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Malaysia: An Asian Retirement Paradise

Malaysia: An Asian Retirement Paradise

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.

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, Australians, 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.

Not only are three world-class playgrounds (Thailand, Bali, and the Philippines) all within a few hour’s travel from Malaysia, but with miles of white sand coastline, tropical islands, and beachfront property galore, it has all the makings of a fairy-tale setting.

Despite being the capital of a developing nation, Kuala Lumpur is a modern cosmopolitan with clean streets and sidewalks and every modern convenience to found in New York or London. Home to the tallest building in the world, there are also FedEx and UPS offices, international banks, English cinemas and bookstores, western-style supermarkets, French and German bakeries, Chinese, Indian, and Italian restaurants, gourmet coffee, Cuban cigars, Internet cafés and some of the best shopping in the world!

{mosgoogle right}One of the few things that lend a "Third-world" feel to the capital are the open-air night market, where local merchants peddle everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, to meat and fish, to exotic animals and traditional handicrafts.
All the major newspapers are available at newsstands, including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. Cable and satellite TV provides access to a wide variety of English-language programming, including CNN, the Discovery Channel, Filmnet and many more.

Despite the local Muslim population not drinking alcohol, Kuala Lumpur has some of the liveliest nightlife in the region and there are more than a fair share of clubs and bars, where tourists, expatriates and locals alike mingle and party.
Though the official religion of Malaysia is Islam, great tolerance is shown for other religions, with many beliefs being represented and their adherents practicing openly, including Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists and Jews (the nearest synagogue is in neighboring Singapore).

Compared with other major Asian cities (Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong, for example), Kuala Lumpur is downright cheap. Even in the over-priced tourist spots you can get a good meal for two for around $20. Outside of these places, a 3-course meal for two with all the trimmings, including drinks, will set you back no more than $10 doctor’s visit $8 to $15 and live-in domestic help $200 a month.

Rental properties are readily available and not overly expensive by American or European standards. The cost of 2-bedroom rental apartments begins at around $225 per month, with 3-bedroom houses starting at $35,000. Naturally, comparable housing in expatriate communities or the luxurious suburban homes that date from British colonial period can set you back considerably more. Other properties recently on offer include: A 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom, 725-square-foot apartment with a dining room, a kitchen, ceiling fans, a walk-in closet, and parking, costs $45,215. A small two-story bungalow with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a kitchen, a living room, and a dining room going for $35,700. A penthouse apartment, close to downtown, with a sea-view and a 350-sqare-foot terrace. It comes fully furnished and has 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a kitchen, and a dining room. The asking price? $75,000. A spacious 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, 2500-square-foot condominium with a large living room, an elegant dining room, a fully equipped kitchen, and a pantry, for $125,250.

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