As I meet more and more people who are interested in moving here, I think back to the day in 2008 when I made the decision to move to Malaysia. It wasn’t that I was unhappy—in fact, far from it. I just made a conscious change in the way I saw things, the way I thought about my life.
I was earning a really good salary and had a really good job. I was an investment banker… but I decided to resign when I’d had enough. I’d worked hard all my life and I knew I wanted to try new things while I still had the chance. I didn’t want to be one of those people who end up boxed in and thought of by the jobs that they do.
My wife and I knew we wanted to live somewhere exotic. We also wanted to travel before it was too late. Moving to Southeast Asia seemed like the natural step for us. I had lived and worked in Hong Kong for a number of years and I had grown up in Singapore and Brunei. My family had also holidayed in the Philippines.
I chose Malaysia, and then Penang because of the low cost of living, its friendly people, and ultimately the weather. I hate the cold and Malaysia has a year round average temperature of 80 degrees.
There’s plenty to see and do in Penang, too, and its capital George Town.
George Town is a walkable vibrant city, with cool cafes and great street food (some stalls don’t open until 11 p.m., by which time there’s a queue waiting for them to open). A UNESCO-listed historic site, George Town also has numerous temples, museums and art galleries to keep you occupied.
The quality of life is amazing in Malaysia. The government has a strong commitment to I.T, a stable exchange rate, and amazing infrastructure. Its roads are the best that I have seen anywhere in Asia and its international airports are first class.
The amazing medical care, too, is a big bonus to my life here. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, and Penang are medical centers of excellence. As someone who mountain bikes and plays racquetball three to four times a week, it was important that any care I might need would be affordable—and it is. Here, a trip to the doctor can cost as little as $15; a visit to see a specialist as little as $10. Plus—you don’t have to make an appointment. Once you’re registered at the hospital, you can go straight to the doctor’s waiting area. I couldn’t do that back home. Some of the specialists there had a three-month waiting period.
Life is easier since I came to Malaysia. I’ve been able to pursue all my interests—particularly writing. I started off by writing a book on scuba diving—that’s in its third print today. And now I write for a living… all because I took a chance and made the move.
Moving from your home is always a brave step but I’ve never regretted it, not once. After three years of living here… my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.
Malaysia is an amazing country, its people are wonderful and its natural beauty is unmatched by anything else that I have seen on my travels. Give it a try. I guarantee you won’t regret it either…
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