Best area to live near school...

Hubby has just signed a new contract so he will be moving to KL in Oct, followed by me and our 3 children in December. I have been looking at schools for our 6 and 4 year old which must be British curriculum, but am having problems finding out which areas are local to the schools. We want nice area, minimum 4 bedroom villa, with minimal drive for school runs. Also what are the chances of getting a dog friendly place?

Hi,
British curriculum schools:-
1. Alice Smith - primary is in Jalan Bellamy, secondary is in Sri Kembangan. Very well established school, well liked by most expats and locals that can afford the fee. Best place to live for primary school is Taman Seputeh, Bangsar. If secondary school, Taman Seputeh, the Mines. Pls google the school to check on fees as ultimately it's the dollars and cents that decides on the school you will send your kids to.
2. Garden International School - primary and secondary in Mont Kiara. Been around for a long time too, again well liked by lots of expats and locals who can afford the fee. Best place to live is Mont Kiara itself, Sri Hartamas, Damansara Heights. Pls google the school to check on fees.
3. British International School - New kid on the block. 2 years old. Brand new campus. My personal choice for my own kids (going to Y6 &Y4). Yes I have heard all the arguments about the new school -vs- the old established school, and I am very happy with my choice. Best place to live is Bandar Utama(unfortunately no villas there!), Sri Hartamas, Damansara Heights.
4. International School at Desa Park City - Brand new kid on the block. Starting operations for the 1st time this September, so really it's a wait and see... Best place to live is Desa Park City.
5. ELC International School- Been there for about 25 or so years ( younger than Garden & Alice Smith). I know of some parents and kids who love it and I also know of some that completely dislike the school. I think experiences vary on year groups. Pls google for fee structure.Best place to live is Valencia, Sieramas.
6. Tenby International School - entering their 4th year this September. Started with a bang and has now got so much of issues problems that this last academic year saw 200 kids leave the school. Looks like the
issues and problems are there to stay as long as the school senior management stays the same. Pls google for fee structure. Best place to live is Setia Ecopark.
7. Nexus International School - Sister school of Garden. It's in Putrajaya which is now the administrative capital of the government but as far as most others are concerned, it's out there in the sticks!... Google the
school for fee structure. Best place to live would be Putrajaya.

Now that I have listed most of the schools out, the next area to consider is the pros and cons of each school. If you are paying the fee by yourself then you might find Alice Smith, Garden, International School at Desa Park City fee steep as you will have to pay a "non refundable fee" of around RM20,000 per child ( pls check website for latest amounts) . This of course doesn't matter if the schooling fee is picked up by your hubby's company. British School has a family deposit system, in terms of the school fee it is higher than Alice Smith, Garden and Desa Park City ( I think! ) but all those schools have a 1 term fee deposit to pay
and the British School doesn't, so best you do the math for yourself and see which suits the budget you had in mind. ELC is popular with the self paying parents. Tenby would be the other alternative to those who don't like what they have heard or seen in ELC, although speaking from personal experience things are no
better in Tenby, which everyone says has the same issues and problems as in ELC. Lots of ELC parents who left ELC and moved to Tenby 3 years ago have all left for other more "established" schools now, so that tells you something. Pls don't take the word of the Tenby Principal about the teacher's qualification. I
know for a fact the Principal had told me ( my kids's past school, hence my discussions with Principal) that the teachers don't need a teaching qualification to teach in the school, an MBA will do!... So pls check on everything, don't take anyone's word for it, not even mine!

What a wonderful reply so much info, thank you so much i am ever so grateful to you for taking the time to do this. It's hard when so far away to find out all the info you really need. I now have a good starting point from which to do a lot more research. You're a star!

Ok so next question, he will be working in the G tower (???!) does anyone know which of the areas are close to there without being slap bang in the centre of town. Like to be close enough to town that we can venture in for dinner on a night out but for day to day living want to be a bit further out, away from traffic etc if that's possible.

