When deciding what to wear in Malaysia, it is good to know that Kuala Lumpur is a cosmopolitan city where there is no particular dress code and 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 is 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.
light 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.
Ensure you bring a versatile travel jacket. We love the SCOTTeVEST travel jacket because it has over 23 pockets, removable sleeves and RFID protection.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Malaysia travel essentials
As well as knowing what to wear in Malaysia, it is good to prepare the travel accessories you will need for your trip.
Remember the tap water in Malaysia is not drinkable. So, try not to drink or even brush your teeth with the tap water. Also, avoid swallowing any of the shower water. We recommend taking a LifeStraw Filtration Water Bottle to filter the tap water, making it safe for you to drink.
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 smaller day bag or beach bag that will carry your sightseeing essentials.
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.