Conjuring up all the mysteries of Asia, Malaysia is a former British colony that remains as colorful as ever. Beyond the lofty skyscrapers of the capital, Kuala Lumpur, its dramatic canvas is embroidered with tropical beaches, mountains, dense rainforest, and vividly green tea plantations.
Along with foreign expats from around the globe, the country is home to Malay Malays, Chinese Malays, Hindu Malays, and Sikh Malays. There are still traces of the British influence. Throughout the Muslim world, there’s probably no more liberal country.
Malaysia has great infrastructure and foreigners are allowed to own properties freehold, has no inheritance tax, and places no tax on income repatriated from overseas. There’s no property capital gain tax either.
Population: 29,628,392 (July 2012 est.)
Capital City: Kuala Lumpur
Climate: Tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons
Time Zone: GMT +8 hours
Source: CIA World Fact Book
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InternationalLiving.com’s annual Global Retirement Index reports that France, Uruguay and Malaysia provide the best and most affordable health care in the world. The Health Care category in the Index considers the cost of care and the quality. Also considered are the number of people per doctor, the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people, the percentage of the population with access to safe water, the infant mortality rate, life expectancy, and public-health expenditure as a percentage of a country’s GDP.
- Escape to a Tropical Island (and Live on $1,500 a Month)
Posted on February 5, 2014 by Keith Hockton
Thomas O’Neal had never been to Malaysia. In fact he hadn’t been anywhere in Asia, which made his sudden decision to move to the tropical island of Penang a brave one. “I figured that I’d take a chance and move lock, stock, and barrel. I could have just visited but where is the fun in that? After just a few months here I love it. It’s home for me now. New York has changed over the years and although I’ll always be a New Yorker I needed to travel.”
Exhilarating, comfortable, and affordable are just some of the ways expats describe their life in Asia. For those looking to relocate in Asia, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia are among the best places to live. The low cost of living, excellent health care and stunning scenery are some of the reasons why many expats choose to start a new life in Asia.
Most mornings Chuck and Kathy Baumgarten can be found leisurely sipping coffee and enjoying the sunrise from their porch. It’s easy to see why if you visit their home. They have one of the most scenic vistas in all of Ecuador. Mount Imbabura seems to rise from their backyard. A 180-degree turn showcases Mount Cotacachi’s golden-hour glow.
- Revealed: The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2014
Posted on January 6, 2014 by Laura Doyle
InternationalLiving.com’s annual Global Retirement Index 2014 profiles the best destinations for good-value living around the world today. The Index considers not only a wealth of statistics, but—critically—more than three decades of expertise and current insights from a network of correspondents around the world.
- The Best Places to Retire Overseas for Affordable and Efficient Health Care
Posted on January 5, 2014 by Barbara Ross
Health care overseas is more affordable than in the U.S. You will pay less for high-quality health care overseas and these countries are three of the best according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014.
- In Pictures: The World’s Best Retirement Havens in 2014
Posted on January 5, 2014 by Annie Power
For more than 30 years, International Living has been researching the best retirement havens in the world…and every January the Annual Global Retirement Index is released—highlighting the best places for you to retire. This Index ranks the top 24 countries in the world for retirement in 8 categories. The top 10 countries that feature on the list this year each bring spectacular benefits for retirees living overseas—from great health care and ideal climates to a low cost of living and financial perks for retirees. Starting with number 10, here are our top retirement havens for 2014.
- The Best Places to Buy Real Estate When You Retire Overseas
Posted on January 5, 2014 by Barbara Ross
Whether you are looking for a home on the coast, on an island or in a colonial city, these three countries have the best value real estate. If your dream home includes a pool, a big back yard in which to swing from a hammock in the sun, a place close to the beach where you can snorkel, relax with a good book or watch the sunset…rest assured, you can have it—because your real estate dollar stretches further overseas. You can buy a superior property in a better location for the same amount or less than you would spend on a home in the U.S.
Whatever you see on our leader board, just remember, we measure here only the very best havens. So the country last on our list—newcomer to the Index Cambodia—is still one of the best in the world. In each of these destinations, you’ll find thousands of folks who have already found their dream retirements. You can too, and this 2014 Retirement Index is designed to get you started. It covers all the bases, revealing a wealth of choice when it comes to a comfortable life overseas…
We all dream of giving up the rat race, packing our belongings, and moving some where warm and sunny, but why wait until you retire? Moving overseas can be a big decision, even bigger when you have children—but the benefits that make living abroad a good thing for adults are similar to those that make it a good thing for kids. A lower cost of living, healthier lifestyle, varied life and cultural experiences…they all benefit your child’s life in some way. Here are some of the best places to retire for families.