Hi,
G tower you said? Every time a building get bought and it has new owners they rename the building so I had to look the building up. If it is the building that I think it is, he is in the KLCC area vicinity. None of these schools are anywhere near there but having said that it then depends on whether you would consider the other side of town schools, namely schools in the Ampang area. You have  Fairview International School,  Sayfol International and Mutiara international School  that teach the British curriculum. From my conversations with parents who have kids in these schools they intend to employ a lot of Indians, some qualified teachers, most intend to be between jobs and from mainland India as they are much cheaper to hire than hiring a British Expat teacher.

Schools like Alice Smith, Garden International, British International and Nexus are very particular on the qualifications of the teachers they hire hence have a large (<60% Garden)  or an almost 100% ( the others listed above) full expat teaching staff. This of course transfers to the much higher fee that the schools charge.

My 2 cents worth is this... Would you want a teacher who hasn't lived in the country and studied in the curriculum teaching your  child? I know your children are very young but the right school with the right teaching staff makes such a difference in years to come. If your answer to that is a no then Fairview, Mutiara and Sayfol aren't for you. The fee in these schools are "decent" and affordable" for most of the middle class locals who don't want the national schools and curriculum and want an alternative. If you visit
these schools you will find a large Asian (Korean and Malaysians) population which should ring alarm bells.

Malaysians love to drive, we drive everywhere and I am guilty of it too, sometimes it's just way too hot and humid to walk! You would find that most expat families  (wifes and kids) are comfortable in the Hartamas, Bangsar, Damansara Heights or the Ampang area and the men travel to work. The attraction of Bangsar,
Hartamas ,Damansara Heights area is that it is in a triangle with supermarkets, neighborhood malls and restaurants situated a stone throw away. Most expat families are comfortable here and the Ibu House is also close by. Most of my UK and Aussie friends are living in these areas and are very happy. Ampang would be the other place but I cannot tell you much about that area as I rarely go to the other side of the city. Sorry about that.  Also know that the families who have kids going to the International School of KL (American curriculum) intend to concentrate around Ampang.

Choosing a school and a place to live isn't easy when you are physically in the country, I cannot imagine how hard it must be when you are so far away and need to make these decisions. Your husband's company should be of assistance as they can work with estate agents from the shortlisted areas to send your specific photos of the homes that you might be interested in for you to shortlist. There are a number of estate agents who specialise in properties which are favoured by expats, so your husband's company should be working with them to give you a better idea on areas to live in.

Hope all the info given has been helpful....

Thanks again for another long and informative reply, it has been very helpful :)

Hi dear,

I married the expat.;) Hope I can help.

GTower is located at the intersection of Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Ampang, GTower is a landmark in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC).

GTower Sdn Bhd
199 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur.

By Road
If you are in a taxi or chauffeured car, drive onto Jalan Tun Razak heading towards the Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tun Razak intersection. GTower is situated next to the Tabung Haji building.

By LRT
Take the LRT and make your exit at the Ampang Park stop. As you emerge from the station, GTower is on your right.

By Foot from KLCC
Stroll through KLCC park heading towards the Tabung Haji building and you will find GTower beside it. Only 1km from KLCC, it takes approximately 15 minutes on foot.

Source from: gtower.com.my/menu.aspx?m=6

We are staying in Mont Kiara. To go to GTower, the best way is driving via Jalan Kuching / Jalan Duta or using DUKE Expressway. If is not peak hour, normally takes about 15-20mins. Peak hour can be 1 hour with the traffic jam.

Ideally, you need to discuss with your husband about his expat package is it cover: Rental (if yes, budget?), maid, school, relocation fees etc.

I do hiring a non-stay in Filipino maid assisting me on domestic chaos or babysitting. some expat have a stay in maid with 2 years contract via agency.

