Many solo travellers in Malaysia have a pleasant and hassle-free trip, though there are, as with most places in the world, certain risks associated with travelling alone. Here is a little advise to keep safe:
- Avoid walking alone at night and be cautious of over-friendly strangers.
- Try and steer clear of quiet areas and don’t carry lots of cash or expensive electronics.
- Make sure that rooms are secure and can be locked from the inside with a bolt, chain, or similar (in addition to the key lock).
- Program the numbers of tourist police into your phone.
- It is advisable to travel with comprehensive travel insurance.
It is fairly easy to meet other travellers in Malaysia, especially when you stay in a hostel. English is generally well spoken around the country, though there may be language barriers in more rural and off-beat locations.
Crime and scams
Pickpocketing, thefts from hotel rooms, and bag snatchings are more likely to be encountered by tourists than violent crimes.
Common scams include scratch-and-win tricks, whereby people supposedly win a substantial prize on a free scratch card but need to make a deposit to claim the prize. Credit card fraud and rigged meters in taxis are also around.
Avoid drugs in Malaysia. Being in possession of illegal substances can carry heavily penalties, including caning. Mandatory death penalties apply in some cases. Drink driving also attracts harsh penalties, including jail time and substantial fines.
Dengue fever can be contracted through mosquito bites around Malaysia, and malaria is present in Borneo. There is a risk of contracting rabies from animals.