Why Retirement in Penang

Home in Penang

Penang is a paradise island in northwest Malaysia with variety of food, cultural diversity, exquisite beaches, and friendly local people. Whether you are willing to enjoy a permanent residency in Penang or a small trip with your family, Penang is undoubtedly one of the best places on this earth to stay.

For those who are planning to retire in Penang, this island offers modern conveniences at low cost. Even if you are looking for better medical treatment, Penang provides advanced healthcare and medical facilities.

Along with the best education system and private schools, Penang embodies a breezy and pleasant atmosphere with an average temperature of 30 degree C. This makes Penang a perfect spot for those who want to raise a family here. And geographically, Penang is closer to some of the famous islands. For instance, it takes only 40 minutes journey by air to reach Langkawi and maximum 1 hour to Phuket.

Availability of delicious food can easily convince to stay in Penang for lifetime. This island is known as the unofficial ‘food capital’ of Malaysia.

Penang is home to diverse groups of foreigners including British, Germans, French, Americans, Koreans, Australians (also the ex-servicemen), Japanese, Danish, and Canadians. Mix around with the locals and they will delightfully accept you into their community.

It’s impossible to describe the beauty of Penang through photos or words. Come here to relax and appreciate the scenic charm of this heavenly island. Most of the tourists who visit Penang for once, either become the annual visitors or decide their immigration in Penang.

Best things to do in Penang:
  • Taste the innumerable varieties of local food and don’t miss out on the delicious hawker fare. In fact, Time Magazine voted Penang for the Best Street Food 2004. So, hope you can guess how yummy it can be!
  • Penang is the land of heritage buildings. Visit the historical sites and other places of interest. So many places are there that you might need two weeks or so to visit all of them.
  • Join the local charitable organization or just help them out if you retire in Penang. Such an activity will certainly enhance your mental well-being.
  • Make it your hub to travel to other parts of Malaysia as well as other Asian countries for wonderful experiences and discoveries.
  • Enjoy the beauty of breathtaking beaches and lovely weather. Take up a habit of daily morning walk by the sandy beach to maintain good health. Even it’s therapeutically effective to listen to the lapping sound of waves.
  • Keep exploring new shopping destinations and get all you want at bargained price.
  • Reach out the local people. They are sociable and accept foreigners easily as a part of their community. To interact with the locals, visit the wet market.
  • Indulge yourself in different recreational activities, outdoor events and sports.
Lower cost of living than Kuala Lumpur or Johor Bahru

The cost of living in Penang is often lower than your hometown. Life in this island is relaxing but inexpensive. Only at RM5, you can buy sumptuous food for one person from hawker center, or a food court. An excellent meal at good eateries or restaurants will cost onlyRM50 for two people. The charge will raise up to RM180 (for 2 people) if you choose classy restaurants while it’s cheaper to cook your own meal at home. It will cost only RM600 per month for a family of 4 members. Parking is easily affordable (RM0.80/hour for roadside parking or RM2/hour in parking garages). The low cost of living in Penang attracts the foreigners more to retire in Penang.

Impressive Modern conveniences and infrastructure

Penang offers all the conveniences of a modern city. Healthcare or medical in Malaysia is easy to afford and having an insurance here is not too essential. No need to book an appointment for a specialist, just walk to your preferred hospital or healthcare center. No waiting list or referral system is either required. The hospitals and healthcare centers offer good medical services.

These apart, Penang has numerous universities, colleges and international schools for higher education. Penang has a good airport and the transportation system in the entire island is excellent. If you are among those who love to rekindle their interest in arts, Penang offers various arts and performing centers. Telecommunication and cellular services coverage are outstanding. Data transfer is relatively faster than other developed countries.

Closely juxtaposed with major cities

It takes only 55 minutes to reach Penang by air from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA/KLIA2). It costs only RM29 per trip to reach KLIA from Penang by air. Whether it’s for a business purpose or vacation, you can make Penang a home base since it serves you the facility of direct flights from Penang International Airport to Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Jakarta and Guangzhou.

Affordable real estate properties

Penang offers a lot of property worthy of your investment. Be it condominiums resorts, terraced houses and huge bungalows, select anything you like depending on your taste and budget. Another reason to invest in Penang is the desirable rate of appreciation in the property.

Lowest Cost of Living

Penang has the lowest cost of living in Malaysia. Let’s take a look at the breakdown.

International Ranking
  • Food-The street food approximately costs RM5-8 per head. For any type of normal restaurant, the cost is around RM20-40 for one. High end restaurants will cost around RM100 per person. Cooking at home is cheaper when you can get fresh products from supermarkets though you can’t have innumerable choices.
  • Utilities
    • Broadband Select from wireless (4G), copper or fibre optics with speeds ranging from 384kbps to 100Mbps, depending on where you are staying. This will cost you from RM50 to RM250 per month.
    • Cable TVOnly one provider named Astro is available in Penang for Cable TV, which starts from RM50 to RM250 per month. Astro provides internet connection also.
    • ElectricityElectricity cost is quite cheap in Penang. You have to pay only RM0.218 per kWh for the first 200kWh, RM0.334 for the next 100kWh and RM0.516 for the subsequent 400kWH. A retired couple living high up in an apartment with pleasant breeze, their electricity bill usually remains up to RM150/month.
    • WaterDue to the good water management system and plenty of rainfall in Penang, the minimum charge is only RM2.50/month. For the first 20,000 litres it is RM0.22/1000 litres.
    • The landlords bear the apartment maintenance charges and the amount will vary from one property to another. Generally, it charges around RM0.30-RM0.50/sq-ft. These apart, the sewagecharge of RM8/month is also paid by the landlords.
    • Municipal Assessment fee, in which the owner of the property pays for the refuse collection, street light, etc. This will be borne by the property owner. It is not expensive and for a 1200 sq-ft house (land area), it is about RM350 per year.
    • The owner is completely responsible for paying the land tax though it’s a negligible amount of RM300 approximately for 1200 sq-ft land area per year.
  • For fully-furnished small apartments of 800 sq-ft, rents start from RM1500. Our clients have to pay around RM2500-3000/ month for a moderate fully-furnished apartment of 1200 sq-ft.
  • CarsWhen you a tax-free car, you can enjoy around 25% off the normal prices. Petrol prices (per litre) vary according to the prices set by the government. If you park at municipal car parks, parking rate is cheap, RM0.80/hr whereas the parking garages cost around RM2/hr.
Penang - International Ranking

A thorough internet search on “Penang retirement” will let you know that for last 5 years, Penang has placed itself on the ‘Top 10 list’ as one of the best retiring places in this world. Many other news agencies, magazines and organizations are there for compiling statistics and data, which you can easily read online.

All these factors have made retirement in Penang stress-free and filled with quality lifestyle.


Top 10 Retirement Haven 2012, 2013, 2014.

Their 2015 version is OECD-centric (i.e. retire in Europe, NZ, Japan, Australia)

International Living

Top 10 best places to retire 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Best healthcare in the world 2014, 2015 and 2016


Top 10 countries to retire to 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015

Their 2012 version is OECD-centric (i.e. retire in Europe, NZ, Australia)

ECA International

Georgetown is rated one of the top 20 cities to live in Asia since 2006)

New York Times


Time Magazine