I would suggested to have a GPS for your adventure in Kuala Lumpur would be an ideal. We really on the machine very much. :)

If you are looking for a villa, in Mont Kiara do have a Villa bungalow, info:

Name: Villa Mont Kiara
Address: Jalan Kiara, Taman Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Type: 3-storey Bungalow, Link Bungalow
Tenure: Freehold (strata titled)
No. of Units: 45 units

Layouts
Bungalow:
Land area: 5,200 sf onwards
Built-up area: 4,800 sf onwards

Link Bungalow:(RENTAL: RM16K / month)
Land area: 3,700 sf onwards
Built-up area: 3,200 sf onwards

Facilities:
* 24-hour security
* Gated and guarded community
* Private swimming pool
* Lush landscape

Rental Price: RM 16,000
Rental Price psf :RM 4.45
Bedrooms: 4+1
Bathrooms:4
Maintenance Fee: RM 1,229 (beared by owner NOT tenant)

-------------------
AMARIN KIARA 2 STY SEMI-D with POOL
L/A: 6000 sf
B/U: 4470 sf
RENTAL: RM15K fully furnished.

Amarin Kiara is a low density development of only 31 units of semi-detached homes. All homes come with individual, freehold title, individual pools, fully equipped bathrooms, fitted kitchens, marble and teak flooring, and a host of other quality items. The development also boost of a clubhouse with a games room, gym and also meeting area. Access is via a private road and manned by 24 hour security.

These two houses nearby British Curriculum school: GARDEN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL.

Or you may consider BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL KUALA LUMPUR, still can stay in MONT KIARA, driving via PENCHALA LINK paying RM2.00 toll.

Goodness me, lots to think about! Thank you so much for another great informative reply.:)

Hi Jacki,
I've just sent you a PM regarding schools, let me know if you haven't got it.
Best wishes,
Jo

Thanks Jo and yep, got it, have replied now...

Am worried now about our housing allowance, 10k, is this low? It seems this will rent us only half of some of the villas you have mentioned, JC 138!!!!

10K is plenty
You'll find luxurious homes and condos with this kind of allowance.

Property agents in Malaysia usually see expats (or their companies) as walking bank accounts and tend to show them very high end units even if they specifically asked for decent housing. They also tend to show you properties that are 20% above your price range. Finally, you can easily negotiate down the prices of high end properties (the rental market is not doing so well) and you should know that the agent's commission is paid by the owner / seller.

Good hunting !

Expatypus wrote:

10K is plenty
You'll find luxurious homes and condos with this kind of allowance.

Property agents in Malaysia usually see expats (or their companies) as walking bank accounts and tend to show them very high end units even if they specifically asked for decent housing. They also tend to show you properties that are 20% above your price range. Finally, you can easily negotiate down the prices of high end properties (the rental market is not doing so well) and you should know that the agent's commission is paid by the owner / seller.

Good hunting !

Very well said. Expats are generally viewed as walking ATM machines.

Good to know, thanks

Another question please... When looking at the rental ads, the number os bedrooms is like 3+1 or suchlike, does that mean it's a 4 bed or something different? Why not just put 4 bed?! Don't get it! And they all seem to be fully furnished which I really wouldn't want.

EnglishJacki wrote:

Another question please... When looking at the rental ads, the number os bedrooms is like 3+1 or suchlike, does that mean it's a 4 bed or something different? Why not just put 4 bed?! Don't get it!

+1 usually refers to a very small room - also known as 'the maids room'.

Yes the + 1 is a maids room...usually very small, often without a window and usually near the kitchen....not fit for human inhabitation in my opinion but can make a good storage area!
Fully furnished isn't always fully furnished as you might expect! Unfurnished Can mean without air con, kitchen units...lights even. Part furnished you would at least expect those things. Generally there is little difference price wise, and if you like a unit that is furnished you but you don't require furniture they will usually remove the things you don't want.

So it all makes sense now, thanks. Can't imagine staying anywhere without air con!!!! Yuk! Or kitchen units, or lights for that matter! Haha!

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Expatypus wrote:

10K is plenty
You'll find luxurious homes and condos with this kind of allowance.

Property agents in Malaysia usually see expats (or their companies) as walking bank accounts and tend to show them very high end units even if they specifically asked for decent housing. They also tend to show you properties that are 20% above your price range. Finally, you can easily negotiate down the prices of high end properties (the rental market is not doing so well) and you should know that the agent's commission is paid by the owner / seller.

Good hunting !

