Rich in culture and history, as well both architectural and natural beauty, even the shortest of visits to Malaysia is a once in a lifetime experience not easily forgotten.  Even so, if you do want to take a souvenir with you when you leave, you’ll want it to be as authentic and unique to the country as possible.  Whether it’s a memento for you or a gift for a loved one, it should be something to be treasured. These are 4 of the best souvenirs to look out for on your Malaysian travels with a tiny bit of advice about the types of souvenirs to steer clear of. 

Cool Souvenirs From Malaysia

1. Traditional Malaysian Dress

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Pewter is one of Malaysia’s most famous contributions to world industry, and there are some stunning designs on offer.  You can pick up full kitchenware sets or a simple vase. If you have the time, it’s well worth a visit to the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre which houses impressive exhibits on the history of pewter in Malaysia as well as live demonstrations of pewter crafting and interactive workshops.

3. Hand-woven Bags & Baskets

color is your thing, you won’t be able to resist picking up an item of Malaysian attire.  Malaysia is a multicultural country with influences from several of its surrounding countries, so you’ll have a wide variety of souvenirs to choose from including the Indian saree and kurta, the Chinese cheongsam and samfu or the Malay Baju Kurung and Baju Melayu.

Some of the best souvenirs around the world are handmade by local people, and Malaysia is no exception.  Hand-woven souvenir items like baskets, bags, and purses are hugely popular and make the perfect keepsake for you or a gift for someone back home. Malaysian souvenir items of this kind are often made of bamboo, rattan, Mengkuang, coconut shells and pandan leaves and feature a wide range of colors and designs.

4. Adopt an Endangered Animal

There’s a widely upheld philosophy amongst travelers that we should ‘Leave No Trace’ of ourselves on our journey, i.e., take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.  In most cases that is true, but adopting an endangered animal is one instance where you can leave a little of yourself behind.

The Zoo Negara is 5km from Kuala Lumpur and runs an Adopt an Animal scheme so you can contribute to the ongoing care and conservation of their animals. You can choose from butterflies, birds, and reptiles right up to the Malaysian elephants, Malayan tigers and Giant pandas. In terms of a physical souvenir, you’ll only be coming home with a certificate of adoption, but it symbolizes a lot more than that.

Malaysia Souvenirs to Avoid

Even removing a rock from a place believed to be sacred or a historical site could land you in trouble, so it’s best to leave the place exactly as you found it.  In addition, if you’re searched at the airport and the authorities believe you to have taken something of value you could face serious legal consequences.

Trade in wild animals and their body parts are regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. This is an international agreement designed to species which are endangered because of international trade. If you suspect that your chosen souvenir may be made using animal skin such as crocodile, turtle, tortoiseshell or coral jewelry or ivory or rhino horn, then avoid this at all costs. Aside from the legal consequences, it’s likely that less than humane methods were used to obtain it.