The Best Time to Visit Malaysia

Information on the best time to visit Malaysia

Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia and is divided into West Malaysia and East Malaysia by the South China Sea. The west of the country is located on the Malay Peninsula and has a border with Thailand as well as various sea borders with Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore. East Malaysia is located on parts of the island of Borneo. West Malaysia and East Malaysia are separated by about 300 kilometres of sea. This results in geographical and climatic differences throughout the country. Due to the different climatic conditions, everyone should have the best time to visit Malaysia in mind when planning a holiday to Malaysia. Get all the information about the weather conditions of the different regions, because this will determine the best time to visit Malaysia. With the climate tables for the places, you can decide when is the best time to visit Malaysia for you.

Best time to visit Malaysia

The ideal time for a holiday in Malaysia cannot be determined overall for the entire country. It depends on which region you want to travel and what you expect from the weather while on your holiday. Since the rainfall in Malaysia does not decrease throughout the year, you always have to expect rainfall – even outside the monsoon season.

Best time to visit Malaysia by location and region

Place Best time to visit
Kuala Lumpur (western west Malaysia) December, January, February, June, July, August
Sandakan (north Borneo) March, April, May, June, July, August
Penang (north west west Malaysia) December, January, February
Langkawi (north west west Malaysia) December, January, February, March, April
East coast of west Malaysia March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October

Best time to visit the west of Malaysia

The most popular region in Malaysia is the west of the peninsula. Here lies the capital Kuala Lumpur, and further north on the west coast you’ll find the islands of Penang and Langkawi. The best time to visit for the west of Malaysia is actually the whole year. Since it is humid and hot all year round and there are only slight fluctuations in temperature and humidity, you’ll expect similar weather conditions year round. Nevertheless, I recommend the winter months as the best travel time for western Malaysia. In DecemberJanuary and February it is relatively dry. Good weather conditions prevail in November and March too. You can visit Langkawi and Penang to enjoy a bathing experience. In Kuala Lumpur weather conditions prevail that Europeans can endure well. As another suitable travel time for Kuala Lumpur the summer months stand out. Although JuneJuly and August can have extreme temperatures, the number of rainy days is lower compared to other months in spring and autumn.

Best time to visit eastern Malaysia

Since the dry and rainy season on the east coast of the peninsula of Malaysia is more pronounced than in the west, the best travel time for the east coast is from March to October. June to August are the favourite months for many travellers to stay on the east coast of Malaysia. In this time, you can expect not only good weather with high temperatures and comparatively few rainy days, but also open hotels on the islands like Tioman, Perhentian and Redang. You can explore the beautiful dive sites and spend a wonderful stay. During the rainy season on the east coast, there is usually so much precipitation and so many violent storms that hotels on the islands close. In the most unpleasant weather no boats are sailing and cannot bring tourists to the peninsula.

Best time to go to East Malaysia on Borneo

Borneo is generally wetter than West Malaysia on the peninsula, but also for East Malaysia there is a recommended holiday season. From March to mid-September you can count on the best weather conditions, which is why these months are the best time to travel to East Malaysia . However, you must always keep in mind that there are climatic differences between the Sabah and Sarawak regions. Sarawak is basically more humid than Sabah. Sabah is the place to go for dry weather during the best travel time in Eastern Malaysia, but tropical rainfall is on the rise in Sarawak. Be sure to check out the weather forecast before your trip so you’re perfectly prepared. But of course, you can’t trust it 100%. In countries that are close to the equator and have a tropical climate, it can quickly lead to weather changes. Short but heavy showers are not uncommon, even in the dry season. They usually take place in the late afternoon or evening.

Climate and weather in Malaysia

For Malaysia, temperatures are high and rainfall is consistently high throughout the year. The daytime temperatures range between 22 and 32° C, depending on what altitude you are at in the country. In mountainous regions, such as the Cameron Islands , the daytime temperatures are around 20° Celsius. At night, temperatures drop to 15° Celsius. The Kinabalu is the highest mountain of Malaysia and is located on Borneo. Here the thermometer can sometimes show the zero point and less. Like the temperatures and the rainfall, the humidity in Malaysia is permanently high.

There are two climate zones in Malaysia. For one thing, an equatorial climate prevails in almost all of the country . It ensures moist air and high temperatures. Over the course of the year, there are only slight fluctuations in these values. On the other hand, in some regions there is a tropical monsoon climate. This climate in Malaysia means a short dry season and a rainy season with heavy rains. The tropical monsoon climate prevails in the north of West Malaysia on the borders with Thailand and East Malaysia. In addition to these climatic differences, differences occur within individual regions. The monsoon significantly affects the climate and brings down rainy and dry seasons with different degrees of intensity in the different regions. So, below you will get the climate and weather information about the region of West Malaysia and East Malaysia on Borneo. Since the differences relate mainly to the precipitation, the focus is on how much rain falls.

