Safety, health

This article has been translated from Russian language using an artificial intelligence-based translation algorithm. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the quality of the translation. You can read the original of this article in Russian here, and ask questions on the topic of our travel forum in English here.

Crime, crime

Police car on the street in Malaysia

Malaysia is considered one of the safest countries in Southeast Asia. The rating of safe countries of the world (GPI – Global Peace Index), recognized in 2011 Malaysia as the most peaceful country in Southeast Asia, the fourth safest among the countries of the Asia-Pacific region after New Zealand, Japan and Australia, and the 19th safest country in the world ranking among 153 countries (Russia 147). In terms of crime, tourists can feel almost completely safe here. Tourists can walk absolutely calmly at any time of the day and in any place. At least, this is the official position of the local authorities. Also write all tourist sites that do not thoroughly delve into this issue and seek to quickly lure and send tourists on a tour.

In fact, although crime there is much lower than in Russia, and takes much lighter forms, it is still there. And tourists are not so rarely victims. Therefore, you should not trust the opinion that there is no crime in Malaysia and carelessly walk through the night alleys without taking any security measures.

Malaysian Police

Violent crimes are very rare here, and if they happen, then for the local police they are a real emergency. About the police it is worth saying that the police here have lost their grip in the fight against crime, and are simply part of the bureaucratic apparatus (just like in Russia). The police react sluggishly to statements about crimes, they do not always go to crime scenes. It is almost impossible to see policemen on the street. If you are attacked and do not suffer much, be prepared for the fact that you will have to get to the police station yourself and walk around the offices there. Although, of course, this does not always happen, but you should always be prepared for the worst. The tourist police operating in the country is essentially one of the units in the Royal Malaysian police, which is entrusted with the functions of advising tourists on the legislation of the country. that is, the maximum that they can do for you in an emergency is to be translators (naturally from English to Malay) and assist in filling out various forms.

Street crime manifests itself mainly in the form of pickpockets from Bangladesh, India and other poor countries in crowded places. There are cases when motorcyclists snatch bags or purses, and usually from women and even in crowded places. At night, walking through the dark backyards, you may well become a victim of robbery or robbery. For those who do not know the difference: robbery occurs only with the use of violence, physical force, and robbery with the use of weapons, although the result is the same. There were rapes. In general, the crime situation is worse in Kuala Lumpur and major cities. In smaller cities and provinces, things are much better.

Malaysia is considered by banks to be a country of increasedrisk when using plastic cards. For plastic card fraud and plastic card forgery, Malaysia is one of the first places in the world. Use your cards only if you pay in a solid institution (a decent hotel, restaurant, boutique). Try not to withdraw money from street ATMs, but use ATMs installed inside banks.

A typical sign in "dangerous places"

On the island of Borneo, tourists are advised to be more careful when traveling in the state of Sabah, and to avoid traveling "savages" or unaccompanied on small remote islands like Sipadan and Tioman.

To increase security, since June 1, 2011, foreigners are fingerprinted when entering the country. The mandatory procedure was introduced in order to combat crime and terrorism, and is mainly aimed at combating crimes committed by foreigners. The process of taking fingerprints from two index fingers takes no more than a minute.

Here is one story (translated) from the blog of a foreign tourist traveling in Malaysia in February 2011. Hopefully this story will help you understand what problems you might run into there:

