Malaysia, Our Next Home Malaysia

It’s official! We’ll be leaving Costa Rica at the end of October, and heading half-way around the world to Malaysia, which will be our homebase for the next year or two. We still love Costa Rica, and will probably return here again, but we’re excited to experience something new, and Asia has been calling to us. Malaysia should be a great hub from which to explore that part of the world, and it was also the inspiration for the spelling of our third daughter’s name, Aysia.

If you’re like I was, you haven’t heard much about Malaysia, and maybe have an image of indigenous tribes living in jungle huts, or even a malaria-bearing mosquito filled 3rd world country. While there are still indigenous tribes and even malaria in some remote parts of the country, here are some interesting facts about Malaysia that may surprise you. (Along with some nice pictures I stole from Google images.)

Malaysia is home to more than 27 million people (and interestingly, 30 million cell phone subscribers).

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia was home to the world’s tallest building, the Petronus towers (1,483 m or 4,865 ft), until Tapei 101 topped it in 2004. However, these towers are still the largest twin towers in the world.

Petronus Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia is divided into two main parts, split by the South China Sea. The western part is bordered by Singapore and Thailand. The eastern part is on the island of Borneo, and borders Indonesia and Brunei.

Malaysia on the globe

The official language of Malaysia is Bahasa Malaysia (Malay), which is supposed to be one of the easiest languages in the world to learn. However, English is a close second language, and just about everybody speaks it, because it used to be a British colony. Many subjects in school are even taught in English (although this will change in 2012).

Petaling Street

Malaysia has an interesting mix of Malaysian, Chinese, and Indian influence and culture. (Penang is 43% Malay, 41% Chinese, and 10% Indian). This results in various architecture, religious festivals, and most exciting for me, food (which is also very cheap)! Penang, the island where we’re looking to live, is the food capital of Malaysia, and is said to have the best street food in all of Asia.

Malaysian Laksa

Malaysia has a great mixture of religions, including Sunni Islam (50-60%), Buddhism (20-30%), Christianity (9%), Hinduism (6%), and some others. And there are a lot of interesting temples and buildings to visit.

Dharmikarama Burmese Temple in Penang

Chinese Temple, Malacca

Mosque in Kuala Lumpur

Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang

The temperature in Malaysia is stable all year round, with highs usually between 31-32 C (87-90 F), and lows getting down to 23-24 C (73-75 F) at night. Humidity is high, usually between 66-80%. We’re hoping it won’t be too hot for us, but we’ve gotten used to warmer weather in Costa Rica, and definitely prefer it to cold. Also, Malaysia does have air conditioning.

Garden in Malaysia

Malaysia is full of natural beauty, from beaches with crystal clear water, to jungles and mountains, and more.

Malaysian beach

Malaysia Rainforest

Malaysian beach


Malaysian beach

jungle train

Malaysia has interesting wildlife, including elephants, orang utan, tigers, rhinos, monitor lizards, king cobras, and many strange-looking animals I’ve never heard of before. And don’t forget the fantastic sea life when snorkeling or diving.

Elephant Rides

Orang Utan

Underwater Malaysia

Healthcare is good quality and affordable, making Malaysia a popular destination for medical tourism.

Lam Wa Ee Hospital in Penang

Flights from Malaysia to Thailand, Singapore, Bali, and many other nearby places, can be found for under $100 per person, and sometimes even under $50. So we’ll have lots of great choices for our visa runs. We will be able to stay for 90 days at a time on tourist visas, although there are options for permanent residency through buying real estate.

Malaysia has a great infrastructure of roads, and decent public transportation in most cities. However, while food and accommodations are cheap, cars are not — they’re almost double the price of cars in the U.S. They also drive on the left-hand side of the road. But drivers are supposedly courteous, and do not honk. I’ve heard there are even billboards that say “Be Malaysian. Don’t honk.”

I’m sure you can see why we’re very excited to begin this next phase of our lives in Malaysia. We’re also looking forward to a quick stop to visit family back in the states, and then a couple weeks in Hawaii on the way to Malaysia.

Of course, we’ve never been to Malaysia before, so we could arrive and find that our perceptions are wrong about it. But we’re ready for the adventure regardless. Not knowing is part of the fun.

Brandon is a location independent entrepreneur, musician, worldschooling father, and the principal author of this blog. He's all about reaching his potential and enjoying life to the fullest in each moment.


