Airbnb Bat Hell in Malaysia – Why is it still listed?

I booked and prepaid in full for a house near Terengganu, Malaysia for our main family vacation in July. Before doing so I checked out reviews which were positive. I also kept in contact with the owner through Airbnb’s website. We had a long-haul flight from Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur followed by a domestic flight to Terengannu. Our party consisted of three adults plus our six-year-old twins.

We were met by my friend who lives locally and drove a hire-car to the house. An old lady who spoke no English met us and we had some trouble opening the door which should have tipped us off that no one had entered in quite a while – certainly not to clean. The house looked like the photos on Airbnb but, within a few minutes we noticed a bat flying in the entrance hall. Then another bat appeared and another… and another. Three things I know about bats: they like unoccupied buildings; they are nocturnal; they live in colonies.

By now my young girls and wife were screaming so I got them into a bedroom while I dealt with the bats. This entailed killing them one by one. It was obvious we could not stay there. The bedsheets had not been laundered in months and my wife found a rodent’s decomposing body under a bed. Clearly, no one had entered this house in months as they would have known about the bat infestation.

The owner came but said she could only reimburse me at the end of the month. In that event, it would be two months before I was repaid. Now we had to find a hotel suitable for a family which of course turned out to be expensive. For the next month we had to move every few days and lacked a set base. On return to Abu Dhabi I contacted customer service and eventually got my money back; however, there was no compensation for my extra expense and inconvenience.

The worst thing is that this property is still on Airbnb’s site along with my negative review. What does a host have to do to be deleted from their site? I challenged Airbnb about this so they know the story with this house and owner – a perfect illustration of how they value hosts more than guests. The property is still on their site. The key lesson I learned is never ever to use Airbnb again but to use when you can pay on arrival. If booking a place near Terengannu take great care.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. As the poster can I make clear this was by no means a cheap booking or intended to be. I paid about $1,500 for 11 nights in Malaysia. This was actually one of the more expensive properties in the location. The point here is the owner knew we were traveling with small children from a long way away and still made no effort to clean the property. I would probably have stayed but could not risk my family’s health. In any event my key question remains. What depth must be plumbed before a property is removed from Airbnb who have full knowledge of the facts here. In fact I know the owner refused even to respond to their customer service manager so what does this say about their business model? I wanted people to know about this so they are clear guests come second to owners.

  2. Sue, your comment is ridiculous.

    If the poster’s comments are accurate, this means that no one has been in the property for weeks, likely months. This resulted in infestation of bats and rats (a dead one at that). Both these animals pose a health hazard.

    It is clear that this listing was unsuitable to spend any time in without prior cleaning and pest control. We do not at all know whether the OP paid almost nothing for this booking or if it was a sizable (albeit smaller than a regular hotel I would guess) chunk of money.

    You are absolutely delusional stating that OP has ‘hotel expectations’, insinuating that apparently a dead rat and a bat infestation is acceptable for a holiday home, or any home.

    You are likely just another AirBnB host who cheats the system by not following the laws and likely not paying the appropriate taxes. Simply pathetic and disgusting.

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