What to Wear in Malaysia

Batu Caves, March

Batu Caves, March

Visiting Legoland, Johor, in March

Visiting Legoland, Johor, in March

China Town, Kuala Lumpur in May

China Town, Kuala Lumpur in May

Kuala Lumpur in May

Kuala Lumpur in May

Batu Caves in August

Batu Caves in August

China Town

China Town

A Message From Helen



I want you to have an amazing vacation. That's why I started WhatToWearOnHoliday.com,
to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.

Find out more about the WhatToWear Concierge Service

General Packing Tips

  • Kuala Lumpur is a cosmopolitan city where there is no particular dress code and where you will find all fashions.
  • In keeping with many Muslim countries you will find that people in the capital city and other major towns are used to foreigners, and are therefore likely to be more tolerant and more liberal.
  • However, away from the tourist areas the population are more traditional and rigid so please be sure to cover your shoulders, stomach, hips and bare legs.
  • It is hot and humid so we suggest that lightweight clothes in natural fibers (linen, silk or cotton) will be most comfortable.
  • merino wool is a good choice to wear against your skin as it naturally helps to regulate your body temperature. It wicks away moisture when it's hot, and doesn't retain odours - even after prolonged wear.
  • Rain is frequent, so lightweight clothes will also dry more quickly.
  • T-shirts and shorts are perfectly acceptable, but avoid skimpy or revealing clothes or you will get unwanted attention.
  • Hotels, restaurants and shopping malls are usually air conditioned and at times this can be pretty fierce, so be sure to carry a sweater or pashmina in your bag.
  • If staying in a smart hotel you may prefer a smarter outfit for dinner if you want to fit in with your surroundings. And check the hotel facilities too - if there is a gym and/or pool you may want to take your fitness or swimming gear.
  • Wear plenty of sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection), sunglasses and a sunhat.

Clothing Tips for Women

  • If you plan on visiting religious sites please do cover up - absolutely no skimpy or revealing clothes, and cover your legs and shoulders. Your pashmina or a wrap can come in handy.
  • A skirt or loose-fitting pants are good in the heat and will protect you from the sun.
  • We love Hotter shoes, for total comfort along with style. Or why not try the Lindsay Phillips Switch Flops range - using interchangeable shoe and flip-flop bases with snap-on decorations, you can change your look from day to evening in an instant whilst still packing light.
  • The humidity can play havoc with your hair - so think about accessories or a scarf to keep it looking neat and tidy.
  • If you are visiting on business then trouser suits are acceptable for women.

Clothing Tips for Men

  • If you're looking for versatile and stylish beachwear, try the Madda Fella range of shirts, shorts, polos and swimwear.
  • For great versatile travel jackets with multiple pockets including RFID security options, we love the SCOTTeVEST range.

Pack for the Weather

  • The rainfall is greater from March to April and in October, November and December, so be sure to pack a lightweight raincoat and/or travel umbrella.
  • We love the Weather+ app - it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too - a nice way to remember your trip :) Download for iPad/iPhone or Android

Regions of Malaysia

  • Langkawi is casual all the way and flip flops with beachwear and a sarong is the norm. However, there are some smart restaurants worth dressing up for.

Other Things To Pack

  • Don’t drink or even brush your teeth in tap water. Consider taking a Water-to-Go Filtration Water Bottle.
  • A bag or soft-sided rucksack is a more practical option than hard cases when traveling around the country, and using packing cubes can help to keep your belongings tidy whilst compressing the volume too.
  • Combine your main bag with a day sack or beach bag that will carry your sightseeing essentials.
  • Look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee - it protects against loss, theft and damage. And you may want to consider a solar powered charger for times when your battery runs down, especially if you use your phone as a camera too.
  • To use electrical gadgets you may need a travel adapter plug, and also a step down voltage converter if your devices are not designed for the local voltage (240V).
  • Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees - use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! Wood carvings, Nyonya-beaded slippers and Malaysian batiks are all popular buys.

Last updated 21 September 2016.

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Pack Light

  • Less luggage to carry
  • Save time packing and unpacking
  • Save money on baggage fees

Pack Right

  • Respect local cultures
  • Feel comfortable and confident
  • Suitable outfits for all occasions

A Message From Helen



I want you to have an amazing vacation. That's why I started WhatToWearOnHoliday.com,
to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.