How to be a Digital Nomad in Penang, Malaysia

How to be a Digital Nomad in Penang, Malaysia

by | Digital Nomad, Digital Nomad List, Digital Nomad Locations

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What is this Penang island to a Digital Nomad?

Penang is an island of stunning beaches! The island is situated simply a couple of kilometers off the coast of north Malaysia. It is well-known amongst Digital Nomads for its English-speaking population and terrific weather condition.

And they picked Penang to be a tactical place for their federal government base and therefore constructed George town. But, in the enjoyable reality, one of the generals believed developing the town was sluggish, so he bought his males to fire cannons filled with silver coins and precious jewelry into the jungle. This leaves Penang today with numerous historic structures in the Renaissance age architecture.

Discovering a longer-term lodging is where Penang loses to other popular digital nomad cities. Lodging rates are normally higher than Chiang Mai, and unlike leasing a home in Chiang Mai, property owners and firms in Penang normally will decline renters for less than 6-12 months.

You are likewise anticipated to make visits with genuine estate representatives for home watchings, and you will not be able to simply reveal up and ask to see a space as you would in Thailand.

A popular place to reside in Penang is Gurney, close to Georgetown (the traveler Unesco heritage location) but with more lodging choices. Anticipate paying around 3500 ringgit a month (USD836) for a contemporary home in Gurney.

Three-bedroom condominiums are popular in Penang and appropriate for those seeking to reside in Penang for a longer time period. However, considering that many condominiums are three-bedroom condominiums, this can be costly if you take a trip as a solo tourist.

Airbnb is likewise an excellent choice to avoid the property representatives, and there are lots of modern-day condominiums readily available for short-term leasing.

Weather condition

It is essentially around 30 degrees Celsius throughout the entire year, so bring your swimsuit and come by whenever you seem like it! However, the rainy season in Penang is around May– June, and it gets extremely damp, so you may wish to evade that.

The Cost of Living in Penang

Georgetown, Penang/malaysia - Oct 28 2016: Foreign Tourists Expe

The low cost of living in Penang is among the most significant draws for many digital nomads. A couple of locations have all the modern-day conveniences required for a digital nomad way of life with such extraordinary cost.

To put it simply, you get a great deal of value.

Let’s begin with real estate …

Accommodation Costs in Penang

This is where you’ll invest the majority of your budget plan, albeit still a percentage.

Depending upon your design, area, view, and the facilities of the structure, you can discover leas beginning with RM2000-6000 ($ 450-1380 USD).

A great deal of the houses in Penang have big areas, health clubs, and swimming pools, which contributes to the expense.

If that isn’t essential to you, you can discover lodging on the lower end of the rate spectrum. Likewise, older structures with the same facilities are more affordable than the glossy brand-new highrises all over town.

Navigating Malaysia is simple since there are quick trains, buses, and internal flights. There’s even a worldwide airport in Penang, so you do not require to take a trip by means of KL to reach Thailand.

I believe Penang would be an excellent location to live as a digital nomad for getting around Malaysia. You might invest years in Penang to bring out remarkable journeys in your free time.

Navigating Penang

George Town, Penang, Malaysia - December 1, 2019: Street Life Of

I was dissatisfied that they do not have Grab scooters like Thailand and Vietnam in Malaysia since these make navigating especially low-cost. However, I believe Malaysia is a bit more practical, to be sincere.

On foot: George Town is a walkable city, apart from when it’s hot. If you’re sightseeing or cafe-hopping, you can see much of the city on foot.

Uber: When I could not stroll, I strolled Uber. These were constantly effective and extremely economical.

Employing scooters: I have not attempted this; however, individuals inform me it’s more stringent than Thailand, and you might request your global chauffeurs license.

The Very Best Areas to Live in Penang

There are a couple of locations to reside in Penang; however, some are better for expats than others. Here are my suggested locations to live:

George Town

George Town is the body and soul of the island, and the factor individuals take a trip to Penang.

It is certainly my first choice for any digital nomad living in Penang. It’s likewise where the majority of the co-working areas will be.

The town has many highrises and temples, street food stalls, and white table fabric dining establishments.

