Congrats! Penang is declared as the best island in Asia to retire on, 3rd best in the world!

Source:, Living + Nomads

Talk domestic travel and Malaysians will undoubtedly have a few favourite places in mind. Pick between the lush, rolling hills of Cameron and Genting Highlands, the sandy beaches of Langkawi, Perhentian, and Tioman, or enjoy a little bit of everything in the Pearl of The Orient: Penang. And it’s no wonder why it has been bequeathed with that moniker, what with the island state’s incredible hawker food, active arts scene, and beautifully preserved heritage sites.

Penang declared best island in Asia to retire on

Well it would now seem that Penang can add yet another feather to it’s cap, after it was recently crowned the best island in Asia, and third best island in the world to retire on by International Living! The website, which bills itself as the #1 resource for retirement planning and living for expat communities, featured the island state of Penang on its latest ’15 Best Islands in the World to Retire On’ listicle.

Penang beat out all other Asian islands on the list, and was only eked out by the island nation of Malta and Mallorca island in Spain.

A scenic street in Penang.
Source: Living + Nomands

But why was it considered to be the best island in Asia to retire on, you ask? Well according to International Living, who appears to primarily cater to a North American audience, this was based off on the fact that as a former British Colonial outpost, many Penangites are fluent in English, which makes the assimilation process much easier for English-speaking expats. Of course, this is further coupled by our trademark Malaysian hospitality and eagerness to help.

Luxury living on a budget

Then of course, there’s the matter of exchange rates. As of right now, the rate of conversion stands at RM4.21 to every American dollar, which means that North American expats can expect to lead a considerably more comfortable life on monthly budget $1,500 (RM6,311.25) and $2,500 (RM10,518.75). In fact, the online publication describes it as ‘a luxury life on an affordable budget with all the comforts and conveniences of home’.

An aerial view of Penang.

And given the island’s strategic location, this makes traveling across Southeast Asia a complete breeze. As the publication’s editors point out, flights to Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, or even Australia and New Zealand take only a mere few hours from Penang.

Predictably, the announcement has been warmly received by Malaysians, with Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow applauding Penang for once again making their mark as a tourist favourite.

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Also read: Penangite shared rare photos of Kek Lok Si Kuan Yin before installing the pavilion

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