How We Got Mugged In Malaysia in a Matter of Seconds

Mugged In Malaysia – A few weeks ago we were sitting in a colorful Trishaw (bicycle taxi), touring the streets of Georgetown in Penang while filming a new travel episode and chitchatting with the old wrinkled man behind us pushing the bike.

In reality, it would have been faster to simply walk, so it was a little funny to see people walking past us, but we weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere.

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen – keep in the sunlight” – Benjamin Franklin

This was Georgetown’s Malaysia answer to the ‘ice cream truck’.

The man was biking around the streets with a portable bread shop selling sandwiches.

How he managed to bike with that thing in front of him is a mystery.

George town Malaysia ice cream truck

How We Got Mugged In Malaysia

Then, in the matter of seconds, it happened.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, two men on a motorbike came up from behind us – the guy behind the driver was sitting backwards on the motorbike, turned towards us (obviously prepared).

He broke out into a big smile as if greeting us, while at the same time grabbing the camera that Nathan was holding in both hands by his chest, forcing it out of his hands at the same time as the driver on the motorbike accelerated to gain more power, and drove off.

It all happened really fast, but it was one of those moments when time suddenly stops and everything seems to happen in slow motion.

Those who have ever seen me get mad, know not to let it happen again.

It takes a lot for me to snap, but when I do I get a death look that shocks people in ways you can’t imagine.

That guy on the motorbike was one of the few who got to see it.

I gave him “the death look”, let out a long, loud animal-like scream, and as I leaped out of the seat, the guy’s arrogant smile had turned into a look of pure terror.

How We Got Mugged In Malaysia
How We Got Mugged In Malaysia

I knew there was nothing I could do to get it back, but I would NOT let him get away with my camera while still smiling.

That was the fastest way we’ve seen 4,000 US dollars disappear out of our hands ever.

The poor old trishaw man was close to tears, and tried to pedal as fast as he could, helplessly repeating “wait, I tell my boss”, making his way to the “boss”. 

At the police station, I cried – not of pity, but of anger.

I was so pissed off by how anyone can justify mugging someone.

They have no excuse, being poor is not a valid excuse, especially not when they could obviously afford a motorbike and fuel, a luxury in my opinion.

It was not losing the camera that made me so mad, it was losing the memory card with all our photos and video footage on it.

Sometimes Safety Is Not The Problem
Sometimes Safety Is Not The Problem

Sometimes Safety Is Not The Problem

During the last 4 years of traveling, this has never happened before – which in other words means, I guess it had to happen some time.

People can go on and on about how you have to be careful with your stuff, but there is a limit to that too.

Sure, it might have been safer keeping the camera inside a bag, but what’s the point of having a camera if you’re not using it?

During our travels, we’ve met quite a few travelers who have chosen not to bring even a cheap point and shoot camera with them on their trips – in fear of losing it.

I think that’s taking it too far.

It sucks to be mugged, but I can’t imagine having traveled to all these countries for so many years without having taken one single picture – just for the sake of not getting mugged.

What We Learned How to avoid getting mugged

How to avoid being mugged – Incidentally, we had just (a few weeks earlier) changed our insurance company from World Nomads to another company which we felt seemed more willing to help out rather than trying to find every opportunity to avoid paying out.

It always stings a bit when you pay a lot for something you probably won’t need, but I was so glad I had my insurance this time, and while we didn’t get the full amount back, getting half of it was not too bad (the new insurance we use is called ERV).

Having a good insurance makes things so much easier, and only two weeks after claiming the insurance we were paid without any further questions.

I’m not afraid of buying another expensive camera, to be honest we probably got more money back from the insurance than we would have got by selling our second-hand gear – don’t let one bad experience make you expect it to happen again – it might, but it also might not. Checkout our Kuala Lumpur City Guide

5 Things Learned From Malaysian People

This was our second visit to Malaysia, and it was a lot of fun returning to a place two years later to see if our impressions were different this time around.

Malaysian people

It became clear to me that many of my past experiences from the country had more to do with myself than anything else.

Last time I found it hard to decide whether I liked the country or not: sometimes I wanted to get away from it asap, other times I loved it.

This time I had a better idea about the place, but one thing that hadn’t changed, was that it’s still a country which I found hard to define.

There are so many culture mixes here that it’s hard putting a finger on what and how Malaysia is.

But here are some things I’ve learned about the Malaysian people during our time here:

They openly show emotions

Unlike in Thailand, the Malaysian people didn’t seem hesitant to show negative emotions, and didn’t at all avoid confrontations.

