Pack smart with our essentials only female travelers Malaysia packing list. Whatever you’re doing while in Malaysia; climbing Mount Kinabalu, admiring the Petronas Towers or hanging out with orangutans, you need to make sure you pack all of the essentials. Basically all of the super important travel items that you will need for a great trip to Malaysia. So use this Malaysia packing list to help you enjoy every second of your time here, no matter what the weather or your choice of activities and entertainment. We’ve got you covered!
Malaysia Packing List
Disclosure: When you click on a link in our posts we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Just so you know; we only recommend items that we use ourselves and/or that we truly believe you will benefit from and love.
Firstly, how do the locals dress in Malaysia?
Most Malaysians dress the same as Westerners do but most Muslim women in Malaysia will wear long skirts/pants and head scarves. On special occasions and during important events, people from every ethnic group in Malaysia will wear their traditional clothing. There is no specific dress code for visitors in the capital, Kuala Lumpur and other big cities. You’ll see Malaysian women wearing a scarf to cover their hair, others will be wearing loose clothing which fully covers them from the neck to the ankles, and then there will be local women in short skirts, fitted tops and high heels.
Malaysia Packing Tip: Cover your shoulders and avoid spaghetti straps and strapless tops and dresses when visiting most places in Malaysia. They’re pretty relaxed about women’s choice of attire in Kuala Lumpur, but still a predominantly Muslim country so be mindful of this.
Think about the weather and climate when creating your Malaysia Packing List
Top Malaysia destinations like Kuala Lumpur and Penang aren’t weather reliant and the weather conditions at any time of year won’t affect your trip to these large cities. When visiting Malaysia it’s important to realize that different parts of Malaysia will be experiencing different weather because the east coast works on a different time zone to the west coast. The west coast’s rainy season is from April until October and although it’s slightly longer, the rain won’t be heavy enough to put a dampener on your trip. With the high heat and humidity throughout the year and the alternating wet seasons, you can really visit Malaysia at any time of the year especially if you’re willing and able to be flexible with your plans.
You might also like: Top 8 cool things to do on a trip to Malaysia
Clothing To Pack
Trousers x2: Pack trekking trousers that
double triple-up as trousers you can wear for general sightseeing and even on the plane too. This saves room in your luggage. If necessary make use of your hotels laundry service. I like these boot cut outdoor stretch pants because they fit quite snug and flatter your figure. They’re also stain, rain and UV resistant.
A pair of jeans: If you’re visiting a big city like Kuala Lumpur and just want to look and feel normal.
Short Sleeve T-shirts x2: Pack 1 breathable lightweight t-shirt that can be worn during the day.
Long Sleeve T-shirts x2: Icebreaker is a really great brand for keeping you warm or cool depending on the weather. Choose pale colors like beige or light grey to help keep you cool.
1 dress: Cute boho maxi dresses will be perfect for most places in Malaysia.
Lightweight Fleece: Pack one that’s lightweight and quick to dry like this beauty.
Sports Bras x2: If you’re trekking, hiking or just doing a lot of sightseeing pack sports bras.
Headband or Buff: Get one like this that can double-up as a scarf to cover your hair in temples and a headband for sweat absorption and to keep your hair out of your face. You can use it as neck support to sleep on public transport too. This will be incredibly useful and you will be so glad you packed one.
All other clothing you can buy out there, that’s what all the markets and awesome shops in Malaysia are for! You will be so happy that you have a little space in your luggage for some cute new clothes.
Sandals: These will be what you wear during the day for most sightseeing, the sandals you pack for Malaysia need to be lightweight and comfortable. A pair of Tivas (very popular) or Chacos (which I use) will work great. For the evening if you want to look a bit more stylish then consider packing a pair of Uin Loafers which will be perfect to wear on the plane too.
Hiking Boots: If you plan on going off the beaten path in Malaysia (hello… Mount Kinabalu) or just doing some hiking (hello… hiking the steps at The Batu Caves in Selangor and it is a hike!) your boots can seriously make or break your trip. Make sure they’re broken in properly before you go. Most importantly, you should not be able to ever feel your big toe touch the front of the boot. These mid-rise waterproof hiking boots by Hi-Tec are a great choice for hiking in Malaysia.
Flip Flops: Bring a really cheap pair of flip flips or buy a pair when you arrive and give them away when you leave. Use these for going in and out of temples so you can slip them on and off easily.
