WHAT TO BRING:
Short answer – everything you can.
It is quite cheap moving from the UK to Asia, probably because many goods are being shipped in the other direction, and there is plenty of space on the ships when they return.
Especially, bring kitchen items, oven, dishwasher (very expensive here), mattress and bedclothes, furniture, DIY items. Electronic goods tend to be cheaper here than the UK, but furniture, crockery, glassware, etc. may well cost far more here, if you can even find what you want. If you have possessions you like, it can make a lot of sense to bring them.
So bring as much as you can, and as long it is used, if you have an MM2H visa, it should be free of duty. Don’t leave any unused space in your container.
Of course, it makes a lot of sense to come here with the minimum, and not ship your goods until you have decided both you do want to live here, and where you want to live. This will take at least six months, and perhaps a year or two.
SHIPPING AND DELIVERY OF YOUR POSSESSIONS:
If you ship your goods before you settle here, be aware that if you use a reputable international company, and have paid for a door to door packing, delivery, and unpacking service, it should go quite smoothly, although you will still need to supervise the packing, and especially the delivery and unpacking on the Malaysian side.
They take care of the paperwork, so there is nothing you need do about that, and once the delivery date is set, be at home, with at least two of you – one to watch the unloading from the lorry, and one to watch the delivery into your house or apartment.
On delivery in Malaysia, I watched in shock as six delivery men formed a line spaced about six feet from each other, and started to throw boxes marked “fragile” from the truck along the line to the last man, who was to load the trolley with them. I soon put a stop to that. So these men need supervising.
If you decide to ship your goods before you have chosen your home, you will find that there are no storage facilities here. So you will either have to keep your goods where you are living – fine if you have the space – or rent an apartment for your goods.
Moving locally is a whole other matter. It seems impossible to rent a lorry so that you can do it yourself. But finding good local removalists is very difficult, at least for a reasonable price. You can book a lorry and the number of men you think you need for the job, but you do need to supervise closely.
This will cost upwards of a few hundred ringgit. But for many of my things I didn’t trust anyone else, so I made multiple trips by car, in addition to using the lorry. As I have moved around a bit I have also found that the lorry drivers seem to have very little idea of the roads in Penang, despite them living here, so I have had to have them follow me.
Some lorries have no roof, so if there is any possibility of rain on your moving day, ensure the one you hire does.
Your estate agent can help with organising the utilities, post etc. If you are using TM for your phone and or Internet, they can take weeks to transfer the connection, and they will still charge you even though you had no connection. When you complain you’ll get a refund. So, go into their office and stress it is urgent. When we did this in their main, Burma Road, office, it took two days – and they gave us a free new phone, even.
If you live in a condo you’ll need to inform management, and security, about your moving, and probably the number plate of the lorry.
So, there are a few tips. If I recall others I will add them, but it has been a while now since we last moved.