When you questioned something you got a straight answer and an honest opinion from them, whether it was a taxi driver, restaurant waiter or street worker.

It was all very straight forward, which we really loved.

They weren’t afraid of asking for your opinion and thoughts, and actually wanted to hear what you had to say about their food, culture etc.

They were also very open to show positive emotions, and would crack a joke with you without thinking further into what they were doing.

They point with their knuckles and thumb

This was something we had to get used to doing as well.

Nobody points with their index finger in Malaysia, it’s considered really rude, but thumbs and knuckles are pointed everywhere.

They are talkative

So many words, so little time – the hawkers are experts at counting up everything they offer while you pass by.

But it’s not just the people trying to sell you something who talk a lot, the Malaysian people seem to simply like conversing with people in general.

While in many other countries salesmen only talk to you until you have bought (or denied) something, here they continued talking about other things even once they understood that you wouldn’t buy it.

Taxi drivers more than happily shared their thoughts about the city, government and people, shop keepers made jokes, and people on the street started conversations.

They stare

The Malaysian people are not afraid of coming on too strong and stare freely, even when they know that you know that they’re looking.

They’re not being rude, just curious. The stares are not judging, so after you get used to it, it’s not very awkward anymore.

They’re multi cultural and have no private space

Chinese eat Indian curries, Indians eat Arab food and Arabs eat Nyonya food.

In many countries the people separate themselves and only hang out with their own “peers”, while here they seemed to hang out with anyone no matter religion or origin.

Another thing I noticed was how they didn’t mind sitting down at a strangers’ table in a restaurant and eat – talking or not talking to the one sitting in front of you, it was not a big deal.

This is something which is very different from my own culture, where it would take a lot for two strangers to share a table at a restaurant.

6 Things To Do In Malaysia

Malaysia is a country where you will find an obvious West /East meeting point – combine the two and you get a crazy mixture – where Dutch clogs go with Indian curry and Portuguese churches.

It is a total mix of both the best and the worst of each culture, and you either hate it or love it, but you’ll never leave Malaysia without a strong impression.

I changed my mind about this country many times. At first I hated it, then I didn’t know what to think, and eventually I loved it.

For me Malaysia was one of those countries which grows on you, and will show it’s good side if you just give it some time.

These are my top picks for having the best experience on mainland Malaysia (I have yet to visit my dream location: Borneo).

Checkout our Kuala Lumpur City Guide

Cameron Highlands in Malaysia is full of exotic flowers loving the cool, wet climate in the hills.

Cameron Highlands in Malaysia

Visiting The Malls In Kuala Lumpur

The crazy thing about Kuala Lumpur is that you can basically travel through the whole city never walking OUT of shopping malls!

Wherever you go you will suddenly find yourself inside another and then another shopping mall.

When you step off the tram you have already stepped into a mall – to be able to find your way in these mega malls you often need a map.

Visiting the malls in KL is an experience even if you’re not buying anything.

There is always something going on, beauty competitions, runway shows, shows for newly released watches and other luxury items, and in one of the malls they have actually built an indoor roller-coaster..!

Tea And Strawberries In Cameron Highlands

Tea And Strawberries In Cameron Highlands

The fun and odd thing about Malaysia is the well embedded multi-culture of the country.

People from countries and religions all over the world have shared this land for centuries, and have settled their own traditions and cultures in the city.

In Cameron Highlands you will see the British culture with strawberry plantations, European flora and fauna as well as the tea plantations.

The climate is a lot colder, and I haven’t seen any place like this in South East Asia.

Great place to get away from the normally humid, warm Asia.

Our visit to Cameron Highlands turned out to be a very rainy one…

Cameron Highlands

Chilling Out On The Perhentian Islands

These are a group of islands you literally will never want to leave.

We stayed there for two weeks instead of the planned 3 days.

It has that typical “hide away” feeling and the islands are far from exploited.

When we went there there weren’t many tourists at all, and they also tended to only stay on the most popular island and only on that very beach, not even looking around to see what more there was on the island.

The water is warm and crystal clear, and you can take your PADI diving certificate, go island hopping or just go snorkeling all day long.

Places You Must Visit in Malaysia

Penang Food Famous Malaysia Sweets

Malaysia is know to have the best food in all of Asia, and it certainly is diverse.

Thanks to all the influence of different countries and their food traditions, Malaysia food is a mixture of it all together.

