Is Malaysia Safe To Travel? 9 Malaysia Safety Tips You Must Know

Is Malaysia safe? 9 Malaysia safety tips you must know before travel to Malaysia

Do you want to go to a crystal clear beach and be surrounded by a variety of cultural cuisines, or experience culture shocks without worrying about language problems? It is Malaysia!

However, you might think that “is Malaysia safe for tourists?” as you might have rarely heard of news about Malaysia before. 

Don’t worry. Here are 9 Malaysia safety tips that might help you avoid getting into troubles and have a wonderful trip.

1. Main Issue of Malaysia Safety

1.1. Petty Crime Is Common in Malaysia

Malaysia safety ranks 54th in the world. What you need to do is to exercise normal precautions when travelling in Malaysia. As Malaysians, we suggested that tourists should pay more precautions in city areas.

Despite Malaysia is relatively safe for tourists compared to Indonesia and Thailand, you must be aware of petty crime such as mugging and bag snatching from motorcyclist or pedestrians. 

There was once that my purse was stolen when queuing to purchase tickets at Legoland, Johor. I guess the reason why I became the target is my bag didn’t zip, and I was taking photos with friends during the time.

Malaysia Safety Tips:

  • Don’t use your mobile phone or expensive things such as digital camera while you’re walking on the street
  • Bring a cross-body bag or a backpack
  • Don’t leave your valuable things unattended such as bag on the beach or phone on the table

1.2 Kidnapping in Sabah- Malaysia Travel Warnings

There is one of the most beautiful and idyllic island in the world in the eastern area of Sabah state that is absolutely perfect for dreamy vacations. That is Sipadan island. But recently, terrorist activities have taken place in the eastern part of Sabah state. Due to the high risk of kidnapping, this area is currently not recommended to visit this place.

If you really want a crystal clear island to relax, there are several other best diving places in Malaysia such as Perhentian Island and Redang Island in Terengganu and Langkawi Island in Kedah.

Malaysia Safety Tips:

  • Try to avoid the eastern part of Sabah state when you’re planning the trip because your travel insurance may not cover the terrorism

2. Respect Local Culture Wherever You Go

Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country which is socially conservative. There are four Western tourists were sentenced to three days’ jail and fined for around USD$1330 for being naked on the summit of Mount Kinabalu.

Besides, public displays of affection should be avoided such as kissing on the street. Also, homosexual acts are illegal in Malaysia.

Malaysia Safety Tips:

  • If you’re planning to visit a place of worship, you can prepare an opaque scarf to cover your legs. This will be convenient for you
  • There is no strict dress code in Malaysia for foreigner except in government offices area. As long as you are don’t reveal too much, you are fine. Unless you want to be stared at by locals

3. The Sudden Change in Climate

Malaysia’s four seasons are hot, hotter, hottest and hotter. Actually there are only have two seasons in Malaysia that are wet season and dry season.

Strong winds are rare in Malaysia. but in April, May and October on the west coast of west Malaysia fall thunderstorms. On the east coast (Tioman Island and Redang Island), the more obvious rainy season lasts from October to March.

Due to climate change, the weather in Malaysia is now unpredictable. In the recent winter season, Malaysians can feel the winter as the temperatures dipping to a low of 22 deg C. You might see locals wearing jackets in this tropical country!

Malaysia Safety Tips:

  • We understand why Westerners love to sunbathe and may think it is strange to carry a parasol under the sun. But you will understand why Asians need a parasol when you come to Malaysia. As you might not be able to enjoy the extremely hot sun with a sweaty body all day long. Or prepare an umbrella for sudden heavy rain
  • No matter when you come to Malaysia, it will be hot and humid. Prepare breathable clothes and water bottles to avoid getting heat stroke
  • Best time to visit Malaysia is:
    West coast of West Malaysia (such as Penang and Langkawi Island) are during December to April;
    East coast of West Malaysia (such as Redang and Tioman Island) you can enjoy drier weather from April to October;
    Kuala Lumpur has less rainfall during June to August;
    Borneo is from March to October.

4. Zika Virus And Diarrhea

Malaysia is a foodie paradise. What you need is to prepare a strong and stretchable stomach to come to Malaysia to try all multicultural cuisine. What if your stomach is not that strong enough? Bring your own stomach medicines because you aren’t familiar with local medicines.

Although Zika virus is not common in Malaysia there are eight Zika cases in Malaysia. as per advised from Canada and UK travel health warning that pregnant women should practice special health precautions while travelling or avoid travel to affected countries. No essential vaccines for entry into Malaysia but vaccinations such as tetanus and typhoid are strongly recommended. 

