Expatriateís Commonly Asked Questions about Living in Penang & Buying Property in Penang
I am looking to purchase a property in Penang. What is the best location for me?
It depends on what you want to do in Penang. If you want to retire or use as a holiday home, the popular location for expatriates is in the Northern coastal areas of Batu Ferringhi and  Tanjung Bungah, but if you need to be near Georgetown then Pulau Tikus and Gurney Drive are prime locations. The Southern part of Penang, Gelugor, Sungai Nibong  & Bayan Baru is more preferred by those who work in the Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone Industrial area where Multinationals Factories like Intel, Dell & Agilent are located. The Southeast of Penang  is where the Penang Bridge &  Penang International Airport is located.
I donít speak the local languages, how can I get around?
If you speak English, you will be able to do everything you want without trouble. When two local with different mother tongues meet, itís common for them to speak in English. Most people in town speak English. The Chinese speaks Hokkien Cantonese & Mandarin.
Is it safe to walk on the streets?
Definitely yes. Malaysia is a very safe country with little violent crime and what there is, is never directed at tourists. The most you can fear are snatch-thieves. There are lots of tourist and many expats who walks in confidence in the streets of Penang, so it should be OK for you.
Is it safe to drive in Penang?
Yes, it is safe to drive in Penang and we practice right hand drive in Penang, Malaysia. Cars is relative cheap with a new Toyota Camry costing USD38,000 and if you are a MM2H participant, you can bring 1 car from your own country. Penang is an island and distance between locations is normally a 30 minutes drive. The petrol is subsidised by the government in Malaysia and the price now is only RM1.92 per litre (i.e. USD $0.53 per litre).
Is public transportation easily available?
Public transportation like bus and taxi are easily available. For convenience, private taxis are preferred by our clients. Trishaws are a common sight in Georgetown and they are a great way to explore Georgetown inner city. Plans are in place to have a monorail system by 2010.
Are there neighborhoods I should avoid?
No. There are absolutely no “dangerous” or “bad” neighborhoods in Penang. We have fashionable neighborhoods and less fashionable ones like everywhere else in the world, but none are dangerous.
Is there any risk of burglary?
Like everywhere in the world, burglaries do occur, but if the door to the building is closed and your windows are not accessible from the ground, you are pretty safe. If you want to leave valuable objects in your apartment, they are safer in Penang than in most parts of the world, but nonetheless we advise you to have an alarm installed because you never know. And, of course, don’t stash your cash or jewelry under your beds.
What is the difference between an apartment, a condo or a flat?
In Malaysia, Apartment and condo are the same meaning. Most condo or apartment will have condominium facilities. Flats generally means medium low or cost flat and in most cases does not have the facilities unlike condos. Residents of all this types of dwellings need to pay monthly service charges.
Can I rent out the apartment?
You can rent it out if you are not using as a vacation apartment. We would be happy to find a tenant for your place.
Can I resell to a foreigner or must I sell to a local?
You can resell to anyone who has the money to buy. That means to any local citizen or to another foreigner who fulfils the necessary requirements.
How do I open a bank account in Malaysia?
Opening an account in Malaysia is relatively easy. Once you purchase the property the lawyer will introduced to you a bank of your choice so that you can open a local banking account. With the internet banking you can access your account in English at all times from anywhere, check balance, transfer funds and even pay utilities bills – all done online through the internet. You can appoint a lawyer of your choice or if you prefer we can recommend to you a local lawyer who can take care of all the documentation.
What is the cost of living like in Penang?
The cost of living in Penang is very low as compared to UK or elsewhere. A couple with no mortgage could easily live on USD120.00 per week and still eat out regularly. This certainly makes any pension or benefits you receive go further.
What is the cost of utilities for water and electric in Penang?
In Malaysia, cost of water is so cheap it may not be worth mentioning, approximately RM20.00 (ringgits) or USD6.00 per month for a family of four and electric bills would be approximately RM150 or USD42.00 per month for a normal household, depending on your air-cond usage.
Is the water clean in Penang?
The water in Penang is clean and generally the Northern part of Penang like Tanjong Bunga and Batu Ferringhi have the cleanest water. Water comes directly from the reservoir and it is crystal clear.
Is modern amenities easily available?
Broadband Internet, Wi-Fi, Astro ,cable TV are readily available. Food is fabulous and cheap. Penang a contemporary metropolis with modern amenities and simple small town friendliness, offering the best of both worlds while retaining its old-world flavour. Discover the rich diversity of Penang – just a great place to enjoy life after retirement or for long term holiday vacation.
Is there Modern and Good Healthcare in Penang?
Yes, modern healthcare are easily available with International Standard Private Hospital like Gleneagles Hospital and Island Hospital in Georgetown itself. Public Hospital in Penang is referred as Penang General Hospital.
Is there any International School in Penang?
Yes, there are a few International Schools in Penang. Most of them are located in Tanjong Bunga and Batu Ferringhi.
Is there any Golf Course in Penang?
Yes, there are 3 golf courses in Penang Island while there are a few in the mainland.
How far is Penang from Kuala Lumpur?
Penang is approx. 350km from Kuala Lumpur. It takes an hour by flight to Kuala Lumpur while it is a 3 ½ hours of scenic drive by the North South Highway.
How is the climate and average temperature?
The Malaysian climate is sunny throughout the year (24◦ to 33◦ Celsius). Nights are slightly cooler and rainfall is quite evenly distributed throughout the year, with rain from August to October. See daily weather forecast at Malaysia Meteorological Department.
Updated : 12/09/2007 Close Window