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Apartments for Rent in Penang: What You Need to Know

    home with a pool apartment for rent in penang

    Last Updated on June 15, 2020 by Kirsten Raccuia

    When Mark and I moved here, the hunt for an apartment for rent in Penang began on day one. We knew we wanted to live in Tanjung Bungah, but that’s about it. We looked at 38, I repeat 38, homes. It took us 10 long, torturous days, one meltdown, and a lot of vodka to find our happy home. 

    You don’t have to go through that, no matter how picky you are. We’ve learned a lot since 2013, and I want to share that knowledge with you. 

    I wrote this blog to give you all the details about apartments for rent in Penang. And, so you can learn from our mistakes. Grab your favorite swill and a notepad and start reading…

    The Big Differences

    A lot of units have never been lived in or even visited by the owners. Some are in sh!t shape. Some have never been cleaned. Try to look past all of that. A lot of times the owners will wait until they have a tenant (or the money), to do any repairs, buy any furniture, finish the kitchen, whatever. We didn’t know that, and it turned us off of a few apartments. 

    Had we known that, our first year might have been different. 

    Security deposit

    In Penang, the deposit is two month’s rent, and there is an agent fee. 

    The agency fee is a ½ month’s rent for a lease that is one year or less. For anything over a year, it is a full month. 

    komtar building at sunset


    In our experience, the landlord keeps the water and electricity in their name, but you pay the bill. Gas is bought by the canister and is cash on delivery. This could vary by the lease.


    This will be different in each lease. Our landlord pays for any repairs over RM100 ($23.44), but some of our friend’s contracts state anything above RM300 ($70.31). It’s def negotiable (as is everything), make sure you read that in the fine print before you sign.

    We live in an older building and have had some major appliances break… like the oven, two days before our Thanksgiving dinner with 15 people coming over. But since our landlady is awesome, she let us go and pick out a reasonable oven, and she replaced it at her cost. Thanksgiving dinner was saved!


    This is the most significant difference and one that caught us off guard.

    There is no exclusivity on listings for apartments for rent in Penang. No one really has the listing, everyone does. If you are a landlord, you can give the listing to as many agents as you wish. This is why, on all the rental property websites, you’ll find the same apartment listed with seven different agents. 

    The management office or the landlord keeps the keys – when you want to see an apartment, the agent gets the keys from them and shows it to you. 

    Tip: You might find the same unit listed at different prices. Sometimes agents will lower the rent a little to get more renters to look at it and one-up the competition. If you find a building you like, check all the units online to see if you could save a few bucks by calling the right agent. 


    This also threw me for a loop at first. 

    I was so used to seeing fantastic interior pictures of every nook and cranny on online rental portals back home. I just assumed that would be the same everywhere. 

    Well, my friends, it is not. 

    There are loads of pictures of the outside of the building, the common areas, and the amenities. But because there is no exclusivity, there are rarely pics of the inside of the unit. And if there are, sometimes they are awful; laundry on the bed, dishes in the sink, not professional at all. Or even better – they are not of the actual unit.  

    Our Experience

    Living room, apartments for rent in penang

    In 2013, our first year here, we were staying in a crappy hotel, while searching daily for a Penang apartment rental. It had been 10 days; I might have totally cried a couple of times, horrified by what we had seen. Overwhelmed and wondering if we’d ever find a beautiful home, I got back online.

    I found a new listing, the pictures of the outside of the building looked lovely, there was an infinity pool and a small but modern gym. It all seemed very modern and well maintained.   

    I saw a picture of these turquoise planters with these gorgeous trees in them. The floors were a pale grey to match the walls, it looked like a bright and airy living area. I couldn’t believe our luck – a unit with “normal” colors. It was nothing like what we’d seen; pale pink walls with gold accents, stuff straight out of Liberace’s living room. It was so promising that we called right away. 

    As soon as we walked into the elevator lobby, I saw them… the friggin turquoise planters. Those pics weren’t of the unit, they were of the hall to the elevator! I was crest-fallen but had to laugh. Or it would have cried. 

    The good news was that we loved the unit as well. So, I had my planters and my apartment too.

    So those are the major differences. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty…

    Neighborhoods in Penang Island

    view of tanjung bungah sunset

    Obvi, choosing your new neighborhood is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when you move to Penang. 

    There are a lot of options. Here is a brief rundown of the most popular areas or expats. Starting from Batu Ferringhi in the north to Bayan Lepas in the south.

