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[SURVEY RESULTS] Can you guess the #1 item Malaysians must pack for their holidays?

Yeah! Another fruitful round of kepohing!

Ya, why?

Ya, why?

Few weeks back, we partnered with our cool new friends at Klook, a travel platform that lets you book your holiday activities and experiences. We already know that Malaysians love traveling, but we wanted to know more about our behaviour, likes and dislikes, budgets etc… so we ran our first ever Malaysian SukaCuti Survey 2018! 

Before we begin, here are some preliminary info:

  • Sample size: 1,817 respondents
  • Survey duration: 19th March to 8th April 2018
  • Gender breakdown: 68.23% female, 30.69% male and 1.09% other
  • Age: Majority 30-39 years old (35.8%), followed by 20-29 (29.42%). Tapered down from there but we had respondents from all age categories (under 17 to above 60)
  • Location: Majority live in Selangor (36.99%) and KL (25.04%), but we had respondents from every state.
  • Primary language: As expected, majority was English (62.79%), followed by BM (23.27%), Chinese dialects (10.34%) and Tamil (2.72%)

With that in mind, let’s get the big shocker out of the way first:


1. Even the highest earners still go for the cheapest seats when flying!

If you’ve had the assumption that rich people only fly first/business class, you’re dead wrong. Even respondents who earn a monthly household income of RM30,001 and above (imagine being able to buy a second hand Myvi every month) would choose the cheapest seats!

In fact, 40% of them would go for economy seats on premium airlines (e.g. MAS), and 34% would go for cheapest seats on cheapest airlines (e.g. AirAsia).

In case you were wondering why you pay RM1,000 for an economy seat and RM7,000 for first class, it’s actually not so much the service but the space you’re taking up for yourself. Surprisingly, we read that those people who actually do fly first class don’t actually pay that amount. Sometimes they get free upgrades, and sometimes they just get it for cheaper! (How exactly? We also dunno, you tell us if you know ok?)

You'll never know if you're sitting next to a millionaire! Photo from Flickr user sugee (Creative Commons)

You’ll never know if you’re sitting next to a millionaire! Photo from Flickr user sugee (Creative Commons)

Salary aside, Malaysians in general are pure cheapskates when it comes to flying la. Here’s how our respondents answered when choosing their flights:

  1. Cheapest seats on a budget airline – 59.4%
  2. Economy seats on premium airlines – 31.8%
  3. Premium seats on a budget airline – 4%
  4. First/business class on a premium airline 2.2%

While we’re on the subject of money…


2. … rich or poor, everyone will still sapu hotel toiletries 😛

Hands up if you’ve got random hotel soaps lying around your house. When we initially asked our respondents if they’ve secretly taken back toiletries, almost everyone jumped in defense to say that: (1) yes duh, and (2) WE FRIGGIN PAID FOR IT OF COURSE WE’D TAKE IT! 

So no surprise that 72.27% of our respondents said they’d take home toiletries, and another 58.86% said they’d take home even tea/coffee/creamer/sugar etc. sachets. (And yes, even those rich flers do it to – 71% and 52% respectively!)


Familiar sight? Unedited image from

In case you were wondering, yes, toiletries and consumables (sans mini-bar) are generally complimentary items you can take back home but people have tried to take home more than just that. Bathrobes are a popular one, as are pillows, but we even read that people nick telephones, paintings, bath mats and even plants! Fun fact: hotels used to monogram their towels to deter thieves, but that totally backfired cos it made for a nicer souvenir.

Anyway, more on our cheapskateness… can you guess what kinda accommodation most Malaysians prefer? 78.81% prefer not-so-atas hotels, followed by 49.70% who’d prefer AirBnBs. Atas hotels like St Regis or Hilton came in third at 34.45%.


3. 10.62% of Malaysians a bit mengada… they’ll speak with Mat Salleh accent when holidaying

Alaaa cakap je la nasi lemak.

Alaaa cakap je la nasi lemak, bknnya ape2 pon.

Waaah maybe cos they feel that our Malaysian accent isn’t sophisticated enough, or maybe cause a lot of people (especially angmohs) don’t actually understand half the things we say in our own accent. But when we kepoh a bit more into this group of people, it turns out that majority of them 46.88% mostly travel to ASEAN countries!

