Tropical Expat moved to Tropical

Tropical Expat has moved to Tropical I have moved the blog to a paid for site so I could have more control. At the same time I gave the blog a new look. And a few more features, like auto-translation.  The old blog remains, and contains the bulk of older blogs. This is because I could not successfully migrate all the blogs to the new site. Some blogs are just as relevant now as when I wrote them. On the new site I have updated some blogs, and am in the process of updating more.

Please subscribe to this new version. The menu on the right on the new site has a button to subscribe. The remainder of this article is a copy of the About page on the new Tropical Expat.

 retirement abroad where one finds such an idyllic beaches

What does it mean being a third culture kid?


Tropical Expat intends to be a blog about retirement abroad – in Penang. About living here, and travelling using Penang as a base. And why one would choose Malaysia for retirement.

Retirement abroad

This blog hopes to cover what retirement abroad in Penang is like.  And to give some useful information for those living here, or considering doing so. This includes activities and trips one can easily make. Either local trips, within Malaysia, or abroad. It also includes dealing with problems and dealing with the government. In addition it covers simple everyday experiences and events.  It is meant to provide information that is helpful and / or interesting.

Penang is getting better and better – changes since 2012

Penang has changed since I started writing this blog in 2012.  Apart from ever worsening traffic, all changes I can think of have been positive.  And even traffic improvement solutions are in the pipeline.  Being six years old, this blog is a bit of a historical record.  For anyone considering retirement here, looking at these changes can help in evaluation of Malaysia and Penang.

Most blogs written about Penang are about food – mostly about restaurant evaluation.  It’s unlikely the web really needs more coverage of this topic.  However there were many things I wanted to know about Penang and Malaysia, and couldn’t find on the web.  I hoped to help others with this by writing this blog.

Main blog topics – travel in Malaysia is most popular

You’ll find a menu near the top of each page: Photos, Retirement, Life in Penang, Health, Travel in Malaysia, Travel outside Malaysia All blogs are in one or more of these last five categories. Photos is a little different as it is a gallery of photos showing the best of Malaysia.

Travel in Malaysia is the most popular blog topic by far. This is relevant to both residents and travellers. Many retirees actually travel quite a lot.  Retirement abroad has many aspects, and I do cover other important topics. But here are some of peoples’ favourite travel blogs.

There are over 1,000 blogs. In some respects the information changes constantly, and in others very little, if at all. As I gather new information I either update older blogs if need be, or write new ones.

Events in 2018 that affected life in Malaysia

In early 2018 the Malaysian government came up with fake news legislation. So I put the blog more or less on hold to see what happened.  Truth was determined by the government, and the government was enforcing this legislation.  Blogging had become too dangerous, even if what I covered was not political and not meant to be controversial. It was always possible to inadvertently write the wrong thing.

A new coalition won government in May and they promised to repeal the legislation, and soon passed the repeal in the lower house of parliament. I started blogging again, and passed my 1,000th blog.  There has been a glitch because the opposition coalition controls the upper house of parliament. They recently blocked the repeal of the fake news legislation.  The new government appears to be allowing free speech. Even when the criticism is of the government or its members.  I feel safe to continue writing.  Malaysia has broader free speech than many Western countries now.

And the future of retirement abroad

The future of retirement abroad looks bright. Because of demographics and the changing political and economic situations in English speaking countries. The future in Penang also looks bright. Penang provides a good lifestyle, convenient location and a low cost of living for anyone considering retirement abroad. Ever more people are travelling. I have moved the blog to a paid for site so I could have more control. At the same time I gave the blog a new look. And a few more features, like auto-translation.  The old blog remains, and contains the bulk of older blogs. This is because could not successfully migrate all the blogs to the new site. Some blogs are just as relevant now as when I wrote them.


On this blog’s busiest day, 0.0000035% of the world’s population read it.

living in MalaysiaIt’s fun to see what expats in different countries are up to, as well.

Blog Expat: living abroad


  1. [Apologies if you are getting this comment twice – I wasn’t sure if my other comment on your new website went through.]

    Hi, this is Ammy – I contacted you a while ago on your old blog about driving to Thailand from Penang.

    I’m actually in Penang right now, staying at Ixora Hotel (Perai). We were going to drive to Thailand this coming Sunday in my car (a Penang-registered plate). But after returning to Penang yesterday, we found my car FULL of cockroaches. We had left my car with a friend since end-July (we are Singaporeans & stay in Singapore but my late father was Malaysian – the car was his & has since come to me). I don’t know what was done to the car but it’s totally unusable now as it’s completely infested. We counted nearly 50 cockroaches yesterday, all between 0.9-2cm long. Would you by any chance know of anyone who can help us fumigate or mist the car thoroughly before Sunday, otherwise I’ll have to forgo by 3-night hotel room in Thailand (because I can’t even rent a car to cross the border – not allowed)? I tried calling several pest control companies from my hotel room, but they said I’d have to bring the car to a car wash, and not all car washes provide thorough misting services, and there’s no way I can drive to nearby car washes to check as I’m not getting into the car after we saw the infestation yesterday. And my attempts to contact nearby car washes have failed as they either only speak Malay (which I do not understand) or do not pick up the phone.

    Please, if you could, WhatsApp me if you can help in any way – e.g. contacts of reliable people who can mist the car by tomorrow or Friday, etc. I would consider this an emergency. Thanks!!!

    P.S. My mobile number can be found on which is my work website.

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