    Batu Ferringhi

    It’s the beachiest on this list (but please don’t move here for the beaches, you’ll be disappointed). Def the second most touristy area outside of George Town. There is a daily night market and some big resorts along the beach.

    The next two coastal neighborhoods share the same grocery stores, markets, and malls.

    Tanjung Bungah

    This is where we live. It’s got the beaches, and it’s midway between Batu Ferringhi and George Town. Unlike Batu Ferringhi, it’s close to everything (markets, grocery, malls, food).

    Tanjung Tokong

    It’s right next to Tanjung Bungah, closer to George Town and Gurney. It also has great beach views.

    Pulau Tikus

    It’s the closest neighborhood to George Town, has a great market, and is close to everything. However, it’s not coastal, so the beach views aren’t as lovely and unobstructed as in Tanjung Bungah/Tanjung Tokong.

    Gurney Drive

    It’s a shopper’s paradise. Everything you need is within walking distance, it’s very convenient but has no heritage feel. It’s not an authentic area of town but a very nice one if you are looking for upscale living. And you can hop a Grab (Uber) into Georgetown if you’re looking for some culture.

    George Town

    It’s the heart of the island and the capital of Penang. I would live there in a heartbeat if I could find a great pad with a killer ocean view. 

    Balik Pulau

    This area is what I imagine Penang used to be like decades ago. Loads of rice paddies and fishing villages. It’s very local with little tourism and def the most authentic place on this list. 

    Bayan Lepas

    This area is close to all the manufacturing, the Penang international airport, and the mainland. A lot of families who come here for work live there. There is a large mall called Queesnbay and some great food in the area.

    For more info and things to do in each area read Penang Where to Stay

    Rental Options

    apartment for rent in penang with palm wallpaper

    No matter where you choose to live in Penang, you have loads of accommodation choices. You don’t have to pick an apartment to rent in Penang, you could rent a landed home (duplexes, townhomes, and bungalows). Some are in gated communities, but not all.

    Condos, apartments, or flats, are the same everywhere, in secure high-rises. Your rental decision will guide you to specific areas and neighborhoods. 


    Penang is one of the safest places in Malaysia. That doesn’t mean you should wear all your diamonds and wander the streets at night, but would you do that anywhere? 

    Apartments and condos tend to be safer than landed houses. Almost all high-rises have guardhouses where visitors sign to get passed the front gate. Some buildings have keycards that only work for your floor, but you might have to run down to let your visitors in. 

    Landed properties in gated communities have those same guards and security measures. However, a stand-alone home will only have as much security as you install. They will have high walls and probably an electric gate to your driveway or garage. Not all homes come with alarms or cameras, it might be up to you to have one installed. 


    beach view of apartments for rent in penang

    If you are looking for a gym and a pool, you’ll have to rent a condo. Some homes have private pools, but it’s not the norm.


    Whether you go for a landed house or an apartment, you’ll have at least one parking space, if not two.


    Landed homes are your best bet if you decide to come with Homer or Daisy. Or if you plan to adopt while you are here. Not all apartment or condo buildings allow pets. 


    bedroom apartment for rent in penang

    If you ever saw our House Hunters International episode, you’d see that (annoyingly) a built-in oven was a deal-breaker for me. No oven = no lease. If you think about most Asian food, it is generally cooked in a wok, which means ovens aren’t found in a lot of kitchens. 

    If you are looking at a newer building, they will most likely have one, but not all. If there is something that you must have, just ask. There are a ton of apartments for rent in Penang, a considerable surplus actually, so a lot of landlords will add additional items to get it leased.  

    Also, not every place comes with a clothes dryer. Our first place had the room for it, but we didn’t ask for one. So, we spent the year, air drying our clothes. And let me tell you, it is soooo much better for your clothes. 


    Penang has great internet, but it depends on your neighborhood. Two buildings next to each other could have different internet infrastructure. We have fiber optics, and its incredibly fast. But even without it, we had fast internet. 


    It’s not hard to find a fully furnished house for rent in Penang.

    They use the term fully furnished loosely. It might say fully furnished, but when you arrive, there is no couch, just two chairs pushed together with an ottoman. To some people that may be fully furnished, I, however, am not one of those people.