Gear To Pack
Day Pack: I love Osprey’s Daylight Plus Daypack which comes with a hydration pocket for your Hydration pack which you’ll need if you plan on doing any hiking or trekking.
DSLR Camera: For a trip of a lifetime that you know will set your instagram account on fire you might want to consider bringing your DSLR. That said, my camera on my iphone is so good I’m not sure I can justify the extra weight of a DSLR these days.
Trekking towel: Fast drying, very absorbent, compact and lightweight; the Rainleaf micro fibre towel is one of the most popular choices and you can use it after your travels for the gym too and lots of other sweat-inducing things.
Drinking Bottle: Camelbak has really good options for easy to use water bottles.
Sunglasses: Pack polarized sunglasses with UV protection that can be worn at a high altitude too so you can double them up as trekking sunglasses and everyday sunglasses too.
Waterproof Sack: For valuable and electronics in case it pours down if your visiting during the monsoon season (oh and it will, but only if you’re not prepared… because thats life!).
Padlock & Chain: For your backpack, and keeping things safe in hotels, hostels and when sleeping on public transport.
Sleep sheet: So handy especially if you’re doing Malaysia on a budget.
Ziplocks: Trust me, they will come in handy!
If you plan on buying toiletries when you arrive in Malaysia to save space in your luggage be aware that their toiletry brands will be very different than what you’re used to so if you really like a certain product, bring it with you.
Sunscreen: Sunblock can be a bit of a rip off in a lot of places in Malaysia so consider bringing a small bottle with you.
Hand sanitizer & wet wipes: Buy it there.
Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel: Buy it there.
Toothpaste and toothbrush: Bring it with you so you can brush your teeth at the airport or on the first night if you don’t have time to shop. You can probably make do with a travel sized tube of paste considering you only need a pea size amount for each brush.
Deodorant: I would bring your preferred deodorant with you, it’s annoying having to use one you don’t like much plus they weigh nothing. I use an all-natural deodorant (without the aluminum) made in Bali because it smells like roses and does the job.
Makeup: Mascara, eyeliner and maybe some lip gloss is about all I use when in Southeast Asia. During the Summer, concealer, powder etc will just get sweated-off the moment you step off the plane and then clog your pores up so really don’t waste your time.
Nail cutter and nail file: Bring it with you because there’s nothing more annoying than having a broken nail you can’t do anything about.
Toiletries travel bag: Bring a clear TSA approved travel makeup bag for liquids to speed up going through customs.
Optional Extras (we love)
Packing Cubes: Travel light and stay organized with these lightweight Eagle Creek packing cubes.
Re-useable Mini Cosmetic Bottles: Cute and high-quality travel bottles that won’t crack on you.
Hidden Pocket Scarves: Stash secret cash, lip balm and your passport in a sneaky scarf like this.
Where to buy your Malaysia travel gear
You really don’t need to spend a small fortune on all this travel gear for a trip to Malaysia. Besides you’ve already spent enough just getting to Malaysia. If you’re planning your trip in advance then you should be able to catch a sale at any good outdoor clothing store, there’s usually about three or four each year. I’ve bought everything from hiking boots to sunglasses by timing my shopping trips to coincide with a sale and saved between 40-75% each time. So planning in advance will save you a lot of hard earned cash.
If you don’t have time to wait for a sale, you can still get a good deal online. Of course Amazon is one of the best places to go to read hundreds of reviews and compare prices before making a purchase. Another bonus of shopping online for your travel gear is that you can save your legs for the hike up Mount Kinabalu or up the steps of The Batu Caves!
If you forget to pack something don’t worry, you can find everything you could possibly need when in Malaysia. But this shouldn’t be necessary because this awesome Malaysia Packing List is here to help you to not forget your trip essentials.
Travel Resources (we swear by)
Skyscanner for getting the best deals on Malaysia flights.
Booking.com for booking Malaysia hotel accommodation.
Hostelworld for budget travelers or anyone looking to meet travel buddies while backpacking in Malaysia.
GetYourGuide for the best tours and activities to do once you’ve arrived in Malaysia.
IVisa helps us know if we need a visa, how long it will take to process and how much it will cost.
Lonely Planet Malaysia: Check price on Amazon
For more Malaysia travel tips take a peek at our Malaysia Travel Guide which includes the Malaysia basics, top things to do, fun festivals, what to eat, where to stay and recommended trip planning resources.
Useful? Pin & Share (& make our day!)
Did we miss something that you think should be included in this Malaysia Packing List? Let us know in the comments section below!