- Inside Track on Researching Your Franchise Options
Posted on January 1, 2014 by Hugh Gillis
One of the ways to reduce the uncertainty of moving overseas and setting up your own enterprise is to buy into a franchise—an already proven business model. The advantage of a franchise is that it has name recognition, provides you with the necessary “know how,” and much of the groundwork has already been done, which will increase your chances of success.
Malaysia is on the rise. The middle class is growing, disposable income is increasing, and it is one of the easiest places in the world for a foreigner to set up business—ranked 12th of 185 by the World Bank. In my experience of observing start-ups here in Malaysia, franchising is a very feasible business opportunity in this economy. English is widely spoken among the population of more than 28 million—70% of which is urban based. This offers a good consumer base to potential franchisees considering locating here.
- The 5 Best Neighborhoods for Living in Penang, Malaysia
Posted on December 17, 2013 by Keith Hockton
Sitting off the tip of mainland Malaysia, Penang Island is a special place to live, steeped in history and home to historic mansions and shophouses. Just 114-miles square with a population of 600,000 people, the island is also the unofficial “food capital” of Malaysia and a medical center of excellence. For just $11 you can see an English-speaking specialist here who trained in the U.S.—and you don’t even need an appointment.
First-World cities with every modern convenience, beachfront hideaways, medieval towns, tropical islands, temperate mountain valleys… You can chose your favorite climate, your preferred lifestyle…the place you feel most at home…because the world’s best retirement havens have it all… and for pennies on the dollar, too.
- IL’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014: The Categories and Scores
Posted on December 17, 2013 by International Living
Accurately scoring the world’s top retirement locations is a complex process. So, we’ve broken down each of our categories to give you a “behind the curtain” look at how we put the Index together.
- Medical Tourism: 4 Countries Where You Can Get High-Quality, Low-Cost Health Care
Posted on December 12, 2013 by Barbara Ross
The cost of elective procedures such as dental and cosmetic surgery is cheaper in these four countries than in the U.S., even when you take the cost of travel into account.
Malaysia is on the rise. The middle class is growing, disposable income is increasing, and it is one of the easiest places in the world for a foreigner to set up a business—ranked 12th of 185 by the World Bank. In my experience of observing start-ups here in Malaysia, franchising is a very feasible business opportunity in this economy.
- 5 Quick Questions Everyone Should Answer Before Moving Overseas
Posted on November 20, 2013 by Barbara Ross
There are many benefits to moving overseas: the weather is better, your quality of life will improve and you will always have something to do. Here are a few quick questions that you should ask yourself before moving overseas. 1. What type of weather do you like? If you don’t like the snow then you should…
- The Allure and Profit of Café Culture in Penang’s Historic Mile
Posted on November 1, 2013 by Keith Hockton
Tanya Mimbres loves food. It’s one of her top interests when she travels. A native of New Mexico, she has lived in Paris and Barcelona. But when she moved to Malaysia five years ago she felt right at home. “Lots of my friends were traveling in Asia and were a bit shocked that I hadn’t been there,” she recalls.
Living on an island conjures up images of white sandy beaches, sparkling blue water and no rush hour traffic.We all dream of one day retiring to a tropical paradise, buying a second home in a quaint beach town where its summer all year round, or relocating our lives to an island in the sun. But it can be more than just a dream…your tropical island or beach life can be a reality. There are tropical destinations around the world where you can be by the beach…
According to Fidelity Investments in 2012, those aged 55 and older had an average balance of $143,300 in their 401k account. But is this enough to retire on? Maybe not in the U.S., but retiring overseas can be much more affordable than retiring in the U.S.
Eleven years and dozens of countries after selling their California house to travel the world, Trish and Marvin Scott say they have never regretted their decision. “We look for places off the tourist track. We’ve set up households in 20 countries, and currently we are living in an old communistera apartment in St. Petersburg,” says 70-year-old Marvin.
Zero. Zilch. Nothing. Often that’s what I pay for accommodation when I travel. But I’m not roughing it. I’ve been in unique and unforgettable places around the world. I’ve made friends, met interesting people and learned new skills. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve cheated the system. But it’s entirely above board.
