Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups
The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free
Insurance, FX and international movers
The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!
From our tax, investment and FX partners
Expat Focus Partners

Become a Partner. Click Here.
Malaysia > Expat Experiences


Monica Tindall, Kuala Lumpur

Published Monday February 18, 2013 (20:40:05)
Monica Tindall
Monica Tindall

Who are you?

I am an Australian who loves to eat, travel and make the most of every minute. I have lived the expatriate life for well over 15 years now, having postings in both Asia and South America. I have a special place in my heart for socially responsible organizations and like to promote those on my blog, The Yum List, alongside all of my delicious food, spa and hotel finds. To find the best places to eat, stay and spa in Malaysia and further abroad you can check out my findings at the

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

My first overseas posting was in Singapore. I was contracted in Australia and moved there as an expat.
Once there though, I caught the travel bug and have been working around the world ever since.

What challenges did you face during the move?

I was only 23 when I first moved overseas and Singapore was a very easy posting so I didn't face too many challenges. Everything was an adventure and fun.

How did you find somewhere to live?

It's been a different process in each country. A number of postings have organized accommodation. This current contract in Malaysia left us to find our own housing. It was tricky to start with as we met a number of dishonest agents who tried to take advantage of our newness. I strongly advise all newcomers to the country to look around with a number of different agents and negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.

Are there many other expats in your area?

We live close to the city centre so there are many expats in the area.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

We have many friends in Malaysia, a mix of both locals and expats.

What do you like about life where you are?

I love the tropical weather and green trees.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Pollution and motorbike riders.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

Australians in general are very down to earth and up front - basically what you see is what you get. The Asian culture is very different though and even though someone is smiling at you, it doesn't mean things are good. I find the lack of transparency hard to deal with.

How does shopping (for food/clothes/household items etc.) differ compared to back home?

In general you can get just about anything in Malaysia.

What do you think of the food in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

I LOVE the food in Malaysia. There are so many options and much of it is reasonably priced meaning you could eat out everyday if you so chose to. Nyonya and Assam Laksa have to be two of my favourites.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Be flexible. Smile. Realize that you and your reactions to life in a foreign country are the only person/things that you can change.

What are your plans for the future?

I'm taking it year by year. I came on a two year contract and have been saying, "just one more year" ever since. This is now my 10th year in Malaysia and I continue to say the same thing.

Read more Malaysia expat experiences or view our latest Malaysia articles

Discuss this article in our Malaysia forum or Facebook group


Expat Health Insurance Partners

Cigna Global

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.

Copyright © 2019 Expat Focus. All Rights Reserved. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use/Privacy Policy. Comments are property of their posters.
Interactive software released under GNU GPL, Code Credits, Privacy Policy