Some food is really strange, but much of it is pretty tasty too.

Don’t be surprised if you see Dutch Apfelstrudeln (apple pie) next to Indian Samosa on the menu!

Penang Food

Penang is famous for many things, but the reason we wanted to go there was simple: the Penang Food was supposedly amazing.

When we heard this we were sold, and left Thailand to indulge in Indian curries for one fifth of the price in Penang.

What makes Penang a food heaven are the many varieties of cuisine; Arabic food stalls, thai restaurants, Indian, Malay, Nyonya, Chinese, Lebanese… the list goes on.

Our favorite of the famous Malaysia sweets

Nyonya Kuih in Palm Sugar Sauce

Nyonya Kuih in Palm Sugar Sauce

Made of glutinous rice this steamed sweet is actually pretty tasty.

The palm sugar coconut sauce tasted a bit like licorice, and the nyonya kuih was also pretty nice, if you’re used to jelly sweets.

It’s made out of pea flour and Pandan juice.

There are many different varieties of the Kuih, but ours was pretty simple with one layer only.

The Nyonya kuihs are very popular in Penang.

Nyonya is a traditional Penang food, and refer to the Chinese migrants who came to Penang and other parts of Malaysia in the 18th century.

The food is a mixture between Malay and Chinese cuisine, and is called Nyonya food.


Green noodles in coconut milk, brown sugar and shaved ice.

Yes, you read it correctly, those are the actual ingredients.

It sounds crazy, but it’s one of the most common desserts in Malaysia and has been part of the Penang food tradition for decades.

Some have been selling Cendol since the 1920’s, and although it’s weird, it’s worth a try just to know what this combination would taste like!

Fried Ais Krim Goreng

Fried Ais Krim Goreng

The ultimate recipe for weight gain (although they’re small in size), but oh so delicious!

Some people might not like the warm oily deep fried crust covering cold and creamy cookies and cream ice cream inside – but I LOVED it.

The Fried Ais Krim Goreng is a Malaysian favorite treat, and you’ll see it everywhere on the Penang food menus.

Ais Kachang

Ais Kachang

The famous national Malaysian favorite dessert, Ais Kacang – is just so weird that you have to try it.

Beans, corn, fruit, nata de coco, grass jelly, cubes of  agar agar, and ice cream on top.

Yeah, it really tastes as weird as it sounds!

If the Penang food isn’t surprising enough for your taste buds, I can guarantee you that this dessert will be.

This is even weirder than Cendol – this is the weirdest dessert I’ve ever had.

Red beans, ice cream, lychee fruit, corn, shaven ice and grass jelly?

All mixed up, and it tastes….interesting…

Parts of the dish are sweet and blend together really well, like the fresh fruit, ice cream and jelly.

But then you get these bites of bean, corn and water (the ice melts really quickly), which doesn’t blend very well with he flavors.

The Ais Kachang used to only consist of shaved ice and red beans, so the additional flavors.

If a little strange, definitely make this type of Penang food taste better.

Indian Sweets


When in Georgetown, you have to try the Indian sweets!

The Indian servings are pretty big (some gigantic, so look out!).

So you probably won’t feel like dessert when walking out of the restaurant – but buy it for later, because you will want to try and see what those bright colored things really taste like.

Don’t expect anything sweet like the western candy, this is totally different.

Karanji is a common sweet, but there are often whole stalls selling Indian sweets only, in all kinds of colors and shapes.

Steamed and Fried Kuih

Fried Kuih is a local delicacy in Malaysia, a mixture between Chinese and Malay style cuisine.

They come in all shapes and colors.

The Kuih is a rather strange part of the traditional Penang food, as it almost looks inedible.

It actually tastes pretty good, and is not as sweet as it looks.

Many Malays have a plate of Kuih only for lunch, and since they’re pretty filling, that is enough food to last you a few hours.

Steamed and Fried Kuih

Ride A Trishaw In Melaka

Trishaw In Melaka

If you think you’ve seen it all, you must check out the colorful trishaws.

These bike taxis outshine all other forms transports from around the world!

For the taxi-bike drivers it is fierce competition to have the coolest bike, decorating it with all junk you could ever find, and the more glitter and lights the better.

To top it, these guys take you around the city with techno music pumping out of their speakers at the highest volume.

The Crazy Multi-Culture Connection

People from all religions live together here, in a country with several cultural heritages, and it’s all just a mixture of everything;

Dutch clogs, belly dancing, karaoke contests – and temple dance classes.