It’s noted as a UNESCO heritage location, so roaming around the streets seems like you remain in a living museum, one where you get to calm all of your senses.

Whatever is within strolling range in George Town, so you will not have the included transport cost.

Gurney Drive

This is another popular location filled with houses in Penang. It’s a 15-minute drive north of the heart of George Town. This area is all about shopping and modern-Western benefits.

There are two significant shopping centers- Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon. Aside from shops like H&M, Top Shop, Sephora, and Mango, there are little shops, supermarkets, fitness centers, and movie theatres.

This is a very contemporary location, without the appeal of George Town. If facilities are what you seek, this is an excellent location to reside in Penang. If you desire to be a part of the attraction of George Town, you’ll require to take a bus or a Grab vehicle into town.

Tanjung Tokong & Tanjung Bungah

Penang, Malaysia - February 14,2019 : Beautiful view of Thean Hou Temple in Penang, Malaysia on February 14,2019.

These 2 locations have to do with 20-25 minutes north of Geroge Town. Both locations are loaded with residents and expats residing in Penang. They are neighboring towns and are frequently linked.

It’s situated right in between George Town and the beaches of Batu Ferringhi, which is why we picked to live here. It’s truly the first residential area of George Town with walkable beaches.

There is only one co-working area in the location; however, if you can work from house, this is among the very best locations for residing in Penang.

This location is a real-life Penang. There are just a couple of beachside hotels, so it’s not an extremely touristy location.

Batu Ferringhi

Batu Ferringhi is another beach location in Penang and certainly the most touristy one. There are lots of dining establishments and high-end beachfront hotels, however not a lot of benefits for living. There is no significant supermarket and just a little market.

This location is the outermost of George Town and has no co-working areas. You will require transport to enter the town, taking about 30 minutes.

If you reside in Penang for a couple of months, Batu Ferringhi might be too far from George Town unless you prepare to have transport.

How to Find Apartments in Penang

Penang, Malaysia - February 13,2019 : Street View Of Little Indi

Discovering short-term leasings utilized to be difficult. However, many are turning up nowadays, specifically in George Town and Tanjung Tokong/Tanjung Bungah.

The much shorter the term, the greater the rate.

Airbnb is common on the island and among the best methods to source houses in Penang.

Another choice is Agoda. They display condominiums and houses for lease. Some hotels provide long remain discounts, so it’s worth inspecting into that.

In the last couple of years, serviced houses have increased. Serviced homes constantly have housekeeping and a cooking area, so it’s homier than a space in a shared home.

Whichever path you select, negotiate your lease. Again, it is extremely typical here, and the longer you remain, the more working out power you have.

Malaysia has a terrific visa on arrival going on where lots of citizenships can go into the nation for three months.

You can get the residency by investing 400 000 dollars into a home or 200 000 dollars into an apartment or condo. If this is above your rate point, another option is to get a VISA by transferring a repaired quantity of around 30 000 dollars transformed into MYR (regional currency) into a Malay bank account.

This will purchase you a Permanent house status with a ten-year, multiple-entry visa that is sustainable at the end of the ten-year duration. There are no laws on minimum residency, so you are free to come and go as you want. You can discover a link to Andrew Henderson’s article concerning this subject in the source list at the end of this post.


Depending upon your citizenship, you will get three months visa on arrival. For visa runs, you can either fly to surrounding Thailand or Singapore. Air Asia is a spending plan airline company with many inexpensive global flights to surrounding nations.

Co-working Space

Penang, Malaysia - February 14,2019 : Street view of Lebuh Cannon in front of Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi clan house in Penang, Malaysia on February 14,2019.

The recently opened @CAT lies in the heart of Penang and has whatever a digital nomad would desire in a co-working area. The WiFi is potentially the fastest in Penang, and this is an excellent location to satisfy and get in touch with regional start-ups.

As the area is big and there weren’t many people at the co-working area when we checked out, diversions were restricted, and we could get a great deal of work done.

I choose to work from coffee shops where I get food and coffee for my cash; however, I understand some individuals would rather ensure an excellent working environment than face coffee shop crowds and WiFi.

