Langkawi – Malaysia – Trevor and Ellie

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Trevor & Ellie are from the UK.

Trevor retired 12 years ago.

He sold his UK home and moved to Malta.

Ellie sold up in the UK 8 years ago.

Ellie met Trevor in Malta.

Trevor & Ellie are now a retired couple living together and sharing costs.


Twelve years ago, Trevor bought a new home in the south of Malta for £50,000. The south of Malta is quieter and cheaper than the touristy north.

House prices and the cost of living in Malta have increased significantly over the past 12 years. A good meal, now, in a good restaurant costs about €25 each.

In Malta, given that Trevor & Ellie own their own house, they live on about €500 per month.

In Malta they go out once per week to eat dinner in a reasonably priced restaurant. They have found all of the cheap local places so can get an English Breakfast for €3.50 and a Sunday Roast for €9.

But, in Malta, Trevor & Ellie tend to do their own cooking and spend most of their money on groceries.

For entertainment, they take day-long picnics at the beach.

They keep in touch with family and friends back in the UK using Skype. Malta is also close enough for family to visit and for Trevor & Ellie to take trips back to the UK – especially nowadays as low cost airlines have brought flight costs down to almost one tenth of what they used to be 12 years ago.


Every year Trevor & Ellie go GRANDPAcking. They spend a lot of time in S. E. Asia. The cost of GRANDPAcking in S. E. Asia works out to be pretty much the same price as staying at home in Malta: €500 per month; BUT, when they travel, they have the additional cost of renting somewhere to stay.

Trevor first came to Langkawi 10 years ago; Ellie first came with Trevor 8 years ago.

They buy travel insurance online before they come. Travel insurance is cheap because Malta and the UK have a reciprocal agreement – which opens up Maltese residents to the free UK National Health System.

In Langkawi, Trevor & Ellie grocery shop at the local supermarket and Thursday Night Market. They get fruit, yoghurt, bread, tea, coffee, eggs, etc which cover them for breakfasts most mornings. They buy their beer from the Duty Free shop at RM1.60 a can and bottles of whiskey for RM25 a bottle (or RM40 for 2).

Every morning at sunrise they go for a walk along Cenang Beach; some mornings they stop for Roti Canai for breakfast (at RM1 per Roti).

They eat light lunches and go out every night for dinner. Over the years they have found all of the value for money places and can eat out for two for less than RM25 including drinks. RM25 is their maximum, most of the time they dine out for under RM20.

Their monthly budget is RM2200 for their chalet and RM1500 spending money (RM50 per day). A total monthly budget of RM4000 / NZ$1,500 / US$1,150 / €900 / £750.

As Trevor says, there is no difference in cost in them living in rented accommodation in Langkawi (compared to day-to-day living costs back home in Malta). The difference for them is that they get out more, have more things to do every day, and dine out every day.

Trevor & Ellie aren’t the only ones. There are many others doing what they are doing and over the years they have built up a big crowd of friends. Every year they keep meeting up in the same places: in this case Rainbow Lodge.


Trevor & Ellie have seen Langkawi transform itself over the years… and very much so in the last 3-5 years.

In the olden days (and not that long ago) they used to long-term rent a 1 room unit on Cenang Beach for RM40 a night; That was as recent as 3 years ago. Each year they have seen the budget accommodation pushed further and further back from the beach

Now they rent at the Rainbow Lodge: they paid RM1800 a month last year and are paying RM2200 a month this year. The cost next year is likely to go up again… in High Season starting next year, Rainbow Lodge may no longer offer long term rates.

This may force Trevor & Ellie to look elsewhere… and there are still long term rental places to be found (like Carol’s ten RM1500-2000 per month villas just down the road). But how long they will last is also open to question. As always, the problem is the loss of friends.


Trevor & Ellie don’t just come to Langkawi. They mix it up a bit each year and between years. This year they spent  1 month in Sihanoukeville, Cambodia and they are in Langkawi for 7 weeks before moving on to Thailand for 3 weeks.

They say that in Sihanoukeville they rented a nice hotel room – the hotel came with a swimming pool and daily maid service for less than what they are now paying at Rainbow Lodge, They believe that you get better ‘value for money’ in Sihanoukeville than you do in Cenang Beach – and may start spending more time there instead.

They also like the Philippines. They found it to be a bit more expensive than they were expecting but overall found costs less than Langkawi and well within their budget.

Are they happy?… Of course they’re bloody happy!

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