They also mostly have a household income of RM3,000 – RM6,000 (28.30%) and RM3,000 and below (19.5%). (Surprisingly the bigger the household income, the less mengadaness lol.) Oh and they’re mostly single (51.25%). Not sure how that ties in but you figure it out yourself la.

On a separate note, is it coincidental that ONLY 25.97% would say hello to a stranger when they hear him/her speak with a Malaysian accent? 🙁


4. Bad news for tour agencies… more than 80% would rather research and book everything themselves

It seems like the days of going straight to a tour agency are soon becoming a memory. Malaysians in general know exactly what they want out of their holidays, and they’ll do what they have to get it.

To do it online or to squeeze through a travel fair? Yeah... no thanks. Photo from

Squeezing through a travel fair for a good deal? Yeah… no thanks. Photo from

More than 80% of our respondents say that they research and book everything themselves. 14.4% leave it to someone else, and about 1% don’t plan but go on a whim. Only the remaining 3.5% would go to a tour agency!

It’s actually not a much of a surprise, if you think about it. If you’re resourceful enough, you’ll be able to book everything from flights to hotels and all the way to your activities. Here’s where sites like Klook come in. We mentioned at the start that they’re an activity booking site, and what that means is that you can choose from over 30,000 bookable activities, attractions, transport passes, utility items (such as pocket WiFi) and other travel essentials in over 150 major travel destinations across the world. 

Coincidentally they've got a Cherry Blossom promo for Japan/Korea/Taiwan/China activities

Coincidentally, now they’ve got a Cherry Blossom promo for Japan/Korea/Taiwan/China activities

This means that even before you leave Malaysia for your holiday, you would’ve already secured your SIM card/train passes/Disneyworld tickets/food tour/diving trips/day tours/private drivers etc. But even if you don’t plan in advance, they have something called instant confirmation, so you could literally stand in front of Disneyland, buy a ticket on Klook on your phone, and enter the theme park the next minute.

Cooo, huh?! That’s how travel should be – all play and no work.


5. BM-speakers really miss their instant noodles when they travel, huh?

Not just instant noodles, but local flavours in general. When they pack for their holidays, a whopping 49.56% said that they must bring instant noodles, as compared to English speakers (21.1%), Chinese dialect speakers (5.96%) and Tamil speakers (20%). But perhaps that could also be because most BM speakers have a lower holiday budget (40.89% of RM3,000 and below) than the rest.

Why am I NOT getting matches on Tinder? Malaysian women answer

16.13% of BM-speakers also said that they must pack along some form of chilli (e.g. cili padi, sambal), as compared to English speakers (5.57%), Tamil speakers (5%), and Chinese dialect speakers (1.19%).

It's ok, if got data then you can always bring cilisos with you :P Unedited image from

It’s ok, if got WiFi then you can always bring with you 😛 Unedited image from


6. But guess who can’t travel without minyak kapak?

Unedited image from Christian Dior

Unedited image from Christian Dior

Another form of local flavour, minyak kapak has been in our culture for longer than we’ve had our independence. Passed down from generation to generation, there’s no wonder why it is the number #3 most popular item that Malaysians MUST bring with them when they travel. (FYI – #1 was towels at 35.16%, #2 was camera at 30.84%. Wait… TOWELS?!)

In fact, minyak kapak even beat hand sanitisers (21.83%) and selfie sticks (14.31%)!

So when we dug further, guess what we found? It is most popular among Tamil speakers (47.50%)! Coincidentally, travel insurance is also least popular among Tamil speakers at only 37.5%. Very low compared to the rest at around the 55% mark. We guess minyak kapak is powerful enough to keep Malaysians away from the hospital 😀

And if you think that only the older folk depend on it, turns out that 61.64% of 20-39 years old said that they must bring it with them! Making amah proud, aren’t we?

7. Malaysians are pretty religious… 43.57% would pray before they fly

Ever felt that the chances of something bad happening when you fly is higher than when you drive? That’s a perfectly normal feeling, as we’re not the ones in control of the vehicle when we fly. But did you know that the chances of being in a car crash is so much higher than in a plane? In fact, after 9/11, more Americans chose to drive instead of fly… and in turn, road accidents were so much higher that year. 

