Kuala Lumpur ~ Safety Guide
Kuala Lumpur Insights


Kuala Lumpur is a generally safe place for all. However, there is no harm practising common sense and precautions like you would do at home. Violent crimes involving tourists in Malaysia is relatively uncommon, petty theft, particularly purse snatching and pick-pocketing are the most common criminal activity directed against tourists. Walking in the city is usually fine but, as anywhere, caution must be exercised, especially if alone.

Do not leave your valuables, passports, important documents, camera, jewellery unattended EVEN if it’s in your hotel room.

Lock up your valuables in your room safe or at the reception safe. Do not keep all your money or credit cards in one place; split your cash and cards up in different places and do not bring too much money in your wallet. Avoid ostentatious displays of wealth like wearing a huge Rolex gold watch or a thick gold chain. You will only be an easy target for criminals.

Signs posted warning about handbag snatchersSnatch Thieves
Two men on a motorcycle would speed up from behind a victim and the passenger on the back snatches the handbag or anything they can get their hands on including necklaces, bangles, watches, chains etc. These thefts can occur ANYTIME and ANYWHERE even in upscale neighbourhoods or right in front of the crowd outside a crowded shopping mall. Women walking by themselves or with small children are the most common targets.

AVOID becoming victim of the snatch thieves:

• Be alert at ALL times and be aware of your surroundings.
• Walk facing traffic and keep a close eye on on the traffic esp on motorcyclists and cars with the windows down. Walk on the sidewalk away from the curb and KEEP YOUR BAGS on the other side, not on the side of the road.
• Avoid walking down poorly lit streets, shortcuts, and narrow alleys.
• Keep your bags closed and tucked under the arm. A huge bag with small handles might be stylish but they are easy targets for snatch thieves.
DO NOT wear Bling Bling huge gold jewellery even if its gold-plated or a pair of expensive sunglasses with diamonds on the side. Statement jewellery is pretty yes; but it will attract snatch-thieves.

Distracted victims are prime targets for pickpocketsPick Pockets
Be very careful of pickpockets while in crowded places or on public transport. The modus operandi of the crooks is to look out for travellers. Travellers with backpacks are a prime target. They are very visible, tired and distracted in a new city. They watch for where you put your wallet/phone/valuables after using and then proceed to lift your possessions.

They work solo or in groups and use diversionary tactics to distract victims. This includes bumping on you, dropping coins or feigning argument or fights. Please make sure that you keep your wallet in front of your pockets and secured or somewhere hard to reach.

Points to Note

Use a waist bag to keep your wallet, passport, hand phone, etc.• Do not play with your hand phone while waiting for the commuter/bus/train.
• Sort out your money and cards. Bring an extra pouch for all the coins and split your money up into a mix of cards, cash and travellers cheques. Do not leave everything in one purse or one bag and do not bring too much money in your wallet
• Avoid ostentatious displays of wealth like wearing a huge Rolex gold watch or a thick gold chain. You will only be an easy target for criminals.
• Ensure that you hold on tight to all your belongings once inside (or while entering) the commuter/bus/train especially when there’s a mad rush and people are bumping against one another.
• Ensure that you do not carry too many shopping bags with you if you’re planning to board a commuter (or any other mode of public transportation) during rush hour (this means that you’re most probably too occupied with taking care of your shopping bags and less occupied to pay attention to your hand phones/wallets).
• Do not carry a cloth bag that can be easily slit
• Use a waist bag to keep your wallet, passport, hand phone, etc.
• Do not venture into lonely and dark places and alleys

Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud continues to be a problem in Malaysia, although enhanced technology has somewhat reduced reported instances of fraud. Keep an eye on your cards and keep all the receipts in case something happens and you can clarify it with the bank. When dining in the hotel, try to keep the bills on a tab and charge everything to your room and pay when you check-out instead of swiping your cards every night.

