Moving to Malaysia from California has been an incredibly fun experience, and at times, perplexing. Since it was hard for me to find information about expat living in Malaysia prior to our move, and there aren’t a lot of online resources to help people figure things out when you’re here, I figured I’d help others by sharing what I’ve learned and continue to discover during this amazing expat adventure. As a professional magazine writer, I’m obsessed with diving into the details and finding answers to lots of important expat living questions, like: why does the dentist want to sand-blast my teeth?; how to drive several blocks without dying?; which way to face on a squat toilet and where in the hell is the toilet paper?; where you can buy both an eel and a bra in one glorious shopping experience? and where are some insanely awesome and cheap places to explore in SE Asia? Since I tend to stumble/bungle upon helpful, strange, fun and unique new finds each day, I’m happy to share them to make life a little easier for other expats and people considering moving here or retiring in Malaysia.

And yes, the photo below is how I envisioned expat life in Penang would be. Much to my disappointment, I do not have a monkey on my head 24/7, but I can tell you where to find friendly ones who are more than happy to rest their testicles on your shoulder. Let’s face it, if you’re going to relocate or retire in Malaysia, it’s best to do it with style and panache by wear wearing a monkey as a hat. Right?



6 thoughts on “About

  1. Hey there
    My wife, who never reads blogs, stumbled on your blog. Long story short; we moved from Walnut Creek one year ago to live in Penang and have MM2H. What we don’t have is a lot of expat friends that understand and relate to us and our lifestyle as North Americans (Diane is Canadian). Anyway, love the blog and was hoping to get in touch with you and meet. Our blog is http://www.experimentalexpats.com and we live in Batu Ferrenghi. Give us a look and please send us an email on the blog. We’d love to exchange contact info off line and spend some time together. PS. We love monkeys as much as you and have also been to Borneo. There’s a lots of monkey pics on my blog from here and Thailand
    We’re retired because I got laid off earlier than expected and we didn’t want to work or commute anymore and thankfully at age 51 and 45 we had enough money after selling the overpriced house to give this a shot
    Hope to hear from you soon
    Rob and Diane


    • Hi Howard! Welcome to Penang! My husband and I moved here for an expat work assignment. We love it so much that once we’re ready to retire, this is where we’ll probably do it.


  2. Pingback: Penang Neighborhood Guide for Expats | Penang Personal and Medical Concierge

  3. Hi. Just stumbled on the blog and am loving it. Considering a move to Penang and your information is exactly what I was looking for. One question: Is there any surfing on Penang? I thought I saw you mention a board bag once but wasn’t sure. Thanks again.



    • Hi Alan! So happy to hear that the blog is helping give you a taste of Penang so you can see if it’s right for you. To answer your question, no, there’s absolutely no surfing at all in Penang. The ocean swells are blocked by Sumatra, so there can never be any surf here. The ocean is as flat as a pancake, although locals often talk about “big waves” which gets us excited, and then when we see the microscopic ripples they’re referring to, we realize that not even a squirrel could ride those “waves.” But there are sometimes direct flights to Pedang, so you can hop over the Mentawais (some of the best surfing on earth) pretty easily, and Bali is also a cheap flight, and sometimes you can get good fares to Mauritius and the Maldives. We kitesurf and foilboard, and Penang is an okay place for both – not fantastic since the wind is pretty variable and light, but when you’re desperate for a kite fix, you make it work. 🙂 When we want to ride waves, we head to Indo. Does that help?


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