What I Wish I Knew Before Travelling Malaysia Solo

Malaysia is my favourite country in Southeast Asia. I spent three weeks there the first time I visited Malaysia solo and absolutely feel in love with the country.

Three weeks wasn’t enough for me, and I knew before I even left Malaysia that I would be back.

Even though my solo trip to Malaysia was amazing, there are still a few things I wish I knew before visiting Malaysia solo that would have made my trip go a little bit smoother.

I’m going to share everything I wish I knew before visiting Malaysia alone as well as some of the things I’m so glad I did on my solo trip to Malaysia.

Hopefully by the end of this article you’ll have a better idea on what to expect from your solo trip to Malaysia and that you’ll be excited to explore one of my favourite countries I’ve ever been to.

Ipoh Cave Temple Elephant Statue

Kuala Lumpur has an Amazing Metro System

If you’ve done any travelling in Southeast Asia, you know that most cities don’t have a metro system. Some cities like Manila and Bangkok have a small metro system, but it’s not nearly developed enough to get you everywhere you want to go.

Kuala Lumpur has the best metro system in all of Southeast Asia. Yes it’s even better than the one in Singapore!

You’re able to get everywhere you need to go easily, quickly, and cheaply.

I was blown away by the metro system in Kuala Lumpur. I honestly didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. Without looking into the metro system and how robust it was, I took a Grab from the airport because I thought taking the metro would be a long, tedious process.

It wouldn’t have been, and I spent a lot of money on a Grab that I didn’t need to spend. There is a fast train that goes from the airport directly to KL Sentral and the main bus terminal.

It’s quick, affordable, and truly the best way to get from the airport to wherever you’re staying in Kuala Lumpur.

I didn’t need to take a Grab anywhere during my week in Kuala Lumpur. I got everywhere I needed to go using the metro. That doesn’t sound like a huge accomplishment, but it is in Southeast Asia where metros aren’t a common thing. You normally have to walk, take a Grab, or a public bus.

I loved being able to jump on the metro whenever I wanted and go wherever I needed to go. It was so convenient. I’m a sucker for a good metro ride.

Book your KLIA Ekspres Airport Train ticket in advance to save time and money

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

Install an Esim Before You Arrive in Malaysia

I swear by esims. I use an esim everywhere I travel and can’t imagine travelling without one. They’re so convenient and easy to use. Plus it saves you time picking up a physical sim card at the airport.

I used an esim when in Malaysia, and it made my trip so much easier. I was able to Google the best restaurants in the area when I was hungry, use GoogleMaps, and keep in touch with my friends and family back home.

Plus it made finding my way out of the metro station to wherever I wanted to go easier. Many metro stations in Kuala Lumpur open up into a mall, and it can be tricky to figure out exactly where you want to go.

What I didn’t know at the time of my trip to Malaysia is that you can install an esim on your phone before you arrive in that country.

Installing Your Esim Before Entering Malaysia

I was pretty new to using esims at the time, so I’d find wifi at the airport and install an esim in the airport. It was quite the process, and there were times (like in Bangkok) where I couldn’t connect to wifi in the airport and wasn’t able to install an esim to call a Grab from the airport to my hotel.

If you’re using an esim for your solo trip to Malaysia (which I highly recommend you do), be sure to install it on your phone before you arrive in Malaysia.

I normally install my esim when I’m in the airport lounge before I board my flight to the new country I’m visiting. That way I’m able to use the esim for the country I’m already in for as long as possible.

Once you have the esim installed, it will automatically connect when you arrive in Malaysia and turn on your data. You’ll be able to use it while you’re in line at immigration waiting to get into the country. That’s always nice since the immigration lines can be long, and you have nobody to talk to and pass the time with when visiting Malaysia solo.