Everywhere we went in Malaysia they were having dance classes.

Men and women, young and old, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu, all practicing dance moves together.

This in all sorts of places, all from 90’s pop music in a public garage to “Pussy Cat Dolls” in a temple.

Enjoyment And Relaxation In The Perhentian Islands

I hadn’t quite been able to make up my mind about Malaysia yet.

At first I hated it, then I didn’t know what to think – and then we went to the Perhentian islands on the east coast.

Do I need to say more than – this was the view from our bedroom!

Perhentian Islands

I truly believe that it is humanly impossible not to fall in love with these islands (if you despite this hated them, please comment below and tell me why!), it really is paradise itself.

We were going to stay for only 3 days, but ended up staying for a little more than 2 weeks (16 days!).

After some time in the bustling Kuala Lumpur we needed to escape somewhere quiet for a bit – and this couldn’t have been a better place to end up in.

We didn’t realize how much we needed this until we arrived at the beach.

I really enjoyed the peace and the fact that there was pretty much nothing to do but relaxing, swimming and reading a nice book by the beach.

If there would have been a lot of crazy adventure we wouldn’t have been able to stand against the temptation and would have continued to burn ourselves out – this place is the PERFECT stress release and relaxation place!

I guess we weren’t the only couple enjoying the island… 😉

These lizards were MASSIVE by the way – not something you really want to meet in the middle of the night, and then finding out they like to eat anything and everything – scary!

Perhentian Islands – Malaysia

Beautiful Islands Around The World
Beautiful Islands Around The World

If we weren’t so reliant on modern technologies like the internet, this would be the ultimate paradise for us.

On Kecil island you have corals right off the beach on one side of the island, and a long white beach with the clearest water ever on the other side.

Perhentian islands are close to each other which makes it easy to take day trips and go island hopping.

Aside from chilling out under a coconut tree you can take a diving certificate or if you’re there at the right time of the year watch turtles hatch and crawl from the beach to the water.

There is something for everyone even when it comes to accommodation, both cheap bungalows and luxury hotels.

81 thoughts on “How We Got Mugged In Malaysia in a Matter of Seconds”

  1. I remember your tweet on this – so bummed it happened. I’m glad you guys were safe and no weapons were involved in the process. I don’t want to jinx it by saying it hasnt happen to us, but I have witness quite a few on this trip. Hence, my constant paranoia when we go out with the big camera.

  2. Totally agree with you. First I wanzed to travel Mexico and Central America just with an old pocket camera. Last minute i changed my mind and packed my big, expensive cam as well. It was so worth it! My insurance would’ve paid the full price though. Because of the pictures I was quite paranoid: i spent a fortune on memory cards, visits to cyber cafes, dvd’s and mail back home… 😉

    Luckily i got robbed only once and then i just had my mobile with me – and it was completely my fault, being in the wrong neighbourhood at night – glad nothing worse happened.

    Safe travels to you guys! With lots of pictures, please! 🙂

  3. ERV is Swedish company?
    I got my DSLR camera stolen on the train in India couple months ago

    But I didn’t have proper insurance to cover stolen goods.

  4. Really sorry to hear this. Am confused how it happened though. The trishaw driver was in on it also?

    And is that new insurance company willing to work with North Americans? I need to get some travel insurance badly soon.

  5. Yeah really sorry to hear about this, that always sucks big time. And $4K sheesh that’s a lot! I’ve been attacked & mugged once in my 4 years here in Asia too, a story I’ll have to tell one of these days… But your attitude is spot on, it’s bound to happen, but at least it’s very rare.

  6. I’m sorry to hear this, but as you say when we travel all the time it’s very highly likely that it will happen at some point so it is important to have a good travel insurance.

    I recently took an expensive camera to South America, I was worried that it might get stolen so I looked for a good travel insurance. None of the insurance policies from the UK were any good. They looked good at first but when I read the (very) small print I was insured up to £2000 on ‘baggage’ but this did not include ‘valuables’, they were only insured up to £200 ($300). Of course camera, memory card and hard-drives were listed under valuables. With an excess of £150 this meant that I would only get £50 back should I lose ALL my camera gear. In the end I went with a Swedish insurer that covered me up to £10,000 for everything. The insurance was not particularly cheap but the peace of mind it gave me was fantastic

    After that I did not worry about taking my camera anywhere with me as I knew it was covered. I backed up my photographs at the end of EVERY day and I removed the memory card whenever the camera was not in use. I’m not risking losing my pictures!