  1. Wow. Yes, I must say I knew next to nothing about Malaysia before reading this post, besides where to find it on the globe. What a perfect place to explore! It looks absolutely fascinating. Beautiful and rich with culture…and of course the food. Looks like we will start saving for our next family trip! :)
    Can’t wait to see pictures of everything you experience. Love you guys!

  2. Wow, looks exciting. I look forward to reading about your adventures in a new land :)

  3. AWESOME !! I sure didn’t know much about Malaysia either. Thanks for this info and the pics make it looks so inviting and exciting. It will be so different than what you have experienced so far in your travels. Knowing you and your positive attitude you WILL have a WONDERFUL experience . I can hardly wait to start reading of your new adventure.
    I’m looking forward to that stop over in the states : O )
    love you all.

  4. Rick Murdock Says: August 8, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Wow. Living the dream. Best of luck to you in you next adventure.

  5. Sounds fun! With literally a world of options, I’m curious how you guys settled on Malaysia for the next stop – what were the other contenders and how did Malaysia win out?

    • Good question. We wanted a place with good weather year round, relatively safe, good food, and a good hub from which to explore Asia. We love Japan, but it gets too cold there for us. We then considered Singapore, but ruled it out because it’s mostly city, without much natural landscape, and it’s also VERY expensive. Next we thought of Cairns Australia, but felt it was too much like the USA culturally, and also things like maid service would be very expensive (and they don’t even do laundry!) In looking around at other southeast Asian countries, I decided to research Malaysia, and was happy with what I found.

      • Hi! I admire the way you carry your family whenever you feel like travelling to another country. Have you tried researching about Philippines. It is also close to Malaysia. Since you love natural landscape, I can help you look for province/s for you to stay for your next adventure. I am a mom of four kids and have not tried travelling to another country with them. My husband does not just approve of it. Anyways, good luck and more power!

  6. I’m so excited for your next living adventure. And I’m delighted you’re stopping for a few hours to visit me on your way :)

    I think Aysia needs a blog…. :)

    It looks like such a beautiful place – somewhere I’d love to visit… if the heat doesn’t kill me. The country-side looks so lush and the cities exciting. I’d drive Emily nuts with my camera. I’ll be eager to hear your thoughts on the climate once you arrive.

  7. Jennifer Pearce Says: August 8, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    So excited, and so happy that it worked out so well that we can visit family in Utah, Seattle, and Hawaii on our way there. :) I’m glad we finally discovered Malaysia as a possible new home in our search. I think it will make a great base for a while.

  8. Please stay away from the king cobras.

  9. sounds exciting!

  10. Hey Brandon,

    I am located in Singapore right now.

    You may want to visit Singapore when you are in Malaysia.

    It will be great to meet you here.


  11. […] When I came back, I had 82 messages in my personal inbox and 84 messages in my business inbox. I was able to clear the personal inbox in 90 minutes and the business inbox in about 3 hours. It surprised me how many of the messages were unimportant in the context of a week, where I would have spent more time on them had I checked daily. And because I wasn’t readily available to my teams, they didn’t rely on me and came up with their own ways to solve problems. The result was that no major issues occurred, my businesses continued running smoothly and growing steadily, and my programmers even launched a couple new features while I was gone. I’m starting to think about maybe switching to checking email weekly instead of daily, at least for my business email. It’s less stressful overall. I’ll get more chances to test how this works in the weeks ahead as we travel to Hawaii and move to Malaysia. […]

  12. Hello!
    I am currently working in malaysia and I was doing a research online, then I ve found your blog.

    if you have arrived in malaysia, hope you are enjoying it! I have been here for 1 month, and I will stay until the end of 2011.

    Good luck.

  13. Hi Brandon,

    so which part of Msia ? I’m Penang, overall Penang should be a nice place to start with :)

    I’m also into internet business, still working on it and wanted to gain back my “FREEDOM”

    I’ve subscribe your feeds, keep me updated !


  14. Hello Brandon,

    Welcome to Malaysia. I hope you will enjoy your stay here.
    I like your blog and your article about my beloved country, Malaysia.

  15. HI, I am also moving to Malaysia in August this year. I have just got a job to start September so any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. Your blog has excited me – especially when it’s -8 outside this morning!

    Lizzie :)

    • Hi Lizzie. Congratulations on the new job! If you’re moving to KL, you probably won’t need to worry about getting a car. The public transportation is great, especially the trains. It’s one of our favorite cities for many reasons. Enjoy!

  16. |Awesome post, please keep me in the loop on your adventure. Would be interested in cost of living from your eyes on the ground also.

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