An Expat from Australia Shares Her Experience Living in Malaysia

Name: Ellie Wong
Home Country: Australia
Industry/Job: International Development
Other countries you have lived in: Australia, Hong Kong, China

What brought you to Malaysia and how long have you been here?
My parents are originally from Malaysia and I lived here for a few years while I was still in school. I’ve been coming back to visit family almost every year now so I thought I’d stay a little longer this time! I’ve been here for three years now.

What do you like and dislike about living here?
I love to eat here. I think anyone who comes to Malaysia is blown away by the options. My favourites are banana leaf, grilled stingray, curry mee, Penang laksa, and paper dosai. I also love the diversity of people and culture here. Like anyone else living here, I dislike the traffic and the feeling that I’m not safe from petty crime. I’m also not a huge fan of the disparity that is creating desperation amongst people who commit these crimes.

Name three typical weekend activities that you enjoy.
The weather here is great, so I enjoy swimming and soaking up the sun. I also love getting massages (as they’re quite affordable here) and going to the movies. What is your favourite holiday destination in Malaysia or in the region. Why? It has to be Pangkor Island. There are great beaches, and deliciously fresh seafood (and the best crabs I’ve had). It’s also close to my “home town,” Ipoh, so I have time to pop over and visit my family.

Describe a memorable eating experience you have had here.
Hmm, that’s a tough one! I think all my experiences have been great but a standout has to be eating at Salim’s in Ipoh. The fish head curry and fried chicken are to die for there.

What do you miss about your home country?
I miss the many cafés, the more relaxed lifestyle in Australia, and all my friends, of course.

What advice would you give to a newly arrived expat?
Immerse yourself in the culture! And ask some locals where the best spots to makan are – insider info is always a plus.

How long do you plan to stay in Malaysia? Where would you like to go next, and why?
I don’t plan on staying here for very long as I’m headed back to Melbourne soon. My boyfriend lives there so I’m excited to be reunited with him.

Is Malaysia a good place in which to raise children in? Why?
Yes I definitely think so. As a child here, you are exposed to so much diversity, culture, and good food. I think my own experience of going to school here proved that. And there’s also a balance between East and West here that’s not really found in a lot of other places.


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