(Taken from internationalliving.com )
Tropical Penang, located just west of mainland Malaysia, offers one of the best overseas retirement opportunities in the world. This is a safe and affordable little island that also offers excellent medical care, an interesting and eclectic community from around the world that communicates largely in English, and diverse lifestyle, entertainment and recreational options. Retired here, you could while away the hours wandering around historic George Town, Penang’s colorful and lively state capital, kick back at the beach, explore stunning mountains and waterfalls, shop ‘til you drop, or partake in some of the world’s finest and most affordable cuisine.
1. Great Food
Penang is well-known in Southeast Asia as a foodie haven. It’s a passion that the locals don’t take lightly. But, unlike many top foodie spots, Penang’s gourmand attitude doesn’t stem from its expensive Michelin-starred restaurants or celebrity chefs. In Penang, eating is all about cheap, local food stalls, many of which are pushed into place by a bicycle or a scooter. There are about 85,000 of them on an island of about 700,000 people (that’s roughly one food cart for every eight people). Each stall’s recipes and culinary techniques have been passed down through generations, so no two are the same.
2. Multicultural Lifestyle
Penang’s three main cultures—Malay, Chinese, and Indian—are heavily represented in Penang’s eclectic range of architecture, cuisine, and art.
At any given time, one of these groups is usually having a festival, a parade, or a feast that you are welcome to take part in or simply watch. Wander down Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, the Street of Harmony, and you will find some of the oldest temples, mosques, and churches in Malaysia. Step inside any of these religious sanctuaries and you’ll be transported to another world. Nearby, you will also spot the Khoo Kongsi, which is the most amazing Chinese Clan House in Penang and not to be missed.
Penang is situated almost smack in the middle of Southeast Asia, which makes traveling to places like Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia a breeze. In a few hours, you could be on the white-sand beaches of the Philippines or climbing through the golden temples of Myanmar. And Australia and New Zealand are only a few hours from here too.