So, to recap:

  • An esim is the best way to get data when travelling abroad
  • Install your esim before you arrive in Malaysia

Ipoh Cave Temple Garden

Get Outside Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the most famous city in Malaysia because of the PETRONAS Towers. They’re Malaysia’s most recognizable landmark and one of the big draws for people visiting Malaysia.

The PETRONAS Towers are absolutely breathtaking and blew me away. Same with everything else in Kuala Lumpur, but there is more to see in Malaysia than just the PETRONAS Towers and Kuala Lumpur.

What I liked most about Malaysia is that every city I visited was so different from the rest. They all had their own unique personality and offered something a bit different.

I visited four cities on my first solo trip to Malaysia, and they were all super unique.

  • Kuala Lumpur is a modern, bustling city that never seems to sleep
  • Malacca was one of the most important port cities in the region for many years and is loaded with history and charm
  • Ipoh is home to Malaysia’s famous cave temples. It’s a quiet city, but it packs a punch when it comes to natural attractions
  • Georgetown is in Northern Malaysia. It still feels highly British and same of the most interesting historical, colonial sites in Malaysia. It’s also home to some of the best street art in the world

Oftentimes when you visit multiple cities in the same country, they start to feel similar. That isn’t the case in Malaysia.

Each city feels like a completely new adventure. I only went to four cities on my first time travelling Malaysia alone, but I was able to get a taste of different sides and personalities of the country.

If you’re planning a trip to Malaysia, promise me you will get outside Kuala Lumpur and explore different parts of Malaysia. Even if it’s just a day trip to Malacca.

top tip

Get the best view of the PETRONAS Towers by taking the KL Night Bus Tour.

Petronas Towers at Night

Consider Visiting Borneo

My biggest regret when travelling Malaysia solo the first time was not visiting Borneo. I felt like it was too complicated to get to and that it wasn’t worth the effort.

I think since I was travelling overland everywhere else in Malaysia, I felt like flying to Borneo was too out of the way and inconvenient.

In Ipoh, a met a couple at one of the cave temples, and they started telling me about their time in Borneo and how amazing it was.

I really regretted not visiting Borneo and knew that next time I was in Malaysia that I had to visit the island.

The main draw of Borneo is being able to see the orangutans. There is a reserve on Borneo that takes care of the primates, and you’re able to view the animals during their feeding times. The orangutans live freely, and it isn’t a zoo. It’s their natural habitat that has been preserved, and the feeding helps them get enough food and helps with rehabilitating injured animals.

If you’re visiting Malaysia, don’t be intimidated by having to fly to Borneo. If seeing primates in the wild is a dream of yours, it’s worth the effort. That’s the biggest thing I wish I knew before visiting Malaysia solo and my only regret from my trip to Malaysia.

Malaysia is Safe

The most common question I got when telling friends and family that I was travelling to Malaysia alone was is Malaysia safe.

Everybody seemed worried that Malaysia wasn’t a safe country. I’m not sure if it’s because they didn’t know anybody else who had visited Malaysia or because of preconceived ideas about what travelling in a Muslim-majority country as a solo female traveller is like.

I’m very happy to report that Malaysia is an incredibly safe country.

There was not a single moment I felt unsafe during my time in Malaysia. I felt completely comfortable walking alone at night and taking public transportation.

That being said, I have heard many black women say that they experienced racism while travelling in Malaysia. If you’re a person of colour, my experience as a white woman of always feeling safe may not be the same for you.

Here is a list of the most prominent and respected black travel bloggers. Hopefully you’ll find better information about whether travelling Malaysia as a black solo traveller is a safe and positive experience.

Melacca Straight

Malaysia is Affordable

Malaysia is one of the richest and highly developed countries in Southeast Asia. I thought this would mean that Malaysia was significantly more expensive than other countries in the region.

That wasn’t the case in my experience. Malaysia was extremely affordable. Especially when you get outside Kuala Lumpur.

Food, transportation, and tourist attractions were all very affordable. I honestly found that Malaysia was way more affordable than Cambodia, which really surprised me.

