How it works:
- Situation 1: with the rise of digital media, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) has found an increasing number of fake/unofficial travel agents in Malaysia.
- Situation 2: there is also a problem of illegal guides – e.g. some are on tourist visas; some are drivers who are not trained or do not have the proper safety protocols in place.
Places to beware:
What to do:
- Avoid unofficial agents and touts. Instead, use a licensed and reputable operator:
- Offline operators: ask – is the operator licensed (ticketing license, inbound tours license, outbound tours license)? Is there a website, office and working phone number? Are there real online reviews? What does the price cover – is it too cheap?
- Reputable operators: some reputable local names to consider include River Junkie Tours (wildlife & adventure tours across Borneo including climbing Mount Kinabalu).
- Online platforms: Klook (best day tour platform in Asia) also has some popular tours (e.g. Genting Highlands, Batu Caves, Mantanani, etc).
- Paying: avoid paying in full upfront (unless reputable operator) or off the (online) platform.