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An Expatriate’s Guide to Apartments in Penang

If you’re looking to relocate to a beautiful and culturally rich city, look no further than Penang. You can find a lot of information about apartments on websites that highlight properties, such as Property Guru but an apartment in Penang is more than just about cost – it’s about the process for foreigners mixed with your expectations. So, sit back and relax as you begin your journey to Penang.

Why Choose Penang?

If you love Singapore, but don’t love its prices, then Penang is the place for you. It offers all of the conveniences of a large city but still maintains a charm that makes you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a diamond in the rough and a place that, in many ways, belongs only to you. Penang is alive with art, food and culture that will create an experience unlike any you’ve ever had.

What is the Best Location?

Finding the best location for you depends on a few factors such as what you want to do in Penang and where you want to live. If you are considering Penang as a location for retirement or as a holiday destination, many expatriates can be found in the coastal regions of Batu Ferringhi or the Tanjung Bungah right next to the sea. If you want to be near town, however, Seri Tanjung Pinang, Pulau Tikus, George Town and Gurney Drive are great places to consider.

Gelugor is a fast growing metropolitan district along the eastern coastline that attracts many people. But if you want easy access to the airport or want to be near the Penang Bridge, then Bayan Lepas may be the place for you.

Do You Need to Speak the Language?

To put it simply – no. If English is your preferred language you will have no trouble getting what you need or getting where you need to go in Penang. This is because Penang is an area where two different languages converge, and when that happens it’s common for many people to speak English. In fact, all over Malaysia people in towns speak English.

Are There Neighborhoods to Avoid?

There are no “bad” or dangerous neighborhoods in Penang. There may be neighborhoods that are chicer than others, or have more amenities, but there is not part of town that will put you in danger.

Do be advised, however, that this doesn’t mean crime doesn’t occur. If you decide to rent an apartment on the ground floor you will need to remember to keep your doors and windows closed and locked – just as you would at any other place in the world. If you want to install an alarm just to be safe, that is not a problem.

What is the Difference Between an Apartment, Flat and Condo?

In Malaysia, apartments and condos are the same thing. Often, apartments or condos will have extra amenities available to you for your convenience. A flat, however, is normally a medium cost dwelling that won’t have the extra amenities.

Can You Rent Out An Apartment?

If you’re looking to only be in your apartment certain times of the year and wish to rent it out the rest of the time, this is certainly allowed. You can hire agents that will rent your apartment out for you either as a long term or short term rental.

If You Want to Resell

You can sell your apartment at any time to anyone that can afford to purchase it, be it a local citizen or expatriate like yourself. As long as they fulfill the requirements, it shouldn’t be a problem. You will find that when you buy the apartment you may be required to keep it for a certain number of years before you can resell it. This is done by the government to make sure to keep speculative investments that lead to a property bubble from being an issue in Penang – so it’s a very good thing.

Do You Need a Malaysian Bank Account?

Yes, if you plan to buy an apartment you should get a Malaysian bank account. Once you’ve chosen and purchased an apartment you should open a local banking account to pay your bills. It makes things simpler for you.

What is Penang’s Cost of Living?

Penang is a modern place with a high standard of living, but it does manage to retain a reasonable cost of living. If you compare Penang to other places in the world, the UK for example, it is much cheaper. A couple that has no mortgage can easily live on 300 US dollars a week, or around 150 GBP. A nice restaurant will cost a couple about 25.00 US dollars, and a street vendor will sell a meal to a couple for around 7.00 US dollars.

Sound pretty wonderful, doesn’t it? To have your own place by the sea where you can relax and live your life at your own pace. The more you discover about Penang, the more you can’t help but fall in love with all it has to offer!

Written by Hafiz Rahim

Social geek. Ambassador of the Planet Vegeta and alliance to the Autobot.


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