Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia’s ultra-modern capital city, Kuala Lumpur (KL) offers the best of city living in a glorious fusion of “east meets west.” It’s home to the world’s tallest twin towers, a shiny monorail makes travel around the city easy, and the fine dining scene is thriving. It’s a cosmopolitan place where retirees and other expats working for the many multinationals based in the city enjoy top-quality medical care, stunning rooftop bars and huge shopping malls. Yet living costs are as little as $1,900 a month for a couple. Up that to $3,200 and you’ll be living the high life indeed.

You’ll find expats spread throughout but popular spots are Bangsar and Damansara where fully furnished apartments can be rented from $785 or so a month. Most have amenities like swimming pools, gyms, saunas, gardens and virtually all offer 24-hour security.

KL can get hot, it’s just three degrees off the equator with temperatures hovering at around 30 C. But the city is lush, with many tropical trees and some lovely parks. The seven-hectare (17-acre) KLCC Park is behind the Petronas Towers with lakes, walking paths, a wading area and a big playground for kids. There are plenty of benches to relax on, cool down and people-watch, while the fountains dance on the large lake.

Stroll through the Brickfields neighbourhood and you’re in Little India with stunning Hindu temples, colourful fruit markets, small shops blasting Indian music and locals dressed in traditional Indian garb. Close by is the Bukit Bintang shopping district, with malls like Lot 10, Plaza Low Yat, Starhill Gallery and the Pavilion, to name a few.

From here, you’re a very short walk from Jalan Alor Food Street, KL’s largest selection of street food restaurants. In the evening the street fills up with hawkers selling nearly every Chinese, Malay and Thai dish imaginable.

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