Landslides, floods and bad weather: Is Malaysia safe to visit during the monsoon season?
The tragedy has led to some states suspending camping and trekking activities, including Selangor, Johor and Pahang.
In its statement, Johor’s forestry department stressed that all of the state’s eco-parks and hiking trails will be closed until a date yet to be announced.
“These closures are precautionary to avoid any unwanted incidents or accidents during the monsoon season,” the statement said.
Mr Roslee Muhammad, a Johor-based trekking guide who plans hiking and camping trips, told CNA that he discourages everyone, including tourists, from engaging in such activities during the monsoon season.
“If you look at what happened at the Batang Kali landslide (near Genting Highlands), it’s sad but avoidable. They were camping at the base of what looked like an unstable hill,” said Mr Roslee, who suspends his outdoor packages between October and March each year.
“Taking the risk by hiking, trekking or camping outdoors during the monsoon season, especially in hilly regions, is a risk not worth taking. Safety comes first,” he added.
Mr Roslee said that even outside of the monsoon season, he suggests that tourists check the Malaysia Meteorological Department for forecasts and weather alerts to see if it’s safe to proceed with these activities.
“If there’s a wet weather forecast – the ones within 48 hours are more accurate – we usually warn our clients so they are aware,” said the guide of 11 years experience.
HOW TO AVOID FLOODS?
Floods are also common during the monsoon season. Over last weekend, heavy rain led to floods which displaced thousands in Kelantan, Pahang, Terengganu, Perak and Johor.
Tourism expert Jeetesh Kumar, a senior lecturer at Taylor’s University in Malaysia, told CNA that tourists should be wary of floods on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia during the monsoon season.
“Safety is the first priority. Avoid the east coast as it is flood prone and stick to indoor activities,” said Dr Kumar.
Mr Azhari Zalkapli, who runs a tour company in Terengganu, told CNA that the year-end floods in the east coast have become “predictable” and that it is best to avoid road trips to these areas.
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