Malaysia is a beautiful and rewarding place to visit, but it’s a very different culture than what most westerners are accustomed to. The following are a few general tips to keep in mind when planning your visit.
1). Draconian drug laws. If you have relaxed attitudes toward drugs or are an occasional or regular consumer of them, you might consider planning your vacation elsewhere. The death penalty is mandatory in trafficking or manufacturing convictions, and even personal consumption can land you in prison for up to 10 years.
2). Drunk driving and jaywalking. Don’t tempt fate by getting behind the wheel during your stay if you have so much as a drop of alcohol to drink. Apart from the obvious danger to yourself and others, drunk driving convictions carry very heavy penalties and breathalyzer tests are common. When on foot, be extra careful to avoid oncoming cars and trucks, as drivers typically ignore pedestrian crossings entirely and incidents of road rage are on the rise.
3). Taxi take downs. A particularly disturbing crime that has been on the rise in recent years is the phenomenon of unregistered taxis picking up guests late at night and then robbing or assaulting them with the help of local criminals. It’s best to order your cabs from registered dial-a-taxi services, but if you do find yourself flagging one down on the street, be sure to check for functioning meters.
In short, don’t drink and drive, steer clear of drugs, and don’t ride in unmetered cabs and your trip should proceed without a hitch.