Thursday, November 24, 2011

Yahoo! lists Penang among world's top 10

GEORGE TOWN – An online travel guide has picked Penang as one of the top 10 islands in the world 'you must see before you die.'

Yahoo! Travel writer Gary McKechnie ranks Penang eighth on the list of the 'must visit' places.
Other islands listed are Bali, Vieques in Puerto Rico, Easter Island in Chile, Ischia in the bay of Naples (Italy), Chiloe in Chile, Bora Bora in French Polynesia, Key West in the Conch Republic, Galapagos in Ecuador and Palm Islands in Dubai.

These destinations offered something that could not be found anywhere else, said Mr McKechnie in his article '10 Islands to Explore Before You Die' (

He praised Penang as Malaysia's food capital and suggested that visitors did their 'food crawl' along George Town's street stalls.

He recommended that foodies head to the area adjacent to the Kek Lok Si Temple in Ayer Itam to feast on delicious food of rice, noodles, fish, shellfish, chicken, pork and vegetables. He also suggested visitors try out lor bak, lok-lok and ikan bakar. 


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Penang moves up the big league

The first thing that strikes you about Penang is the island's old world charm. Lining the streets of George Town, are well-preserved heritage buildings and shophouses each with its own history. The streets come alive at night with inexpensive and delicious local fares that can be found at every nook and cranny. A few streets away, however, symbols of capitalism and progress are apparent. Next to Peranakan influenced shop houses and colonial buildings are shopping malls and modern skyscrapers. This unique architectural and cultural townscape that combines both the traditional and modern is what makes Penang so charming. In recognition for this unique trait, George Town was accorded a listing as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in July 2008. This has further boosted Penang as an attractive tourism destination.

However, Penang is not just banking on its tourism industry to keep its economy afloat. It is also home to various high-tech electronic plants located within the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, in the southern part of the island. In recent years, however, the state has been experiencing a gradual decline of foreign direct investments due to cheaper labour costs in China and India. As such, Penang has been repositioning itself as a hub for medical tourism to further improve its attractiveness as an investment destination. Besides perennial favourites like Kuala Lumpur and Johor, Penang is fast emerging as popular real estate investment destination among foreigners and Malaysians looking for a second home.

According to the Malaysia Property Incorporated (MPI), a trade body that promotes Malaysian properties internationally, in 2008, Indian investors was the fourth largest in residential property investments in Malaysia after Singapore, the United Kingdom and Korea in the three states. Today, Penang has the third-largest economy, after Selangor and Johor.

The island is irregularly shaped like a tortoise with a hilly and forested interior that divides the island into two. Balik Pulau which is located on the west coast, is the sleepy part of Penang that is served by only one main road cutting through hilly terrains and scenic reservoirs. The main buzz, however, lies on the east and north coast. In the Batu Ferringhi and Tanjong Bungah vicinity, luxury hill top condominiums and villas can be found with breathtaking views of the Andaman Sea. These areas are considered prime locations.

Being an island, land prices come at a premium due to the scarcity of land versus the limited number of high quality developments. Local building regulations here also limit hill top developments for safety reasons. Anything built 250 feet above sea level is not allowed. As such, most high-end residential developments are built in Batu Ferringhi, Tanjung Bungah, Gurney Drive and Queensbay.

The growing popularity of Penang as a retirement home for foreigners and the rising affluence of Penangites are helping to fuel demand for high-end homes. And developers in Malaysia have been quick to act on consumers' appetite for luxury properties. Market watchers are confident of Penang's real estate sector saying there is still plenty of room for growth, judging by the influx of quality developers here.

Although Penang's infrastructure has yet to be fully developed, the island offers a slower pace of life and a rich culture. Foreigners also find Penang very affordable. Unlike Bali and Phuket which are too tourist centric, foreigners get to enjoy the same cost of living as Penangites. Perhaps, it is for these reasons, Penang has the most number of Malaysia My Second Home retirees.

Based on the article by Khalil Adis.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Paying with prime land


KUALA LUMPUR: The Penang government will pay developers with prime land around the Gurney Drive tourist belt to construct three bypass highways and a sea tunnel linking the island to the mainland costing around RM8bil.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the mega project will be the state's biggest infrastructure exercise and is meant to resolve the island's severe traffic congestion problem.

The proposed traffic alleviation projects are a 6.5km sea tunnel connecting Gurney Drive to the northern side of Butterworth, a 4.2km road from Gurney Drive to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu expressway bypassing the city centre, a 4.6km road linking Bandar Baru Air Itam to the same expressway and a 12km dualcarriage road from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang to pair with the existing coastal road.

