Travel light is the best advice. You can travel casually with lightweight cotton shirt and shorts, if possible short-sleeve and sweat absorbed fabric. Bring along a light jacket or sweater and waterproofing raincoat too if you plan to go for trekking or mountain climbing. Hat and sunglasses are necessary especially when you head to islands and beaches. Do not forget always have a bottle of water with you to cure the thirst.
If you are to attend any formal occasion that requires a formal dress code but do not have any proper formal costume with you, perhaps a batik shirt or skirt is the most convenience and best choice.
Dos and Doníts
Generally there are no written rules and regulations for the social conduct in Malaysia but visitors are to advised to do as the Romans do as to ensure you are widely welcome and do not offence the local costume. Here is a list of Dos and Doníts for your references:
Do take off your shoes when entering a religion site or Malaysian house.
Do bend your back a little when passing by official, elderly or dignitary.
Do greet before entering a house.
Do drink a lot of fluid as to avoid dehydration.
Do wait until your are invited during a eating gathering especially when there are senior persons presence.
Do learn some basic Malay language. It helps a lot when communicating with the locals.
Do ask for permission when taking photos of others.
Do received and give anything with right hand while the left hand is holding the right wrist area.
Donít neck or kiss in the public. Shaking hand is acceptable but avoid kissing the hand or cheek. The Muslim ladies normally nod their head and smile as a note of welcome, unless they offer their hand otherwise.
Donít go nude or topless at the beach or anytime. It is also considered impolite to wear shorts to places of worship such as temple and mosque.
Donít pass in front of anyone offering prayer.
Donít use your left hand to give or receive thing instead use your right hand.
Donít use the forefinger to point at place, objects or person, it is considered as insulting and impolite. Use right thumb resting on a clenched fist or beckon your whole hand instead.
Donít touch the arms of waitresses or salesmen to catch their attention. Touching between strangers of opposite sex is frowned upon.
Donít touch oneís head without prior permission.
Donít show the sole of your foot especially in front of elderly or official.
Donít cross the chopsticks or stick them vertically into the rice bowl when eating in a Chinese way.
Donít gesture your chopsticks.
Donít ask or offer pork to Muslim and beef to Hindus.
Donít ask silly questions while in the jungle, for example Ďwhere are the tigersí, Ďis there any ghost or spirit in this jungle? It is prohibited and is a tribal belief for the Malaysian that one should pay their higher respect to the Divine creatures in the jungle when enter into their territories.
Donít simply pluck or touch or bring home any marine fishes and corals when diving or snorkeling. Keep them for others.
Donít smoke in some public places such as buses, taxis, lifts, cinemas, shopping malls, banks and air-conditioned restaurant.