By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: As a young woman, can I walk around in western style clothes when in Malaysia?

A: Sandwiched between Singapore and Thailand including the northern coast of Borneo, this South Eastern Asian country runs stark contrasts from the urban metropolis of Kuala Lumpur, the country's capital to the lush verdant countryside of Kuala Terengganu along the Peninsula East Coast, which is mired in conservatism.

So the question of clothing style depends on where you roam. For instance, the multicultural mosaic of KL's pluralist culture with its blend of Indian, Chinese, Malay and British culture results in a virtual kaleidoscope of style.

It's no surprise if you spot itsy bitsy mini skirts and shorts butted against longer skirts, headscarves and robes, candy colored saaris.

Responsible travel should always be top of mind when traveling in unfamiliar areas. Exercise good judgement and remember if you plan to visit a mosque women have to cover their head and shoulders. At many mosques you'll find helpful staff at the main entrance with a clothing rack chockfull of necessary robes and scarves. Shoes also need to be removed and can be left at the main entrance.

For packing clothes, light, cool and casual clothing is recommended all year round. Shorts, miniskirts, sleeveless garments for women are not advisable in the rural areas and should be avoided. If you respect local customs and beliefs, people will be happy with you.

For more travel-related information on Malaysia call the Malaysian Tourism Board at toll-free 1-888 689 6872


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