If you’re thinking of maybe not visiting Malaysia solo because you’re worried about the expense, you don’t have to be. It’s very easy to travel Malaysia on a budget. I found it to be similar prices to Thailand.

The tourist attractions are what surprised me. I thought they would be super expensive, but they weren’t.

Major tourist attractions like KL Tower and the PETRONAS Towers were surprisingly affordable. Way more affordable than similar activities anywhere else in the world.

Many tourist attractions outside of Kuala Lumpur were actually free. I was shocked that there wasn’t an entry fee to visit the cave temples in Ipoh. It was one of the best experiences of my life and was completely free!

Malaysia Doesn’t Feel like a Muslim-Majority Country

Malaysia is predominately a Muslim country. I highly recommend you visit the National Museum of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur if you want to learn how Malaysia became a Muslim country. It’s a very interesting story.

Even though Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country, it doesn’t feel like one. Sometimes when you travel to a Muslim-majority country as a solo female traveller, you feel a little out of place.

That isn’t the case in Malaysia. Everybody is just going about your business, and you don’t feel like you’re intruding in any spaces you shouldn’t be.

In fact, if I didn’t know that Malaysia was a Muslim-majority country before I visited Malaysia solo, I wouldn’t have been able to guess.

If you’re worried about visiting Malaysia as a solo female traveller because you’re not Muslim and don’t know if you’ll be welcome, don’t be. There aren’t any strict unwritten cultural rules you need to be aware of.

Just be kind, respectful, and go about your normal business. Travelling Malaysia alone is like travelling anywhere else in the world alone.

Cat street art Georgetown Malaysia

Internet Safety is Important

You rely on public wifi networks when you travel. Even if you use an esim or get a physical sim, you still use public wifi at your hotel or in the airport. This puts you at high risk of having your private online data stolen.

Even if the wifi network has a password, that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Anybody with access to that password can access your public information if they want to. Including your banking information.

Trust me when I tell you that you don’t want to go through the hassle of cancelling banking cards while abroad because you didn’t use a public wifi network safely.

The only way to stay safe while using public wifi networks is by installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN essentially puts an invisible forcefield around your devices that makes using public wifi networks as safe as using your home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the password.

It is one of the easiest ways you can stay safe while travelling. I always say that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your personal online information with a VPN.


My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my many years of travel. Most of them are awful to be honest.

VPNs are notorious for slowing down your internet speed, and you can really feel it with most VPNs. I used to turn off my VPN and put my online information at risk of being stolen just because the VPN was slowing down my internet speed so much.

All that changed when I started using NordVPN.

NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market, and you can really feel the difference between it and other VPN providers.

I’ve been using NordVPN since 2018 and have never once felt a slowdown in my internet speed. It’s been so nice to know that I can rely on NordVPN to keep my online information safe while not slowing me down when I’m trying to write blogs or edit videos.

The best part about NordVPN is how affordable it is. A two-year subscription costs less per month than a single Starbuck’s latte.

It’s a super small price to pay of piece of mind you get knowing your personal and private online information is safe and secure from prying eyes.

The Food in Malaysia is Amazing

Malaysia is home to three ethnic groups: Malay, Chinese, and Indian. The three ethnic groups have a long history of working together.

This not only means you can find delicious authentic food from each of the three ethnic groups but also that there is amazing fusion food.

Make sure to try Malaysian food (like their national dish nasi lemak) even if you have no idea what it is and have never heard of it before. You won’t regret it!

If you want to experience Malaysian food that you know will be good, consider taking a food tour in Kuala Lumpur. They take you to all the best spots and give you a sample of the best Malaysian food.

Also, even if you don’t love Indian food, make sure to try it in Malaysia. Especially when you get outside Kuala Lumpur. It’s amazing and some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had in my life.

Ipoh Cave Temple golden Buddha


Travelling Malaysia solo was one of the best travel experiences of my life. I absolutely adore Malaysia and hope it will become a more popular tourist destination in the future.

