Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Expat in KL shares her story

I admit being a blogger in Kuala Lumpur, what I've written about the city leaves much to be desired. My bad, I shall try to do better. Nevertheless it is comforting to know that this little blog at least has a regular reader, a nice lady from Portugal.

Being an expatriate here since August and loving it so much in KL, Marta Velez emailed me as to whether she could guest-post and share her pleasant experiences as KL is surprising her so much. I couldn't pass up on this wonderful offer, could I? So, read on for Marta's insights on her stay in Kuala Lumpur which would give you an idea of what to expect if you're planning on visiting Kuala Lumpur.


Marta (in red shorts) and friend in front of the Petronas Twin Towers
Hello! My name is Marta I am from Portugal (yes, Cristiano Ronaldo is the best one!!) and I have been living in Kuala Lumpur for three months now, planning to stay a couple of months more (or more, who knows?).

Why Malaysia? Honestly the right question is: Why Not Malaysia?! Kuala Lumpur would not be the obvious choice for a Portuguese girl looking for an adventure abroad. But obvious is boring right?!!

I came here by luck, as I found a really interesting working opportunity. I have to admit that before coming here my knowledge about Malaysia was pretty inexistent and Google was my best friend when it came to create some kind of expectations about what my life would be like here. The truth is that this country totally overcomes all my expectations and I totally fell in love with Malaysia and especially Kuala Lumpur.

First of all, being an Expat here is actually pretty easy. Local people are super available and open; they all speak English which is a huge advantage! Besides this there is a huge community of expats in KL which makes the adaptation process easier (you know that we are over 100 Portuguese people in KL? It is actually a really close community as we are all part of a Facebook group where we trade tips and make plans!!).

One of my main concerns was the weather. While I was picturing this almost unbearable hot and humid weather I had a pleasant surprise when I arrived here and you know what? It is not that bad. Actually it is perfect for me as I deal better with high temperatures than lower ones. One thing everyone can point out is that spending Christmas without snow and cold will be strange, sure, but I guess I’ll survive!

Nasi lemak
Talking about food (one of my favorite topics!!), I had super high expectations regarding the food… and I was not disappointed! I always loved Chinese and Indian food and in here, comparing to Europe, it taste waaay better! Naan bread? It is AMAZING! One of my other favorites is without a doubt Nasi Lemak, the local dish, especially when it comes wrapped in the banana leaf. To be honest at the beginning I was going to the same places all the time but once I got settled I started looking further. There are so many websites like VibeHero (among others others) or even Facebook groups to help you. I discovered and tried so many different types of food and restaurants so far and I am sure that KL has so much more to offer! Looking forward to keep discovering!

KL Tower
Last but not least: the lifestyle! I didn’t know what to expect concerning how people live their lives here. After overcoming less positive points like all the dirtiness, the constant energy really amazed me. With my Latin background I am used to see people in the streets, day and night, as Latin people are known to be extremely social. In that sense I totally identify with people around here! 24h/7 open restaurants and supermarkets help! (Nothing like having a naan after a night out). The night life is also pretty interesting close enough to what I have in Lisbon: nice bars to chilled nights and nice clubs to go a bit crazier (Don’t ask me why but I always seem to end up at Zouk!)! One of the other things that I simply love about Kuala Lumpur is that I am a few hours away from amazing islands, mesmerizing jungles or even other countries like Singapore or Thailand!

Concluding, Kuala Lumpur is my new addiction!


Marta, thank you very much for this interesting article. Good to know that you are having a wonderful time here in Malaysia, particularly in Kuala Lumpur. Best wishes for continued happy times. We look forward to your next update.

If you are a visitor to Kuala Lumpur and would like to guest-post here to share your experiences, feel free to write me.

All images are courtesy of Marta Velez


  1. Anonymous6:36 PM

    Indeed!!! So much negativity among people living in KL. My friends living overseas say they just cannot understand why when things are so much better (though not necessarily good in every way) than what they have to live and put up with abroad. Everything only looks good on the outside, they say.

    But of course, personally, I do think Sibu/Sarawak is so much better for reasons I will not state here.

    1. Indeed, indeed! I can't imagine living anywhere else but KL. I can't do without the hustle and bustle of city life though a little sojourn to a quieter place could help put the balance back. Thank you for being real, STP. :D

  2. Anonymous6:39 PM

    Thanks, Marta, for the kind words and for telling it as it is and welcome to Malaysia. But unfortunately, there is none so blind as they who will not see...so I guess it will not make much of a difference what people say.

    1. Yes, thank you again, Marta. Enjoy the rest of your stay here with us.

  3. Anonymous3:28 PM

    I am the one who is thankful! I have so much to say and it is really good to be able to share my experiences and opinions independently of the number of people I can reach :) small steps!

  4. Great to hear some positive words about Malaysia :)