Today in our first ever on-location interview we caught up with Daniel Chen, an expat American and Steve Struyck a retired Dutchman who have both made the move to Penang, Malaysia. In this interview Daniel and Steven share their experiences of Penang, why they love living in Malaysia, and the cost of living they have in this country.
It was great to do our own research into expat living while we were here. Accommodation is very affordable, with an average 2 -3 bedroom apartment going for around $400-$600 US per month. Food is extremely cheap, especially if you enjoy the local street markets and Penang itself is an interesting combination of cultures with Malay, Chinese and Indian all being integral to the community – and an ever growing number of Western expats flavoring the mix.
Let’s let Daniel and Steven share their views:
What I learned from Daniel and Steven:
- Malaysia offers a number of visa options for expats. In Daniels case he was able to get a 2 year renewable visa based on establishing his online business. Steven took advantage of the My Second Home visa option which gives him a ten year right of staying.
- Health treatment is first class. Both were happy with the treatment they had had there; in Daniels case his wife had given birth to two of their children there and not only was the health care good, but it was considerably cheaper than what it would have cost him in the US.
- Safety wasn’t a big issue for either of them. Crime does exist but is no worse than they would have experienced in their own home country.
- Property prices have increased considerably in the last few years. Both Daniel who rents and Steven who owns his own place had not had any trouble with the process of gaining their accommodation. Many properties are bought up by Chinese investors who leave them empty but this doesn’t seem to be putting too much pressure on rents. Daniel has paid the same amount for the last four years!