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An Expat Talks about Retiring in Tojong Tokong, Penang Island, Malaysia

Oct 14, 2016
Submitted by bigkahuna73


A retired expat couple who have lived all over the world in their quest to find the best place to retire talks about their time in Penang, Malaysia. They enjoyed the low cost of living, quality of medical care, great restaurants and nightlife. They only negative in their view were the beaches, which were not as nice as others in SE Asia.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Tojong Tokong, Penang Island

Why did you choose to retire abroad?

Adventure

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

Full Time

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

We are currently trying to find where to retire. In the last six years my wife and I have lived in Maui, Mauritius, Mexico (Yucatan), Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and a year on various cruise ships. We are moving to Vietnam in April 2017, currently live in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico.

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?

No

How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

6+ years

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How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?

6

What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

I dislike the double standard in pricing and that is common throughout Southeast Asia, Central America, Africa and Europe.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

Sights, sounds and the people. I enjoy the cultures of other people and their friendships. I also find expats a much more interesting group of people then back home. Expats as a whole have much more vitality for life.

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

Nothing, you learn by doing. I wish I could redo the 6+ years again only to try something else.

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

Penang Island is great place with lots to do. One of the British most important colony 150 years ago. Third in importance to Hong Kong & Singapore, so lot's of culture from the west and the melting pot of SE.. Some of the best food in the world. I'm not into nightlife but plenty of places if you are. The only real negative was the beaches they are not on the same level as most of SE.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

Have not retired.

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

Renting in every country has been easy by doing your homework before arriving.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

Exceeded. We can do almost anything financially because our money goes so much further. A high end Japanese restaurant in Los Angeles with sushi will run around $150 in Los Angeles in Tojong Tokong, Straights Quay, Marina which is high end costs less then $30.00 for two people.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

None

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

In Penang you can easily live for under $800. Our budget was over that but 1/5 the cost of living in Newport Beach, Ca or Maui and a better lifestyle.

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

Yes, stem cell therapy (my own blood).

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Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

We have never experienced a problem. Then again we take precaution seriously.

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

Taxi and bus without the hassle of learning how to drive on the British side of the road, British Imperialism, "God save the Queen".

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Yes, I would rate it as good but not superior.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

Go for it!!!!! This is not a dress rehearsal you only get one life unless your a Buddhist.

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Expats in Malaysia recommend that newcomers talk to friends and learn about the best hospitals, clinics and doctors in their area before a medical emergency arises. Plus, obtaining expat health insurance is recommended.

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A retiree in Penang, Malaysia loves living in Malaysia. She appreciates the low cost of living, quality healthcare and that she and her husband have been accepted by locals. She worries about their visa situation. They are currently under tourist visas and that is iffy. They feel like they are at the whim of the immigration officer.

Join our Malaysia Expat Forum

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Expats are attracted to Malaysia's lower cost of living, bustling cities, multicultural vibe, climate and proximity to Singapore. Many expat retirees take advantage of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program. For others who don't qualify, visa runs become a inconvenient part of expat life that often dissuade them from staying in Malaysia long-term.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Mar 18, 2017 06:12

Can you expand on your stem cell treatment. I'm really interested in that as only real treatment for spinal problems. I've just arrived in Malaysia and have harvested cells but unaware where it's done here. Sorry was unable to email you and hope this isn't breaking any rules

Babasteve
Dec 20, 2018 18:53

Ninety-eight % agreement, reserving 2% for the negative beaches comment. The beaches on Penang Island are picturesque, unless looking at the most urban areas (numerous high-rise apartments right on the water's edge). The rural area beaches (within a short bus or taxi ride) are beautiful.

GeoBlue International Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Malaysia from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Malaysia from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote Call  

Healthcare in MalaysiaHealthcare in Malaysia

Expats in Malaysia recommend that newcomers talk to friends and learn about the best hospitals, clinics and doctors in their area before a medical emergency arises. Plus, obtaining expat health insurance is recommended.

Restaurants in Tojong Tokong, Penang IslandRestaurants in Tojong Tokong, Penang Island

Support your favorite restaurants in Tojong Tokong, Penang Island as they recover from the pandemic. Submit a free listing for them on Expat Exchange to help spread the word about them to the expat community.

Retirement in Penang

A retiree in Penang, Malaysia loves living in Malaysia. She appreciates the low cost of living, quality healthcare and that she and her husband have been accepted by locals. She worries about their visa situation. They are currently under tourist visas and that is iffy. They feel like they are at the whim of the immigration officer.

10-Tips-for-Living-in-Malaysia10 Tips for Living in Malaysia

Expats in Malaysia agree that living in Malaysia has its pros and cons. Expats love the welcoming Malay people, cultural diversity, lower cost of living and amazing food. Many find that the noisiness, dirty city streets and dangerous driving conditions can be a challenge. Where you choose to live makes a big difference in lifestyle as well.

Healthcare-in-MalaysiaHealthcare in Malaysia

Expats in Malaysia recommend that newcomers talk to friends and learn about the best hospitals, clinics and doctors in their area before a medical emergency arises. Plus, obtaining expat health insurance is recommended.

10-Things-to-Know-Before-Moving-to-MalaysiaMoving to Malaysia

Expats are attracted to Malaysia's lower cost of living, bustling cities, multicultural vibe, climate and proximity to Singapore. Many expat retirees take advantage of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program. For others who don't qualify, visa runs become a inconvenient part of expat life that often dissuade them from staying in Malaysia long-term.

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