    I’m so pleased you had a good insurance and hope you get a new camera soon.

  7. Glad you were able to stay positive. I had something similar happen to me while in New York City this past January, Macbook pro and Nikon GONE; stolen off my friends coffee table while I was sleeping. There was nothing I could do, and getting upset about it only made matters worse. Thanks for your story and travel insurance recommendation.

  8. Man, that sucks. I need to get my electronics insured but no company in America would do it for me since I was leaving for an extended period of time. I’m sorry you last your camera!

  9. Has any company come up with memory cards and cameras that automatically upload in real time whatever images/videos are being taken onto a site for retrieval later? I know some cameras have Wifi but what about automatic uploading that works everywhere? Doesn’t make the sting of getting your camera stolen hurt any less, but at least the memories would be saved.

  10. Hi – Glad you had Insurance (yes i work for a travel insurance company) Unfortunately its something we see happen all too often and not just when travelling abroad, a good friend and customer phoned me at 10pm one friday a while back – He had just returned from travelling safely – stopped at London Victoria put rucksack at his feet whilst he took a jumper off – hey presto the rucksack was gone including SLR and passports etc.

    Like you though I want to use my camera when I am away – One tip i practice is to use smaller memory cards which forces you to download your shots more often – they are a bit more difficult to find these days but its worth it.


  11. That is the issue, Some credit cards has insurance coverage, but works only for limited time, but what to do next…

  12. Yes, I’ve been mugged before – when I was 15. Guy took $80 I had earned to help fund an orchestra trip. I bet others like me would gladly chip in a few bucks to help you make up the gap in what the insurance didn’t cover. Got a PayPal account?

  13. Thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad you’ll at least get half of the value back. I take precautions, but I was robbed twice in Latin America (Colombia and Guatemala) but those precautions limited my damage – in both cases I lost nothing. Still, very scary experiences.

    I’ll check out ERV, thanks for sharing. I use World Nomads at the moment.

    Best of luck and I wish you another 4+ years without incident!

  14. Like you said, the camera… it’s just a camera {don’t get me wrong, it sucks, big time}, but all the pictures and video’s that you’ve made are gone too. And that’s worth a lot more and irreplaceable

  15. As a Malaysian, I apologise. Our crime rates have been terrible (despite ‘official’ reports to the contrary). Malaysians have learnt to walk around with our eyes behind our heads, and to duck behind a car when we hear a motorcycle coming behind us. Sucks that this is your introduction to my country!

  16. Yes ERV is a Swedish company, but I think anyone can use their insurance. Sorry to hear you had your camera stolen as well but didn’t have it covered.

  17. I am so glad you found me on Twitter and while I am sorry this happened to you, I agree with your attitude and look very forward to reading your adventures. We are very likely going full travel for about 6 months next year. We have done 2-3 months since 2008 and now feel ready to manage 1/2 years out and 1/2 in. Cheers to great travel and assholes re-enacting camera thefts from Full Metal Jacket

  18. I agree, we’re lucky there were no weapons involved. I hope this article didn’t make you even more paranoid, all you can do is to be careful, but don’t stop bringing the camera with you.

  19. That’s terrible, you would think you’d be safe at your friend’s place. But you’re right, being upset only makes it worse.

  20. The trishaw driver wasn’t in on it, he was almost as devastated as we were.

    I’m not sure if the insurance company works with North Americans, but ERV operates in at least 12 different countries world wide. You can read more about it here: , or contact one of their offices to ask for some advice.

  21. I’ve noticed that a lot of insurance companies find ways to avoid covering for electronics. The one we just started using had the option to pay extra to cover all the luggage, which we (luckily!) decided to do.

    I hope you find a solution, and if you do I’d love to hear which company you picked.

  22. I think that’s a great idea to go about it, to bring the better camera and buy several smaller memory cards.

    By swapping them throughout the day, you will still have the footage saved on the card you’re not using when the camera gets stolen.

    Thanks for the tip about the CD’s, another good way of backing it up other than hard drives.

  23. Hey Diana – thanks for the comment and sharing that link, sounds like a really GREAT idea! might have to look into getting something like that.

  24. Hey Yvonne – 100% agree, the main thing for us was the video footage which was taken, we had to leave the city 2hrs later so had no chance of getting it again 🙁

  25. That sucks, but I am with you. I can’t imagine doing all that travel with no camera. I remember the time my good camera broke and I bought a cheap (then new) digital point and shoot. I have so few photos as I didn’t like the camera and am happy to have the few that I have!

