A Beautiful Retirement in Penang, Malaysia

Tanjung Bungah view at Night [Photo: Wikicommons]

Tanjung Bungah view at Night [Photo: Wikimedia]

A letter from a friend:

Dear Rui

My story on how I ended up in Penang began in the middle of the global financial crisis in 2009. I lost my upper-level management position and since I was “old”, try as I might, I probably won’t be able to find a decent job. Anyway I knew that social security would kick in soon, so that was when I started spending my time researching retirement destinations in Southeast Asia.

I found a host of locations like Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, Phnom Penh, Nha Trang and Penang where I could retire with a nice standard of living for far less money than was possible in the States. Excited by what I found, my husband and I made a spontaneous decision to sell what remained of our lives in the U.S. to establish ourselves in Southeast Asia. But rather than just relocating immediately, we set an initial budget of US$3,000 a month that permitted us to travel around countries in the region to conduct our “research”.

After half a year of travelling, we came to a conclusion that Penang was really the best place for us. It’s a modern city that is warm all year round with First-World conveniences. We like to travel so being well connected to the other major Asian cities was an additional benefit. Most importantly, Penang has several well-equipped, affordable and English speaking hospitals that the other cities we visited could not offer.

So that’s why we decided on Penang and settling in was really quite simple. We started by renting a beautiful, furnished one-bedroom condo in Tanjung Bungah for $550 per month. The sea views were amazing, dining out was inexpensive and gasoline was government regulated at US$0.60 per liter back in 2012.

We didn’t need to learn a new language as almost everyone on the island could speak English. The locals were welcoming and life is indeed wonderful. Two years later, we now are MM2H participants; we have a nice two-bed, two-bath fully furnished condo with amazing views of the Andaman Sea.

Our days are spent reading books on the balcony, enjoying the amazing facilities in our condo, meeting up with the locals and other expats for meals, or taking last minute trips to nearby Southeast Asia destinations when ever we find cheap tickets on AirAsia – Malaysia’s budget airline.

So one can really live a very luxurious life in Penang for around US$3,500 per month including rent per couple— and that’s the main advantage for us. Making the decision to leave the States was not easy and it did take some amount of courage. But when I look at the life we have now, I’m glad we were spontaneous about leaving and didn’t let fear hold us back.

Well Rui, that’s my story and all the best to your real estate business.

Sonya Batter

Read More on Penang:

1.  Five Benefits of living in Penang

2. Top 10 Tips on Buying Penang Condominiums

3. Penang the Medical Hub of Malaysia

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