When David Hagerman went on business trips, he always kept a camera stashed in his briefcase. Early in the morning, well before his day’s round of meetings started, he would leave his hotel to take photos of local people and places, from women preparing bowls of noodles in busy street-side stalls to piles of brightly colored spices in bustling morning markets.
- The Top Three Best Places to Retire Overseas For a Low Cost of Living
Posted on October 7, 2013 by International Living
Your quality of life could vastly improve if you retire overseas…and you could spend much less than you ever thought possible. In IL’s Annual Retirement Index 2013, 23 countries are covered ranking the best destinations to retire overseas today. Cost of living is one of eight categories in this Index and is an important factor for many who are considering overseas retirement.
Margaret and Rhys Shelton from South Africa moved to Malaysia 18 months ago, following their lifelong dream to open a café. They’re just two of the expats taking advantage of the ease of doing business in Malaysia. In fact, the World Bank recently ranked it number 12 (out of 185 countries) on that score. Foreign Internet entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, jewellers, hoteliers, and language school owners are all setting up and thriving here.
- The Top Three Best Places to Retire Overseas Where the Health Care is Excellent
Posted on September 30, 2013 by Barbara Ross
Health care can be expensive no matter what age you are but when you reach retirement, it is one thing that you don’t want to worry about. According to International Living’s Annual Retirement Index 2013, below are three of the best places in the world for health care.
First-World cities packed with ultra-modern amenities, and ancient vineyard-shrouded hill towns close to tropical beaches and mountain valleys. Among the top retirement spots in the world this year, you’ll find great variety in the cultural offerings, climates and lifestyles. Each destination is desirable in its own way, but they all offer something increasingly hard to come by at home: A good quality of life for a reasonable price.
Islands are places where the stars shine bright at night. Out in the ocean, a profound quiet exists. There are no traffic jams, hassled commuters, or sirens. And because not everything is always so easy to get on an island, one tends to care less about “getting” at all. Life really does become simpler.
We’ve all gone on vacation and fallen in love with a place. You promise that you will visit again…but really you wish that you never had to go home at all. But of course you do have to go home, even if it’s just to quit your job or close up your house. And while these thoughts are going…
- Robinson Crusoe-Style Retreats on 7 of the World’s Best Islands
Posted on August 20, 2013 by International Living
When you ask folks who live on an island what drew them to life on a curio of clay, they tend to respond by saying things like, “I can live simply without much interference.”
Now is the time to visit George Town, capital of the island of Penang, Malaysia. Recently renovated and chic, George Town today is one of Southeast Asia’s most exciting destinations: a buzzing and creative city, with new cafés and art galleries set amidst breathtaking street art.
- In Pictures: The Top Three Places to Live in Southeast Asia
Posted on July 15, 2013 by Laura Doyle
In Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia you can feast your eyes on tasty local cuisine, endless stretches of white-sand beaches, unspoiled Pacific coastline and immerse yourself in a whole new—stress-free—lifestyle.
- Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia: Three Great Destinations to Live in Southeast Asia
Posted on July 12, 2013 by International Living
Living in Southeast Asia is a lot easier than you probably think…it’s easier to get around, to get what you need, to find a community that will welcome you. While the distance may be intimidating, the reality on the ground is much less so than you may imagine. Expats living in this part of the world report that life is at once exhilarating, comfortable and affordable.
- Movie-Star Chic for Pennies on the Dollar in Penang, Malaysia
Posted on June 27, 2013 by Keith Hockton
Imagine unlimited sea views from your 6,000-square-foot home. You have five bedrooms, five-and-a-half bathrooms, a library with a wet bar and a kegerator for draft beer. Your entertainment room has a drop-down projector, there are granite counters in the kitchen and your master bathroom is all Carrara marble.
It’s not every morning you find a monkey eating your breakfast. But it happens. Investigating a noise in the kitchen the other day, my husband John found a Macaque monkey carelessly tossing banana skins onto the floor. After a brief stare-off, the monkey tucked our bananas under his arm and bolted into our garden.
- The Three Most Desirable Havens in Low-Cost Malaysia
Posted on June 27, 2013 by Frances Wilks
Where else can you live in a high-rise that looks and feels like high-end Miami…but pay less in rent than you would in Boise, Idaho? Where else can you have coffee at Starbucks or grab a beer at an Irish pub…then head out to explore an exotic market or an ancient temple? Where else can you live comfortably on less than $1,800 a month…
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