My dear, I don't fully agreed with the comment that you make there. I have the perception from some others landlords too when they see me and my husband (expat) viewing the property, but that doesn't mean that we are ATM machine and I will not like to be treated as ATM machines too, that's why I do bargain and put my foot down strongly not overpaid what they asked, of course before we do that, we need to do some survey.:P

Currently my company been helping the international school teachers finding their accommodation, the international school HR officer told us their rental allowance is RM3K. We also help them to find some where which we think will be closer to their work and nearby to the amenities, we also showing them the units from RM2K to RM3K, then the teachers also asked us is it possible to show them some of the units that they found from the iproperty which is RM4K - RM5K and location is a little bit far from the school HR officer suggested, but the teachers said they would like to find some where which is make them feels like home. so, we also showing them the units and let them know the area will be a little bit far to them, they might need to leave the house early to avoid the traffic.

RENTAL MARKET is not doing well, and some of the owners rather sub-sale the unit, owners also selected which type of tenants they wanted to rent, doesn't mean that you have the cash to pay the rent, the landlords will renting out their properties. Some owners actually specified to the Real Estate Company which nationalities they don't want to rent, unless is company paying the rent, the landlords also will asking the agent, the tenant they are going to arrange for a viewing, which company they working for, what is the race (yes, you might feeling that is a bit race discrimination).

Owners who owned the RM1million and above property, most of them have the cash power to keep the unit too, some of them might owned few units within the area, tenant might viewing 10 units within the area, at least 3 units are belong to the same owner, these owner might be the Foreigner, like my ex-landlords who are from China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The agent's fees are paid by the landlords to the Real Estate Company NOT to the agent who showing the house, then the company will pay the agent wages/commission.

EnglishJacki wrote:

Another question please... When looking at the rental ads, the number os bedrooms is like 3+1 or suchlike, does that mean it's a 4 bed or something different? Why not just put 4 bed?! Don't get it! And they all seem to be fully furnished which I really wouldn't want.

Hi,

when they said 3rooms in the ad, sometimes, might be only 2+1 :(

if you are looking for a villa, you need to check the Build Up area ? sq.ft and Land area is how many sq.ft.

Condominium (high rise apartment with facilities) - not allowed pets.

if you have pets, have to look for the landed property, with gated and guarded.

if the units are like is fully furnished, you can request to removed the furniture, then asked for the best discount rent you can get from the owner.

after you confirmed a unit you like to stay. you will be required to put deposit.

2 months security deposit (MONTHLY RENTAL x 2)
1 month rental in advance
1 month or 1/2 month utilities deposit (depends on the landlord required)

Stamp duty and Admin fees for tenancy agreement - paid by tenant.

once you sorted this part. after you move in to the house you like. you need to apply:
1) Telephone & Internet (min 1 week, if you are lucky, otherwise will take longer than 2 weeks)

2) Cable TV (Astro - check with the landlord/ agent when you viewing the house, is it any Astro connection)

3) Gas (if is central gas, owner need to go to do the re-connection, if is landed, you may need to ask the agent for a Gas delivery van driver contact)

When you arrive Kuala Lumpur, you may need to get a local mobile sim card (PAY AS YOU GO - prepaid).

You will having more fun during this application too...especially during the festival period, will make you really frustration if thing not proceed as plan. i.e.TM guy (telephone/internet) may not turn up as they promised, or they may said will come between 9am-5pm, which mean you are stuck in the house just in case they come.:mad:

Sorry for not replying sooner, I did not receive an email notification that I'd had some new responses, so thank you for more info. It's so nice to know that people are willing to help with all my questions, it really puts my mind at rest. Cheers guys :)

Hi EnglishJacki,

Welcome to this forum. I myself am new here.

Yes, a lot to think about when relocating. I remember the experience I had when I first came here. Very very very tedious. Accommodation, taxes, schools, bills, areas, safety, etc. But I'm thankful that I have friends ard me to help me out.

I see that Samantha & JC have provided detailed information for you and am sure you will find them helpful. Jz to pick up on the point on property agents. Well, in any industry, there are bound to have good and bad apples.