Malaysia is one of the easiest countries to travel in. It has an amazing public transportation system, English is widely spoken, there are unique tourist attractions, and it’s affordable.

There is no reason not to travel to Malaysia alone. It’s an unforgettable experience you won’t forget.

If you were looking for a sign to pull the trigger and book your solo trip to Malaysia, this is it!

Is Kuala Lumpur Safe for Solo Female Travellers?!

Malaysia isn’t the most popular country in Southeast Asia for travellers, so if you’re planning a trip to the country, you may be asking yourself is Kuala Lumpur safe for solo female travellers?

I’ve visited Kuala Lumpur alone before, so I can tell you first hand whether Kuala Lumpur is safe for solo female travellers.

In short, yes Kuala Lumpur is safe for solo travellers.

In fact, everywhere in Malaysia I visited I felt extremely safe. Even in more rural areas.

Just because Kuala Lumpur is safe, doesn’t mean there aren’t things you need to be aware of. There are definitely things you need to know before your trip to Kuala Lumpur to make sure you’re staying safe and protecting yourself.

We’ll go over everything you need to know before your trip to Kuala Lumpur to keep you safe in this post. That way you’ll be fully prepared and ready to explore my favourite city in Southeast Asia.

Yes. I said what I said, and I stand by it. I adore Kuala Lumpur and think it is super underrated and more travellers should make it a priority.

Tips for travelling alone for the first time

Is Kuala Lumpur Safe?

Just in case you skimmed or skipped the introduction to this post (I really don’t blame you), I want to reiterate that Kuala Lumpur is very safe.

I never felt unsafe even when out exploring alone at night or in the early mornings.

That nagging feeling that I need to look over my shoulder or double check the people walking near me wasn’t around when I was in Malaysia. I felt comfortable and confident even though it was my first time in the country.

Petronas Towers

One Extremely Important Thing to Note

I’m writing this article from the perspective of a white woman who visited Kuala Lumpur alone.

I had an amazing time and felt safe 100% of the time.

That being said, I have heard from a couple of black solo female travellers that they didn’t always feel welcome in Kuala Lumpur.

Some black women have experienced racial prejudice in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia.

So, if you’re a person of colour, I encourage you to seek out the experiences of other women of colour who visited Kuala Lumpur alone.

Those experiences will give you a better idea whether or not the answer to the question is Kuala Lumpur safe will be yes or no for you and what you might experience in the country.

Again, I’m just telling my perspective as a white woman. I felt safe, and I believe other white woman will feel safe travelling alone in Kuala Lumpur.

But that might be the case for every woman travelling to Kuala Lumpur alone. Seek out diverse voices and make the decision that is best for you and your situation.

Kuala Lumpur Safety Tips

Just because Kuala Lumpur is safe to visit doesn’t mean there aren’t things you need to know about before you arrive in Kuala Lumpur.

Knowing these things will make your trip to Kuala Lumpur safer and help you from standing out or unintentionally offending a local.

Some of these are pretty common sense but some of them you may not know about. But hopefully they help you on your trip to Malaysia.

Dress Modestly

One of the most important things to know before travelling to Malaysia is that Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country. That means modesty is key for women travelling alone to Kuala Lumpur.

Which can also be a bit tricky because you need to balance being comfortable in the heat and humidity with also being covered up enough to not be offensive.

This means no short shorts or short dresses, no tank tops, and nothing that shoes off your stomach.

I wore a t-shirt and long skirt every day I was in Malaysia and didn’t have any trouble modesty wise. It was hot though, but that’s to be expected in Southeast Asia. There isn’t really any way around the heat no matter what you wear.

Even though Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country, there isn’t a requirement for you to be covered fully or for you to cover your hair.