    If you hate the furniture, ask the landlord to change it out. Tell them what you need and be specific. Don’t just say you need a couch because you could end up with a gorgeous traditional wooden bench and a few cushions. Not everyone’s taste level is the same (hello gold columns in the bedroom), and there are some culturally different ideas of furniture as well. 

    Do not sign a lease that you can’t get out of until you see the furniture or, at the very least, pics of it. If you only see pics, have them attached to the lease, so when you go to move in, and that new couch is nowhere to be found, you’ll have a leg to stand on. Just like in America, not all landlords are scrupulous. 

    living room apartments for rent in penang

    Our Experiences

    1. We saw one place that had no kitchen unless you call a pedestal bathroom sink and one cabinet on the floor a kitchen. The agent told us not to worry, they would put in a kitchen, but we didn’t believe him and left. Now we know that all we had to do was discuss the terms and our needs and we could have had a great kitchen, maybe. 

    2. In our current condo, we did not like the master bed or the couch. 

    The master bed was a white metal, four-poster bed with a traditional coconut husk mattress. Coconut husk mattress? Never heard of that…neither had we. Unless you were raised on a farm and spent countless nights sleeping on a bale of hay, I’d suggest you opt for a regular mattress. 

    We asked the landlady to remove the bed and replace the couch, and she had no problem doing that. We went and looked for couches and sent her pics of what we liked, but she didn’t love our selection. The next day, we all went together and found a sofa that we could agree on. I don’t think our landlady is the norm here. But it just goes to show you, ask, and see what comes your way.  

    Things to Know About Apartments for Rent in Penang:

    Wet and Dry Kitchens

    Almost all Penang accommodations have two kitchens. Not two full eat-in kitchens. But two adjacent places to cook. 

    Traditionally, the wet kitchen will be where all the primary cooking is done, and all the major appliances are kept. The wet kitchen is less fancy, more utilitarian, and sometimes outside in another room altogether. It is where all the oily, smelly, dirty, cooking is done, and it may not have air conditioning.  

    The dry kitchen is for light cooking and prepping and never gets as messy as the wet kitchen. 

    Nowadays, there are still both kitchens, but they are configured differently, and according to modern cooking needs. Most places will have a full dry kitchen cooking area with sink, stove, oven, and fridge. The adjacent wet kitchen will have another stove and sink, maybe even a second fridge. Or some variation of that. 

    The main reasons are two-fold, if you are cooking in a wok, it can get messy, so an outside kitchen or wet kitchen is easier to clean. 

    A dry kitchen is used more for chopping and washing and also eating. 

    beach view


    There prob won’t be electric sockets in the bathroom. Or there may be one if you are lucky.

    Hot Water

    Showers don’t come with ready hot water. You have to flip a switch somewhere near the bathroom lights to turn it on. Within a few minutes, viola, you have hot water in your shower. But don’t forget to turn it off after, or it will run up your electric bill. 

    Your kitchen might not be equipped with a hot water tank. It takes some getting used to, especially if you don’t have a dishwasher. Our first place didn’t have it, so we used boiled water from the electric kettle.

    Now we have hot water and rarely use it because we have a dishwasher. We also realized that soap does the trick. You’ve never washed your hands in boiling water, and they’re still are clean after a good scrub. 

    If soap is good enough to kill Covid-19, it’s good enough for my dishes. 

    Pick an Agent or DIY-it?

    view of apartments for rent in Penang.

    Just like in the US, you can choose an agent to work with or do it yourself. The other option is to search online until your heart is content, and then give your list of faves to your agent who can organize the appointments. 

    Our Experience

    Mark and I are the kinds of people who like to get in there, take charge, get things moving.

    When we first arrived, we were anxious to find a home and start our new adventure. When it came to finding a flat for rent in Penang, we only knew what town we wanted to live in. We didn’t know any agents, so we started all our research online with Property Guru and iProperty.

    We called every agent that had a property that looked hopeful. The problem is that we ended up seeing the same places twice with different agents. Or the agent would do the bait and switch… we’d plan to see one place, but they’d take us to another. We’d tell them we want Tanjung Bungah, but they’d take us to Batu Ferringhi.

    Honestly, we had really crap luck with real estate agents here. Mark and I are/were realtors, so maybe we have a higher standard of expectations than the norm. But just like in America, there is a low barrier to entry for rental agents, so many of them have no clue.  

    The good news is that the standards are rising because people are demanding better service. The strong few agents are doing a good job and getting all the referrals. 