For eg: I encountered a bad agent who did not have good ethics. Sufficient to say that I was not given the correct information. But I also met an agent who was very helpful in bringing me ard to check out on the different properties with different prices.

Additionally, although I also have heard of bad lawyers, my friend introduced me a lawyer who is good in his work - he explained the process to me in words I can understand and he ensured that I got the property as fast as I can. So, it very much depends on who you encounter.

I work for an international company in Bangsar and am loving living in Malaysia. Hope you like it too!!!!!!! My email is [email protected] if you want to contact me for meet up.


Warren

Hi EnglishJacki,
Your thread came up when I googled dogs in villas.  I see that you were looking for a place that allowed dogs.  We thought we were on the right track when we started looking at villas, however, I just read a blog where a family had to give up their dog as it was against the code even in the villas.  I can't find answers to which villas allow dogs. We are specifically looking in the Mont kiara area.

I was just curious how your move went and if you were able to find a suitable place to live w/a dog.  Our budget is like yours and I find it very frustrating the places I would love to live are way over that price.  Well, i know this post is old, but I thought I'd post in hopes that you or someone else will see and reply.

Hope your move went well! :)

Hello,  I am a Malaysian returning after 20 years and with 2 children of 9 and 6. I am looking for a decent school for the boys but cost is an issue.  I have looked at ELC which seems to be reasonable but with mixed reviews.  We will be based in Ampang and wonder for that is to ELC and whether there is a school bus facility?.  Tenby is in Shah Alam, how far is that from Ampang?.  I am also considering Sr Utama, does anybody have an opinion on this school?.  Any advice wouldbe helpful?.

Thanks JT

Tighe wrote:

Hello,  I am a Malaysian returning after 20 years and with 2 children of 9 and 6. I am looking for a decent school for the boys but cost is an issue.  I have looked at ELC which seems to be reasonable but with mixed reviews.  We will be based in Ampang and wonder for that is to ELC and whether there is a school bus facility?.  Tenby is in Shah Alam, how far is that from Ampang?.  I am also considering Sr Utama, does anybody have an opinion on this school?.  Any advice wouldbe helpful?.

Thanks JT

Hi JT,

ELC is located in Sierramas - Sungai Buloh, way out of Ampang. If you are planning to staying in Ampang, perhaps you can consider Sayfol - british system, which is along the Jln Ampang only.

You may email to ELC admin for the school bus facility.

You may considering houses in Sierramas / Valencia both of these area are guarded and gated.

Where is Sri Utama??

Good luck.

Dear everyone,
Desa Park international school been open almost a year now, any common on that?? I am thinking to living in there too.
Can anyone suggest a good property company?

many thanks
Zobo

Hello English jacki,

I have just read your post and wondering if you are now well established in KL, particulary with school and housing? I too, have 2 children, aged 6 & 7 and will likely be moving to KL in Septeber/October. There are many schools to choose from but there are many negative reviews about a few of them. I am finding it difficult to know which ones to apply to (and yes I know most of them have waiting lists which will determine alot) however, I want to submit applications asap and because they all require non-refundable application fees I don't want to waste my effot or money on schools that are not up to standard. Any information regarding your experiences would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

WE are looking to relocate to scottland.  My husband is in the process of getting his british passport and then we will look into getting our kids one as well and hopefully me :)
I was wondering what activities or clubs there are for kids.  Our kids play soccer(canada), hockey and swim...are these offered in scottland??  What kind of house am I looking for if we have a dog?

Hello everyone,
I need some info, hope you can help me out.

English Jacki,
We're planning on moving to Kuala Lumpur as per Sept 2013. My kids are now 7 and 4 years old. May I know which school you've chosen and why?

To all:
Does anyone else have experience with language barrier? My kids speak Dutch. Can anyone tell me more about the smog in KL?

Is this info (2011-12) still up-to-date? Thanks in advance.

Gina K.

Sunrise Seekers,
Many thanks. We've been to KL for a week and visited ISP. Park city is a very nice area. And the school is very nice, teachers very friendly and so much to offer after school time: drama, music, sports, etc. They don't have that here in Belgium. And the classes in Mandarin and Malay is also good. Don't know whether other schools offer this as well, but I think this helps the integration.

