Cost of Living in Penang. Prices Updated Dec 2020.

"Знания недостаточно, необходимо применение. Желания недостаточно, необходимо действие." Брюс Ли ZMEY
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The noise pollution here is insane. The prayer calls from the mosques seem to reverberate throughout Penang. Seems like they are competing for who can be the loudest. This really ruined Penang for me and I cut my time short.

3 months ago

We picked up 4G SIM from the airport for $5 that got us 20Gb for the 2 weeks we visited the place to see if we wanted to work here.

9 months ago

Penang is great.

It’s everything the rest of Malaysia is not: Penang is clean, super safe, people are friendly, the food won’t make you sick.

Penang probably is not the next nomad hotspot soon though but it could be. There’s quite a lot of cafes, but not many are good for laptopping. Very few cafes have solid airconditioning, so it’ll be hot. They do usually have fans though. Most buildings are small built here, so cafes can also be quite cramped and get crowded fast, especially around lunch and late afternoons. Also cafes close very early, like 5pm or 6pm.

Internet is legendarily slow, doesn’t matter if it’s in your hotel or cafe. Internet in Penang in general is just very slow. But there’s an easy fix for that: buy a 4G Hotlink SIM card and top it up every day/week with a few gigabyte. Then use your phone to tether. It’ll be extremely fast at around 40 Mbps, vs the WiFi’s at 1 Mbps (!).

Great thing vs. for example Thailand is that people here speak almost perfect English, and compared to Kuala Lumpur people here are generally quite educated. Also about the people: Penangites are just really friendly and nice. They know you’re a tourist and it doesn’t matter, they’re happy to help you get around and give tips where to go. Really friendly and chill people.

Food is good but I’ll be real here, there’s kinda limited options. Everything is either Malay, Indian or Chinese. Which is nice, but gets limited fast.

Some recommendations to work:


— Wheeler’s cafe (ask or book beforehand to make sure you sit in the aircon area upstairs)


— Coffee Addicts cafe


— Daily Dose (make sure you order food here though cause they don’t seem to like laptops that much)

To eat:


— Nasi Kandar Line Clear, yes it’s an alley way but nice and you won’t get sick, very clean: go there ask for rice and beef or chicken and vegetables and curry sauce, it’ll be $2 or $3 USD, ask for hot tea, that’s how locals eat it. It’s open 24/7.


— Halab, a Syrian restaurant, it’s not cheap (think $20 for a meal) but it’s a loooot of grilled meat, good if you need protein after gym, also didn’t get sick it so seems safe.

I think if Penang gets some nice aircon’d hipster cafes that like laptops, fixes its slow WiFi speeds everywhere and gets more nomads coming, it could very well become a new nomad hotspot in Asia.

10 months ago

Beware of slow internet speed! It’s also difficult to get month-to-month accommodation. Airbnb is basically the only choice. I got a great studio apartment at the Kim Haus for $620/month, which includes tourist tax of RM10 per day. Excellent location. But the internet is so slow it is unusable. And there are very few cafes that have better internet. One of the better cafes in town happens to be across the street from the Kim Haus. It’s called Coffee Addicts.

1 year ago

I’ve been living here for a year. English is widely used everywhere so you don’t need to learn any other language. Internet at home fiber 1Gbps super fast. Rental is both cheap and expensive, you can find places as cheap as $100 per month and as expensive as $1000-$2000 for luxury style condos. Food is excellent, you can literally eat every day out for less than $5 per meal + drink and never repeat the same restaurant. Maybe the only downside is that as it’s so hot people only do exercise very early in the morning or at night or in the gyms (usually condos have a gym).

1 year ago

Loved Penang! I rented an Airbnb 1BR apartment in Straits Quay for a month @ $35/nt and rent is probably lower if you stay longer or live in a less touristy area. Great food, easy transportation, nice beaches, super affordable plus my host upgraded wifi to 30mbps. Everyone speaks English, thanks to Malaysia’s colonial history and the people are so hospitable. I hope to move there permanently someday!

1 year ago

SLOW internet speed and local people mostly relies on 4G/LTE networks instead of cables. However, I need to recommend the Wheeler’s: https://goo.gl/maps/Z2cLP2y9hqT2 It has the fast internet speed in town, around 20Mbps download/upload.

1 year ago

✅ Affordable to live

✅ Very safe

✅ Fast internet

✅ Warm now

✅ Warm all year round

✅ Good air quality on average

✅ Many Nomad List members have been

✅ Spacious and not crowded

✅ Very easy to make friends

✅ Very easy to do business

✅ High quality of education

✅ Great hospitals

✅ Democratic

✅ Everyone speaks English

✅ Very safe for women

✅ Family friendly

✅ LGBTQ+ friendly

✅ Not many people smoke tobacco

❌ Not much to do

❌ Very humid now

❌ Roads are very dangerous

❌ Freedom of speech is weak






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