Penang Apartment or Condo Rental - Plenty of Choices
April 27, 2012
Planning a vacation, holiday or long stay in Georgetown, Penang area? Looking for a cheap, budget rental apartment, condo or home in tropical South East Asia for the winter months? Have you let or rented a home in a foreign land before? Here are some great tips, a helpful guide and delicious candid photos.
WHERE TO START
We are not property managers, home owners or agents, just folks who have rented long term in Penang for two winters now, so can tell you what we have learned to make your search for an apartment easier. This is a series, so make sure you read the other posts in this series:
First it depends on where you want to stay and if you are renting a car or will be taking the convenient and air conditioned buses for transportation. If you are only staying for a few days or a week or two, you might consider staying at a Penang area guest house. Almost all of the luxury apartment and condo complexes are mostly empty as locals tend to buy them as investments, then furnish them and try to rent them out.
There are always plenty of furnished rental apartment choices all year round, so you don't have to book anything in advance and it is easier to do it all once you arrive ( both winters it only took us a couple of days). You could stay at a guest house or a hotel like the Hydro Hotel as we did this year while looking.
REAL ESTATE AND RENTAL AGENTS IN PENANG
You can find things on your own as we did the first year, but it is easier with an agent and we can recommend two good ones (both Chinese Malaysian women who speak good English and several languages):
We mostly worked with Ooh Pei who was exceptional, but Michelle also came highly recommended through friends who have lived here and own a condo here through the Malaysia's My Second Home program, so we saw a little through her as well.
WHERE TO RENT IN PENANG
First you have to understand that Penang is an island near the Thailand border and almost all of the apartments are along the coast from UNESCO World Heritage Georgetown to Batu Ferringhi which is an outlaying beach area. It's about a 45 minute drive between these two with regularlar running buses and Tanjung Bungah and Tanjung Tokong lie between them.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
This is always a tricky question because it depends on where and what kind of views and ammenities are available, but there is a huge range of prices for rental apartments in Penang ranging from $6.00 a month to $6000.00 a month ( USD).
Our budget is in the 500 to 1000 U.S. dollars a month range for a deluxe, quality furnished, large 3 bedroom with first class amenities like health club, pool, security, sauna, jacuzzi, playground, free wifi, etc with luscious sea views and near good mass transit.
We've gotten two exceptional apartments in that range ( which I have written about in the links above including photos and living costs), but could have gotten a much cheaper apartment and probably would have if we were doing a short stay. During a short stay one is out touring or at the pool mostly, but a longer stay means more time at home, so we wanted a very high end choice.
GOOD APARTMENTS IN CHEAPER RANGE
There are way to many apartment complexes in Penang to name them all, but I will give the info on a few of the key places to make your job easier in finding a place.
( Plenty always available in the $325. to $488. USD range or $1000 to $1500 MYR local currency )
We have had friends that have lived in the above two examples, they are decent, in good locations with nice pools, but not thrilling. If budget is your priority, try them or even something cheaper.
MY FAVORITE APARTMENT COMPLEXES IN PENANG
Times Square ( 1600 tp 2300 MYR) If you want to be in the center of everything in Georgetown and with luxury, this is the place for you. ( Sea and city views)
Miami Green ( 1600 to 2300 MYR) If you want to be at the beach in Batu Ferrenghi, this is the place for you. ( Sea views, older but maintained well, a bit isolated & far from things)
The Brezza ( 2000 to 3500 MYR) If you want best killer views, brand new and be a close walk to Tesco and Island Plaza mall, this is the place for you. ( Sea, greenery and city views)
Alila ( 2100 MYR to 2900 MYR) If you have a car and want a mountain, jungle feel, this is the place for you. ( Mountain views)
HIGH END LUXURY
Strait Quay (3000 MYR up) From my perspective not worth the price at all. Nice, but small and way over priced. Car needed.
The Cove (7500 t0 15,000 MYR) Over priced and too big IMHO What is the point of paying high prices in SE Asia?
Like most places, you get what you pay for, but there is quite a range and at most places it is easy to bargain as the prices can be flexible to an extent ( partly because there are so many available, so better to have a bird in hand, for the smart investor).
Malaysia is one of the most developed and growing areas in South East Asia and the higher-end apartments, malls and movie theaters seem like the first world, but this is very much the developing third world, so Americans need to expect some culture shock upon arrival, especially if they have not explored Asia before.
Penang was once part of the English Empire and there are three distinct, warm and welcoming cultures here ( Indian, Chinese and Malay) so English is widely spoken (which is unusual in most of Asia) as well as in most signage, in store products, lots of English book stores etc which adds to the ease and excitement of living here.
Most condominiums are near beaches and have sea views since Penang is an island and that is part of the tropical lifestyle here. The apartment complex pools and playgrounds become like the "village center" every day after school and easy to meet other families and couples.
What else would you lke to know about finding a place to live in Penang?