Just please be respectful and cover your shoulders and knees. Unlike Dubai where a lot of tourists were wearing less modest clothing (even though I think you should be modest in Dubai as well), I didn’t see a single tourist during my three weeks in Malaysia wearing something that wouldn’t be acceptable.

Which was nice to see because most of the time there are always a few people who aren’t wearing what would be considered socially acceptable.

Anyways, moral of the stay is to be modest and respectable but complete coverage and covering of the hair isn’t required.

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur

Pick Pocketing is Prevalent

One of the few things that may change the answer to the question is Kuala Lumpur safe from a yes to a no is the prevalence of pick pocketing.

Be sure to keep your belongings close to you and not keep any cell phones, money, or passport in places where people can easily pull them out of your pocket or bag.

Pick pockets are most common in busy tourist places like the Petronas Towers, Batu Caves, and at KL Sentral.

But that’s really no different than any other major city.

The one thing that makes is a bit different is you have to be aware of monkeys that want to pick pocket you.

Yup. You read that right.

At Batu Caves specifically there are monkeys. Monkeys that aren’t super aggressive but will be aggressive if you have something they want.

If you have anything in your hands, you may have a monkey coming to see you. This includes a water bottle, cell phone, camera, or food.

Keep all of that inside bags as much as possible while walking up and down the stairs. Of course you’ll want to take pictures on the stairs because they’re beautiful but please take a look for monkeys before pulling out your camera and store your camera away after you take your pictures.

Monkeys may seem cute and fun when people post them on social media, but let me tell you that when you’re face to face with them (even at a distance), they’re quire scary, and you don’t want them deciding you have something they want.

The Importance of Internet Safety

One of the travel safety tips not enough people talk about is the importance of keeping your internet safe while on the road.

You rely on public wifi networks every single day when you travel. At hotels, at restaurants, and at airports.

Every time you use a public wifi network, you’re putting yourself at risk of having your personal data stolen. This could be something as small as your social media passwords or something as big as your banking information.

And let me tell you from experience, you don’t want your banking information compromised when you’re on holiday. It’s an absolute headache to deal with.

The only way to keep your online information safe while using public wifi networks is by installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN essentially puts an invisible forcefield around your devices that makes it impossible for prying eyes to access your online information.

It makes using public wifi networks as safe as using your home wifi network where you’re the only person who knows the password.

Installing a VPN on your devices is one of the easiest ways you can keep yourself safe when travelling. Especially when travelling alone when there is nobody else there to help you if your banking information is compromised.


My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my many years of travel. VPNs are notoriously known for slowing down your internet speed, and I can tell you from personal experience that is the case for most VPNs on the market.

In fact, there have been many times where I stopped using my VPN and put my personal data at risk just because the VPN I was using was slowing down my internet so much.

All that changed when I started using NordVPN.

NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market. I’ve been using it for over five years on all my devices, and I’ve never noticed my internet speed slow down.

Which is saying a lot since I rely on the internet for work and am constantly asking it to work hard.

Not only is NordVPN very quick and reliable, but it is also very affordable. You can connect up to six devices on one subscription, so you can easily protect all your devices.

A two-year subscription costs less per month than a single Starbucks latte, so you can’t beat the price.

My philosophy is that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your online information and data with a VPN.

It’s truly a super small thing you can do before your trip to add an extra level of safety, security, and peace of mind.

Kuala Lumpur Museum

Take Care of Your Drink

Even though Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for drinking alcohol.

Unfortunately, just like many other cities around the world, there are instance of drink spiking in Kuala Lumpur.

As a solo female traveller, you’re even more at risk of having your drink spiked.

It is definitely one of the reasons someone may answer no to the question is Kuala Lumpur safe for solo female travellers.

Luckily, it is very easy to be safe and not have your drink spiked when drinking at a bar or restaurant.

Only accept drinks from the bartender or waiter and never leave your drink unattended or stop paying attention to your drink even if you don’t leave it unattended.