    The even better news is that after living here for so long, we know peepsProfessionals. Which means you do too. So, if you need a rec, let me know, I am here to help.  

    Extra Tidbits

    palm leaves blue skies

    Tip: Not all agents are created equal. Not all landlords are created equal either.

    Tip: Don’t rent an apartment without ceiling fans in every room, unless you are prepared to buy standing fans and use the A/C a lot. Penang is hotter than a hooker’s doorknob on payday, and ceiling fans are a saving grace

    Tip: Negotiate everything, and I mean everything from the rental price to the coconut mattress. It’s ok to ask for things you want. But also remain realistic and recognize that you are in another country, things aren’t the same. If it’s really far over your cost of living in Penang budget, don’t try to negotiate it down, just move on.

    We never thought you could ask for a different bed, or for a real kitchen, in our minds, it was take it as you see it. Many landlords aren’t going to do major construction for you, but you’d be surprised at what they will agree to have a good tenant.

    Tip: Property Guru and iProperty are good resources for all houses and apartments in Malaysia for rent or for sale. However, they are not a substitute for seeing units in person. There are some shady people that put the wrong pics up of a unit and so it’s imperative to see things with your own eyes. Use the sites for research, to get a feel for what’s out there, not to seal the deal.

    Tip: Check out the Penang Facebook groups. Sometimes the people on those know about units for rent or are looking to sublet.

    Tip: The longer the lease time, the lower your rent will be. Conversely, short term rentals are pretty price and harder to find. 

    There are more and more serviced apartments for rent in Penang that are scattered around the island. These are good for short term leases but usually come with a high-pricer tag.

    The Wrap-Up about Apartments for Rent in Penang

    Whether you are looking for an apartment or a house for rent in Penang, patience will do you wonders. There are tons of places to see, which means you will find your happy home. 

    If I can spare you from the nightmare and prepare you in any way, your apartment hunt will be a lot shorter and less stressful than ours. 

    Tell me your worst rental story in the comments below.

    PS: Thanks to Marisa Bahr for the pics of her beautiful home! And to Dawn for letting me pick her brain.


    48 thoughts on “Apartments for Rent in Penang: What You Need to Know”

    1. Hi Kirsten,

      Your website is a pure dopeness.
      Full of usefull info and tips !

      Having recently arrived in Penang, I plan to first spend 2-3 months there to see how things go.
      I was wondering if you don’t have any advices about short term rental.
      For the moment I use Airbnb which I think is more practical for daily or weekly rent, but for more than 2 weeks, it’s a little too expensive…


      1. Ha! Thank you, Julien!

        Short-term rentals are a bit difficult. I don’t have a lot of experience with them. But a three-month rental isn’t that short. Check out the serviced hotels because Airbnb is not longer legit there. And a lot of newer condo buildings allow that.

        Also, contact your current host and see if they are willing to make a deal for a 3-month stint.

        I hope that helps.
        Enjoy Penang!

    2. Hi Kirsten, your blog is so helpful thank you. I would like to know if you have something on Facebook that we can join. We are going to Penang in July 2023 so if there is anything to join please let me know.

    3. Hello Kirsten

      Thank you for a great blog. It certainly answered some questions I had. I retire at the end of this year and plan to relocate to Penang from Australia. I already have a good feel for what is around (types of units, locations and prices) and what neighbourhoods I’m interested in (I’ve been browsing Property Guru for about 6 months now). Plus having locals as friends helps fill in some blanks as well 😉

      You mention that the landlord will provide the bills for electricity and water to be paid. What is the frequency of these bills (monthly, 3 months etc)? Also how does internet work? Do you simply choose and contact a provider and have it hooked up to your apartment or is this something your landlord would do as well?

      Also with the security deposit, who actually holds that money? In Australia there is actually rental board that holds the money on behalf of you and the landlord. And is it easy to get the money back if and when you decided to move on?

      One final question. Are landlords open to improvements being done on their property. Sometimes I see a unit that has lots of potential, but might be in need to a few coats of paint. Personally I’m happy to do this sort of thing myself.