    My take of mugging is double – first, someone lifted my sunglasses off my head. Very eerie to feel and I never saw who did it. No doubt they decided that wasn’t enough, as next the bag in my hand was stolen. Little of value – malaria pills, sandals and a sweater from the days outing. The problem was, they knocked me off balance as they stole my bag, and I fell into the street…..I caught my balance just in time to be hit by a bus! Left me shaken, but as it was the first week of 3 months in South America, I slowly replaced the items I lost and kept going! The only other repercussion – I had to hire porters to carry my bags on hiking trips due to the injury to my shoulder from when the bus hit me.

    I lost my diary with everyone’s emails, but still had my camera! I agree with you – losing the memory card would be the worst! I try to download my photos as frequently as possible for that reason. Hard to do if they stole your camera while you were filming!

  26. I’m so sorry to hear what happened to you when you were in my country. Sadly our street crime rate has been creeping up and it’s a shame that our government failed to do more to address this issue. I’d be extremely upset too if I were in your situation, mainly because of loosing all the precious pictures and videos, not just only the camera. I hope this would be the first and last time such unfortunate incident happened to you and all the best in your future travel adventures!

  27. Oh no! Sorry to hear this guys! Good insurance is key.

    I had my MacBook Pro stolen in Panama with a bunch of work that hadn’t been backed up yet, and it sucked. But my story had a satisfying conclusion when the tracking software I’d installed kicked in 3 months later and I embarrassed the crap out of the people who had my computer — and they gave it back.

    Too bad they don’t have camera tracking software yet…

  28. Hi Sofia, im sad that it had to happen to you. Being malaysian myself it brings tears to my eyes to know what a state my country has become. I’m glad you had insurance. Unfortunately, Malaysia has a long way to go yet. Thankfully you’re safe.

  29. That’s funny isn’t it, how they will insure your baggage for 2000 pounds but the stuff that’s actually of any value only up to 200.

    I’d love to know which Swedish insurer did you ended up with?

  30. Wow that’s bad luck. Thanks for the tip about smaller memory cards, we will start doing that from now on, it’s just a bit more complicated when filming, but we’ll figure it out.

  31. Hey Elizabeth,

    We’ve been to Malaysia several times and spent months in the country, it’s a lovely place, we were just very unlucky this time, but it won’t change our view of the country or the people.

  32. That’s exciting, 1/2 year out and 1/2 year in sounds like the perfect lifestyle to me, I look forward to reading about your travels!

  33. I’ve also felt people trying to open my handbag without being able to see who was doing it, I agree it really is an eerie feeling.

    I’m so sorry to hear you got mugged AND hit by a bus, that must have been a very traumatic experience!

  34. Thank you Allison,

    it’s really sad that the crimes are increasing and getting out of control, do you know what has caused this to happen?

  35. Haha that’s brilliant, what tracking software did you install? I’d like to get something like that for my MacBok Pro as well.

  36. Hey Rebecca – thanks for the offer, however we will be fine without the help 🙂 thanks for sharing your story as well.

  37. Oh no! That’s a horrible experience…I’ve spent a fair bit of time there and I’d always thought that Malaysia was one of the safer countries to travel in Southeast Asia. Sorry to hear this happened to you guys 🙁 A good tip about insurance, too

  38. It’s terrible that these things had to happen, my good friend had his Nikons’ stolen twice in a day when in Italy. I guess this happens anywhere but especially sad when it happens in my own state :'(

  39. I was taking a video of the rowdy crowd in Montevideo,Uruguay on New Years Eve last year when a young man ran by and grabbed my camera out of my hand. Happily, another guy chased him down and wrestled it back and returned it to me. Because I was filming at the time, I actually have the events recorded. I have always wondered if it was a scam and they were actually working together to get a reward, but since I did not speak Spanish and was so flustered, I did not offer a reward to the man who returned it, but just thanked him profusely and went on my way. I have always been more careful since then!

  40. I am a very easy target, I read your account thinking that could so easily have been me! I am glad you were able to claim on your insurance and that you were both safe and well after that dreadful experience.

