Life as Digital Nomad in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, the Red Delta or just KL. The city is known for its famous twin-towers (remember Caterina Zeta Jones and Sean Connery in the movie Entrapment), the delicious street food and of course the walhalla of temples through the city. A little out side the city centre you'll find beautiful waterfalls, tea plantages, caves (Batu Cave!) and other wonderful places for nature lovers. And trust me, you need a lot of these green location when living in KL.
Malaysias biggest stop over city has a lot going for it to be a great city for Digital Nomads. Thinking about Kuala Lumpur as your next destination as digital nomad? Let me tell you about the most important pro's and cons before you make the move to live here too!
PRO 1. Kuala Lumpur is super cheap!
One of the biggest perks of Malaysia are the prices for almost everything. Food, houses, clothing, everything is cheaper then you're probably used to (depends a little bit on where you're from). Even a cup of coffee underneath the twin towers is around € 2 euro (somewhat 9 Ringgits). For housing there are many websites whit great offers (check out Expat.com, Mudah.my and Longtermlettings). The average for a small studio/flat/appartement with swimming pool, gym and good location is around € 300 a month.
PRO 2. Internet is everywhere!
Most of the houses have good internet connections, good enough for Skype calls or to download some bigger reports. The houses I stayed at and my friends' places all had 8 mb/s, so nothing to worry about. You will also find free wifi in all modern restaurants, bars and clubs. Don't expect wifi at the temples or Chinatown tho, but you get why ;-)
PRO 3. Dance dance dance
You can party everywhere, every day. The big clubs like Zion, Zouk and Elysium are open every night till 3am, just like every bar in the main street Changkat Bukit Bintang (a must go!). This street houses restaurants, bars and clubs only. From sportbars and Irish pubs to Chinese clubs and Cuban cafes, you'll find your favorite there for sure!
If you're looking for something special, something a tourist wouldn't find that easily (and a little bit more expensive), then you must visit one of the speak-easy's of KL. My personal favorite is Suzie Wong, but you can also spend your money on cocktails at Tate or Mr.Brooks. There are many more, but it's more fun when you discover them yourself when living there!
CON 1. Digital Nomad community
There isn't a big community in KL for digital nomads, or at least, I didn't find it. There are not many coworking spaces and even online I couldn't find many like-minded persons in this city. For me this is the most important thing a city must have for me to live in as Digital Nomad. I can lock myself in all day at my appartement, but it's more fun to meet more nomads and share experiences. Without a community or places to meet others, it gets lonely. And that is the last thing you want as solo traveler.
CON 2. Heavily polluted air conditions
KL is a crowded city and everybody drives a car. The climate is warm and humid all year round. So you can imaging there are big smog issues in the summer. During my time there I really had more difficulties with breathing. Not that I suffocated but I could feel the air pollution through my lungs. Not good at all. When I asked the locals about this, they all laughed at me. These days were the normal days. 'No smog at all, this is fresh air to us'. So be ready to bituminize your airways when moving here.
CON 3. Things to do, see, experience in Kuala Lumpur
To be honest, you can visit all touristic hot spots in KL within one week. Maybe even in a few days. It's no fun exploring a few neighborhoods or go just wandering around. Most area's you shouldn't even come as western looking person. So after a few days, you'll have seen it all and all there is left is your pool, gym, clubs and a lot of tourists you meet along your stay.
Now there are many ways to work your way around this one, since flying within Asia is super cheap. For € 30 euro you can fly to Langkawi (1 hour) and chill at the beach and go tax-free shopping. Or rent a car in KL and drive around in North Malaysia for a weekend. Go visit the tea farms, surfing on the Eastern beaches or pay Malakka a visit. So you don't have to be bored at all, but the city itself has not much more to offer than the above.
Thinking of traveling through Malaysia and surroundings?
Don't forget to get this super useful Lonely Planet Travel Guide for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei!