Malaysia is a generally a safe country to travel in and compared with Indonesia or Thailand it’s extremely safe.

  • Theft and violence are not particularly common, although it pays to keep a close eye on your belongings, especially your travel documents (passport, travellers cheques etc), which should be kept with you at all times.
  • Credit-card fraud is a growing problem. Use your cards only at established businesses and guard your credit-card numbers closely.
  • The main thing to watch out for are animal and insect bites.

Animal Hazards

Rabies does occur in Malaysia, so any bite from an animal should be treated very seriously. In the jungles and mangrove forests, living hazards include leeches (annoying but harmless), snakes (some kinds are highly venomous), macaques (prone to bag-snatching in some locales), orangutans (occasionally aggressive) and, in muddy estuaries, saltwater crocodiles (deadly if they drag you under).

Theft & Violence

Muggings do happen, particularly in KL and Penang, and physical attacks have been known to occur, particularly after hours and in the poorer, rundown areas of cities. Thieves on motorbikes particularly target women for grab raids on their handbags. Also don't drop your guard on holiday islands such as Langkawi and the Perhentians – never leave your belongings unattended while on the beach for example.

A small, sturdy padlock is well worth carrying, especially if you are going to be staying at any of the cheap huts found on Malaysia’s beaches, where flimsy padlocks are the norm.

Government Travel Advise

For the latest travel advisories check the following websites:

  • Australia (www.smartraveller.gov.au)
  • Canada (www.voyage.gc.ca)
  • New Zealand (www.safetravel.govt.nz)
  • UK (www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice)
  • USA (http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html)