Regardless, a number of Malaysians are to be pretty religious as they look to a higher power before they travel. A total of 43.57% said that they’d pray before they fly, and out of this number, most of them turned out to be BM speakers (63.93%), followed byTamil speakers (47.50%), English speakers (39.59%), and then Chinese dialect-speakers (28.95%).


It’s very common for Malaysians to pray before they fly.

The same trend applies with bringing along religious items on their trips – BM speakers were the highest in this category (46.04%), followed by Tamil speakers (10%), English speakers (18.03%), and then Chinese dialect-speakers (11.6%). (Side note: We also found that most Chinese people brought along lucky charms too, like their grandma’s beads and even a bacon soft toy!)

On a slightly unrelated note, we found that 49.37% of our respondents would usually purchase travel insurance before they leave. That’s always a good idea, too – get ready to be broke if you ever get hospitalised in a foreign land. Our writer Jolyn once had an allergic reaction in Dubai and her hospitalisation bill was around RM10k!! Siao!

8. More guys get conned than women lol

When it comes to gender qualities, the general assumption is that women are easier to con. But oh man did our respondents prove this wrong!

We found that more men than women experienced the following while on holiday: got mugged, got lost, lost their phones/wallets, lost their passports, got conned and even got broken up with! More women on the other hand experienced food poisoning and got hospitalised. In other unsurprising news, our data also showed that women are generally more disciplined, prepared, and law-abiding than men… so maybe that answers why kot?

We also found that men are almost two times more likely to have a holiday fling as compared to women. Hmm maaaaybe it’s a bit of a stretch, but it kinda makes sense. Why? More men (21.12%) admitted that they’d behave completely differently from how they do back home, as compared to women (14.83%).



And more men (52.67%) would also buy a sim card for themselves, as compared to women (40.94%). Ha! To Tinder right??



But what happens after their trip? Men tend to clear their luggages faster (mostly either immediately or within a day), whereas more women would take up to more than a month to get rid of their luggage. Ha! To get rid of evidence right??



Just joking la don’t angry k.

Anyway, getting conned is one less thing to worry about when you book your activities with Klook. They have over 2 million honest user reviews, so you’ll also get legit travelling tips to help you plan your holiday. They also guarantee the best prices so you’ll never get ripped off. If you find something that Klook offers at a better price, they’ll even double the difference. (More info here.)

Not enough? Nah more data for you to kepoh

Being data freaks ourselves, we have a truckload of data to share with you guys:

  • Where do Malaysians love to travel? ASEAN countries are the most popular (51.22%), followed by non-ASEAN Asian countries like India and China (15.79%), and then to only Malaysian destinations (12.8%). The most unpopular region is Africa (0.1%).
  • What’s our budget for a holiday? Most of us spend between RM1k – RM3k (37.73%), followed by RM3k – RM5k (22.98%).
  • How often do we go for holidays? Most of us go twice a year (35.9%), followed by once a year (26.37%).
  • What type of holiday, tho? City exploring was the most popular (64.42%), followed by beach getaways (46.30%), and historical visits (35.70%)
  • How do we get influenced on where to go? People we personally know have two times more effect in influencing our travel decisions as compared to cheap flight promos or social media influencers.
  • What about our packing habit? More than half of us (56.62%) only start packing the night before! Last minute much?!
  • What’s the #1 item Malaysians must travel with? Oddly enough, it’s… TOWELS?! (35.16%)
  • How good are we with rules? #1 airplane rule most Malaysians break is turning on their phones once their plane touches down (48.4%). Only 21.24% would carry luggage beyond the allowed limit. As for local rules, most Malaysians (66.29%) said that they’d find out before they travel and follow it to the T. Only 6.38% admitted that they won’t give a rat’s butt and live how they want to.
  • What WILL Malaysians splurge on? Food was #1 (72.10%) followed by sightseeing (47.32%). The least popular one? You guessed it – flights (5.05%).

Phew! We have so much more to share but we’re already bursting out of the word count limit.

Anyway, one thing’s for sure – Malaysians sure love travelling. So if you’re planning a trip soon, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check out what Klook has to offer. Not only do you have instant access to all sorts of activities across the globe, you’ll even get them at discounted prices and with honest reviews… sounds like a pretty smart thing for any traveller to do 🙂

Interested? Nah, go crazy here with promo code CILISOS15 for RM15 off your first purchase! 😀


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