Travel Advice to Malaysia

Threat of kidnapping

There is a general, albeit small risk of kidnapping of tourists in East Malaysia. Eastern Sabah and islands off this area are where the threat is the largest. The threat is greatest near tourist resorts in this area. Do not walk around alone especially at night in these areas and think about  Malaysia for short to medium trips to avoid any issues. If you are thinking about hiring a car in Malaysia, note that a UK license is only valid for three months. If you plan on staying longer and using a hire car, you will need to get a Malaysian driving licence or an annually renewable International Driving Permit.

However, it is not believed that tourists are not intentionally targeted by these attacks. The last major kidnapping involved two Malaysian seaweed farmers.

If you do want to travel to remote areas, it is essential that you tell the hotel where you are going, when you are leaving and when you should be back. Then, do not differ from these plans. This way, if there are any issues, the police have the best chance of being able to locate you.

Travel to Southern Thailand

Day trips to South Thailand from Malaysia used to be common due to the location of the two. However, now unless you have to travel to this area of Thailand it is best to avoid it. Only essential trips should be taken to Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla due to potential domestic terrorist attacks.

Theft from people on motorbikes

Bag snatchers sometimes operate on motorbikes or mopeds in Malaysia. If you are carrying a handbag than make sure you have your arm held over it so it cannot be taken easily. You should also make sure you carry your bag toward the side of the pavement rather than the road.

Taxi driver theft

There have been a few reports of licensed taxi drivers speeding off while the passengers are getting out the taxi to get their luggage out of the boot. If you are travelling in a party of more than one person, make sure somebody stays in the taxi while the items are being unloaded. If you alone, then make sure you get out the taxi and head right for the baggage.

Risk of dangerous demonstrations

Peaceful demonstrations that have been registered are 100% legal in Malaysia, but there have been several rallies without permission that have turned violent. If you see a large group of people gathering and people with banners, then avoid going near the group.

Religious beliefs

Malaysia is predominantly a country populated by Muslims if you are travelling to the country, then make sure you read up on local customs.

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