      Once again, thank you

      Stay well


      1. Allow me to provide some answers:
        Utility bills: these arrive in the mailbox of the unit you rent. Electricity monthly; tap water every other month; sewerage once per quarter. Electricity and water are metered, sewerage is a fixed amount (about RM25/quarter).
        Internet: there is one company which provides wired internet: TIME. However, not all buildings are connected to their network. You can check on their website whether a certain building is connected (at time com my). If your building is not connected you can get a service from one of the mobile carriers. They will provide you with a modem which works using the mobile phone infrastructure. Speed and stability of this depends a lot on the location of the building. Make sure that the internet subscription is not in the landlord’s name: they would be able to monitor your internet activities!
        Security deposit is held by the landlord. Whether you’ll get it back thus depends on the landlord.
        Don’t bother in doing your own home improvements. Landlords are very eager to get a tenant as so many units are empty and potential tenants have lot of choice. So it is easy to negotiate that the landlord takes care of painting before you sign the contract. Vice versa: if you paint walls during your stay, and the landlord doesn’t like it when you leave (s)he may require you to paint it back in the original color. Or withhold the security deposit, to pay for the costs of repainting.

        1. Thanks for replying Jereon, not sure how I missed that comment.

          Sorry, about that Chris.

          Not much I can add to that. I would def sharpen your negotiating skills before you get here. You really can ask for anything you want before you sign that lease. We rented a fully furnished apartment but didn’t like some of the furniture so we asked her to buy new stuff and she did. I’m not saying to be unreasonable but shoot for the stars, you just might reach them.

      2. Thank you for a very accurate summery of the rental scene in Penang.
        My wife and I have visited Penang since 1970 and have owned an apartment near you since 2009.
        Firstly are you still in Penang?
        We are contemplating renting our property which we have furnished to a higher standard than most in Penang but we are reluctant to entrust our property to every agent in Penang. Could you please recommend an agent who would offer a full service?

        1. Hello Kym,
          We are planning to head to Malaysia in 2023. Are you still interested in renting out your apartment. I certainly understand your concerns about rentals and how the tenants will treat your possessions. If you have any interest in renting your apartment, I would love to talk to you about where it is and how long a rental term you are considering. Maybe we could come up with a win-win!

    4. Thank you So very helpful. We are looking at moving to Penang from Australia when we retire in 2023.

    5. Hi Kirsten,
      Thanks again for your blog – i am currently reading it again and again because finally! We are planning our move to Penang:-)
      After endlessly exploring the websites my mind is set on gurney Drive – but i think we will find out when we arrive in May. If you could send me a recommendation for reliable agents that would be really helpful.
      Thanks again for sharing – helps a lot!
      Karena from Germany

        1. Hi Kirsten – thanks a lot – that would be great!
          Please contact me via email – sorry i do not know what a pm is…..
          Have a great day!

    6. Hey, great blog – very informative! I’m from New Zealand and my wife is from Penang, and we’re looking to split our time across both countries at some point. Even my wife got a lot out of the blog, so thanks!

    7. Hi Kirsten,
      My family and I have just begun our ‘home hunt’ in Penang and your blog is perfect! Really helps in understanding… EVERYTHING! Such a life saver. Thank you a million times!!!!!

    8. Great article as always! We didn’t have too many dramas, I think due to having an awesome Agent (Marrean – Rean Property) who had been recommended to us by expats really helped as she understood what we wanted and only showed us places that fit our criteria. We spent 2 full-on days viewing apartments, maybe 15, and really liked 2 or 3 of them. She also pointed out things we hadn’t thought of, such as wet bathrooms needing shower curtains for us, the oven situation, no drier in our fave place etc. She also added a clause that the lease would be aborted should we have any immigration issues, which gave us peace of mind to sign the cheaper 2yr lease.
      It still amazes me how bad the photos are when you’re looking for properties though, they’re actually laughable! They stick their watermark right across the middle of the pic so you can’t see the rooms!

      1. Hi Wendy!

        You are lucky you had a great agent. Glad to know there are a few more on the island.
        I know what you mean about the watermarks, how about move them down a bit!

        My faves are the dirty bathroom pics. Nothing says “rent me” like a filthy bathroom!

    9. Hi Kirsten,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us! Mike and I appreciate you. I am just waiting to book a flight to visit. I read that November to February is the best time to visit Penang. I am not worried about living in Penang. You and Mark are there to guide us. No such thing is perfect in life. I will need your help to convince Mike to move- lol. I have just finished watching the youtube video of George Town. We are still working remote from home until September. It is getting HOTTER each day in Dallas. Have a wonderful week. Please give my regards to Mark and your sweet mom. I know is too early but I installed whatsapp on my phone. I need to install Grab later on.