  41. Oh wow… that is crazy. I am sorry that happened to y’all. I so agree with your feeling Sofia, no reason at all is good enough to justify a mugging. I was mugged in Costa Rica at GUNPOINT it was in my face… i remember like you said TIME NOT MOVING it’s a strange feeling, but when it’s happening you react in a way you never think you would react if it ever happened to you. I though just lost $30 cus it’s all I had on me… he didn’t want my $300 P&S so that was good. Anyway glad you had insurance and I’m gonna look into that one, because mine is about to expire with World Nomads & I’ll be heading to SEA finally soon.

  42. I’m really sorry to hear that. I really like your attitude and also lucky for you, you have good travel insurance. I was pick-pocketed once in Barcelona. It wasn’t really the actual amount of the item taken that bothered me, but the fact that a human being would actually do it. To actively choose me as an easy target was a big shock.

    We’re currently in Penang right now. We feel perfectly safe and very relaxed right now. Thanks for reminding us to always be on our guard.

  43. Just shows you can never be too safe eh….
    So unfortunate that this happened but its an experience and you’re both all ok

  44. Hey Megan – yes we have also spent a lot of time in Malaysia and loved Penang – so it was a bit of a shock, since nothing like this has happened to us there before.

  45. That is true – you never know when something like this could happen – yes we are very glad it turned out alright for us 🙂

  46. Hey Marc – thanks for your comment, Malaysia does have a way to go, but don’t worry it is still one of our fav. asian countries 🙂

  47. Just watched the video, crazy that you caught in on film! Glad you got it back, but yes it certainly makes you wonder if your “hero” might have been in on it..

  48. That must have been very scary, having a gun pointed at your face – it’s insane what people are willing to do for 30 bucks…

    Hope you have a great time in South East Asia.

  49. Hey Shelia,
    That’s exactly what bothered me as well, how anyone can justify doing something like that.

    The funny thing was that we had just spent over 2 weeks in Penang without anything happening, and then passed by briefly for less than a day, when it happened.

    I wouldn’t take anything away from Penang though, it is a wonderful island, we were just very unlucky.

  50. Thank you Vicki, yeah tourists are easy targets, and you really stand no chance against skillful trained muggers.

    Yes we’re so happy we got a lot of money back from the insurance, will use it to buy a new camera 🙂

  51. That is truly horrible! At least nobody was hurt, or by the sounds of it even threatened to be hurt. Nevertheless, it’s terrible what people will do to each other.

  52. Sorry to hear yr story as I originated from Msia but settled in the most affluent/safest of UK. I wish that the authorities back home were not complacent to reduce crimes. It is not difficult for them to trace big gangs like above probably watched you since arrived in Penang. More easier because it is an expensive camera! The cancer back there is that everything is left to fate? I am proud to hear recently that the UK established Cold Case Unit to catch unsolved cases n caught murderers even after 40 years thro DNA! Worlds Apart..

  53. Hey Richard thanks for sharing your thoughts, yes I feel like they were watching us as we arrived – its a real shame but didn’t take away from our experience of Malaysia – still one of our fav. Asian countries 🙂

  54. Ah, it’s so disappointing to hear stories like this, but getting robbed seems to bound to happen when you’re on the road for so long. Thanks for sharing the story. Hopefully you have good karma coming your way 🙂

  55. same happen to me a week ago when walk in Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, i should use insurance for that camera, and i only use it for one month, now is gone. but at leas nobody is hurt from that horrible moment when we got robe. cause i walk there with my kid. and you right, insurance help, to bad that i am not using it

  56. I’m so sorry to hear this, makes me wonder what’s going on in Malaysia, why this sudden crime increase lately? I’m glad none of you got hurt.

  57. No weapons involved and you let a tiny Malaysian guy get away with a 4K camera?.
    How about punching the guy in the face or kicking the little guy of the motorbike?

    Maybe your Bf/hubby needs to Man up! a bit. I wonder what happens if you’re in a really dangerous situation.


  58. I have to say that’s a really arrogant and callous comment. Honestly, who would post something like that?!

    “Man up?” Not cool, man.

    Moreover, unfortunate events happens sometimes while traveling, and it happens in a blink of eye. To live in a state of fear or to always be prepare to throw a fist is not a way to live or travel. Of course, we have to be cautious, though.

    All in all, thank you Nathan and Sofia for giving us so many amazing glimpses of the world and for taking the risks and time to do so!!! You guys are really awesome and so are your videos!!!


