My wife and I are also relocating to Malaysia early 2014 and we have done extensive research on this very subject and met with the embassy personal as well. We have made the decision to relocate to Seremban Malaysia; this city is located east of the Kuala Lumpur airport and south of Kuala Lumpur. Not sure where you are relocating from but the US exchange rate is $1 US = 3.1 MYR (Ringgit)
Click here for the guide to cost of items in Malaysia: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Malaysia
Click here to see the exchange rate for your money: http://coinmill.com/MYR_calculator.html#MYR=1 http://www.bnm.gov.my/index.php?tpl=exchangerates http://www.x-rates.com/table/?from=MYR
According to International Living (an American publication) Malaysia is the 3rd best country in the world to retire. They listed all the reasons so there is no need to repeat them, but it is amazing that Malaysia being so far from US was rated third.
Since it is already by fact one of the best destinations to retire it depends on you if you like it. Moving to another country especially with different cultures one would need to be open minded and tolerant. It will not be as it used to be back home. Many talk about a culture shock but one can only get a shock if something happened you have not been prepared for.
Visiting a country and learn about it is the best way to find out if you like it. Just recently I met a British couple who also intends to retire in Malaysia. They rented a car drove three weeks through Malaysia to find the place where to erect their base camp for further research. They decided that Penang would be the place they want to settle and I helped them to find a small apartment for one year. Their idea is to come here as often as possible and find out how daily life works in Penang and that’s why they don’t want to stay in a hotel during their visits.
I live here now for more than 20 years, but before settling I have been many times in Malaysia. Actually I also rented a car, drove down the east and up the west coast with detours to KL and Cameron Highlands and learnt that Penang is the place I want to stay – and never regretted.
If you have any detailed further questions don’t hesitate…
Thank you very much for your tips, very useful. I have been to Malaysia a couple of times recetly, visiting Langkawi, Malacca, KL but not Penang. I believe a lot of people from UK live there. I plan to go there this time.
If I plan to be in Malaysia for about a month, travelling around, is it best to hire a car or use local transport system?
Can you please give me some idea what a monthly budget might be (in U.S. dollars) for a single person renting an average 1BR apartment, living simply, ideally away from the BIG cities, and somewhere not too far from the water? Many thanks. RJ
It depends a bit how adventures you are. For sure the traffic flows a bit different here. But if you are patient and get used to the bikes overtaking on both sides you should do fine.
I think you will see more by driving yourself and explore where not only buses or trains go to. Especially if you come to Penang it might be interesting to drive around the island - just try to get a car with a Navi.
If you want we can meet when you are here. I’ll sent you a PM with my contact.
The question can’t be how much is the cheapest rent in Malaysia, but if the Malaysian Government will allow you to settle here under the MM2H Program. You will need to prove that you have a monthly income of RM 10,000 and also have to open a fixed deposit account of RM 150,000 with a Malaysian bank (don’t ask me to convert that for you). If you fulfill both requirements you can live wherever you want in Malaysia. Not too far from water...every dwelling in Malaysia has running water in drinking quality (if you pay the bill of appr. RM 5 a month).
Thanks for your helpful email, yes I am in KLand meeting up with a couple of local residents this week to get an idea of this city. I planning to be in Penang during the weekend and hope to meet up with some expats living there.
I think I have brought the English weather with me to KL but I didn't bring my umberella sadly.
Hi Again EB: I have done the math and I don't think I will qualify for the Government MM2H Program. As far as you know is this the only option, or is there some other visa program that will allow you to stay there without the same cash resources? Mucho thanx! RJ
Hi RJ Sorry for the late reply – been busy. As far as I know there is no other legal way except finding a job. The risky way is coming in as a tourist and leave the country every 3 months. But it might happen that if immigration notices that you are doing too many “visa runs” they might shorten your visa to 2 weeks.
Maybe you should check out the Philippines. As far as I know they issue live long visas for retirees and the requirements are not as demanding as Malaysia. Good luck and look for a Typhoon free area ;-)
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.