Why Western Expats Are Moving To Malaysia And Leaving Thailand

Cute sign at Kuala Lumpur main train station

During the over 10 years I have lived in Thailand, I have met thousands of expats who loved living in Thailand. Over the last couple of years, I am meeting more who are leaving Thailand for greener pastures and many are moving to Malaysia.

Bordering Thailand, Malaysia is better developed, has a more stable economy, a strong and stable government and many opportunities for western expats. Western expats, in fact, are moving to Malaysia in droves and these are the top reasons why.

No Discrimination For Western Expats – Unlike Thailand, which discriminates against western expats in the types of jobs they can do, the types of property they can buy, the bank loans they can get (or not!) in work permits, visas, and many more things, Malaysia does not discriminate.

Western expats who are tired of countries like Thailand where discrimination is the norm, are thrilled to be moving to Malaysia, where they can buy a house they want, do the job they want, get an easy visa and work permit and more.



Malaysia is Multi-Racial – Unlike some other countries in the region, Malaysia is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society and open to everyone. The three main cultures, Malay, Chinese and Indian create an interesting Malaysian society yet still leave it open for other cultures to join and thrive.

Living in Malaysia, you’ll experience the main Malay, Chinese and Indian festivals, food, literature, clothing, religion, and culture, along with offerings from the Thais, British, Americans, Vietnamese, Australians, Dutch, French and more.

Affordable Healthcare – Healthcare in Malaysia is world-class and more affordable than in the United States. Doctors and hospitals are the same standard, or better, than American doctors and hospitals and care is world-renowned. In fact, healthcare is so good in Malaysia, it’s one of the top destinations for medical tourism. Living in Malaysia, you can only imagine how good your healthcare options will be.

Education – Malaysia’s education system is largely based on the British system and, consequently, is better than some other countries in the region such as Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Mandatory subjects include Malay and English, so any children you have are likely to grow up fluent in both languages.

Education is inexpensive and, if you prefer private education, this is available also with many international schools that use the British, American and Australian systems.

Ease of Language – Unlike in some other countries in the area, English is spoken by most people in Malaysia. When an expat moves to Malaysia that fact can immediately make life much easier, as there’s no need to speak the local language to get things done.

Buying a house, a car, setting up utilities, buying furniture and household items, everything is easier due to being able to deal with things in English.

Good Infrastructure – Malaysia has a world-class infrastructure. Roads are excellent. The water supply, sewer systems and power grids are stable and telecommunications, including phones and internet, are phenomenal.Moving to, living and working in Malaysia for western expats is made even easier due to its western-standard infrastructure.

Food – Western expats love Malaysia because the food is wonderful. With Malay, Indian and Chinese cuisine being the most popular foods, you’ll also find American, British, Vietnamese, Thai, French, German, Spanish and on and on. Food is also cheap. An average meal at many of Malaysia’s restaurants is only $2-$4, and if you eat at the food courts and markets, it’s even cheaper.

Cost of Living – One of the big reasons many western expats are moving to Malaysia is the cost of living. As low as neighboring Thailand, salaries are higher, so standard of living is slightly better.

In Malaysia, you can live on one quarter the salary of most western countries and live well, which is why western expats who are retirees love living here. Apartments are cheap, buying homes is cheaper than in Europe and the US, healthcare is cheaper, eating out is cheaper, and shopping is cheaper.

If you are looking for a country that is developed yet not going to kill your bank account, then Malaysia is it.

If you are a western expat looking for a new country to move to, moving to Malaysia may just be the thing for you. The Malaysian government is also currently promoting a new program called “Malaysia My Second Home:, encouraging foreigners to either move to Malaysia or spend an extended period of time there.