The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to all islands off the coast of eastern Sabah from Kudat to Tawau, including (but not limited to) Lankayan, Mabul, Pom Pom, Kapalai, Litigan, Sipadan and Mataking.
There was a magnitude 6.0 earthquake in Sabah on 5 June 2015, affecting Mount Kinabalu. Limited climbing activities have now resumed. Please see the Sabah tourism website for more information and continue to monitor local media for updates.
There are regular political demonstrations in central Kuala Lumpur. Popular gathering points are Masjid Jamek, Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) and KLCC. Rallies may be called at short notice. Monitor local media, be vigilant and avoid large political gatherings.
In 2015, there’s a chance of increased haze as meteorologists predict an extended dry season. Haze can cause disruption to local, regional air travel and to government and private schools. See Health
There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. There is a threat to foreigners of kidnapping and criminality on the eastern coast of Sabah and in particular the islands close to the Sulu Archipelago in the southern Philippines.
Recent incidents involving tourists include:
On 14 May 2015, armed men entered the Ocean King seafood restaurant on the Sandakan seafront and abducted the Malaysian restaurant manager and another Malaysian national.
On 12 July 2014, gunmen killed a member of the police and kidnapped another at the Mabul Water Bungalows Resort on the island of Mabul, off Semporna.
On 2 April 2014, armed men abducted 2 women, a Chinese tourist, and a Philippine hotel worker, from Singamata Reef Resort. Singamata Island is situated off the coastal town of Semporna in eastern Sabah.
On 15 November 2013, 2 Taiwanese tourists were attacked in their room at the Sipadan Pom Pom Resort, off the coast of eastern Sabah. A male tourist was killed and his wife kidnapped.
You should take great care in the town of Sandakan and along the coastal area south to Tawau. You should also take great care in areas east of Lahad Datu and around Semporna following the confrontation in March 2013 between insurgents and Malaysian security forces. Keep up to date with developments, and follow the advice of your tour operator and the local authorities. See Terrorism and Local travel - Sabah
Malaysia is a multicultural, but mostly Muslim country. See Local laws and customs
Around 435,500 British nationals visit Malaysia each year. Most visits are trouble free, but incidents of petty crime, especially bag snatching, can affect visitors. See Crime.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.