An Insider's Guide to the Swankiest Neighbourhoods in Malaysia

If anyone asks where you live, your answer will be 'Jalan Cha-Ching'.
Friday 13 July 2018
Photo: Pixabay

Malaysia has been up and coming for decades and the emphasis lately has been on the exclusive neighbourhoods as well as fringe suburbs which have undergone gentrification.

Home to one of the lowest barriers to entry for foreign property ownership and investment, there are many programmes that encourage foreign participation (unlike the tricky restrictions imposed on foreign property ownership in other ASEAN countries).

Kuala Lumpur offers properties at benchmark prices around the heart of the city such as hip KLCC Park condos, futuristic Troika abodes and untouched gems in Ampang. Not only do these hubs offer a safe space for growing families, but they also offer a huge amount of potential well worth the hefty price tag.

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Photo: One Menerung

This affluent neighbourhood offers the serenity of suburbia while being just minutes away from the KL CBD and the eclectic sprawl of Petaling Jaya. Home to many of the city’s best restaurants and bars, Bangsar seamlessly blends the old and the new, with some of the city’s top condos, landed properties and bespoke bungalows in its hilly surrounds.

One Menerung is a luxury development of townhouses and condominiums that stand proudly next to the posh Bangsar Shopping Centre, where the elite convene to flaunt and fraternise.

Prices here range from US$1.03 million to US$3.9 million, well worth it just for the bragging rights. Surrounded by lush greenery and the view of the Petronas Twin Towers, One Menerung has been the crown jewel of the Bangsar luxury condominium scene for many years, despite layouts not suiting everyone and ageing issues. But then again, even the loftiest condos can experience issues, for example, Troika has obstructed views and leakages, while Sunway Palazzio is a touch too close to high tension cables. We may be nitpicking, of course, but when you’re shelling out money you do expect perfection.

Just a stone’s throw away is Serai Bukit Bandaraya by the same developer, with breathtaking views of the neighbourhood. It is widely regarded as better than One Menerung with prices ranging from US$1.5 million to US$5.7 million.

The Enclave Bangsar is an upmarket residential area designed for maximum privacy where exclusivity is guaranteed. There are only seven bespoke villas and they are all spoken for. If you want one, you may have to know people. Each 5+1 bedroom unit comes with a porch to house six cars, a lift and private pool while a linear garden on the first level deck connects all the houses in the development.

Prices now may be between US$3,430,200 and US$3,808,400. Also worth considering is Bukit Bandaraya – favoured by expatriates and upper middle-class Malaysian households. The place is still very desirable in spite of a famous (and rather gruesome) murder that happened about two decades ago.

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Photo: iStock

Damansara Heights or Bukit Damansara remains one of the most sought-after addresses in Malaysia. Though some homes are fraying at the edges and with reports of frequent burglaries, Damansara has numerous residential enclaves dotting the picturesque landscape.

In 2017, Damansara Heights was listed among the world’s Top 10 coolest neighbourhoods by Lonely Planet (KL was the only Southeast Asian city to make the list), thanks to its cosmopolitan vibes.

For the newly minted nouveau riche, Seri Beringin is a prestigious gated and guarded enclave built along the hills of Damansara Heights. It offers fence-free double storey semi-detached homes, bungalow lots, exclusive villas, and three storey semi-detached homes and is seemingly good value at between US$1.03 million and US$3.1 million apiece when nearby bungalows can fetchup to US$7.7 million.

There is also land available for those who have no desire for cookie-cutter homes. The upcoming 46-acre integrated development of Pusat Bandar Damansara and adjacent to Damansara City has not diluted its prestige, but in fact serves to revitalise the area. It intersperses the old with the new and brings a metropolitan vibe to the area, with MRT connectivity and new lifestyle amenities.

A new Pavilion shopping mall, the highly anticipated Pavilion Damansara Heights, will offer Grade-A corporate offices, elite serviced residences and unparalleled connectivity, bringing Damansara Heights into the future.


Mont Kiara is one of the most researched neighbourhoods in Malaysia and often the first port of call for many expats and upwardly mobile locals alike, although Desa Park City threatens to offer a compelling and greener alternative.

People flock here in droves, whether they live here or not.The trio of neighbourhoods comprising Mont Kiara, Sri Hartamas and Dutamas is one of the most affluent in Kuala Lumpur with a balance of luxury, comfort, affordability and the all-important aspirational appeal that breeds desirability. It is home to an affluent mix of locals and expats of over 51 nationalities, four international schools and captains of industry. Luxury condominiums are the order of the day with a plethora of existing and new developments here to suit a wide variety of tastes.

Top choice condominium Seni Mont Kiara starts at US$515,000 for a 2,411 sf unit to US$2.1 million for a 6,706 sf penthouse. Landed residential hunters are well catered to at the gated and guarded enclaves of Kiara Hills and Duta Nusantara; Duta Tropika and Hartamas Heights in the immediate vicinity of Publika are also highly sought after.

Notable neighbour? The new Royal Palace.The rise of Mont Kiara is synonymous with pioneering developer Sunrise Berhad (now UEM Sunrise) and many of its projects continue to experience high demand. MK10, MK11 andMK28 are all extremely popular with expats and locals who can afford the entry prices of US$640,000 to US$1.5million.

These signature condos encapsulate the best that Mont Kiara has to offer in terms of prestige, design, quality, security and facilities. Besides the sprawling governmental and judiciary establishments already there, the upcoming KL Metropolis, a mega integrated development and exposition hub with MRT connectivity will spur growth and interest in the area to new levels.

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BUKIT TUNKU (Kenny Hills)
Dubbed the ‘Beverly Hills of Kuala Lumpur’, Bukit Tunku is an elite residential area that began life as homes for senior civil servants. Formerly known as Kenny Hills, the pinnacle of luxury living in Kuala Lumpur, its name was changed to honour Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman.

His house still takes pride of place here. Blessed with large grounds and old trees, the homes of the rich and famous are meticulously arranged in seclusion, amidst the tightest security. As you meander through the hilly and picture perfect landscape, you are likely to bump into a celebrity or two, captains of industry, politicians and VIPs of every calling, including the founder of Asia’s most successful budget airline.

Urban legend has it that Bukit Tunku is also home to different sorts of…occupants namely the haunting type. Itis also said that a gigantic python roams the forested groves here. Believe them or not, these stories may improve home security so there is light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

Additional text by Cheyenne Beh.

Related: Southeast Asia: The Next Destination in Luxury Living