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Kamat Y

Travelled to 8 countries / regions

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I'm Malay living in Kuala Lumpur

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Asia > Malaysia > Kuala Lumpur > Useful Info
Submitted on Feb 17, 2019 Useful Info

Essential Kuala Lumpur safety tips for travellers

KL is overall a safe city to travel in. While we're not as popular a destination as Singapore or Bangkok, we get many tourists coming in every year and the vast majority of them don't run into issues.

However, it's never a bad idea to use caution when visiting. This is a short list of essential tips to stay safe and have a pleasant trip to KL:

  • Ignore anyone who approaches you on the street
  • Ignore anyone - kids, monks, beggers - who approaches you about anything
  • Don't listen to their charity or sob stories, it's 99.9% fake
  • They prey on the good will of both Malaysians and specially tourists to attempt to scam money
  • They won't cause you any physical harm, but they're mostly scam artists
  • Obviously if anyone asks you to follow them anywhere, do not
  • Avoid traditional metered taxis
  • While most taxi drivers are honest and as a local I never encounter issues, there is always a minority of taxi drivers who try to scam tourists because tourists don't know the city as we do
  • I know tourists who's gotten scammed by taxi drivers before. The most common type of scam is for metered taxi drivers to take a long route and inflate the fare this way, so even if they use meter it doesn't help you avoid scam
  • Or drivers will stop the meter halfway on the trip and tell you "it's broken"
  • I have 3 suggestions on what to do instead of taking a traditional metered taxi:
  1. Agree on a full rate before you get on the taxi
  2. Use taxi apps instead of hailing a traditional metered taxi. Grab is the most popular taxi app we use here and it's very very good (it merged with Uber in Southeast Asia)
  3. If you're at the airport or KL Sentral train station, buy a taxi coupon at one of the taxi stalls inside the terminal building. These stalls are officially supervised and the coupons are basically fixed-price tickets to use on taxis. The price of the coupons vary depends on where your destination is. Coupons lets you pay the fixed all-in amount upfront and you don't have to worry about paying the drivers anymore. An added bonus is that you can usually purchase coupons with credit cards. When you buy the coupons confirm with the stalls that you won't be charged anything else on top of the coupon (like highway tolls) by the drivers
  • Hang on tight to your belongings
  • From time to time there are drive-by snatching incidents here in KL
  • Thieves basically ride up on motorcycles and snatch your purse and other belongings
  • This happens mainly to locals. I've not heard of any incidents of this affecting tourists but it could happen
  • When you're in public, especially walking on a road, be really careful with your belongings
  • Try to use ATMs inside bank branches
  • I know people whose bank card got skimmed compromised ATMs and PIN stolen
  • ATMs placed outside are all susceptible to being compromised by thieves, so the best way to avoid this is to use ATMs inside bank branches
  • Female travellers, try to travel in groups when taking taxis or going out at night
  • Especially if you're good looking, you could potentially be the target of violent crime (it really doesn't happen often at all, but once in a blue moon it happens)
  • There are uneducated people from the country side that work in KL and they might try to harass you if they see you travelling alone
  • I just want to emphasize that this rarely happens, but you should still take precautions because it has happened before