For the language issue: they only allow kids who can speak, write and understand English. So we have to find English courses for our kids in order to get them ready. That's why I was looking for Dutch or Belgian immigrants to learn from  their experience.

Regarding housing: we still don't know which area. We spoke to hotel local employees and they suggested Mount Kiara, Bandung, Bangsar.

Thank you for your reply!
Regards,
Gina

Hello all,

My husband is offered a job in Kuala Lumpur and we are reconsidering it. Our kids would then be going to the International British School. But I am a bit concerned of where to fing nice housing and what the average price would be. We also would be taking our dog.

Does anybody has expirience in this?
Thanks in advance.
Brigitte

Hi all, my son is planning to get admission in I ash, kl..we full familly will shift to kl taking 2nd home. We prefer to rent a house in subang jaya nearest possible to monash. My question is, what are the best quality condo/ apartment near monadh? Will I get a semi duplex? How much would be the rent for a 3 bedroom newly built condo?
My 2nd kid is school going ( st:1).. Which one is the best islamic school near subang jaya?

Please help.

Hi Brigitte,
We moved to KL in January and my two children go to the British International School. I wasn't sure about the school initially but it now seems to be the right choice. There are many nice areas to live, just depends on your budget and preference - bungalow, semi-detached or condo. If you have a pet dog I think it would be difficult to find a suitable condo although I'm not certain. Desa park is okay and ideal for a dog. Many families from the school live in Tropicana and Damamsara Mutiara, although the latter is very pricey. Duta Tropika and Duta Nusantara are also nice. About 20 minutes drive from the school. If you would like more specific information you could email me.
Kind regards,
Tracy

Hi Tracy,

So much thanks for your message! Why were you not sure about the British School and now okay? I guess a condo is a no go for us. Semi detached or bungalow doesnŽt matter much als long as there is a bit of garden. Do houses have a common swimmingpool in general? And are you renting furnished or unfurbished?

We are still investigating a lot. Also about the costs of living in KL.

Are you liking to live in KL?

Best regards,
Brigitte

Hi Brigitte,

Regarding the British School...it was only because it is a new school and I was worried it may still be going through some 'growing pains' and not have all the programs in place and running smoothly. However, my children are very happy there and it has improved so much in the past few months. It wasn't awful before but it did lack a few things. However, there is a new head mistress who is wonderful. She has put a lot of emphasis on the teaching and learning aspect of the school (implemented some programs for children who need extra help with classes as well as classes for those who need more challenging work), the school also looks more like a school. Walls are displayed with more children's creations (art, models, bits of writing). The school has really come alive in my opinion and I sense a good energy from the teachers, children and parents. As I said I'm very happy with the school now.

As for housing, most gated communities have communal swimming pools but not all. Are you wanting to live in a gated complex or looking for a house on it's own? If so, there are many with pools. My only concern with a home on its own is security. Have you looked on iproperty.com at properties. You'll get a good idea of what each housing complex offers in terms of facilities. You can also map out areas you want to live in relation to school and work.

Please email me if you have anymore questions. You should be able to go into my profile and use the email option.

Traci

Hi again Brigitte,

Just wanted to add that we are renting an unfurnished house and had our belongings shipped over. I do like living in KL. It took a few months and I must say it's only been since about 2 months ago that I enjoy it more. It takes times to make friends, learn the areas and so forth but when that happens it feels much more like home.

Cheers,
T

Mont Kiara have international schools like Garden International School & Mont Kiara International School and it's easier to travel to school as there are a lot apartments nearby. Mont Kiara is an expatriates favourite place due to nearby amenities and restaurants and friendly neighbourhood.

Hope it helps. Cheers!

How is the distance/traffic between desapark city and british international school? Tnx

I don't know about traffic, but do your kids go to the British school?  What do you think and how old are your kids?  We are thinking of moving there for my husbands work and I want to check out all 3 schools there.
Thanks, K

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