  59. Hey Vanderbilt, thanks for the comment – don’t worry about that boy above you – he is just trying to get some attention – nothing we can do about people like that – we are really glad that you have enjoyed our site, and our travel videos! 🙂

  60. Hey – thanks for the comment, yes something like this was bound to happen one day, just wish it wasn’t all our gear like that :S

  61. Im so sorry to hear this. But im really glad that none of you got hurt. Honestly, even i dont feel safe living in my own country. I’ve to be alert with my surroundings 24/7. There are a lot of robbery cases happening lately, it is not a good time to travel here now 🙁

  62. Hey Shasha – thanks for your comment, that is very sad that even you do not feel safe in your country – we really loved traveling to Malaysia, so it is very strange to see all this happening lately 🙁

  63. OMG! I’m sorry to know about this. I heard of similar instance travelers get mugged in this same manner in Vietnam and Cambodia. May I know what the police did after you have reported it, aside from its regular reporting and blottering procedures?

    Great you had an insurance company. I never have even thought of how useful insurance while traveling though until I met this post.

    This is something to be angry about.

  64. Whoa! I was actually thinking of getting a DSLR before heading to Malaysia (including Penang) next month, but after reading about your experience, I think I’ll just stick with my point & shoot for now. 🙁

  65. One thing, good to know you were not hurt. Indeed, it is so disappointing to get robbed just like that. Good thing you were insured. But the memories inside that camera is priceless. Be that as it may, keep safe always! Thanks for following me in twitter!

  66. Thank you Wends, the police didn’t seem very bothered or surprised at all, they had no intention of finding the thieves but were more interested in whether we had insurance to cover for it.

    I guess we all knew that there was no chance that we would ever get it back anyway.

  67. Hey Kat – I hope this article doesn’t stop you from taking a DSLR camera, these things do happen, but they also didn’t happen to us for 3 years while we traveled around the world – just make sure you are careful and then I think it will be fine. 🙂

  68. I am glad to hear you guys are ok, and most immportant safe. Over the last 30 years of travelling I have been mugged twice, Once in Dublin where I live and on holidays in Denmark.

    I have experienced on arrival in Goteborg, going to a locker at the train station and finding an expensive camera, looking aound I called on SJ personnel to take care of the camera, and for me I was asked to go to the office and if memory servces e correctly I was given vouchers.

    My motto “Is to be honest and karma comes back to you” Last year I found a Swedis Credit Card in Stockholm, and handed it into an X-chagne office.

    But losing some priceless , but once you guys are safe thats important.

    From a long time visitor to Sweden over 26 years going there…


    ps. Just got back from 1 week in Iceland and 1 week in Sweden on Sunday 5th August,. Great weather to report.

  69. I’m so sorry to read this. That really stinks, faen! I always think of malaysia being quite safe as well. On another note, excellent video of Oslo, Heia Norge! All my best, Leif

  70. Oh, I’m so bummed for you that you lost your memory card! I agree that would be harder for me than losing the actual camera. Though it would be hard for me to stomach having to shell out the money for a new one. I’ve never gotten mugged, thank goodness, but my friend almost did when we were on a subway in Paris. The guy pulled the “jump out of the car right before the door closes” trick and grabbed her video camera which was slung over her shoulder. She screamed and dropped to the ground with the strap around the crook of her arm, refusing to give the guy an easy steal. The guy pulled so hard that the strap broke right as the doors closed, but luckily the camera stayed inside the doors with her. She had a bruise on her arm for the rest of the trip! Needless to say, we were more cautious by metro doors after that.

  71. I keep reading unfortunate stories like these and wonder when it’d happen to me, not that I am out seeking a mugger, lol. Glad you guys are safe. I’m paranoid about losing pictures and memories (makes me wanna visit those places just so that I have pictures), the last time my memory card simply stopped working and nothing could recover it… 🙁
    cheers, Priyank

  72. So sorry to hear about this. Losing those photographs and memories is what is so horrible. I’m thankful neither of you got hurt!

  73. Hey just stumbled at your blog..i am currenty traveling in eastern europe and got ripped off on the train from krakow to expensive dslr and all my money was gone..i kept saying to the police just get my memory card I dnt care about the hurts..i just hope these muggers get sme sense and respect somebody’s emotions by leaving the memory card..and this sort of incident leaves you with bitter feeling about the place:-(

  74. I’m so sorry to hear that, yes it does leave a bitter feeling of a place when things like that happen, and most often these people don’t at all represent the rest of the country, although it might still leave you with a bad impression.

    I hope you manage to get some insurance back on it and have enough money left to keep on traveling.

    Good luck with the rest of your trip, and don’t let this experience ruin the fun.

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