Is Kuala Lumpur safe?
We asked Mina from No Texting and Tacking to do a deep dive.
Kuala Lumpur is quite safe to visit and we had an amazing time exploring the city, day and night.
As a full-time traveling family of five, from the busy food markets to tiny alleys and through quiet parks, we walked for miles and loved the sights and sounds of Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia offers vibrant customs, traditions, culture and history that make for a safe and enjoyable journey.
Is Kuala Lumpur Safe?
All of the central areas of Kuala Lumpur are very popular with tourists and are both safe and walkable.
We loved walking around the well-manicured KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre), colorful Little China and busy Jalan Alor areas, along with the huge Independence Square.
By relying on common-sense safety tips (something you should do everywhere) and being aware of our surroundings, we were able to have a safe and fun time in Kuala Lumpur.
Is Kuala Lumpur Safe by Night?
Kuala Lumpur is bustling at night! Bars and nightclubs line the streets, with music pouring out and tables filled with chatting locals and tourists alike.
The street food at night is also a popular scene. Our teens would often run out downtown to grab delicious snacks from the many vendors late at night without any issues.
Kuala Lumpur, by night, is as safe as one makes it. Staying in the popular areas, avoiding dark alleys and not overindulging are great ways to stay safe at night in Kuala Lumpur.
Is Kuala Lumpur Safe for Females?
Female travelers will find Kuala Lumpur to be a safe and enjoyable city. Malaysia is a Muslim country and as such the women here are treated with respect and a safe distance is always observed.
In Malaysia, if women dress modestly and respect the culture, they can expect respect in return.
Kuala Lumpur Crime Rate
According to Numbeo, the crime rate in Kuala Lumpur is 62 out of a possible 100. This may seem high but this is on par with most other cities in Southeast Asia.
Tourists are generally considered to be safe here but are most likely to fall victim to pick-pocketing, ID theft, or common street scams, all things that are common in most cities.
By following common sense safety tips, most of these things are easy to avoid.
Safety Tips For Kuala Lumpur
Staying safe in Kuala Lumpur is easy to do, so here are a few of my top tips to keep you safe on your trip.
1. Stay Street Smart
We logged countless miles walking around Kuala Lumpur and with a little street smarts, you can stay safe too.
Try to blend in by observing the locals and dressing and acting like they do.
Keep your bags close to your body or even opt for a chest bag or crossbody bag you can wear in your front. This is especially important when you’re distracted taking photos or on a crowded street or bus.
Avoid wandering down any dark, unlit alleys at night and keep your small bills separate from your large bills.
You should also be aware of some common street scams. Children and people disguised as monks are the most common thing you’ll see when it comes to getting money off tourists. Although we were never approached by the so-called “fake monks”, we have heard and read enough about them. Do not accept anything shoved in your hands because it is never free.
2. Practice Safe Nightlife
As a mom traveling with three teens, I’m all about staying safe, especially at night and staying safe at night is easy in Kuala Lumpur.
Typical safety rules like never leaving your drink unattended, don’t accept drinks from strangers and keep your wits about you are going to go a long way here.
It’s best to avoid clubs and bars if you’re alone and always keep your belongings are drinks with you at all times.
3. Know the Laws & Follow Them
Laws are very strict in Malaysia and it’s important to know them and follow them at all times.
The drinking age in Malaysia is 21 and while local Muslim people typically don’t drink, tourists are welcome to partake. Always know your limit and stay below it.
The laws surrounding drugs are also very strict. Drugs are illegal in Malaysia with punishments as harsh as a possible death penalty.
What makes things trickier these days is that marijuana is widely available and fully legal just across the border in Thailand.
If you happen to be traveling to Malaysia after a trip to Thailand, be sure to check your luggage thoroughly. Keep your luggage clean, don’t carry anything for other people and be 100% sure you aren’t accidentally carrying something you shouldn’t be.
Better yet – travel to Malaysia first and save Thailand for last.
4. Protect Your Identity
We are all way too well-connected. Which can also connect us to the wrong people.
To protect your identity there are a few simple things you can do. Always use ATMs inside a bank if possible or inside a 7-11 convenience store if you can’t find a bank.
Always check the ATM for any gadgets or cameras that shouldn’t be there and make sure you hide your PIN every time you use it. Avoid using public WiFi to bank or shop online and if you must use public WiFi I recommend using a VPN.
Where To Stay In Kuala Lumpur
We love walking and it makes our travels more affordable so staying close to the main attractions and busy streets is our usual preference. Public transit is also convenient and cheap in Kuala Lumpur so staying a little farther out is also a good choice.
📍Budget Option: The Bed KLCC Hotel boasts an amazing location, right in the middle of downtown. Very clean, and with a cozy common library room for a nice break from the busy downtown.
📍Mid-Range Option: Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown has a great location right next to Chinatown, walking distance to everything you need. Enjoy the pool with a view, air conditioning, and well-appointed rooms.
📍Luxury Option: EQ Kuala Lumpur is a gorgeous 5 star hotel walking distance from the Petronas Towers. Enjoy spacious luxury rooms, fine dining opportunities and stunning views from the 29th floor infinity pool.
Getting Around Kuala Lumpur Safely
If you decide to find accommodations close to downtown, you should be able to walk to most attractions.
Public transit is also safe, reliable and affordable. Kuala Lumpur Sentral is the main hub with all major trains, buses and taxis passing through there.
For a free ride downtown you can hop on the free Go KL Bus. They run a few different lines covering all major downtown attractions.
Taxis are also safe and are easy to find and some drivers speak English – we had an entire mini-history tour while driving in one taxi!
Always agree on a price before getting in, follow along on a map on your phone and make sure the meter has been reset before you leave.
Also keep an eye out for the Emergency Help buttons located throughout the city if you ever happen to find yourself in need of help.
Visiting Kuala Lumpur: FAQs
For a quick answer to some common questions, read below. Then pack your bags and go!
Is Kuala Lumpur Safe to Walk Around?
Kuala Lumpur is very safe to walk around. We did it all the time, exploring large tourist-packed boulevards, as well as tiny, quiet alleys.
We also felt it safe enough to send our 13 and 15 year old boys downtown to grab us snacks around 10-11pm, passing by dozens of bars and food stands.
Is English Spoken in Kuala Lumpur?
English is spoken by many young people in Kuala Lumpur, but it is mostly basic English.
In taxis and small restaurants, you may need to ask your translation app for help but all major signs and tourist directions are in English.
Is Kuala Lumpur Worth Visiting?
Absolutely, it is worth visiting Kuala Lumpur. We felt it offered amazing food, excellent accommodation praises and plenty to do and see.
As a family traveling with teens, we really appreciated the clean streets, polite attitude and stricter laws, which made us feel safe.
Is Malaysia or Thailand Safer?
Even though Malaysia is a country with much stricter laws than Thailand, we felt Malaysia was a safer country to visit as a family.
Kuala Lumpur is an amazing, vibrant, green city, with plenty of places to explore with kids and teens. Bangkok is great too, but you have to move away from downtown to escape things like drugs and extreme nightlife.
We loved Northern Thailand but overall found Malaysia to feel safer and more family friendly.
Conclusion: Is Kuala Lumpur Safe?
We loved Kuala Lumpur, and felt safe exploring the city. After living on a sailboat and traveling to many destinations as a family we felt good about spending time in Kuala Lumpur during the day or night and keeping our teenagers safe.
With common sense, typical safety rules and remaining polite and respectful you will have a terrific time in KL!