Beggars & Donations Scams
There have been cases of people and even monks asking for donations. If you feel that it’s not for a genuine cause, walk away and don't even say anything. Keep silent as if you didn't understand them and mutter some foreign language so they will go away. You might get pestered by beggars when dining along the roadside like at Jalan Alor or Petaling street. Give them a few coins so they will leave you in peace or just keep silent and continue ignoring them.

Public toilets in Malaysia are improving but most are still very unfriendly for women; esp Western women. You may still come across squatting-type toilets. If you find a sitting toilet bring disinfecting baby wipes (you can buy them in Malaysia) and wipe before you sit. Many public toilets won't have toilet paper, so please bring your own.

Taxis are generally safe, but many often refuse to use the meter and a few cabbies will gouge tourists mercilessly. If they won't use the meter, then don't take that taxi, as by law they are required to use the meter. However if you are desperate to use that taxi, agree on the fare in advance. Ask the hotel concierge or from a local for directions and how much roughly the trip will cost.

Negotiating taxi fares rather than using the meterBe careful of cabbies who overcharge and who take advantage of tourists. If you intend to go out for a drink or see how the nightlife in Kuala Lumpur, after Midnight, there will be taxi drivers who are more than willing to take you back to your hotel with a condition that you agree not to use the meters and pay them a ridiculous amount. There's not much choice and the government is not doing much to help the passengers with this scam but they take advantage of the helpless tourists and even locals who aren't driving.

• If you are catching a cab alone, NEVER EVER sit in the front passenger seat with the driver. Sit at the back.
• Try not to catch a cab alone half-drunk in the middle of the night after a pub visit and never take up an offer for a ride with a stranger home.
• Note the cab number you are taking.

General Precautions
• Kuala Lumpur is a generally hot and humid city. Drink plenty of water and avoid strenuous activities in the full midday hot sun.
• Babies and young children are prone to nappy rashes in the hot and humid country. Buy baby powder and clean the affected parts regularly. Baby powder and diapers are available in pharmacies like Guardian and Watson's in most malls.
• Pack your sunscreen and DEET sprays.
• For those requiring protection from insects, particularly mosquitoes, obtain an insect repellent with DEET, or mixing baby oil in proportion with Dettol
• In hotels that provide coffee/tea making facilities, check the heating element of the kettle, to ascertain if it is encrusted with minerals deposit; if so, have it descaled or replace with a clean one. Use it to boil water and in making your coffee or tea, mix in proportion mineral water and this boiled water. This allows your water system to adapt to the local water.
• Malaysian food can get rather spicy and hot. Always bring medication for stomach upset or diarrhoea if you have had problems with spicy food or stomach upset.
• Pack your sunscreen and DEET sprays.

Le' Haze – This normally happens during the dry season from June to October, where the neighbouring country (Mainly Sumatra) conduct their annual slash and burn on their plantations and farm lands. This badly affects the West coast of Malaysia. In a worse case scenario The entire city of KL is blanketed with haze with visibility is down to 1-2 kilometres.
Best to stay clear at these times or you will be wasting a trip especially if you have respiratory problems.

Women Travellers
Dress - While skimpy clothes and open-back dresses are completely acceptable in most city clubs and discos after sunset; its not common to wear such things while sightseeing during day. Not only will you get a terribly sunburn on your back and legs; you might be refused entry to some places like the mosques. Many Hotel restaurants have got dress codes for ladies and gents; and they might refuse entry if you show up with a pair of hot shorts and bikini top.

Shoes - High Heels and platform shoes are cool trends for the summer; but they will kill your feet in Malaysia. Most pavements and pedestrian walkways are uneven and rotten in some parts; at most times, you have to walk on the hot and hard asphalt roads.

Your 4-inch heels are most probably going to get stuck in the next drain cover or you will wear them off at the bottom after minutes on the asphalt. Keep your expensive heels for the next party, and bring your most comfortable pair of walking shoes with lots of circulation.

Nightlife Tips for Lone Women Travellers
• Best if you are with a friend after having a few drinks because there are some weirdoes here as well.

• Be wary, as someone might spike your drink.

• ATTEND to your drinks at the club, never leave them alone even for a short while.





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