We are excited to welcome Aditi Shukla to our Expat Life Interview Series. She has been living in Malaysia for more than 2 years together with her husband. Let us get to know her.
By the Cambodian Pillars
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I’m from India.
Q: In which city and country are you living now? Did you move there alone or with a spouse/family?
A: Currently at Kota Bharu, Malaysia – moved here with my hubby, Amit.
Q: How long have you lived there and how long are you planning to stay?
A: 2.5 years. Not sure how long we plan to stay.
Q: Why did you move and what do you do?
A: We relocated over two years ago, coz Amit got a job here and I wanted to explore the virtual world of blogging and writing.
Hitching a bus ride with Amit
Q: Moving from India to Malaysia, what was your first impression?
A: Quite good actually. The first thing that came to my mind was – “what a sweet little quiet town this is! Let’s gear up for some adventure…”
Q: What do you enjoy most about Malaysia? What were some of your favorite experiences in Malaysia?
A: I enjoy the diversity of Malaysia – its cuisine, varied flavors, islands and the fact that every city in the country is so beautiful in its own way. Some of my favourite experiences include getting Scuba and Open Water certified at Perhentian Islands, plucking strawberries and hiking the jungle trails of Cameron Highlands, enjoying a meal along Melaka River, watching the skyline from rooftop bars of Kuala Lumpur, trying local food in Kota Bharu, daring to eat the most bizarre food all across the country etc.
Q: What do you miss most about home?
A: The 3F’s – Family, Friends, Food. It’s weird how we miss things we wouldn’t even have thought of. For instance: I’m not a tea drinker, but I miss Indian chai and whenever I go to India, I have 3-4 cups every day, something I’d never done earlier.
Q: What has been the greatest aspect of your expat experience so far? What are the adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life there?
A: The greatest aspect has been experiencing a new culture. The journey has been wonderful. The adjustments were minor as we relocated with an open mind. It took us time to follow the way people talk, their accent etc., but we learned a few basic words and let the apps do the rest 😉
Q: How would you rate the quality of life compared to your home country, in terms of cost of living, public transportation and healthcare system?
A: The quality of life has been really good, in terms of getting to spend quality time with Amit. We travel a lot together. As far as the city is concerned, the place is relatively calm, the island is very close by, the air is very fresh, there are no external stressors, we don’t have to drive to work etc. I can’t really comment on the other aspects as we have been living out of a hotel room ever since. However, I do know this – medical care is really expensive.
Q: What are the best things to do or places to visit in Malaysia?
A: Best things to do in Kota Bharu, and Malaysia in general:
1. Try local food: Every city offers a unique twist to the local cuisine.
2. Go hiking: Gorgeous trails, jungle tracks and more are available in various parts of the country.
3. Experience the culture: Every festival, museum, live show, street art have a glimpse of culture to showcase.
Trying frog legs in Vietnam
Meeting people and making friends
Q: Tell us about your typical day as an expat in Malaysia.
A: The day begins early by hitting the gym (hope to keep up the routine ☺) and getting glued to my work desk soon after breakfast. Besides traveling and writing on the go, the days I get in between are spent on my laptop + exploring my own city by the evening (especially over weekends).
Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends? Have you made friends with locals or do you mix mainly with other expats? Did you feel you fitted in culturally?
A: Yes, it was easy. The people are so warm and welcoming that it wasn’t really an issue (though a great deal depends on you making the first move). We are pally with locals, and there aren’t too many expats here.
Q: What are your tips or advice for anyone looking to live and work in Malaysia?
A: Malaysia is a great place to be in. It depends on the kind of work you are looking at. There are options for businesses, corporate set-ups and start-ups available. As long as you have your visa in place, there shouldn’t be an issue.
Interacting with street art at Penang
Thank you, Aditi, for taking the time to be part of our Expat Life Interview Series! Aditi Shukla is a traveler at heart and foodie by soul. She combines her passion for traveling and eating as she embarks on new journeys to places less traversed. She documents her sojourn at Lyf&Spice https://lyfandspice.com/. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
*All photos are the sole property of the author. They were provided and used with permission for this interview only. Any unauthorized use of these photos is prohibited.
The Expat Life Interview Series was created to know more about the country, not just from a traveler’s perspective. We hope to help others who are thinking of working abroad to know how it is to live and work with the locals. If you are living and working abroad even for only a few months or several years and would like to be featured on Wellington World Travels, please Contact Us so we can send you the questions and share your expat life experience.
Booking a Flight. When finding cheap flights, we try a combination of search engines to ensure we’re not missing out on the best deals. We use SkyScanner, Expedia, Kiwi.com, Kayak, and Google Flights, then compare them to the prices shown on the airlines’ website.
Booking an Accommodation. We prefer staying in hotels. Booking.com is our favorite when it comes to finding the cheapest rate. Again, it won’t hurt to check the hotel’s main website. They usually offer discounts for booking directly with them. For last-minute booking, check out HotelTonight. There are also other types of accommodation like Airbnb, hostel (Hostelworld has the largest inventory), and Couchsurfing.
Sightseeing & Tours. We like DIY tours – it gives you freedom and flexibility. You can take advantage of the CityPass and Sightseeing Pass. But we have joined in several tours that maximized our time and made our trip easier. Feel free to check out Intrepid, and Trusted Tours & Attractions for discounted offers.
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