Malaysia is one of the most vibrant and diverse countries you can visit. It has a population coming from ethnicities and influences, making it a cultural melting pot, hard to match other places in the world. And, while you may think that Malaysia is only about its lively cities and shopping centers, the country is actually home to stunning natural landscapes, beautiful rainforests, and spectacular beaches. Add the friendly people and delectable foods, Malaysia is undoubtedly alluring.
Like with any trip to any country, it’s vital to consider a few things before traveling or roaming around the destination. With that, check out these top travel safety tips when visiting Malaysia to ensure that you’ll get a fantastic and worry-free vacation to remember.
Familiarize yourself with the location.
While you can devote utmost caution, mishaps are inevitable, which is why you need to familiarize yourself with the location of key agencies and institutions. First, make sure to know the location of the country’s embassy. If any problem arises, such as getting your valuables stolen, losing your passport, or getting into trouble with the law, you’ll know exactly where to go.
Of course, it’s also essential to check where the nearest hospital, police station, and transportation hubs are. You can use tools like Google Maps to survey the area. List down all the necessary information so you won’t end up scramming for details just in case you’d be in an unfortunate situation.
Be wary of your surroundings.
Malaysia is not exempted from common crimes present in other countries, including credit card fraud, purse snatching, pickpocketing, and assault. So, practice extra caution and be more alert, especially when walking amidst a huge crowd or walking alone at night. Never wear fancy pieces of jewelry as they may attract thieves.
When withdrawing money, inspect the ATM first for card skimmers, which can steal your card information. Safeguard your PIN and be mindful of shoulder surfing, where someone tries to watch behind your back as you type the code. In general, be proactive in protecting yourself to ensure your utmost safety.
Carry your passport at all times.
If you’re fond of leaving and locking your passport at your hotels when traveling to other countries to avoid them from being lost or stolen, Malaysia requires that you bring your passport at all times. So, secure them in your bags, or else you might be taken in for some questioning, in case you fail to present any.
Be careful when commuting.
Not all taxis in Malaysia are equipped with meters, so be sure to check it out as you board the vehicle taxi. If there isn’t one, haggle right away so you won’t be surprised with hefty fees at the end of your trip. If you don’t, your taxi driver might ask for higher fares, citing traffic and weather conditions or the number of passengers.
When traveling late at night, it’s best to book online through ride-sharing apps or taxi services. That way, you’ll avoid riding an unregistered vehicle. While road conditions in West Malaysia are primarily good, it’s the opposite for East Malaysia. Getting a reputable operator is your topmost priority, as accidents and crashes have been reported to occur at night.
Consider food sanitation and hygiene.
There’s no doubt that Malaysian food is incredibly flavorful, drawing influence from Malay, Indian, and Chinese cuisine. You’ll find many popular food items being sold along the street, seemingly inviting you to take a bite in. However, be cautious as not hawker stalls adhere to strict sanitation procedures. While the overall water quality is fairly acceptable, it’s not potable. So, opt for bottled water instead or bring your own tumbler so that you may refill it during your stay. Wash your hands regularly to avoid germs and bacteria when eating. Lastly, bring stomach medications, just in case your gut gets sensitive to foreign food.
Apply insect repellants.
Due to the country’s hot and humid climate all year round, the risk of acquiring mosquitoes-borne diseases, like dengue and malaria, is also present when visiting Malaysia. The risk in Peninsular Malaysia is fairly low but increases when traveling to East Malaysia or visiting the forests or coastal areas. Still, it’s advisable to apply insect repellent at all times, regardless of your destination. You can further protect yourself by covering up using suitable clothing.
Know the local laws and regulations.
Malaysia has strict laws and regulations, which many travelers, especially from Western countries, are familiar with. These include laws involving drugs, religion, sexuality, and the environment. Even if you’re a non-Muslim or coming from a different, these laws will apply.
Be careful of the materials you’re bringing, watching, or sharing in Malaysia. If the authorities think they’re obscene or risky, they might be confiscated. Sharing any papers or leaflets containing information about other faiths is also strictly illegal. Other prohibited acts include nudity, public gambling, and public display of affection.
Failure to comply with them will result in a fine, imprisonment, and even a sentence to death. Before traveling, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the country’s laws and observe them on your whole visit to avoid any trouble.
Modest dress is required in Malaysia. In general, exposing lots of bare flesh is frowned upon, so it’s best to be prim and cover as much skin as possible. Even at beaches and in swimming pools, Malaysian people still cover up. It’s better to don more clothing compared to what you wear in other countries. You can observe how the locals dress and take in cues on what to follow and what is acceptable. That way, you won’t end up getting any unwanted attention or getting into conflict with local laws.
Dangers and risks are present, but with ample research, devoting extra caution, and following rules, you help avoid any mishaps that can ruin your trip. So, be sure to remember these tips so you can have a safe and enjoyable time in Malaysia. Happy travels!