Kuala Lumpur And Jakarta: 5 Main Different Things You Need To Know


Southeast Asia has become more developing and busier than ever in last five years. Each country is becoming better and raising the living standard of its people.

If you are planning to move to Southeast Asia to live, even for a short project or longer time, it’s better to learn a bit about the difference between those big cities. Most of the capitals in Southeast Asia are modern and friendly for foreigners, but they still have some core different that you might want to know. In this article, let take a look and see what is the differences between the two cities: Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta.

5 different aspects between Kuala Lumpur vs. Jakarta

1. People

This is the most important thing in every place because you will have to interact with them every day.It’s certain that not all people are the same but in my experience, KL people are less friendly than Jakarta. Citizens in Jakarta are always open to other, and sometimes you might even find it a bit too much. They always smile, interact with others and really friendly with foreigners.

People in Jakarta is open and always smile to others

You can easily talk to stranger in public transport in Jakarta, which is very hard to do in Kuala Lumpur. People barely smile is less hospitality in general, and they hardly speak other languages than Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese. But in exchange, KL people respect your privacy more and would most likely leave you to your own business.


The next thing you want to care about is traffic. And traffic in Jakarta is a total mess. You will have to deal with the slow-as-molasses and mind traumatic traffic daily. In this term, Kuala Lumpur is definitely superior to Jakarta.

Jakarta’s roads follow out of obligation, not city’s arrangement. Narrow alleys convert to heavily used ways and neighborhood roads often turn into logjams because everyone hustle to go forward as hard as they can. To make it worse, there are plenty of food vendors and carts on the street to add to the jams and slow everything down. All you can do at the rush hours is waiting at the backseat and try to distract yourself with other activities like reading or texting.

Kuala Lumpur MRT is modern and still in developing for better

While in KL, it’s just better in this way bit worse in another way. You are in the driver’s seat beside with most everybody else. You will find the proficient drivers are not as hostile as regular people. With the roads are big and plenty, in KL texting while driving, pursuing, unbuckled kids in the front seat, and aggressive turning is wild.

3. Kuala Lumpur vs. Jakarta: Food war

For many people, this aspect would be considered to be the top priority. Of course, you don’t want to choose a place where most food is not your taste. Luckily, both cities are famous for wide range of street foods and local cuisine. If you watch the show of Gordon Ramsay, a very famous chef with 2 Michelin star, you could get some ideas of  how great Malaysia and Indonesia food is.

Kuala Lumpur is heaven for foodies with various types of food

Jakarta is well known for the variety culinary that is presented in the archipelago. Beside local foods, you can have plenty options for intercontinental cuisine and stylish restaurant. But pay attention that the food in Jakarta seems to be spicier than others city.

It’s same in Kuala Lumpur, but there are more common dishes in here at a lower price. You will recognize that there are three main types of dishes in KL: Malay, Chinese and Indians. In my experience, it seems like Kuala Lumpur is the winner in this field as the quality and diversity of street foods.

4. Life standard

For the first look, KL seems to better organize than Jakarta, because of inhabitation the British tradition of Terraced accommodations. Malaysia government offers many low-cost apartments for poor people and arranges space for trees in the city. Although KL is not really clean, it’s still manageable and good enough. The public transportation is medium, but you can see that the MRT is still in developing.

Jakarta still needs to improve a lot to raise the quality of life

In the other hand, Jakarta is messier and a bit over populated. The urban is a disorder with water and rivers are polluted. And as mentioned before, the traffic in Jakarta is bad and poor with lack of public transfers. Moreover, this city is still suffered a flood every year, and they don’t have enough green space to reduce this situation

5. Safety

Both cities are fairly safe to live and travel, even solo. However, the pickpocketing and even robbing on the street still happen sometimes, especially for tourist. So just pay attention when you go out and don’t show off your valuables.

It’s safe to stay in both cities or do a solo trip


Both cities still have its strength and weakness for a foreigner, the only way to know for sure which one is suitable for you is to go ahead find out on your own.

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