Malaysia Safety Tips:

  • Choose a restaurant that looks hygiene such as no rubbish on the ground, tableware is clean
  • Avoid eating street stalls and spicy dishes if your gastrointestinal function is weak
  • Bring a mosquito repellent body spray and avoid go to jungle area if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby

5. Cab or Grab (e-Hailing App)? Which Is Safer and Cheaper?

Nowadays, we heard of the fare charged by Grab is higher than the cab. It’s true for certain areas and time. However, there were always have black sheep to damage the image of cab drivers as some taxi drivers charged super unreasonably high fare rate or using a fake meter. For example, two French tourists had been charged RM800 for 6 Km trip.

To me, I always choose to use Grab because I know the fare and driver details in advance. If Grab charges an unreasonably high fare and taxi can provide clear fare and driver information before I confirm my ride, I would use the taxi service.

Malaysia Safety Tips:

  • Read Grab’s driver details before you accept the ride
  • Try not to take a cab or Grab alone at night

6. Things In Malaysia Hotels are Safe?

No matter staying in star-hotel or a budget hostel, stealing can happen in Malaysia. Whether you have a “NO CLEANUP TODAY” sign on the handle, try not to leave anything of value in the hotel room. As you might not know how safe your hotel room safe actually is.

But if you do need to leave somethings in hotel’s room, do keep it smartly. Here are some tips I learnt from experience that might help you to avoid being stolen.

Malaysia Safety Tips:

  • Bring a small and sturdy padlock to lock your luggage or bag if you have to leave valuable things in the hotel
  • Check if your hotel safe box is “safe”. See how this man found the safe box isn’t safe after he forgot the password
  • Use the Do Not Disturb sign wisely. You could leave the radio and TV on when you leave the room as this may keep cleaner out
  • Use hotel’s office safe-deposit box instead of the in-room safe box for your fine jewelry. Always ask for a written receipt for anything you leave with the front desk receptionist

7. Solo Travel In Malaysia Is Safe?

You will find out Malaysia is safe for female travelers from Google result. Yes, it’s relatively safe for female solo travelers but as a Malaysian, I’ll suggest never walk on the street alone at night, especially in an under-lit walkway. Because we often hear minor crime happen around us and at city areas. I don’t wish tourists to have a bad memory in Malaysia.

Malaysia Safety Tips:

  • Never go out alone at night. You can ask your trusted new friend to get along with
  • Never go to the jungle alone. I like to explore the jungle in New Zealand with friends because there are signs and lots of relevant information but not in Malaysia
  • Solo travelers must be aware of spike drinks. Spike drink means alcohol or drugs are added to someone’s drink without their permission and mostly linked to crimes such as sexual assault and robbery.

8. Unpredictable Haze

For the last few years, there was haze all around Malaysia between August and October. Why it is unpredictable? As the haze formed due to the smoke from fires coming over from Indonesia.

How bad the haze is. Highest record of an Air Pollution Index (API) was above 500 level at Port Klang in the past. While the highest record of API in Indonesia local was above 1000!

But this year, the problem of haze has greatly improved a lot.

Malaysia Safety Tips:

  • Avoid travel to Malaysia between September and October
  • Or check current API in Malaysia before you plan the trip

9. Is it safe to drive in Malaysia?

It is relatively convenient to have a vehicle when travelling in Malaysia. Road condition is good but less in east Malaysia. Because apart from Kuala Lumpur, it takes a long time to get to the destination by bus. However, many areas are not reachable by buses and the only way is to call a cab.

76 countries and territories with left-hand traffic such as Australia, Thailand, Ireland, Malaysia, United Kingdom etc. The death rates of Malaysia roads rank 20th in the world due to the reason for reckless driving in Malaysia.

I have been driving in Malaysia for 10 years and had also driven in New Zealand and Australia. The road condition in West Malaysia is good but less in east Malaysia. I certainly do not consider the roads is dangerous to drive but not to say that there is no risk for foreigners to drive in Malaysia. There have been a number of fatal bus crashes, especially on overnight journeys.

Bad things about Malaysia are many drivers and motorcyclists will accelerate when the traffic light turned red. And I often see them never stop when it is a red light and sometimes driving in the wrong way in city areas.

Malaysia Safety Tips:

  • Be caution that vehicles don’t always stop at traffic light or pedestrian crossing
  • If an accident happens, stay in the place until the police come
  • Under traffic rules, it is a must to wear a helmet for motorcyclist
  • When driving in Malaysia, not to follow behind a truck or a bus all the time as there have been a number of fatal bus crashes, particularly on overnight journeys
  • When you get in the car, please lock the car in time. Never leave your bag on passenger seat as motorcyclists might break your window to take it
  • Park your car in a well-lit area and remove all valuable items from your cars

You don’t have to be panic when travelling in Malaysia. Bear in mind, be careful with your own items as this is an environment you are not familiar with. 

No matter which country you travel to, learning how to protect yourself, your loved and your own things will make your trip smooth and complete. You can get the latest travel advisories from below different government travel.



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