Budget breakdown: Penang, Malaysia

Beach at sunset in Penang, Malaysia, in 2022.

Happy Weekend… and hello again from Penang Island, Malaysia. (Attached to the mainland by two long toll bridges).

July 18 marked one month we’ve been here just outside historic British colonial George Town – in a large rental apartment close to malls, restaurants, beaches, and more.

Thus, it’s time to reveal exactly what those 30 days cost us.

As always, we record every cent we spend in an effort to better manage our ongoing early retirement. 

And we are always happy to share our expense breakdowns with others who might be curious about an overseas slow travel lifestyle like ours.

Budget breakdown

One month in Penang, Malaysia

  • $620 – Housing
  • $361 – Groceries
  • $274 – Restaurant/Bar/take-out
  • $224 – Charity/gifts/tips
  • $160 – Health
  • $122 – Supplies
  • $28  –  Local travel
  • $16  –  Entertainment


$1,805  total for 2 people

A few notes

Ellen had a cast on her broken right arm throughout the month – so we were somewhat less active than normal.

Bigger healthcare bills associated with the arm fell just outside this 30-day period.

We are seeing food prices creep up since leaving the Philippines in April 2022 – both grocery and dining, but not hugely… maybe 15% – 20%.

We stayed in Penang for a month in 2019, and our total food cost (groceries and restaurants, which includes beer) was $523. In 2022, those two categories totaled $635.

I bought a used bicycle, included in the ‘supplies’ category. (NOW it has a flat.)

In sum, it was a good, comfortable, relaxing month. Penang is very modern, busy, western – and a respectful mix of Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu faiths.

Finally, my gut says this is about as cheaply as a couple could live in this place – without making some drastic lifestyle cutbacks.

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.

Life is NOW!

Ellen and Theo on the beach in Penang, Malaysia, a slow travel stop in mid-2022.

Thanks for reading, “Slow travel costs for 1 month in Penang, Malaysia.”

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