[WWF!] Contents of Luggage

Assalamualaikum wbt and Good Day everyone.

Selamat Hari Raya.

It is now less than 2 weeks before you fly off to the UK, and some of you may have started packing. Hence, I find it very useful and important to at least give you some guide on what you SHOULD and SHOULD NOT put into your luggage. Comments and criticisms are welcomed!


-> Pocket

1. Passport

  • [Why?] Did you just ask why?
  • [How?] Keep it with you ALL THE TIME. Never breathe without knowing that you have it. But make sure your weight does not damage it.

2. Flight ticket

  • [Why?] This may not be too critical for those taking MAS’s direct flight. But those on flights with transit, do take a good care of your ticket
  • [How?] Keep it together with your passport. Never lose it unless you have lost your passport. Heh.

3. Some Great Britain Pound (GBP) cash

  • [Why?] You will need to use some cash to do petty transactions such as buying drinks or paying for taxis.Plus, you don’t have UK bank account to enable you to perform such transactions using debit card. On top of that, your bank account will only be ready around 2 weeks after your arrival (Yes, it is that long!)
  • [How?] Don’t bring everything in the form of travellers cheque or bank draft. Keep aside some amount in cash. Have something around GBP200-300 to enable you to live for at least 2 weeks. Remember that you will need to do some shopping once you have arrived e.g. buying duvet and pillow, arming the kitchen with pot, cutleries, and knives. Plus, those who will live off-campus will need to pay their deposit and the rent for the 1st month, so bring sufficient amount of money for this purpose, on top of the above suggested amount.

-> Hand Luggage

1. X ray film

  • [Why?]  This is EXTREMELY necessary for you to enter the UK. They will ask for it at the immigration desk although they may not look at it closely. But you NEED to have it. Else, you have to take a very long queue to have your X ray image done at the airport clinic. And it costs 30-40 pound.
  • [How?] Do not fold it, but you can bend it to fit into your luggage. To avoid the film being damaged by the bending, put a trousers or two between the sides. (first, put any cloth half the size of the film, put it on the film and bend the film around the cloth. The result will look like something folded around the cloth) – adoi, susah betul nak explain. Xde gambar pulak nak tunjuk.

2. Medical checkup report

  • [Why?] This is required alongside your X ray film. As far as I am concerned, you need to have this. But I have not checked the latest changes in rules and regulations, so this might have changed. But I seriously feel that you need to have this, because an X ray film will be meaningless without a medical report.
  • [How?] As for me, I just took the urine test. No blood test were done. I am not very sure whether it is a requirement to do the blood test, but I think my doctor just put “FINE” for all questionnaires in the medical report form provided by my sponsor. Please have the medical report together with your X ray film.

3. Necessary documents

  • [Why?] Apart from your student visa and medical report, they still need you to prove that you are a student and not a foreign job-seeker. Make sure you have all the important documents from the University and your sponsor. Examples are Unconditional Offer Letter, Financial Affidavit, and Accommodation Tenancy Letter (if possible. People living in accommodation halls, if I am not mistaken should already have something like this i.e. confirmation that you will have a UK address during term-time. If not, make sure you have the address of your accommodation, at least the postcode)
  • [How?] Put all important documents in one folder. A hard-covered folder is recommended to guarantee the documents’ sanity after a long flight.

4. Sweater

  • [Why?] Upon your arrival, the weather will be a bit chilly, but it won’t be so much that you need a very thick wintercoat. A regular sweater that Malaysians usually wear in an air-conditioned room during seminars every now and then (and fell aslept during it) will do just fine! Although a 13 degree celcius temperature seems too much, but please note that the air is dry in the UK. Hence, it won’t be so cold.
  • [How?] Fold it and put it into your luggage. Simple 🙂

-> Checked-in Luggage

1. Clothes

  • A fair amount of them. Do not bring everything you have as you will buy more once you get there
  • Typically, we dress like this in the UK during winter: a pair of shoes with socks, pants or jeans, a tshirt, a thin sweater and a jacket. It is for outdoor. When we get into a building (in which it is warmer), we just take our jacket off and are left with tshirt and sweater (with our pants on of course)
  • So there is no need to buy something like the Long John or wool shirts. It is not that an individual cloth that provide the warmness we need, but layers of them.

2. Food

  • Students in the UK normally cook to save money (although with no talent at all). It is very economical to cook, especially in groups. A complete meal at a restaurant will cost you around 5-10 pound, depending on what you ordered. However, a self-cooked meal will cost something around 1-2 pound, still, depending on what you cook. And the cost can be a lot less if you cook in groups. For the record, Basmathi rice in the UK costs around 1.50 per kg, 15 eggs in TESCO costs 2.50, Kicap Manis Cap Kipas Udang costs 1.75, Sos Cili Thai Maggi costs 1.25, halal chicken leg from butcher costs 2.99 per kg and many more. In short, the purchasing power in the UK is a lot higher when compared to that in Malaysia.
  • Hence, some (untalented) students need to bring paste and spices from home to help them cook. Brahim’s and Maggi products are ones of the famous thing to bring. They enable a zero cook to be a hero. For example, I could produce a set of delicious Kuah Kacang and Ketupat without prior knowledge in cooking. That is how magical (and important) these ‘Cooking Aid’ to the lives of many students.
  • Suggestions are various dishes instant paste by Brahim’s and Maggi, kiub Tomyam Knorr and Maggi, sup bunjut Adabi, Maggi’s Ayam Masak Black Pepper, Brahim’s Rendang Daging, etcetera.
  • Serunding daging is also helpful to provide taste to your cookings later

3. Special Spices and Food Ingredient

  • It is true that in the UK, spices are easy to be found. Curry powder, Cloves (bunga lawang), Cinnamon, Tumeric, Ginger, Coriander etcetera are abundant in the UK. This is due to the high number of Pakistanis, Indians and Arabs who live here.
  • But there are some spices that are hardly available in the UK. Example is Asam Keping.
  • Anchovies (ikan bilis) is also quite hard to be found, and is very expensive. 200g of them in the Fresh Asia store (located somewhere near the infamous TESCO) costs 1.99. So bringing some from Malaysia can save you some money. Plus, it is not heavy.

That’s all that I can think of for now. Please write comment for anything, especially additions.

Good luck.




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