Packing for Malaysia: Essentials and Considerations

Before embarking on your journey to Malaysia, it’s important to carefully consider what to pack based on your living conditions and budget in the country. While there are few essential items that cannot be purchased locally, taking into account the size of your housing and negotiating relocation packages can help you make informed decisions. This guide will provide you with detailed insights and tips to ensure you pack wisely for your new adventure.

Tailoring Your Packing to Your Living Conditions

The first step in deciding what to pack is assessing the living conditions you have chosen in Malaysia. Consider whether your place will be fully furnished, semi-furnished, or non-furnished, as well as the size of housing that fits your budget. This evaluation will help you determine how much you need to bring from home.


Separating Essentials from Non-Essentials

Ask yourself, “Is it essential to take all my worldly possessions to Malaysia?” Keep in mind that there are few items that cannot be purchased locally, so there’s no need to bring everything. If you are fortunate enough to be replacing a previous employee, the house and basic furnishings may come with the job. Additionally, if you work for a large organization, they may assign someone to assist you in your transition to Malaysian life, providing guidance in setting up and settling in.

Organizing Your Relocation

To ensure a smooth transition, it’s essential to negotiate the details of your company’s relocation package. Find out what allowances and benefits are included and excluded. Consider the duration of your shipment and plan where you will stay during this time. You can choose to air-freight essential basics, enabling you to camp at your new place, or opt to rent a serviced apartment for the first couple of months. Make sure to discuss and negotiate these factors as part of your relocation package.

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Partnering with the Right Professionals

It is advisable to select a reputable removal company and real estate agency in Malaysia as soon as possible. Your company may be able to connect you with trusted professionals in these areas, so make sure to leverage your company’s networks. Consider arranging a “look see” visit to Malaysia to get a sense of the type of accommodation that suits your budget and taste. You may be pleasantly surprised by the affordability of nice places in Malaysia.

Making Your House a Home

In Malaysia, most unfurnished housing is completely bare, with kitchen cabinets being the most common addition. Light fixtures and air-conditioning may exist in the master bedroom. While Malaysian homeowners are usually accommodating and open to adding extras you might require, this often comes at an additional cost. Therefore, being specific about your furniture and fittings preferences is crucial to avoid settling for items that don’t meet your expectations. In this regard, it’s safer to bring as many personal items as your container or company allows.


Adapting to the Local Electrical System

Malaysia utilizes the same voltage and plugs as the British system. If you are coming from a country other than the UK, you may need to change the plugs on some of your electrical appliances or purchase an adapter. A transformer might also be necessary. Almost all homes in Malaysia are fitted with standard 3-point sockets, accommodating the standard 3- or 2-point plugs found on electrical appliances.

When it comes to televisions, Malaysia uses the British PAL system. This could be an opportunity to upgrade to a new multi-system TV. Keep in mind that censorship is quite strict in Malaysia, so be cautious about the video tapes, cassettes, and CDs you bring along. Additionally, as Malaysiais a Muslim country, it’s advisable to be mindful of cultural sensitivities when deciding what to bring.

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Dressing for Malaysia’s Weather

The temperature in Malaysia ranges from 21°C to 32°C in the lowlands and can drop to as low as 16°C in the highlands. Take into account the region where you’ll be working and staying. If you’ll be in major towns or cities, clothing suitable for hot weather is recommended, with cotton-based materials being the best choice. If there is limited space in your container, don’t worry. Malaysia has an abundance of shops offering international styles, sizes, and labels, so you can easily find what you need once you arrive.


Securing Your Belongings

For large items, it’s best to store them in a purpose-built security facility. Consider renting a safe deposit box at a bank for small valuables that you won’t be using while away. Avoid bringing precious items like photo albums, personal archives, or artwork that may be susceptible to damage due to humidity. Additionally, potted plants may not survive the journey and can cause complications at customs.

For PC owners, it’s often advisable to buy a new one upon arrival, as computers may not travel well. Store important files on a thumb drive and carry it with you. PCs can be acquired at reasonable prices in Malaysia. Consider organizing a garage sale to clear out unwanted items and use the proceeds to make new purchases once you arrive.

Essential Items to Carry with You

Documents: Keep your passport, visa, travel tickets, cash, credit cards, vaccination certificate, driver’s license, social security card, relocation company documents, local contact information, car and pet papers (if applicable), medical records and prescriptions, school records, insurance policies, Will, extra passport photos, original marriage and birth certificates, and copies of your degrees and diplomas.

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Valuables: Carry jewelry and other highly valuable small items, a family medical kit with prescription medicines, a laptop computer, and a set of spare keys.

Travel Accessories: Bring along camera equipment, an inflatable neck pillow for comfort during the journey, toiletries, cosmetics (duty-free options are available for replenishment), and a sweater in case the plane gets cold. It’s recommended to refrain from purchasing new suitcases until you see the range and value of travel items available in Malaysia.

Kids Accessories: If you’re traveling with children, pack toys, books, travel games, a pack of cards, puzzles, magazines, a camera, a journal, sweets or candy to help with air pressure, a pacifier (if applicable), and their special security item to provide comfort during sleep.


Packing Wisely for Your Malaysian Adventure

When preparing for your journey to Malaysia, carefully consider the living conditions, negotiate your relocation package, and select reputable removal services and real estate agencies. Evaluate what items are essential to bring and what can be purchased locally. Pay attention to Malaysia’s electrical system, climate, and cultural sensitivities when deciding on appliances, clothing, and personal belongings to bring. Remember to secure valuables and make arrangements for storage. Lastly, ensure your hand luggage includes important documents, valuables, travel accessories, and items for children, if applicable. With careful planning and thoughtful packing, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your Malaysian adventure.