While I didn’t go to any main co-working areas in Penang, I heard good ideas about the ACat site. A pal of mine invested a couple of weeks working here and attested to the WiFi and convenience levels. For example, you can hot desk for 25 MYR a day or get a month’s pass for 300 MYR.

As a digital nomad living in Malaysia, work is your daily life. As a result, there are practically a lot of co-working areas in George Town to pick from. Here is a list to get you begun.

They have a nap space, a hammock, a celebration, and a play location. It is an area tailored towards creatives with hot desks and devoted desks. Month-to-month hotdesk leasings got for RM280 ($ 64.45 USD).

The objective is to make Penang even more ingenious and start-up-friendly. Regular monthly costs are RM300 ($69) for a repaired desk.

MSOGO is inside Prangin Mall in George Town. The area is huge, so it will be simple to discover a peaceful area. There are numerous seating locations throughout the area, a cooking area, and a video game location.

If you aren’t searching for a co-working area but still desire a sense of neighborhood, have a look at the Penang Digital Nomads Facebook group for all things digital nomads.

Co-working coffee shops in Penang

Considering that I primarily work from coffee shops, I have a lot to state on this subject. Many of the George Town coffee shops are more than simply a space with food and WiFi; they’re elegant areas embellished with street art and other peculiarities. Whether you’re into that or you simply desire your flat white and high-speed connection pronto, these are the very best co-working coffee shops in Penang.

Work-Friendly Restaurants & Cafes

Penang, Malaysia, January 26, 2020: One of the courtyards of Kek Lok Si Temple with special lighting for Chinese New Year. Penang, Malaysia

Wheeler’s Coffee

The comfy chairs, several power sockets, friendly personnel, great coffee, and chill environment makes this location a good coffee shop to exercise from. Unfortunately, the WiFi is not sufficient for image uploading or heavy web browsing.

Twelve Cups

Perhaps the most digital nomad-friendly coffee shop in Penang, the Twelve Cups has quick WiFi, a number of power sockets, comfy chairs, and a brilliant and inviting environment.

This peaceful minimalistic coffee shop would have been the ideal Penang co-working coffee shop had the WiFi been much better. It was so bad when I initially showed up that I hotspot my phone; however, later on, it worked fine. Unfortunately, I do not believe you can ensure a strong connection here.

Otherwise, I took pleasure in the comfortable seats and natural light. They likewise serve healthy smoothie bowls– an uncommon healthier meal in George Town! The other disadvantage was that there are no toilets, and you needed to utilize the general public ones outback.

The Mugshot Cafe

We stumbled upon this hipster coffee shop while strolling around town. Unfortunately, given that it is situated in the heart of Georgetown, it can be difficult to get a seat at peak times.

Finest Restaurants in Penang

Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, January 4, 2020: Packaging of produce at a stall at Pasar Lebuh Cecil Market in Georgetown, Malaysia.

When residing in Penang, street food is a must. It handles a couple of various appearances here.

There is the basic street-side stall that they press into location right before mealtime; however, there are likewise hawker centers or food courts.

Not like the food court you’d discover in a North American shopping mall with McDonald’s, KFC, and Sbarro Pizza. Here they are loaded with food being prepared to buy utilizing dishes bied far from generation to generation.

A hawker center is where you can discover 30 or more various “dining establishments” or stalls under one roof. It’s where the residents go and where you will likely invest most of your time packing your confront with all the regional meals.

Red Garden

This is my preferred hawker center. It’s in the heart of George Town and where Anthony Bourdain consumed when he recorded here. It’s one of the most significant in the area, so you’ll have the ability to attempt whatever your heart desires.

If you get overwhelmed quickly, do not fret– the residents are very friendly and enjoy talking about food.

If you see somebody consuming a meal that looks great, go on and inquire what it is. They’ll inform you what it is and gladly assist you in making some great options.

Kimberly Street

By day, Kimberly Street is any typical roadway in the area; however, street food stalls are pressed into location during the night, and it begins humming.

There aren’t many options at Red Garden, so it might be a fantastic location to begin without getting overloaded.