    10. Hello Kirsten,

      Many thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us! A typical Sunday evening in Dallas. We had dinner at the restaurant. Mike is watching Star Trek. I am in Penang with you😂.
      I am not worried about moving to Penang. No such thing is perfect. However, I will need your help to convince Mike lol. I am grateful that you and Mark are in Penang. I am just waiting to see when the flight will be available. Have a wonderful week.


    11. Great job for 1st-timers Kirsten! I can add a little more for those looking to move here with dogs. More and more properties and landlords are allowing dogs, but not all, so you need to ask up front. On our fact-finding trip to Penang, we originally met with 2 different agents and told both that we were bringing our dog. I discovered later that one of the agents wasn’t checking with the landlords and told me to be quiet about our dog. I knew then she wasn’t the one we would be using when we actually moved here. As goofy as it sounds, yes you will be viewing the condo/bungalow while the owner is there, so make sure you confirm that they are ok with you bringing a dog. If you have a picture (like who doesn’t?!!), it also helps to show them.

      We are now into our 2nd 2-year lease. Our 1st one went great, negotiating for different size beds in both bedrooms and a real sofa (not the horribly uncomfortable red Ikea futon bed-thing). 10 months in, the landlord agreed to have room-darkening drapes added to our 2nd bedroom. We love the condo property where we live (7 buildings) but were looking to go up in size due to a lack of storage. This is where I have to agree with Jeroen. I spent a couple of hours going through Property Guru because I knew exactly what buildings, unit numbers, and views I wanted to look at. I found the same interior pictures (I saw the same extremely unique kitchen light fixture in 3 different units!) in units listed as being in different buildings. I even saw pictures of views that definitely couldn’t have come from that building!! I gave up on Property Guru and asked around using our FB group to find anyone who was looking to move in the near future. We couldn’t come to an agreement on the one unit we liked (I found it myself but the owner’s agent wanted us to pay one month rent for his commission – he didn’t do anything – we said no), so we again negotiated with our current landlord. For another 2-year lease, she agreed to put in a nice size custom built island in the kitchen with a butcher block surface, 3 more wardrobe closets in our bedroom (resulting in a space for a desk top with 2 electrical outlets), and our entire unit repainted! We absolutely love our balcony view, which is why we were being so particular about our next unit. Yes, a little bit larger unit and balcony would have been nice, but we are extremely happy going out on our balcony to work, read, or just enjoy a gorgeous sunset every day!!

      The first and most important thing for 1st-time expats to remember is that you aren’t moving to a cheaper United States. Things happen differently here and you need to accept that! Once you do that, you’ll love it! We’ve said the only thing that would make Penang perfect is if it were in the Western Hemisphere!! Oh well, you can’t have everything!

      1. Hi Patti,

        That is great advice about the dogs. I could prob write a whole blog about bringing dogs here!

        How fantastic that your landlord remodeled so much for you to make your place even better, did she raise the rent a lot after all that work? That’s the thing, so many landlords are so happy to have good consistent tenants who pay the rent on time that they will do all sorts of things for you.

        I agree about the website’s photos being crappy and of the wrong units. And my advice is to def go in person and see it because who knows what you are really seeing on the site. However, if your new here and have no idea where to begin, those sites are all we really have. I will add a sentence or two about the Facebook pages, that’s also great advice! Thanks for the reminder!

        I sooooo wish we could pick up this island and move it closer to America! Wouldnt that be fab?!

        Thanks for commenting!

        1. Hello Kirsten,

          “I could prob write a whole blog about bringing dogs here!”

          Please do! Your blog has been so helpful to my family. I am an American and my wife is Japanese. We currently live in Japan but we are seriously considering moving to Penang, pending a preliminary visit.

          My son is almost 6 so I have narrowed it down to 4 different international schools there. Two in Bayan Lepas and two in Tanjung Bunga.

          It seems like bringing our dog shouldn’t be too difficult but information about it is a bit hard to find. Also, none of the rental listings we have looked at mention pets.

          I told my wife about you and how friendly you are on your blog. I have had a hard time making friends in Japan since we are not in Tokyo so she was happy to hear there seems to be a pretty strong ex-pat community in Penang and locals are also friendly. Do you have any online groups you recommend to join so I can research more and ask questions?

