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Travel warning for Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia

  • somtam2000

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    Hi,

    I'm midway through a Perhentians research trip and just want to give a bit of a travel warning for Perhentian Kecil (the smaller, "party" island).

    I was told of numerous cases, this season (which really only started a month or so ago), of female travellers having their drink spiked at bars on Long Beach -- particularly the beach bars squatting on the beach down in front of Lemon Grass -- and the women subsequently being attacked and/or raped.

    Care should also be taken walking the paved trail from Long Beach to Coral Beach (the one that goes past the Tivoli/Perhentian Tropicana Inn backpacker factory) late at night. It is near totally unlit and walking it alone at 2am while trashed, without a torch and wearing a bikini probably isn't wise. Don't walk it alone, and use a torch (even a smartphone screen will suffice).

    Petty theft (again mostly at the bars) but also from guesthouse bungalows is also a problem. Be sure to lock your windows and door before heading out for the evening.

    Drugs are all over the shop -- I was offered weed, ketamine and cocaine from a couple of local guys while having a drink down at the beach bars.

    Both the drug dealing (in my experience) and the assaults (I was told) are primarily by local guys.

    It is imperative that you keep an eye on your drink and stay in control.

    If you are assaulted, I was advised to suggest you should file a report with both the police in Kuala Lumpur and with your diplomatic mission and not to bother with the police in Kota Bharu or Kuala Terengganu. Personally I'd make the report in KT and KL, but I'm just relaying what business owners on Perhentian Kecil advised me. Kota Bharu is the closest town should you need medical assistance following an attack -- you can get a taxi direct from the port town (Kuala Besut).

    Feel free to repost this to other travel forums if you wish.

    We'll be writing more about this in the coming weeks, but I just wanted to get this headsup out now.

    Cheers

    Stuart

    #1 Posted: 24/4/2014 - 01:29

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Of course it will behoove the local business owners to do something about this before the area develops a bad rep and people stop coming.

    Stuart, is this the kind of place you need to arm yourself in remote areas? Or are we talking guys who strictly pray upon the inebriated at hours?

    #2 Posted: 24/4/2014 - 01:49

  • tezza

    Joined Travelfish
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    Good warning somtan - thanks.

    In relation to local businesses - one bar/internet/booking place owner told me that in response to a spate of thefts etc maybe 4 years ago which was giving the area bad publicity, they complained to the authorities. The response was pretty good - boatloads of mainland cops arrived, searched locals and their abodes - anyone found with phones, cameras, passsports, foreign currency etc which they couldn't produce receipts for or explain, was hauled off to the mainland. Harsh maybe but effective - things were pretty serene for the next year or so.

    Sounds like the problems have reappeared. Okay, brace yerself for round two.

    #3 Posted: 24/4/2014 - 02:23

  • somtam2000

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    @madmac - not quite a combat zone ;-) generally the main issue is women being drugged and raped and guys getting set on by a bunch of locals in the wee hours after everyone has had about 14 drinks too many. First problem is the more serious.

    @tezza your site made for very useful background reading - wish I had read it before I tried to walk from the village to long beach - and spent two hours thrashing around lost in the freakin jungle. I'll never learn.

    There's a bunch of pics on the TF Facebook page, but also on my Instagram account - may find of interest - particularly the trash - Kecil has big problems.

    #4 Posted: 24/4/2014 - 03:56

  • tezza

    Joined Travelfish
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    Yeah, village to Long Beach is a breeze by boat but tricky on foot. Some day they will finish that incomplete path. In the meantime, I'm convinced there is an easier way than bush-bashing, under the power lines where they head uphill not too far north of the village.

    I put a copy of your warning plus a link to travelfish on my site. My Perhentian page is one of the more popular - averages over 30 hits per day, so hopefully the warning will spread.

    #5 Posted: 25/4/2014 - 07:29

  • HamishHealys

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    We don't have any immediate travel plans for Kuala Lumpur but thanks for the travel warning regarding that Party Island in Perhentian Kecil., Malaysia.

    #6 Posted: 2/5/2014 - 06:20

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Sounds like a trashy farang ghetto. Best avoided.

    #7 Posted: 3/5/2014 - 06:22

  • somtam2000

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    @Leonard - majority of the tourists are Malaysians actually - especially on weekends.

    #8 Posted: 3/5/2014 - 07:08

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
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    Leonard jumping to wild, inaccurate generalisations - surely not.

    Interesting and very worrying that this is happening. I was on that island for 5 nights about four years ago and it seemed completely safe. There were low level beach parties with lots of booze but nothing sinister, some musicians playing and generally a good atmosphere. Certainly a few notches below a full moon party and nowhere near as trashy.

    #9 Posted: 3/5/2014 - 14:22

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Drunks on beaches. Doesnt really matter where they r from. If you put a bunch of resorts on a small island its not a good recipe for paradise.

    #10 Posted: 3/5/2014 - 19:00

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  • AnitaGabb

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    Posted from within Vietnam.

    It is a common sense that everyone need to have in their brain. Not only Perhentian Kecil but anywhere, everywhere. Do you really think it is save to walk alone in a bikini at 2am in Sihanoukville or Hanoi or even Singapore? Spiked drinks everywhere too. I met a woman that got robbed and raped in Nha Thrang last year. Cheesus man... this travel warning is unfair.

    #11 Posted: 10/5/2014 - 22:50

  • somtam2000

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    Thanks Anita,

    One of the guesthouse owners I spoke to had had three female guests drugged and raped this season - ie over a period of a couple of months.