Pretty simple things that you should be following anytime you drink in public. Follow those tips, and you shouldn’t have any problem with having your drink spiked.

And if you do suspect your drink was spiked, please just buy a new one. I know it’s more expensive, but it’s cheaper than the potential consequences of having your drink spiked.

Tips for planning your first solo trip

Rely on Grab Instead of Taxis

I love, love, love Grab and rely on it constantly when travelling through Southeast Asia. It’s more or less the regions version of Uber.

You can easily get picked up and dropped off wherever you want to go for a very reasonable price.

It is also one of the tools you can use to make sure the answer to the question is Kuala Lumpur safe is yes.

Grab rides are tracked, and you can share your location with designated people. It is very safe and perfect for solo female travellers.

It’s important to note that when using Grab as a foreigner, you need to download the app and add your credit card to your account before you leave on your trip.

Otherwise you’ll run into trouble and need to have someone back in your home country create and account for you. An annoyance for sure.

Taxi scams aren’t common in Kuala Lumpur, but they are normally more expensive, and the Grab app is move convenient in my opinion.

Now, just because I’m recommending you use Grab over a taxi doesn’t mean I’m telling you not to use public transportation.

Kuala Lumpur has an amazing transportation system, and you can get basically everywhere you need to go very easily on their metro system.

But if you’re going to and from the airport or the bus terminal or out and about after dark and want to be dropped off right at your hotel door, then Grab is your best option. I’ve never had a bad experience using Grab.

Smoke Only in Designated Areas

I personally love cities that shun smokers, and Kuala Lumpur is one of those cities.

You can only smoke is designated areas that are more or less hidden in corners or alleys. You won’t see anybody walking down the street smoking, which is nice for non-smokers like me.

Unfortunately, just like everywhere else in the world, vapers think they’re immune from the rules of smokers and still vape out and about.

For the most part though, having to deal with someone walking in front of you smoking and blowing smoke into your face isn’t something you have to deal with.

However, if you’re a smoker, be sure you know that you can’t just smoke anywhere. You need to do it in designated areas.

Most hotels are smoke free, but I’m sure they’ll be able to point you to an area you’re allowed to smoke in if you ask.

I’m not exactly sure what the fines are if you’re caught smoking outside designated areas, but I’m sure there is a financial penalty.

Petronas Towers at Night

Quick Tips for Visiting Kuala Lumpur Alone

  • Get an esim! Esims are changing the travel game and are the easiest way to access the internet in foreign countries while still using your home number. I get one everywhere I travel! Airalo is my favourite esim. Download the mobile app here!
  • I personally think the Bukit Bintang area is the best area to stay in (I used points and stayed at the JW Marriott). It’s in a great location, near lots of shopping, and has better metro options the near the Petronas Towers.
  • Take the night bus tour of the city. It’s a two hour tour of the city in the evening, so you get to see all the buildings lit up. You get to disembark at a few stops, which makes for great pictures. To me, it’s the easiest way to see Kuala Lumpur at night, which is a must. I booked my ticket through Klook and saved the hassle of going to the company in person and buying my ticket.
  • Stay hydrated! Kuala Lumpur is a very hot city. Please drink more water than you think you need!
  • The Batu Caves and The National Museum of Malaysia were my two favourite activities (outside the night bus tour).
  • Klook is my favourite place to buy tickets in advance. I used it three times in Kuala Lumpur. It saves so much time, and you can often save a few bucks booking with Klook rather than paying once you get to the attraction.


I hope this article has helped you answer the question is Kuala Lumpur safe for solo travellers.

From my experience, the answer is absolutely yes. I never didn’t feel safe during my time in Kuala Lumpur and all of Malaysia.

In my opinion, Kuala Lumpur is one of the best and most underrated cities in Southeast Asia. I highly recommend you add it to your itinerary.

You won’t regret visiting Kuala Lumpur. I love it and can’t stop telling people that they need to visit!