Expat Exchange

Penang, Malaysia

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William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 05, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Penang, Malaysia: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

What do I need to know before moving to Penang?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Penang, they said:

"Try to find a place in a touristy area. It's safer that way. Also consider proximity to supermarket, food stalls, restaurants and shopping. Forget about taking the bus. Taxis are very convenient," mentioned another expat in Penang.

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What is the average cost of housing in Penang?

If you are thinking about moving to Penang, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"It's higher. A good furnished apartment in Georgetown would cost around RM.1500-3500 ($450 - 1100)," remarked another expat who made the move to Penang.

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What should I bring when moving to Penang?

People living in Penang were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Brought: MP3 player (not ipod), curry powder, suit Left: Shoes & boots, laptop, leather products," mentioned another expat in Penang.

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Will I be able to find a job in Penang?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Penang, they reponded:

"Hospitality, Education, Industry, IT. Most of the Universities look for highly qualified expats to come and lecture. Mostly jobs are found through contacts," added another expat in Penang.

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Is there a lot of crime in Penang?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"No. We feel safe walking around day and night. With that said, we don't go out to bars in town at night or hang out in places like that," commented one expat who made the move to Penang.

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What are the schools in Penang like?

"The school has improved over the past couple of years and recently there seesm to have developed a stable core of good expat teachers as well as some capable local ones. My son is happy and seems to be making progress. If the promise of the new facilities materialises, then it could be a good choice," commented one expat when asked about Tenby International School, Penang in Penang.

"As parents, we have always wanted the best for our children and we will continue searching for the best schools. Unfortunately, I have to admit that Fairview International Schools is not among the best; there are other schools that offer good education and sufficient facilities. For instance, 1)It is difficult to obtain your school deposit due to their school policy and they have always managed to keep the deposits under any circumstances. 2)International languages offered are Bahasa Malaysia (Malay language) and Mandarin. No other foreign languages are offered at the present time. 3)Only 1 foreign teacher is currently hired and teaching in Fairview International School Penang. It is not like any other international schools whereby you find other foreign teachers teaching your children. They employed young inexperienced local teachers to manage students. 4)There are no proper programs for physical education. Most of the time students are left without doing any activities. 5)The exam schedules are not properly planned and communicated among Fairview International School in Kuala Lumpur and Fairview International School Penang. Often students are inadequately informed and left with tremendous pressure facing the exams. 6)They are no proper boarding facilities and security for outstation students. 7)The IB program offered is not transparent enough to make other International Schools aboard understand the grading process. 8)None of the admin staff are helpful to parents pertaining to administrative information and documents upon your child’s departure," remarked another expat living in Penang with children attending Fairview International .

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What are the pros and cons of living in Penang?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Penang responded:

"There are multiple racial cultures, very positive experience regarding diverse life styles: customs, foods, religious expressions," remarked another expat in Penang.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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