Food Costs in Penang

Close-up on Penang char kuey teow is popular fried noodle with coceral, shrimp and eggs in black sauce in Malaysia

Penang is understood for its inexpensive street food. Not even if it’s low-cost, however, since it’s insanely great. Famous.

It’s just as simple to discover an RM5 ($ 1.15 USD) plate of tasty noodles as it is to consume a lobster buffet for hundreds. It is more affordable to eat in restaurants than cook in your home, so most residents eat in restaurants for almost all of their meals.

Food is inexpensive; however, alcohol is not. We invest way more cash in alcohol than food when we eat in restaurants.

What’s The WiFi And Data Like?

Think it or not, we have a quicker web here than we carried out in the United States. Many locations on the island have a fiber optic system that makes the web lightning quick.

We’ve had Digi given that we moved here and discovered it to be the island’s very best general web service. You can purchase a Digi Sim card at the airport.

A great deal of the apartment or condos in Penang have complimentary WiFi, as do the coffee shops, dining establishments, and every co-working area. So keep that in mind when purchasing a SIM card.

No matter just how much information you purchase, you can constantly top it up at a 7/11 or regional corner store.

There are numerous phone service providers to get a sim card for a month for a good rate. We ultimately selected ‘U mobile,’ which had a great plan with 4G, for around EUR20 for one month. However, you can quickly get the sim card either in the phone service provider shop or at a corner store.

In general, the Internet speed is sluggish, and you ought to constantly examine if a coffee shop or a home has a great web connection and speed.

Things To Do

Butterworth, Penang/malaysia - Feb 29 2020: Penang Ferry At Butt

There’s a lot to do in Penang, and it certainly has a lot to deal with:

  • Cultural sightseeing
  • Cooling on the beach, shopping
  • Searching for street art in Georgetown
  • Simply consuming your tummy completely

You can take the funicular as much as Penang Hill and take in the beautiful view of Penang, then check out the Kek Lok Si Temple and admire the enormous Buddha statue.

Go coffee shop, hop in Georgetown, hunt for covert street art, and walk the gorgeous colonial structures. Take a look at all the various temples within the city or if it’s too hot for you, check out the many museums in Georgetown.


Not as gorgeous as the beaches in Langkawi, the beaches in Penang are still worth inspecting.

Tracking and Trekking

The Penang National Park is a terrific location to trek, with numerous offered tracks through the jungle. There are likewise trekking routes from the Botanic Gardens leading up to Penang Hill.

UNESCO World Heritage Zone & Armenian Street

The UNESCO Heritage Zone lies in the heart of Georgetown and is well-known for its late 19th-century colonial and inhabitant architecture, graffiti street art, in addition to the many traveler stores.

Penang, Malaysia - February 14,2019 : Kapitan Keling Mosque in Penang, Malaysia on February 14,2019. Built in the 19th century by Indian Muslim traders and part of the World Heritage Site of the city.

Where To Workout

Penang has lots of choices for one to keep fit. There is a great paved pathway around Gurney Drive if you like running outdoors. The majority of the pathways are likewise paved and running outdoors as a woman is typically safe if you follow the normal preventative measures.

If you take pleasure in cycling, a shared bike system called LinkBike is readily available to residents and immigrants. All you require to do is download the app and link it to your charge card.

There are likewise many indoor health clubs in the Gurney location, and they are typically around 200 ringgit (USD48) month-to-month.

Digital Nomad Community

There is not much of a digital nomad neighborhood in Penang, which shocked me because I heard that numerous digital nomads are going to Penang. Possibly we didn’t hang out in the best ‘scene,’ or it’s since we didn’t go to the co-working area; however, we didn’t truly fulfill a lot of digital nomad individuals. A pal of mine did state that when she was in Penang, she satisfied some cool folks, so possibly we simply went at an incorrect time.

I just invested three weeks as a nomad in Penang, so I didn’t get in touch with as numerous other online employees as I did when I was a digital nomad in Hoi An or Chiang Mai. However, I understand there are many other digital nomads in Penang, so I recommend utilizing Facebook groups to link to Penang Digital Nomads. Groups like this have made me loads of good friends in other cities worldwide so I would extremely advise them.






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