Personal Security and Public Hygiene
Kuala Lumpur is safe enough to walk about at night, especially in the city areas where the crowds do not subside even after midnight. However, thefts do occur, so leave valuables indoors or in the safe deposit facilities available at hotels and hostels. Pick-pocketing is a problem in crowded places such as Petaling Street or in public buses, so be careful with your wallet and passport. In case of an unfortunate event, call 999 for the police, 991 for Civil Defence, 994 for fire. Please keep an accessible list of these emergency numbers.
The best way to avoid thefts and pick-pocketing is to dress simply. Don't flaunt your valuables or cash. Keep a couple of fifties in your wallet with some spare change and the rest of your money elsewhere. Women should try to dress modestly - sleeveless tops are ok, walking around baring your midriff is not. Remember that Malaysia is an Islamic state.
Floods and landslides have occured in the past in Malaysia but the last time a natural disaster struck KL was the flash flood in 1971. Also, there are no fault lines in the vicinity so there is little need to worry about earthquakes.
With the exception of Putrajaya, it is common to see litter or rubbish on the streets in Kuala Lumpur, and everyone pretty much litters freely. Public toilets, depending on where you are, range from disgustingly dirty to moderately clean to surprisingly impressive. Carry your own tissue paper and prepare to squat. You will need to pay a nominal fee, no more than 50 sen, for using public toilets. Malaysians are used to drinking tap water, but we highly recommend that you purchase bottles of mineral water for your personal consumption.
A number of tropical illnesses are prevalent in Malaysia. It is recommended that travellers seek medical advice regarding before travelling and purchase medical insurance.
Dengue fever, which has no vaccination or immunisation, is common in Malaysia. Dengue fever is spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The tropical climate of Malaysia makes it an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. With proper treatment, a person with dengue fever can recover after 10 days. More severe forms of the illness are dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, which can be fatal. Anyone suspected of infection should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Heat exhaustion or heat stroke is a common ailment among visitors to Malaysia, especially if they come from temperate countries where the heat is not as intense. Be sure to drink enough water, as the warm and humid weather can cause dehydration. Severe dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion or sunstroke. Limit your exposure to the sun, use sunscreen liberally, consume sufficient liquids, avoid strenuous activities and wear a hat when going outdoors.
Prickly heat and sunburn are other ailments caused by the high temperatures. Prickly heat is caused by excessive perspiration trapped under the skin which results in an itchy rash. People who perspire easily should watch out for this. To prevent it, simply bathe frequently, keep the skin dry, stay in air-conditioned places or use medicated talcum powder.
Malaria risks are also prevelant. Visitors should stick to bottled water and avoid uncooked meat, fish and vegetables, unpeeled fruit, ice and salads.
Smoke haze and air pollution is a particular problem in Kuala Lumpur, which is reported to have one of the worst air quality in Asia with very high Benzene pollution levels. This could aggravate cardiac or respiratory problems.