1. Club / Society Membership
There are several clubs and societies open to expatriates in Malaysia, from the St. Andrew’s Society to the KL Cobras Ice Hockey Club. Joining a club or society is a great way to meet new people, expand your network and support system, and even find work. Being part of a community can also help to ward off homesickness and culture shock. As a new arrival to Malaysia, you’ll be able to benefit from the understanding of other newbies, as well as the invaluable advice and experience of the old hands and locals.
Find an up-to-date directory of clubs & societies around Malaysia.
If you hail from colder climes, you’ll definitely be looking to make the most of Malaysia’s year-round summer. There’s no better way to do this than to set up a barbie by the pool, crack open a few beers and enjoy your bangers in the sun (especially when it’s minus three with freezing fog back home). Hosting a BBQ is also a great opportunity to get to know new colleagues, neighbours and friends. Most modern condominiums and apartments have a BBQ area with tables and chairs where you can set up your grill and bar.
Malaysia is known for its world-class snorkelling and dive sites. The coast is dotted with hundreds of islands, soft white sands, and countless bays and limestone caves. The clear and shallow tropical waters mean that snorkelling can be as satisfying as diving. For example, on the reefs surrounding the islands Redang and Perhentian snorkelers can spot rays, angelfish, clown fish, leatherback turtles, reef sharks and much more. If you plan on being in Malaysia for a while, and spending your vacations exploring the beautiful islands and coastlines, then a snorkel set it a smart investment. Check out Senses of Malaysia to find out more about diving and snorkelling in Malaysia.
4. Subscription to The Expat magazine
The Expat magazine is free to all expatriates living in Malaysia, sent out each month to the homes of thousands amongst the international community. The magazine has evolved and grown over its 15-year run, but its main aim has remained the same: to act as a community publication for the foreigners who have made Malaysia their home away from home. The magazine includes a news section on all the latest government polices & regulations impacting expatriates, upcoming events and expat get-togethers, as well as columns and comments from our team of expat writers and editors, and much more.
Finding the right hairdresser can be a challenge in foreign countries, where hairdressers may be used to dealing with hair of a different type and texture, and miscommunications can lead to all types of hair mishaps! Word of mouth is the key to happy hair – ask other expats to recommend a salon, or look out for a hairdresser who has international training and experience.
One of the biggest advantages of living in Malaysia as an expat is the affordability of domestic help. There’s nothing better than coming home to a clean house, fed and washed kids, and a meal on the table – this is made possible in Malaysia by migrant workers from neighbouring countries such as Indonesia, The Philippines, and Myanmar. Full-time domestic help is accessible even to those on relatively modest salaries. Full-time maids generally live in the house with you, and most larger houses and apartments have accommodation specifically intended for live-in domestic help, meaning your maid will come to feel like a member of your family.
7. Taxi Driver
If you’re not lucky enough to have your own driver, a friendly and reliable taxi driver is a good substitute. Getting a taxi to take you where you want to go, and paying a fair price for the journey, can be a battle, especially in city centres and tourist areas. Ask around for numbers of reliable drivers, and take the business cards of drivers who provide a good service so you can use them again.
8. A Local
Find yourself a local bar, restaurant or pub, and you’ll soon find yourself some friends. Be brave, venture out on your own, find a place that you like, and make yourself at home. Many expats find they end up socialising with people from work, especially when they first arrive – finding a local is a great way to expand your social circle when you’ve had enough of office politics.
Check our directory of Expat Friendly outlets for a bar near you
9. A Local Friend
Making friends with locals is relatively easy in Malaysia – most Malaysians speak English, and Malaysia is a multicultural society whose members are used to dealing with cultural differences. Meeting and getting to know the locals is a great way to overcome culture shock by giving you an insight into local customs and practices. A local friend will also be able to help you settle in and find your way around. Making an effort to get to know and befriend Malaysians will add a depth and dimension to your time here that fellow expats can’t offer.
Malaysia is an incredibly beautiful country – there’s so much to photograph. With its diverse cultural events and practices, perfect tropical beaches, ancient rain forests, and world-famous plants and animals such as the Sun Bear and Rafflesia Plant, if you don’t have a decent camera you’ll often wish you did.
11. Internet Connection
Keeping in touch with friends and family back home is much easier in this age of high-speed internet. There are several ways to get connected here in Malaysia, from WiFi phones to USB Modems.