As a bit of background, although British, I have lived the last 20-odd years in France. General economic mis-management in Europe plus mind-boggling incompetence by its President have created a situation where what was my preferred country of retirement is now a place that people are falling over themselves to leave. I had the good fortune while in Penang last month to receive an email from my solicitor telling me that my house in France had been sold – two days later I signed a lease for an apartment in Batu Ferringhi.
Yep, kind of uncomfortable to be walking for the main part of the day. Though it doesn't stop me doing so. I walked for about one hour one midday/afternoon, from centre of George Town, up, into and around various roads of the residential area, and then onto the shopping malls. I liked how all the houses were all different and some quite fancy looking.
For anyone thinking of retiring to Penang Island BritishExpats member “bakedbean” shares some tips on the best places to live. “Penang island is a working island. There’s a lot of industry south of the Penang bridge and quite a few people work in Georgetown too. I would say that most retirees (both expat and local) tend to choose to live along the “retirement belt” which stretches from Batu Ferringhi in the north-west-ish of the island, to Gurney Drive which is north-east on the island and quite close to Georgetown.”
We had visited a few places in Malaysia over the years, and some locations we liked, but had never found a place with that special comfort factor – somewhere that felt like it would be “home”. We never planned to retire early and we never planned to live in Penang but the life of the expat (as every expat will tell you) works in mysterious ways with many twists and turns that you don’t expect.
Asia’s best-kept secret for expatriates, Malaysia has a vibrant mix of foreign and indigenous tribal cultures, creating a veritable melting pot of peoples, traditions and religions. A sizable enclave of foreigners (British, Americans, Australi
ans, and Canadians) live full time or maintain holiday homes in Malaysia, and you’ll find that just about everybody speaks English, since its compulsory in local schools.