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Safety?

Aussie
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454 posts
12 reviews
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Safety?

I have 2 18/19 year old girls thinking of visiting KL on the way back from Phuket for a couple of nights in April. I have just skimmed through some posts on this forum and am now a little worried about how safe they will be on their own. They have travelled to Bali alone, but are not really "worldly wise". I don't want to offend anyone by asking this question, would just like some feedback :)

Cheers

Kuala Lumpur...
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1. Re: Safety?

KL is as safe as any modern cities. Just apply some common sense such as avoid dark alleys or refuse favours from strangers. Even the night-spots like Jln P Ramlee, Bangsar, etc. are pretty safe. On the general, I would think KL is safer than Phuket.

Perth, Australia
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2. Re: Safety?

Malaysia is as safe as any large city. The larger the population the larger percentage of people committing offences.

We only just got back and although I witnessed two guys about to snatch my teenage childrens bags it really is because tourists stick out and probably dont look after their belongings properly. They had backpacks slung over their arms. This was the only real incident that I witnessed but I must say that I also read these threads and made me more aware and alert to the dangers.

In my hosest opion, they will be fine. Criminals are in every city and if given the opportunity will strike.

Personally, the information is not to frighten people but make them more responsible and alert to the dangers.

I'm sure they will be fine armed with this knowledge.

Milton, Vermont
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3. Re: Safety?

I have to disagree with the previous posts about KL safety. KL is now highly saturated with people from many walks of life from many countries. There are also over 1 million illegal immigrants trying to make a living in KL.

In general walking around KL is fine especially in the touristy areas, but one has to use some common sense as well. The biggest issues you will have in KL are snatch thieves mainly on motorbikes, pickpockets mainly in crowded areas like monorail, buses, trains, shopping centers, and markets to name a few. Take off your jewelery, important documents, and flashy personal items and keep it in your hotel safe. I removed my gold chains, and even left my wallet in the hotel safe. I took a couple of credit cards and some money and placed it in my front pockets where I would have my hands at all times in crowded areas. In fact, I kept larger notes in one pocket and smaller change and notes in another. This was to avoid prying eyes and potential mischief.

I was recently in KL for close to 3 weeks and I witnessed snatch thefts and pickpocketing first hand and in broad daylight. I also witnessed a friend who had his mobile phone snatched from his hand while he was on the phone right outside his house in PJ. Even the locals are concerned and cautious!

Be smart, stay alert, and you will be fine.

Norfolk, United...
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for Chaweng, Ko Samui
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4. Re: Safety?

Dear worried Mum!

Please do no be worried, despite the last post. I started travelling alone at 16 [more than 40 years ago] and the only way you become world wise is to get out there.

Every large city has problems, New York, London, Paris, Rome, Sydney, KL is no worse and I would feel safer in KL than some!

Tell your girls to be sensible. Don't carry lots of money or cards around, keep all valuables in the room safe or hotel safety deposit box.

Carry your bags on the side away from the road to avoid snatchers. Keep your money / cards in a money belt or tuck in wallet - get it from a bag / travel shop or the airport. Not walk down dark alleys and stay in the tourist and crowded areas. Which they will when they see the shopping!! Don't go off with strange folk. Don’t get drunk and forget where you are. In crowded places be wary of pick pockets – so again keep the valuables you need on a day out to be out of sight in that money belt. Don’t flash your cash about. When putting things in their bags don’t flaunt the bag contents. If using a mobile phone, make sure you are not able to have it snatched. Just do all the sensible sorts of things they would normally do at home or visiting a strange or large city. Its just about being very sensible.

I have been to KL many, many times and have never witnessed any snatches and have never felt unsafe, but am sensible.

Kuala Lumpur...
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5. Re: Safety?

The cases of snatch thefts are very real. Just last Saturday, my best friend had her bag snatched just as she was locking up her car, and she was dragged about 50m. The perpetrators were in 2 cars with false license plates. She's had to have 5 stitches on her left knee, multiple abrasions on her back, arms, feet and hip. She was very lucky (if you can consider it lucky considering the crime!) she wasn't permanently or fatally hurt.

