Never before have I had quite as regular scams been thrown at me than in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur is supposed to be an ultra-modern city full of friendly people, yet there are a handful of well-known scams that all travellers must be wary of when they visit. Upon arriving at KLIA once, I made my way to KL Sentral on the train where I caught a waiting taxi. This was my first experience of corrupt taxi drivers in the city. You should always ask the driver to use the meter, and I did, which he obliged before we departed for Traders Hotel in KLCC.
What I didn’t realise until too late is that the driver did not go the quickest route into downtown and instead went the long way round, just to add more distance and price on the meter. To make matters worse, half way through the journey, the driver turned off the meter, citing that it was “broken”. At this stage, I became really angry because I knew I was being scammed yet could not do anything about it – the infamous Kuala Lumpur taxi driver scam was in full swing, even for an experienced traveller like me.
I have once got a taxi from downtown all the way to the airport, and although I cannot remember the exact price of the fare, it was still about an hour’s journey. On this occasion, from KL Sentral to KLCC, the journey still took around 50 minutes! My charge? RM62.90! This works out at about £14, when in reality it should cost about a quarter of that price. The driver became quite aggressive when I questioned him about the fare, but in the end I had to pay it.
I should have got the licence plate number and tried to report the driver, but I figured that as I was only using Kuala Lumpur as a stopover this time, I wouldn’t have enough time to get a result. Maybe I should have let him take me to the police station, although I hear that the authorities almost always side with the locals.