What to Wear in Malaysia : Packing Tips

Congratulations, you are coming to Malaysia! If you are churning your brain to work out what to wear in Malaysia or pack, then take a chill. Figuring this out is much easier than countries with four seasons.

Packing tips for Malaysia trip

Seasons in Malaysia

Malaysia has only two seasons – rainy and hot. In general, monsoon (rainy) season starts around Nov and lasts till right before Chinese New Year (around Jan – Feb). If you are not heading to the East-Coast (Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang) or islands, there’s little reason to curtail your trip because of the monsoon.

Either way, the seasons hardly affect our wardrobe, except for an extra umbrella when the rain drops arrived. Have a cardigan or thin jacket if you’re heading to the highlands.

Cultural and Religion view

There are different perceptions of acceptable clothing to don in Malaysia. In my opinion, it depends on which states you’re heading and what places (of interest) you are visiting. While you won’t get jailed if you’re a little ‘daring’ but you may get barred from entering the place you’re visiting.

The Modest :

This selection suits most of the places and states, and should be good enough (based on personal experience, but may not 100% fool-proof) to enter places governed by authorities – museums, mosques (scarf is required) et cetera.

What to Wear in Malaysia

The Free and Easy :

I live in Kuala Lumpur and has no problem donning on these for daily outings and shopping malls. They are okay too for other regions, but I won’t recommend them for states like Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis. For the states mentioned, it’s better to go with The Modest style.

What to Wear in Malaysia

The Beaches and Islands :

I can easily brag Malaysia as a country that has the most beautiful islands and beaches, particularly the islands. Before everyone starts packing for Malaysian islands, I must mention that their beauties (most of them) come with a price – difficult/expensive accessibility and very basic accommodations, for a heftier price compared to Phuket, Krabi etc.

What to wear in Malaysia for beach and islands

Rule of thumb : No topless or nude swimming. I have tried bikinis at Pangkor and Langkawi island beaches with no problem. They are generally accepted at hotel swimming pools too, but you might want to exclude bikini if you’re heading to beaches in Kelantan and Terengganu states. If you’re heading there, best to have longer beach pants and a full shirt, just in case.

There’s no ultimate rule to what’s to wear and what’s not to wear in Malaysia, as it depends on who’s judging. What I had proposed here, are generally, what I have worn for years with no issue.

Let me know if there’s anything I should add, in the comments. Good luck.

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