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. Around 435,500 British nationals visit Malaysia each year. Incidents of petty crime can affect visitors. Take out comprehensive international private medical and travel insurance before you travel to Malaysia.
There was a magnitude 6.0 earthquake in Sabah on 5 June 2015, affecting Mount Kinabalu. Climbing activities have now resumed. Please see the Sabah tourism website for more information.
In 2015, there was a greater incidence of haze than in previous years. This could continue. Haze can cause disruption to local, regional air travel and to government and private schools.
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. There has been an increase in kidnapping by groups operating in the southern Philippines, some of whom have the ability to conduct kidnaps on the coast of Sabah.
You should take great care in the town of Sandakan and along the coastal area south to Tawau, and in areas east of Lahad Datu and around Semporna. May 2015, 2 Malaysian nationals were abducted in Sandakan, one of whom was subsequently murdered. Monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.
Take out comprehensive international private medical and travel healthcare insurance before travelling to Malaysia, to cover the costs of any medical treatments abroad or emergency repatriation and evacuation services needed. Be sure to read the small print of all insurance policies before you purchase. Repatriation and evacuation coverage is essential for travel to Malaysia.