Where Should We Go? Part 4

If you didn’t start at the beginning of this series, you can read the first part here: Where Should We Go? Part 1

Option 4: Penang, Malaysia


  • Food!  Romeo is a foodie and he has turned the whole family into foodies.  When we ask our seven year old penang foodwhat she wants for dinner the answers are usually “Vietnamese” “Thai” “curry” or something of the like.  MamaSita was raised on Indian food and spices and has a special love for heavily spiced vegetarian food.  Food is a huge consideration for our family.  It’s also possible that we have watched too much Anthony Bordain and Andrew Zimmern and we want to go to some of the places they’ve been to and eat some of the amazing food around the world.

  • Cost. The cost of living difference between our current location and Penang is huge.
    • Consumer Prices in Jacksonville, FL are 77.87% higher than in Penang
      Consumer Prices Including Rent in Jacksonville, FL are 95.95% higher than in Penang
      Rent Prices in Jacksonville, FL are 171.81% higher than in Penang
      Restaurant Prices in Jacksonville, FL are 152.97% higher than in Penang
      Groceries Prices in Jacksonville, FL are 84.86% higher than in Penang
      Local Purchasing Power in Jacksonville, FL is 61.27% higher than in Penang


    • See the full comparison chart here.
  • Proximity to amazing travel.  The whole family wants to go to Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and most of Southeast Asia (SEA).  Amazing temples, exotic wildlife, beautiful beaches and the FOOD.  What’s not to love?
  • The Beach.  While I have heard that none of the locals will swim in the water off the island, apparently the swimable beach is only about 30 minutes away.

    Look at that face!
    Look at that face!
  • English.  Nearly everyone speaks English.  The population consists of Chinese, Indian & Malaysian people.  So the common language there is English.  Unlike some of the more rural areas of Asia, nearly everyone speaks it.
  • Weather.  It’s pretty similar to Florida.  Hot and humid, rain in the afternoons.  Highs year round are 86-88 and the lows stay around 75.
  • It’s fairly easy to bring the dog.
  • Immunizations.  According to the CDC, we would need additional immunizations if we are considering SEA.  MamaSita is sort of a natural-minded-hippie and isn’t too keen on extra immunizations.  But we are also not too keen on Japanese encephalitis, Hepatitis A or typhoid.  See the full CDC recommendations.
  • Distance.  Malaysia is around the world from us.  It’s a full 12 hour difference in the time zone, which means at peak business-day time at home will be middle-of-the-night sleep time in Malaysia.  It will also take us 20-25 hours to get home, should the need arise.
  • The Weather.  I’m listing this as a con as well because there isn’t a real season as far as hot/cold goes, its either rainy or dry.  In September and October there are more than 20 rainy days per month.

Penang has come out high on the list.  We plan to narrow it down to two choices and put those two side by side to see what seems like the best fit for our family.  Where should we go?  The time is drawing closer and we need to start settling on some real plans.

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