I witnessed 2 other snatch thefts in the past month. Both victims were not seriously hurt, thankfully.

I'm not listing the above to scare tourists. I would just like them to be more careful of their surroundings. Especially in these tough economic times, I expect crime to be on the rise. In my 14 years here, I honestly feel less secure especially in the last couple of years.

To add on to the above posts, also ask your girls to be wary especially if they're out clubbing/pubbing. There have been a couple of instances (friends of mine) who had their drinks spiked. Never leave their drinks unattended (ok so this is an age-old tip) or turn their backs on the drinks.

I'm sure they'll be fine ... after all, you need to explore the world if you want to be worldly.

Milton, Vermont
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6. Re: Safety?

Jules,

Thank you so much for seconding my post. I too witnessed the incidents that I had mentioned. The interesting thing is that these activities are happening in broad daylight and in open public areas. I was sitting in my friend's car while we were stuck in traffic at a stop light, when I witnessed the back seat rider of a motorbike cruise very slowly in traffic, and was checking for unlocked rear doors of cars. Luck on their side, they were able to grab a handbag and they were gone in a flash before one could scream. They are so fast! I was also told that they tend to prowl around parked cars even in housing neighborhoods looking for anything that may have been left in the cars. Apparently, they even have a scanner to see if these cars have any electronic equipment hidden in the trunk like laptops, cameras, etc.

Personally, I did not have any problems, but I was very careful. Instead of using my Nikon DSLR camera with a big lens to photograph, I used a Canon point-and-shoot camera instead which I was able to use and put away quickly. Like I had said before, I did not use a wallet to avoid being seen with bulging pockets and kept my valuables in my hotel room safe. I carried enough cash for the day and a credit card or two just in case. I also tried to blend in, and tried not to raise attention to myself.

The theft issues in KL are real people!

Aussie
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7. Re: Safety?

Thanks very much for all your feedback. I will get the girls to read it, so they are more aware! As you all say it is just a matter of being careful in most cases :)

Kuala Lumpur...
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8. Re: Safety?

Well my colleague got his wallet nicked in Belgium..and this was despite the fact that we were in a group (of about 4-6 people) and were walking the streets after dinner back to the hotel and the street was not crowded.

They have travelled to Bali alone, they are doing Phuket alone. I think KL should be fine.

As many mentioned, beware of pickpockets & snatch thieves, and if they go to the clubs, beware of leaving drinks unattended or accepting drinks from strangers..etc

Just precautions you would set in any city.

japan
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9. Re: Safety?

KL is very modern, big and safe place. Should one of the safest large cities in the world and if you use common sense, you won't have to worry much.

I had scary experience once though. That was my first time going there and I was all alone. I had whole Sunday free so I asked hotel where to go for shopping or whatever, I just don't remember how I got there and where,but I think that was China town or some sort. I went in this building with many shops inside, I think all Chinese owned and I was having fun looking around cheap good. Then I noticed this Chinese guy who was in probably his mid 50s keep following me wherever I go.

I even waled faster and went up and down in the building to see if he was really following me. When I stopped at in front of shops making look like I was checking the store items, he also stopped bit distant way and he kept looking at me with this strange smile. Then I got really scared so I ran out of the store, got back to hotel. I don't even remember how I got back to hotel but that was some strange experience. Oh by the way I am a guy and I don't think I attract any guys even he was looking for a partner. I still wonder what he wanted.

Milton, Vermont
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10. Re: Safety?

Danger is everywhere weather we like it or not. In some places it's more prevalent and visible, and in others it's subtle.

As almost everyone has mentioned, take precautions, be smart, look around your surroundings, hold on to your drinks, dress appropriately, and most of all, pay attention! With this said, there is no reason one could not enjoy and have fun in KL!

Cheers!