We estimate that the project will cost RM5bil to RM8bil depending on the bids from prospective contractors,” he told a press briefing here yesterday.

He said the “competitive land swap” payment will be a win-win situation for both the government and the developers.

“The government does not have to pay money and the developer gets prime land that will triple in value after the projects take place. This is smart economics,” he said.

He added that developers could also propose to implement toll payments to recover costs.

A pre-qualification exercise will be issued today on the Penang government website and a briefing will be held in the state on Nov 29 for interested bidders.

Lim explained that the project would undergo a lengthy feasibility study and construction is only expected to commence in 2015.

“We target the completion to be in 2020, although it can be earlier,” he said.

In GEORGE TOWN, non-governmental organisations have called on the state government to wait for the state Transportation Master Plan to be completed before proceeding with the proposed sea tunnel.

Society of Logisticians Malaysia president Chang Kah Loon said a consultant had been paid some RM3.2mil to prepare the master plan, which is expected to be ready by March so it “doesn't make sense” not to refer to it.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president S.M. Mohd Idris demanded for details of the project.

“Where exactly is this piece of land located? Will it be reclaimed land? Because if that is the case, SAM is against it because it will adversely impact the fishing community,” he said.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A comparison between a condo and a house

People can gain plenty of benefits when they purchase or rent a condo. However, it's also common for some individuals to have a hard time when it comes to deciding between owning one or getting a house, often because they assume a house would be more convenient in the scheme of things. Even so, many people prefer houses over some of the other options that are out there.

Deciding on what type of property to buy, or even rent, can be difficult for most people. Oftentimes, this is due to the risk that can be involved with doing so, but people also want to ensure that they're investing their money wisely. Those who have never lived in a condo tend to compare them to an apartment, which not everyone is keen on. However, this particular choice can generally be far more convenient and in several ways. For instance, there is the security that some people enjoy when they live close to others, which also gives them the opportunity to meet people. Investment wise, a condo will often appeal to people who prefer this type of living over a house, which could also make it a great rental property as well.

When it comes down to a house versus a condo, the latter tends to hold several conveniences over owning a house. One example of this would be having fewer maintenance issues to worry about. Most units will come with a maintenance fee attached to it, which is usually a reasonable fee that is paid once a month. These fees go toward maintaining the building and the surrounding property. This means that owners don't have to concern themselves with this particular area, unlike with houses. Some may also feature certain amenities, like a gym, swimming pool, parking and security.

Owning a house often means that more expenses can come into play. Not only do people have to worry about keeping their outside space in good shape, but houses typically come with a number of problems that the owner will need to take care of on their own. This could be anything from a broken window to a faulty roof. Things like this can become quite costly over time.

Many condos these days tend to offer wonderful selections where layouts are concerned. In fact, quite a few these days will even feel like a house, but without all of the hassle that can be involved with owning one.

In the end, owning a condo can be a wonderful investment to make. This is especially the case for those who like a low-maintenance lifestyle and can appreciate having amenities and other conveniences nearby, but without having to pay extra for it.

Based on the article by Adrianna Noton.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Buying a Condominium - Elements to consider

If you are thinking of buying a condominium unit, making a decision hastily is not good. It is advisable to take some time to evaluate your options. When evaluating options, there are some elements that must be considered before coming up with a decision. They are the following:


Generally, choosing a location will be dependent on your preference. If you are the kind of person who wants to live away from the busy streets of the city, then you can choose a condo that can be found in the suburbs. This will be very ideal especially when you are planning to have a family in the future. Fresher air and cleaner environment will be healthy for your growing family. On the other hand, if you prefer convenience in terms of going to work as well as in coming home from work, accessibility to supermarkets, hospitals and schools, then a location within the metropolitan area is definitely what will suit your taste.


Size will be another element which you must take into consideration. A small space is certainly not suitable if you have a large family. But if you have no kids, then it will be alright. An advisable size is something that will allow you to move around, ample enough not to be too restricting.


Prime condo units normally have many facilities within the complex. The entire complex can have a swimming pool, gym, sauna, hot tubs, basketball court, tennis court, playhouse and a lot more. If these things are important for you then you have to make sure that facilities like these are present.


A well maintained complex is an ideal place to live. It means that the environment is clean and the facilities are in good condition.

Interior location

If you prefer a more quiet location within the condo complex, corner units are great. Likewise, having a higher budget can mean that a penthouse is an option. With this option, you will enjoy the serenity you love.


All of the mentioned elements will affect the price. Hence, your budget will still determine what kind of condo you will be able to buy.

Based on the article by Connor Stephens.