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.
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
Some of the links on here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.
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Why Become A Digital Nomad Kuala Lumpur?
There are thousands of reasons 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 for a digital nomad Kuala Lumpur to do touristy things in between work breaks.
Here’s an appropriate breakdown of 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
Genting Highlands, Kuala Kubu and Bentong are among the many Malaysians’ favourites to escape the city even for a while.
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 traveller, with less than $1000 per month, 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 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.
If you’re planning to get a SIM card, the biggest mobile service providers are Maxis and Celcom.
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.
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.
Nomad 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.
For digital nomads, it’s only realistic to stick with the 90-day visa-free option.
Unless you’re employed by a Malaysian company or assigned to Malaysia by your company back at home, you’re entitled for the multiple entry visa.
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
Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), Bukit Bintang and Chinatown
These areas are very popular with backpackers and digital nomads. There is a huge selection of boutique hotels and hostels which you can easily score on Booking.com, Airbnb or Agoda.
If you prefer more private accommodation, you can rent a 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.
This Kuala Lumpur living 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.
Hot desks: from $122 per month or $11 per day.
This KL Sentral coworking space provides member access to community engagement programmes, access to Found8’s group of mentors and online events from founders, venture capitalists and innovators and offers a Corporate Innovation programme.
- 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 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 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, common area, pantry and an Architecture materials library, 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. You can check the routes and ticket prices here.
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.
But avoid Starbucks or Coffee Bean when there’s too much of a crowd, because the connection can be really slow.
- 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.
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!