Climate and Weather in Western Malaysia – Peninsula

The weather and climate in Western Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula is strongly influenced by the northeast and southwest monsoon. The southwest monsoon is responsible for heavy precipitation in the southwest and west in the months of May to September. This phase can be referred to as the rainy season. This region of Malaysia with Penang, Langkawi and the capital Kuala Lumpur has the advantage of being protected by the island of Sumatra. Sumatra absorbs much rainfall, so less reaches the west of the Malay Peninsula. As a result, the rainy season in the west of the peninsula is not as extreme as on the east coast. Do you want to holiday on the islands Penang and Langkawi? April, May, September and October are the months with the most rainy days. In Kuala Lumpur, also located in the west, it is a bit different with the rainy days. Here are the months with the most rainfall – March, April, October, November and December. The least rainfall is expected in the months of January, February, June, July and August.

In the east the southwest monsoon influences and leads to heavy rains between October / November and January / February. Strong storms are not uncommon. No boats are driving in these bad weather conditions. As a result, hotels and other accommodation on the islands will be closed during this time. From mid-March, the weather conditions on the east coast improve. The sun is shining, the rain can rarely be seen and until mid-October there is wonderful weather.

In the south of West Malaysia, there is a lot of rain throughout the year. The months with the most rainy days are November, December and January.

Climate table Kuala Lumpur (west)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. temperature in °C 32 33 33 33 33 33 32 32 32 32 32 32
Min. temperature in °C 23 23 23 24 24 24 23 23 23 23 23 23
Hours of sunshine per day 6 7 7 6 6 7 7 6 6 5 5 5
Rainy days per month 11 12 14 16 13 9 10 11 13 16 18 15

Climate table Penang (west)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. temperature in °C 32 32 32 32 32 32 31 31 31 31 31 31
Min. temperature in °C 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24
Hours of sunshine per day 8 8 8 7 7 7 7 6 5 6 6 7
Water temperature in °C 27 28 29 29 29 29 28 28 28 28 28 27
Rainy days per month 5 7 9 13 13 11 11 14 18 18 15 9

Climate table Kuantan (East)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. temperature in °C 30 31 32 33 33 33 33 33 32 32 31 29
Min. temperature in °C 22 22 23 23 24 23 23 23 23 23 23 23
Hours of sunshine per day 5 7 7 7 7 6 7 6 6 5 4 4
Water temperature in °C 27 27 28 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 28 28
Rainy days per month 12 9 9 10 12 10 10 12 14 16 19 17

 

Climate and weather in East Malaysia – Borneo

The island of Borneo is generally considered to be very rainy. In the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak there is less tropical equatorial climate , but tropical monsoon climate . The monsoon has a strong influence on the seasons. When there is rainy season, however, varies from region to region. May to December are the months when it usually rains even more. In other regions, the rainy season moves backwards and takes place, for example, from November to January. On the west coast around Kuching more precipitation falls between October and May. The months of June, July and August are relatively dry throughout eastern Malaysia. But of course, exceptions prove the rule!

It will be interesting if you want to climb the highest mountain of Malaysia, the Kinabalu. During a trekking tour, you will reach the humid and hot tropical climate in a fresh mountain climate. You should definitely be equipped with warm clothes. Furthermore, there is often more rainfall, because the rain clouds do not get over the mountains.

Climate table of Kuching (Borneo West)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. temperature in °C 30 30 31 32 33 33 32 32 32 32 32 31
Min. temperature in °C 23 23 23 23 24 23 23 23 23 23 23 23
Hours of sunshine per day 4 4 5 6 6 6 6 5 5 5 5 4
Water temperature in °C 27 27 28 29 29 29 28 28 28 28 28 28
Rainy days per month 22 17 16 17 15 14 13 14 16 19 22 22

Climate table Sandakan (Borneo North)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. temperature in °C 30 30 31 31 31 31 31 31 31 31 31 30
Min. temperature in °C 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24
Hours of sunshine per day 7 8 8 8 9 7 7 7 6 7 7 7
Water temperature in °C 28 28 28 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 28
Rainy days per month 10 11 10 15 19 16 15 17 18 21 20 19

My conclusion on the best time to visit Malaysia

The best time to visit Malaysia depends on which regions of the country you want to visit on a vacation. If your goals are set on travelling to Malaysia, you have to set your travel time accordingly. When it is clear when is the best time that you can take your vacation, you have to see which region you can go to at that time. The rule is: for the west of Malaysia you are following the winter months. For Kuala Lumpur in the west the winter and summer months are the ideal travel time. For a holiday on the East Coast on the Malay Peninsula the summer months are best suited, as there is dry season here. However, there can always be tropical rain showers. The situation is similar for East Malaysia on the island of Borneo. The summer months are recommended for the entire part of the country as the best travel time. When travelling to Malaysia, always keep in mind that here it is always maybe a little too hot and there is a high humidity.