    Yes common sense is useful, but as I'd not read anything much previously along these lines related to recent times, I thought a warning was prudent.

    As with all warnings, you're free to ignore it.

    Cheers

    #12 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 00:03

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
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    I don't think Anita would be so flippant if a tragedy like this befell her or one of her nearest and dearest.

    For what it's worth somtam, and I'm sure you probably know this, it is absolutely good practice to keep posting these types of warnings.

    #13 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 04:21

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Warnings have little effect. Just look at all the drug warnings yet thousands line up and do it.

    #14 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 06:06

  • chinarocks

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    I think you are confusing someone voluntarily doing drugs with someone unknowingly having their drink spiked and being raped. Two entirely different scenarios.

    #15 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 06:11

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Not really. All about risk taking and thinking it wont go bad.

    You r the confused one as per usual

    #16 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 06:20

  • chinarocks

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    I don't know why I bother but I'll try again.

    Voluntarily taking drugs: One's own choice with well documented risks.

    Having your drink spiked and being raped: A heinous and despicable act by someone else.

    I fail to see any connection between the two but no doubt you'll have some condescending comeback.

    #17 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 07:00

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "Having your drink spiked and being raped: A heinous and despicable act by someone else."

    How come this never happens to me. I never have any Thai women spike my drink and rape me...

    On a serious note obviously to have your drink spiked in the first place you have to be in an environment where that is more probable. Some locations are high risk, some are not. In that sense I agree with China, the warning is worth putting out there.

    #18 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 07:10

  • LeonardCohe-
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    I never said anything about drink spiking.

    If one goes drinking late at night and walks around beaches wearing bikinis and the like it follows that the risk of being attacked increases.

    You really do struggle with basic logic.

    #19 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 07:50

  • chinarocks

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    Drink spiking is the topic of the thread.

    #20 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 07:53

  • LeonardCohe-
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    MM,

    Lots of rapes have no connection to drink spiking.

    #21 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 07:53

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Then u r arguing with Somtam not me.

    #22 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 07:54

  • somtam2000

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    Warnings tend to be quite useful as some people read them and act accordingly. Wear a helmet/seatbelt, don't buy weed off your tuk tuk, don't smuggle gems, don't move a travel cone and so on. Point being some choose to ignore them, others act on them. That's the point -- you're never going to reach everyone, but hopefully you'll reach some and help them avoid a world of discomfort.

    But in order to be perfectly clear and to (hopefully) avoid further misunderstandings/I said/you said/whatevers, why I warned on what etc is

    Drinks being spiked
    I really would have thought this was self explanatory. Traveller orders a drink, they leave drink while they go to the toilet (for eg) it gets spiked and they get attacked. Given the number of stories I heard specific to the bars on Long Beach, I thought this definitely warranted a warning. Did I have my drink spiked? No.

    The paved trail
    This is more a crime of opportunity thing. I passed a couple of women, hammered, at about 2am on this trail. They had no torch, were completely trashed, and just as if they were doing that in Phnom Penh/Bangkok/etc, I felt, in my opinion, they were putting themselves in a more vulnerable position than necessary. Warning is useful as trail is unlit -- buy a torch. #duh Was I attacked on the trail? No.

    Petty theft
    Yes, hardly unique to Perhentians, but again, as I was told, repeatedly about this (once I started asking) I thought worth a mention. Was I robbed? No.

    Drugs more generally
    Malaysia being Malaysia I was surprised what drugs were being offered and how openly they were being consumed. If I was fresh off the boat, got offered a bag of weed and saw the table next to me was smokin it up, I'd think hell why not, must be legal! In all likelihood you will have no problems as there are effectively no police on the islands, but again I thought worth a mention. I can't ever remember being offered ketamine at a beach bar before though. Was I offered drugs? Yes.

    So I hope that clears the reasoning behind it -- we actually have a feature running on this tomorrow, so perhaps hold your horses till then, if not, perhaps start a new thread -- "Are warnings worth the electrons they're typed on?"

    Thanks

    #23 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 08:13

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Leonard - I don't disagree. But those are somewhat more extreme examples.

    Forwarned is for armed. Some will head, some won't. If by chance I go to the Perhentians (highly unlikely I admit) then I'll bring chucks just in case...

    #24 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 08:31

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Cant handle the truth hey Stu?

    Deleting posts that tell.the real story.

    Nice pc world u live in

    #25 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 08:56

  • somtam2000

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    Bye Leonard.

    #26 Posted: 11/5/2014 - 09:14

  • Tennouji

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    "Bye Leonard." Ha ha!

    Warning people/reminding people to take precaution is, of course, a good thing. When discussing rape, I would, however, advise people to be aware of their tone and some of their language choices which can sound like "victim-blaming":

    It is a common sense that everyone need to have in their brain. Not only Perhentian Kecil but anywhere, everywhere. Do you really think it is safe to walk alone in a bikini at 2am in Sihanoukville or Hanoi or even Singapore?
    It is near totally unlit and walking it alone at 2am while trashed, without a torch and wearing a bikini probably isn't wise.
    If one goes drinking late at night and walks around beaches wearing bikinis and the like it follows that the risk of being attacked increases.
    I felt, in my opinion, they were putting themselves in a more vulnerable position than necessary.

    I realise that it is a far cry from rape victims in the past being dismissed as the victim was wearing a mini skirt and, therefore, "asking for it" but the problem isn't women wandering around drunk in bikinis at 2am it is men who attack women who wander around drunk in bikinis at 2am. Save your criticism for the aggressor's behaviour not the victim's.

    #27 Posted: 7/6/2014 - 02:26

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