on February 10, 2011, I took bus # 88 to Kuala Lumpur. I bought the ticket in advance the previous day, and it was clearly written on it that it was to Kuala Lumpur.
After five hours of travel, we reached a place called Seramban. The driver's assistant told me the bus wasn't going to Kuala Lumpur and suggested we get off here. He also said Kuala Lumpur was only a stone's throw away.
As if there was nowhere else to go, I took my luggage and got off the flight. I was approached by a driver who happened to be there and asked if I wanted to go to Kuala Lumpur. When I didn't answer, he took my luggage and offered to follow me to the car. There was another guy in the car who happened to be the actual driver. When I asked him how far it was to Kuala Lumpur, he said it was almost two hours. I was just in shock, and realized that the driver's assistant just tricked me.
When we got to my hotels in Kuala Lumpur, the taxi meter read 70 ringgit (approximately $23). Suddenly, the guy who was sitting next to the driver pressed some Button, and the meter began to show 369. In addition to everything, they said that since it is late at night, the tariff is doubled, and the amount payable is 738 ringgit ($246). Then I protested and said that I saw only 70 ringgit on the meter. I was told that this is normal and because we drove for more than an hour. Even the excuse that I didn't have any money didn't help, as they began to threaten. I had no choice but to pay them.

In general, the guy was just thrown in a cruel way, and this was planned in advance. The taxi ride cost him more than a round-trip plane ride to a neighboring country.

But whatever happens in Malaysia, in general, this country is much safer than our homeland, and one of the reasons for this is strict laws. There are no peculiarities in the laws here, it is forbidden and illegal all the same as in other countries, just the penalties are much stricter. Always remember to behave appropriately, do not break the laws, adhere to traditional rules of behavior, and then everything will be fine with you. Try not to get involved with drugs, guns, and prostitution. For possession, smuggling and drug trafficking, the answer is simple: capital punishment. Don't believe it? Watch the movie "Return To paradise".

However, all that is written above is not a reason to refuse to travel to this truly wonderful country. Millions of tourists visit Malaysia every year without any excesses. All that is necessary for this is to be vigilant (and former Soviet citizens are much better at this than others), to remember and observe precautions. Also visit our section security articles.

If you want to read more reviews of people about the criminal situation in Kuala Lumpur or leave your story, you can go to the forum in the corresponding section.

Emergency phone: police/fire/ambulance: 999.

Road safety

In Malaysia, left-hand traffic. Do not forget to look in the opposite direction when crossing the road, not to the left, as we have, but to the right. Be vigilant when crossing the road even at a green light.

If you plan to rent a car or motorcycle, then first look at the movement. According to drivers from Russia, driving on the roads in Malaysia is more comfortable than at home, but most likely they speak so about resort places, where usually traffic on the road is not dense.

If you decide to rent a transport in KL or in George Town on Penang, then think about it three times. You can't say that the traffic in KL or Georgetown is crazy, but that it is chaotic and unfamiliar to us is for sure.

In general, all road traffic in Malaysia is characterized by calm and slow speed, no one drives. According to our observations, perhaps subjective, no one is trying to immediately reduce the distance formed ahead to an emergency-dangerous distance to the car in front, as Russian drivers usually do. Even where it is not necessary, drivers will pass you just to avoid an accident, and will expect the same from you. Tourists driving or riding a motorcycle are treated with understanding. If you adapt to this movement, overcome the desire to "drive" with the wind, learn to calmly miss everyone, then you will not have any problems.

By the way, there are very few priority signs on the roads of Malaysia, and apparently in most cases drivers are guided by the "left hand" rule, i.e. they miss everyone on the left. Still, not all local drivers consider it necessary to include "turn signals", but this may be the cost of a simpler and more logical left-hand traffic.

To make it easier to change to left-hand traffic, there is a very simple but effective trick: attach a bright landmark to the steering wheel of a motorcycle or the dashboard of a car on the left, for example, bright electrical tape, and always keep this "electrical tape" to the side of the road.

As for the driver's license, they are certainly necessary for renting a car. No one will give you a car for rent until you show international rights. In Malaysia, it is necessary to have international rights in the form of a book, and not plastic "international standard". Motorcycles are simpler: you can take a low-power motorcycle or scooter without a license, although in theory they certainly should be. In most resort places, there is practically no police, and if there is, then they do not stop tourists without urgent need. Most importantly, wear a helmet and clearly do not violate the rules. The author of the site had experience renting a motorcycle with old-style Russian rights in 2011. The tenant carefully studied the Russian inscriptions on the rights, saw the figure 3500 (meaning Category B and 3500 kilograms) and was satisfied, saying only that it was not necessary to show these rights to the police.

