Kuala Lumpur's allure among expatriates will play a significant role in Malaysia's drive towards achieving developed status by 2020. The capital and financial centre has always been a favourite for expatriates and tourists, but the government has hastened efforts to provide more foreigner-friendly attractions to lure more overseas talent.
During the launch of Talent Roadmap 2020 in late April, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak identified overseas expertise as an important component of Malaysia's modernisation efforts. 'With the fast-changing economic requirements, Malaysians abroad and foreign talent are an important source to complement Malaysians here to drive transformation,' he said.
In Kuala Lumpur, developers have built mini-cities, such as Berjaya Times Square and Tropicana, that have it all - malls, serviced residences and entertainment under one sprawling roof. Bukit Bintang, at the heart of the city's Golden Triangle, boasts several malls, including Times Square, The Pavilion and Starhill Gallery. The Curve, Mid Valley Megamall and Suria KLCC, which anchors the famous Petronas Twin Towers, also provide world-class shopping and entertainment.
Kuala Lumpur has experienced an increase in the number and quality of serviced apartments, that are expanding operations to cater for long-stay expatriates. Ascott is the largest international serviced residence operator and owner in Malaysia. 'Instead of incurring a higher cost of booking multiple rooms, guests are able to save on expenses by sharing an apartment with their family, friends or colleagues and yet have the privacy of individual bedrooms,' says Tan Boon Khai, Ascott's general manager for Singapore and Malaysia.
The 221-unit Ascott Kuala Lumpur, located opposite the Petronas Twin Towers, is the grand dame of serviced residences in the city and was among the pioneer properties of its kind, opening in 1999. Other serviced residences such as Marc Residence, One Residency, Berjaya Times Square, Solaris Dutamas and Embassy View, among others, are similarly spreading out the red carpet for expatriates.
OUT AND ABOUT
Try Suria Mall in the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, where you can get some of the best shopping deals for international brands. Bukit Bintang and Times Square are other popular shopping areas.
Food courts offer Malay, Indian and Chinese food. The Golden Triangle is popular for local delicacies.
Good clubs include Clique Lounge Bar, Pulse Ultra Club, The Westin Hotel and Captain's Cabin Funtheque.
Fitness and recreation
Fitness and yoga clubs, such as True Fitness, have sprung up in Kuala Lumpur.
The Sunway theme park near Kuala Lumpur is an award-winning attraction recognised by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions as Asia's Best Attraction for four consecutive years (2007-2010). The Masjid Jamek was built in 1907 and is one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur. The Thean Hou Chinese temple is highly regarded for its design.
RapidKL operates buses, light rail transit lines, the KL Monorail and parts of the KLIA Transit route.