          We will be booking a flight for a preliminary visit as soon as it is safe to travel again. So difficult to wait…

          Thanks for your awesome blog!


          1. Brent,
            there is a rather large Japanese community in Penang. Which can be roughly divided in 3 categories: retirees (MM2H), parents who have their children in international schools, and working expats. There is a Japanese school on the island which follows the Japanese curriculum. Multiple blogs are available (in Japanese) about life in Penang. It should be not too difficult for your wife to find information about Penang online in Japanese.

            1. Hi Jeroen,

              Awesome info, thanks! We are actually looking to get out of the traditional Japanese schools, even if we stay here. However, the one in Penang does seem a lot more relaxed. My wife was happy to hear about the large Japanese community there. We are so excited to visit.

          2. Hi Brent!

            Welcome to my blog! I’m so glad you are here!

            Yes the whole dog thing is a bit ambiguous here. Sometimes even the realtors don’t know the rules. So it’s best to talk with the landlord directly.

            And thank you for the kind words. I’m a midwestern girl so ya know we are friendly. But there is a very large and warm community here. You’ll have no prob meeting people here!

            I def suggest the Facebook expat groups. Expat in Penang, Expats in Penang, Penang Island Community, Penang Expat Women. Here are more but those are my faves. Put anything on there and you’ll have a ton of responses.

            Of course let me know when you book a flight. I’m happy to help and meet you guys.

            Until then, let me know if you have any other questions.

            1. Thank you Kirsten. Taking a dog to Malaysia seems easy enough, especially from Japan. It is just everything else as far as living there with a dog that is difficult to find info on, haha.

              I’ll let my wife know about the FB groups so she can join as I don’t have an FB account. I have subscribed to your blog though and I am looking forward to future posts.

    12. “Tip: Property Guru and iProperty are great resources for all houses and apartments in Malaysia for rent or for sale. ”
      I used to think so too. However, my recent experience has changed that opinion. Nowadays these websites are full of fake advertisements as the contents is not vetted at all. Real estate agencies have discovered that the listings are ordered such that newest appears at the top and older listings “sink down”. So they have assigned an admin in their back office to re-upload the same items week after week after week. This is done without verifying whether the units are actually still available, or whether the details (e.g. rent) are correct. You can call one hour after an ad is placed and be told that this unit was “rented out last week”.

      1. Hi Jeroen,

        I recognize these sites aren’t the best but sadly that is all we have. I mention in the photos section that the pics are often of old units etc. But if you’ve never seen any units in Penang and you want to get a feel for the market, there are no other options. Def my best advice is to go and see everything in person. I’ll add another sentence about that to reiterate it.

        Thank you for commenting! I appreciate the update!

    13. Love you as always.

      Hi sweetie, mom here, another excellent blog. I think you definitely took the nightmare scenario out of the picture. I found your explanations of each area to be right on. I do remember your first apartment in Serin. I found it a very nice apartment with the barking dog kennel
      Below you. You have learned tons since your arrival in Penang and I know you have helped many many people in their endeavor to move there. However your new home has come with its own set circumstances. I do remember your 24 hour wallpaper scenario. I thought it turned out really nice. Keep up the great work you’re doing by letting all of us here in the US know if they are truly missing by not coming to Penang, Or at least visiting. Hope to see you soon when COVID-19 eases up.Love you as always.

      1. Hi momma,
        You’re the best! You know about ALL the nightmares I’ve been through. But the “wallpaper” one was self-imposed- which makes it even worse.

        I do hope to help others so they don’t have to make the same mistakes as we did.

        You are a great ambassador to Penang!
        Love you!

    14. Excellent article especially if you are considering a move to Penang….which, by the way, I can highly recommend!! Can relate to the “meltdown” in the process of finding where to live as we didn’t really know what each area provided. We looked at about 20 apartments & ended up moving a year later once we knew where in Penang we wanted to live. So Kirstens blog will save you all that heartache as she really has covered everything you will need to know to make your first experience a great one. Well done Kirsten!

      1. Thank you, Anne!

        I’m hopeful that this blog will save someone time and heartache, as you mentioned!

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who had a meltdown! It’s not easy and can be totally daunting until you know a little. Our second time was waaaay easier because we knew what to expect.


    15. Great article! We looked at about 20 places with 2 different agents before we landed at Straits Quay! We were blessed with a great owner & property management for 4 years!! No nightmare stories from me thank God!!

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