As elsewhere in Asia, problems for other drivers and for pedestrians are created by motorcyclists. They do not often try to comply with the rules, often cut off, and do not pay attention to traffic signals.


Malaysia has a very high level of health care. Most resort areas and towns have public and private hospitals. If necessary, you can buy any modern medicines in pharmacies. Unlike other Southeast Asian countries, you can drink tap water in large cities, but we recommend buying bottled water or boiling tap water. It is also not recommended to drink drinks with ice of dubious origin. For the preparation of ice, even in serious institutions can not use clean water.

Contrary to popular belief about tropical countries as a hotbed of malaria and various fevers, there is practically no malaria in Malaysia. Dengue fever is common but very rare. They are constantly fighting these infections, and quite successfully. Malaria and fevers are transmitted mosquitoes and mosquitoes, and therefore should protect yourself from mosquitoes and other bloodsuckers. Local repellents are best suited for this (bought at home are likely to be ineffective). Another very effective tool-self-adhesive "anti Mosquito stickers", made on the basis of natural remedies. They stick to clothes and during the day will scare away mosquitoes and other bloodsuckers from you. From allergic manifestations of bites, in addition to traditional medicines for us, Tiger Balm, Bam Serai, Penang Bam, etc., which are common in Southeast Asia, perfectly help.

There are no mandatory vaccinations for entry into the country at the time of writing. If you are traveling from South America or areas adjacent to the Sahara desert, you may be required to have a certificate of vaccination against yellow fever. Recommended vaccinations: tetanus, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A, B and malaria.

As in any hot countries, such ailments as heat stroke and sunburn remain relevant. Here the recommendations are quite simple: drink more fluids, do not overwork and do not overheat, protect yourself from the sun, Read More for protection and treatment of heat stroke and sunburn, read here.

As for food, in Malaysia, great attention is paid to food hygiene, so you can buy food from street vendors almost without fear for its freshness and quality. But Malaysian Cuisine is very spicy, so you are not immune from indigestion even in the most sterile restaurants. Be sure to bring medicines for gastrointestinal disorders. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water before eating.


Even if you're in great shape and healthy, insurance won't hurt, especially if you're going on a trip on your own and for the long haul.

There are a huge number of companies and a wide variety of types of insurance. You can insure directly from home, via the Internet, by paying for insurance with a plastic card.

Some policies do not cover the consequences of extreme sports, such as diving, motorcycle riding, etc. some policies require you to pay for treatment on the spot, and receive compensation at home. Others, on the contrary, will provide you with free access to medical care on the spot. There are a lot of different subtleties in insurance, and if you decide to insure your stay, find out all the conditions and carefully study all the terms that are offered in the contract.

Rules of conduct and useful tips to avoid trouble

By and large, no special rules of behavior from foreigners, especially from tourists, are not required or expected in Malaysia. You can behave here in the same way as at home, of course, if you know how to behave culturally at home. However, there are some rules, the observance of which is, if not mandatory, then at least desirable:

  • Going topless or without clothes is not recommended, especially outside of tourist areas or beaches.
  • When visiting temples and houses, it is necessary to take off shoes, be dressed in modest clothes covering the hands and feet. In some temples, special shoes and capes are issued. If you are offered them, you must wear them or refuse to visit.
  • If you, as a guest in Malaysia, are offered drinks, it will be extremely rude to refuse.
  • It is not customary to greet women with a handshake.
  • Do not use your index finger to point at people or objects. Instead, the thumb is used.
  • You can not take food with your left hand and pass anything. The left hand in this country is used for hygienic purposes, so passing something with your left hand would be a mortal insult.
  • The head of a person is considered sacred in Malaysia and can not be touched. In no case should you stroke the head of a Malaysian child (you can stroke your own as much as you like).

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