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Currently, travel in the east coast section of Sabah, Malaysia and neighboring islands is highly discouraged. Kidnappings and piracy by terrorist groups have occurred in these areas as recently as March, 2005, and rumors and reports of plans for such activities continue. The Jeemaah Islamiyah (JI) is an extremist group with links to Al Qaeda and has cells throughout Southeast Asia, and have been known to attack in places where Westerners gather.
Apart from the above, the crime rate in Malaysia is relatively low. Petty theft is the most common form of crime committed against tourists. Listen for the telltale rumble of potential motorcycle thieves, who ride in pairs and come up behind unsuspecting tourists to snatch handbags or cellular phones. Women walking alone or with small children are particularly susceptible to such acts, and some people have been killed by the violent yank of a handbag or purse while the perpetrator passes on a motorcycle or in a car.
Credit card fraud has become a serious problem and you should consider leaving you credit card behind when coming to Kuantan. Internet fraud, in relation to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Center, requesting donations and offering opportunites for jungle trips and survival expeditions, has been reported. The center itself has nothing to do with this, so refrain from becoming involved, as doing so has led to serious problems.
September through January is monsoon season in the Kuantan area, and flooding is common, so think about planning your trip for another time. Be aware of high tides on the beaches, when red flags will be installed to warn of unsafe conditions.