1. GET A SIM CARD
With a local sim card, it is always cheaper than roaming. However, it isn’t a good idea to buy a sim at the airport. There are trains and buses to transit from the airport to KL Sentral, which is the transportation central linking directly to almost everywhere in KL and the airport. It is easy for you to buy a Sim there in NU sentral – a shopping mall next to KL Sentral. There are Maxis, Digi, Umobile, Yes…stores in the 2nd level of NU Sentral.
As a foreigner, you need to show your passport to register for the sim card. Remember to ask the staff to activate the internet for you. There are usually variety packages for you to choose, you can go for pre-paid or register for post-paid.
The main operators in Malaysia are Maxis, Celcom, Digi, U Mobile… I am using Maxis with the basic package RM30/ month. With Maxis app, you can easily top up your balance or add in your internet data.
2. GET A “TOUCH ‘N GO” CARD
One of the very first things you need to know as moving to a new city is its public transportation system. To me, public transport in KL is diverse and convenient in compare with my home country. As I mentioned above, KL Sentral is the most accessible station in terms of easily getting around the city.
There are different types of train in KL: LRT, KTM, MRT, Monorail, KLIA Transit, KLIA express. Besides, you can travel around the city by regular bus, BRT(bus rapid transit), KL hop on- hop off, KL free bus. There are also train and bus connecting to other cities or states or even Singapore. There are KTM and bus that run daily to Penang, Genting, Melaka, Ipoh and other travel spots near KL.
The tickets are fairly cheap and charged for distance travel. You should by a ‘touch and go’ card for your daily commute when moving to KL.
If you tend to use public transport for most of your travelling, it is recommended to get a “touch n go” card right away on your first day in KL. You can get a touch and go card at KL Sentral in any ticket counters in front of LRT station or you can buy it from mynews/ watson. The price for the card is RM5 as I remember and you can reload your TnG card with RM10, RM20, RM35, RM50, RM100, RM200 and RM500…
You can use touch and go card for a lot of things:
- For public transport: touch it to pay for the LRT, MRT, Monorail, KTM and buses.
- For tolls: applied for all toll roads in Malaysia
- Parking: there are many parking in shopping malls and hotels allow to use ‘touch and go’ to pay.
- Shopping: some stores accept TnG payment (eg: Watsons, MPH Bookstores, TESCO, Sam’s Groceria, KK Super Mart, etc)
PLUS, to travel from KL to other places in the Malaysia like Penang, Malacca, Prehentian, Johor, etc or even Singapore, you can go by bus by booking ticket at www.busonlineticket.com/.
3. DOWNLOAD GRAB APP
Beside LRT, KTM, Bus, etc, Grab is also a very popular and useful transport in KL for the ones who don’t have private transport. For those places that public transport can’t reach, then grab is a great choice. Grab is more expensive than other public transports, however, when you are in rush or you want to save your time, Grab is better. But….., in the rush hour in KL, grab would be a worse choice since you can get stuck in the jam and the fare can be double. Don’t forget to download Grab app for your phone, use grabpay for better price in the first time use.
PLUS, you can also download mycar app, it is Malaysia e-hailing app like Grab. The service is good, the fare is much cheaper than grab’s; however, sometimes it takes longer to find driver.
4. LOOK FOR ROOMS
If you already know where your office or your university is, you can try to search room when you are still in your home country.
- Key words for searching: #roomforrent #roomtolet #studioforrent #roominkl #mediumtorent #masterroominkl …
- If you don’t have private transport, remember to check if your condo links to any public transports nearby, LRT, KTM, Bus..
- Look for you room in ibilik.com
- Check out these information with owners: renting price/month (what utilities are included in rent?), deposit (how much? – usually 2.5 months in KL), what kind of room? ( master room, small room, middle/medium room), contract (how long for the contract/ do you have to pay contract fee? or any other fee), facilities of the condo (swimming pool/ BBQ area/ gym/ library/convenient store?) housemates (can cook non-halal food?)
Contact owners/agents for viewing when you reach KL; then, book for the room ( booking fee usually is one month/ half month rental fee).
5. DOWNLOAD WHATSAPP
Malaysians are the world’s largest WhatsApp users. So create whatsapp account to easily contact to your new local friends or your co-workers.
PLUS, below are the list of some necessary apps that may be useful for your lives in KL.
- Grab/ mycar: e-hailing taxi
- Whatsapp: daily connect
- Moovit: to check train(LRT, KTM, MRT) schedule
- My tesco Online/ HappyFresh: for online grocery shopping.
- MY Watson: healthcare and beauty store
- Couchsurfing: connect expat community/ travelling.
- Hotlink: to top-up money for your phone/ buy internet data. (if you use maxis brand)
- Waze: (for driver) waze offers traffic updates, road blockdown, police checks from drivers community
- Foodpanda: food deliver