Penang: World’s best place to retire

Why my hometown of George Town, Penang is consistently voted as the world’s best place to retire.

I was born and grew up in Penang, Malaysia. It was a small sleepy island in those days and not many people knew anything about it. Today, it is consistently rated as the best place to retire. Why you might ask. Sometimes I ask the same question. So having grown up here, travelled the world searching and living in many different countries, I have decided to end up back home.

My top 10: Excluding the fact that the govt gives long term visas for Foreigners  (MM2H)

1. Low cost of living

2. English speaking being an Ex British Colony

3. High standard of healthcare

4. Best street food in the world

5. Multi cultural

6. Unesco world heritage site

7. Tropical island city

8. Friendly people like me 🙂

9. Great nature trails and outdoor activities

10. Artistic and Cultural hub


Here are snippets of what international magazines have to say.

According to Huffington post:

Penang in general and George Town in particular have a great deal to offer the would-be expat and foreign retiree. The natural surroundings are beautiful, and you have many options for how to spend your time. In addition, Malaysian immigration laws are welcoming, including for retirees. For these reasons, thousands of foreigners, both working and retired, have settled in the area, creating a network of support for others who’d like to follow in their footsteps.


According to Forbes 2017 List of World’s top 12 places to retire:


This Asian country is known, International Living says for its “878 idyllic islands, stunning beaches and untouched rainforests.” It’s a multicultural place that’s home to a mixture of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Europeans and Americans.

The cost of living is low, the health care quality is high and IL Malaysia correspondent Keith Hockton says “the food is not just first class, but world class — and the shopping in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, where I live, is to die for.”


According to Conde nast traveller:

Thanks to a government initiative named “Malaysia My Second Home” (MM2H), foreigners can now easily apply for a 10-year visa. Once you’re in, head to Penang for the best of the country’s culinary offerings, historic architecture, a thriving art scene, international-standard health care, and an English-speaking community of expats. Penang is itself an island (with beaches!), and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town is its capital. Getting in and out is easy; the metropolises of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and the vacation island destination of Langkawi, are quick, cheap flights away.


According to International living, The world’s best place to retire 2017:

Add to that the low cost of living and excellent healthcare, and you have a great retirement haven if Southeast Asia is on your shortlist.

“Malaysia has some of the best-trained doctors in Asia, and most have learned their profession in the U.S. or the U.K. They all speak English, too, which is a huge plus,” Keith says.


So finally to the point of this article. If you are thinking of retiring abroad, Penang is probably your cheapest, safest option. Did I mention that Malaysia has no worldwide tax? and no estate duty?

I highly recommend the legal services of my brother, Sam Choong  of Khaw Cheow Poh and associates, if you are interested to find out more about visa requirements for Malaysia my second home (MM2H) programme. That’s what family is for! Helping promote his business 🙂

Khaw Cheow Poh & Associates 

Khaw Cheow Poh & Associates Suite 7-2, 7th Floor Menara Penang Garden 42 A, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah
Georgetown 10050
Penang, Malaysia
+6042270777 / +6042273077
+6 04 227 4077

About MM2H Programme


Other links:

Rentals:  Penang Property Management and Homestay

Property to buy: http://www.penangpropertyangel.com/

Things to do in Penang: http://www.timeout.com/penang

Yoga: https://www.facebook.com/SunaliniYoga/

Meditation course: http://www.malaya.dhamma.org/malaya/locations/penang.shtml

Cooking school: https://www.facebook.com/penangcookingclass/

Penang Heritage Trust: https://www.facebook.com/penangheritagetrust

Penang Global Tourism: https://www.facebook.com/penangglobal.tourism/?fref=ts