Our modern 4th floor (penthouse) apartment is in a small exclusive condominium – 16 units only, own swimming pool & leisure area, guard & gated security – located very close to KL City Centre with its famous Twin Towers. The apartment is wonderfully light and spacious, with a capacious open-plan living/dining room/study with double-height ceiling; a large master bedroom plus two further good-sized double bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms; and a cosy TV room with surround sound where you can enjoy – and, if wished, record for later viewing – a very wide range of satellite TV channels (including terrific international sports coverage!), as well as our extensive DVD collection.
A spiral staircase leads up from our living/dining room to a large mezzanine – Marinella’s study cum exercise room. From there you can go out onto our roof-top patio – a nice place for a relaxing drink in the evening, gazing at the gleaming Twin Towers and other impressive KL buildings and, in the distance, the surrounding tropical forests.
We have a computer with full broadband, scanner & printer. Our reliable Philipino maid comes in to clean and iron three times a week. She also changes the litter trays (outside on the roof patio) for our two friendly cats; all we ask of staying guests is that you feed them daily and, ideally, give them a bit of affection! We keep our apartment clean, neat and tidy (and would do the same with your place). We welcome teenagers, but no small children - sorry!
The exchange comes with our Nissan X-Trail car, which will enable you to get around KL as well as to explore more widely in Malaysia: Penang, Malacca, the National Park (Taman Negara) with its virgin tropical forest and Singapore are all within comfortable driving distance. We also offer, for those suitably licensed, Gordon’s two-seater Suzuki 150 scooter – ideal for scooting around the KL area! But if you don’t want to drive, you can always get a taxi – they are dead cheap here.
We live in Ampang Hilir, an upmarket enclave less than two miles from the KL City Centre (Twin Towers) and adjoining central business/shopping/nightlife districts. Despite being close to the centre, our area retains a leafy tropical character, with older villas with gardens interspersed with modern apartment blocks. It is also one of the two main areas of KL in which expatriates (including many embassies and residences) tend to live, although it retains its undoubtedly Malaysian character. As such, it offers most of the services – shops, restaurants, hairdressers, beauty salons and so on – you are likely to want. And all at a fraction of the prices of Europe, North America or Australasia. Eating out is one of the real delights in KL and Malaysia generally, with a vast range of excellent local, regional and international food at prices so cheap, you won’t believe it!
We are also well placed for the other Malaysian national ‘sport’: shopping. Our apartment is only a stone’s throw from the best local shopping centre, with supermarket, shops and restaurants: local, Western, Thai, Japanese, even Starbucks……plus one of the best jazz venues in KL! A short drive to the centre brings you to an even wider range of all of these – including malls offering the latest digital gadgets at keen Asian prices.
Other tourist sites of KL – eg Chinatown, the handsome British colonial/Moorish architecture, the National Mosque, the KL Tower (4th highest in the world), the Lake Gardens with excellent Bird Park and Orchid Garden – are equally accessible from our place.
On top of that, KL is a fantastic base to explore not only Malaysia but also wider South-East Asia. KL International Airport, 45 minutes by cheap (less than £12 or $17) taxi from us, is the home base of Air Asia – the largest and most successful low-cost airline in Asia. See the 'About Us' section below for where the airline can fly you to, and how we can help you organise a regional trip!
We are both British and in our early 50s: Gordon from Scotland; Marinella from London, though of Italian origin. We met when studying in London, and have been happily married since 1979. We have three children (two boys and a girl), all in their 20s and all currently living and working in the UK. One or other plus partner might join us for part of any exchange in the UK or possibly nearby Europe, but otherwise it will be just the two of us.
In 2007, Gordon took early retirement from the British Diplomatic Service following a career which had taken us to Budapest/Hungary (twice), Santiago/Chile, Islamabad/Pakistan and, most recently, Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia. He did so because we wanted to stay on in KL and the region; also to have the freedom to travel yet more and to pursue other hobbies. Gordon now works part-time as an English teacher (TEFL) and management trainer – following in the footsteps of Marinella, who has more than 15 years experience teaching English and similarly works part-time.
Gordon is an avid tennis player, scuba diver and photographer. Marinella loves cooking (which she does well!), Mah Jong, reading and movies & television. We are both keen bridge players. Neither of us smokes (but guests can smoke outside on our roof patio). We are linguists and between us speak French, Spanish, Italian, German and Hungarian as well as English.
We are happy to share our own extensive knowledge and experience of travelling in this region to advise and help you to arrange regional trips during your stay. The excellent KL-based low-cost airline Air Asia (www.airasia.com) fly at very budget prices to a dazzling range of nearby destinations, most of them two hours or less away: from exotic Borneo in East Malaysia; to Phuket, Bangkok or Chiang Mai in Thailand; to Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) or Phnom Penh in Cambodia; to Saigon or Hanoi in Vietnam; to Bali (and numerous other places) in Indonesia; to the Philippines, Hong Kong…the list goes on.