Few of the retirement choices in South-East Asia can compare with Malaysia, an almost-perfect destination, largely due to the friendly people, a great infrastructure and wonderful weather. This peaceful, stable country, like many in the region, offers great value for money, and appeals to those people who would like to spend their retirement in a less stressful and more exotic environment.
“Malaysia – My Second Home”
This Government initiative, sometimes known as “MM2H”, encourages foreigners, including retirees, to relocate to the country via provision of renewable 10-year multiple-entry visas, along with other benefits such as exemptions from income tax on pensions.
The Cost of Living
Malaysia can work out to be very cheap indeed, when compared to the cost of living in Western countries, and while this might be expected, it’s pleasing to report that the standard of living is high as well. The cities such as Kuala Lumpur are thriving, cosmopolitan centers, much of the country’s infrastructure is new or recent, and healthcare is cheap and affordable when compared to Europe or the United States. Daily expenses such as food are also low in cost, and it is quite possible to eat in a restaurant for every meal of the day for less than ten dollars. Items such as groceries are also very cheap, although many people soon notice that the price of alcohol is expensive in comparison to other items in the country.
Unspoilt Natural Beauty
Malaysia has a relatively low density of population, unlike many other countries in South-East Asia, which leaves much of the countryside unspoilt. Pristine beaches and exotic islands are the norm in Malaysia. Due to the excellent road systems, the jungle areas are easy to visit, perfect for day trips, and have a unique array of fauna and flora.
Low Property Prices
The low cost of living is reflected in the cost of property, which offers terrific value for money. While Kuala Lumpur may be an exception to this, there are some amazing bargains to be had away from the city.
A house with a swimming pool can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of even the smallest flat in a city such as London, making it an attractive option for those looking to live a comfortable retirement. Many people are content to rent a house in Malaysia on a long-term basis, and a basic one bedroomed apartment can be found for as little as three hundred dollars per month in some parts of the country, making Malaysia perfect for anyone drawing a low pension.
The Diversity of Towns and Cities
There is an incredible diversity in the towns and cities, and this can make it quite a challenge for anyone looking to spend their retirement in Malaysia to choose their home base. Kuala Lumpur is the biggest and most famous city, and while many people choose to retire to apartments there, the city doesn’t offer quite the same value as the rest of Malaysia. One area popular with ex-pats is Penang. This island is a major tourist attraction, and as such, offers people who are retired access to every service and convenience that they need. Other places to consider include the historic towns of Melaka and Kuantan, where property prices are said to be among the lowest in the region.
The Culture and Language
Malay may be the national language, but English is the second language, and the local people seem to speak this everywhere, to a degree. This helps to get a better understanding of the culture, and of the people themselves. Malaysians are friendly, helpful people who feel at ease with foreigners. New residents can soon settle in, and having Malaysian friends outside of the expat community opens up many different social possibilities, such as being invited to weddings or other festive occasions. China has had a significant influence, historically, in Malaysia, and almost one-third of the population remains Chinese, with roughly one-half of Malaysian origin.