Benefits Of Digital Nomad Visa In Malaysia?
The benefits of digital nomad visa in Malaysia are access to working hubs, discount vouchers, curated local services, the latest information, and promotions. Another benefit of having digital nomad visa is you don’t have to pay income taxes earned from companies outside the country.
Can I Work Remotely From Malaysia?
Yes, you can work remotely in Malaysia. After applying for the Malaysia digital nomad visa you have the right to live and work remotely in addition the visa also grants you discounts on accommodation, networking events, and other services making Kuala Lumpur an ideal destination for digital nomads.
How Much Money Do I Need To Be A Digital Nomad?
You need between $1000 and $2000 average monthly spending to be a digital nomad. It also depends on the area you want to travel and the type of lifestyle you choose.
Where Do Most Foreigners Live In Malaysia?
Penang and Kuala Lumpur are places with the most foreigners living in Malaysia. Both east and west Malaysia are fringed with beaches, beautiful scenery, and delicious cuisines.
Is It Too Late To Become A Digital Nomad?
It’s never too late to become a digital nomad. There are more resources available than ever before thanks to the internet and advances in technology making remote work more accessible hence easing your transition to a location-independent career.
Overall, Kuala Lumpur is a versatile city that balances work and play for digital nomads around the world. The best way to learn about KL is through its culture and history.
For a start, you can sign up for the Kampung Baru Walk, a guided tour and discovery walk to explore this vibrant city.
The affordable high living standard and amazing amenities mean digital nomads shouldn’t miss experiencing living and working in Kuala Lumpur.
KL has a thriving community of expats and remote workers so don’t let the fear of moving to a big city set you back, if you fancy becoming a digital nomad in Kuala Lumpur!
Related Digital Nomad Posts:
- Digital Nomad Visa For Malaysia: A Detailed Guide
- Digital Nomad Malaysia: The Only Guide You Will Ever Need
- Digital Nomad Visa In Thailand (2023 Update)
- How To Become A Bali Digital Nomad [2023 Update]