When To Visit Malaysia

When is the best time to visit Malaysia, umbrellas, colourful

At first glance asking when is the best time to visit Malaysia sounds like a no-brainer, but it is more complex than you may think and here’s why. 

Firstly, it is more than 1000km between Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur so understandably the weather is quite different. But even over short distances such as from coast to coast on the peninsular, the temperature can fluctuate dramatically on the equator. When you go depends on where you are going and what is it you want. 

I will do my best to demystify this conundrum and I think the best way is to break down what’s going on month by month so you can get what it is you want from your hard-earned time and money. 

The good news is that there is always something amazing to do somewhere in the country. In fact, Malaysian travel is never out of the question. 

 

Table of Contents

The best time to visit Malaysia month-by-month

January is the best time on the east coast of Malaysia

On the west coast of Malaysia, the weather is at its peak. Clear skies bring the crowds to Panang and Langkawi. Celebrations take centre stage at this time while Borneo is getting soaked. It is one of the wettest months to visit and many of the attractions will be inaccessible. 

January also marks the strange Hindu festival of Thaipusam, which involves parades, piercings and lots of self-mutilation. It can be a lot to absorb and is best witnessed around the Batu caves just outside of Kuala Lumpur for the full experience. 

February in Malaysia brings crowds to the east coast.

Demand for accommodation in Langkawi and Panang goes off the scale during February so book ahead. The rains are slowly beginning to clear in Borneo. However, many attractions are still off-limits.

It is the Chinese New Year and that brings colourful festivities. Malaysia has a vast Chinese community so you can expect to see celebrations everywhere. 

March in Malaysia sees the country opening up

The west of Malaysia will begin to cloud over and the east will begin to brighten up. Borneo is now becoming a little clearer and travel is now more realistic as everything becomes accessible. 

April in Malaysia is the start of the dry season

The dry season has started in Borneo and it’s the prime beach-going season in most places. April is a good month overall for travel in Malaysia in all honesty. 

If one month was going to be the best time to travel in Malaysia it would be April in my humble opinion. 

May in Malaysia is the underdog for travel

May does not see as many tourists as you would imagine since it boasts excellent conditions. it is considered the end of what is known as the shoulder season. enjoy it while it lasts. It should be easier to find a decent place to sleep but stay in front of things anyway. 

 

June in Malaysia is the begining of the busy season

It is getting busier in Borneo now and hotels will begin to become booked out. The east coast of Malaysia is coming into its own and those islands will be the tropical paradise you dream of.

Many festivals plump up the tourist numbers during June so beware. The Gawai festival in Sarawak is essentially a Dayak Thanksgiving that bursts into colour and tradition. Not to be missed if you are in the area. The Unesco-listed Dragons Boat Festival in Penang is also a must see attraction. 

July in Malaysia is full of festivities

The busy season has arrived and I can not stress enough how important it is to book well in advance. As in well in advance!

To put it into perspective let me talk to you about my own experience. I started booking stuff 8 weeks before and a lot of hotels were booked out already! What’s more, many tours were booked out as well. One week is far too late at this time. Just saying. 

July in Malaysia is also a big season for festivals. In Sarawak, it is the iconic Rainforest World Music Festival. It is also the Sabah International Folk Festival plus the George Town festival in Penang. While these are amazing festivities to participate in it means that beds will be both expensive and hard to come by. 

August in Malaysia is incredibly busy

August is one of the best times to visit the East Coast with very clear days and perfect visibility for divers. The opposite side of the peninsular will be sticky with heavy but brief downpours. 

It is the peak season for Borneo. Partly due to the school holidays in the west and some of the best weather to be had throughout the year. I strongly recommend thinking about your route well in advance or it’s going to be a painful and disappointing holiday. 

If someone was to ask me which month is best for the beach in Malaysia I would say August. The best beaches are on the East Coast and Borneo. You can expect clear and calm waters during this time, giving the beaches that dreamy feel to them. 

The whole country will be celebrating Malaysia Day or Independence Day on the last day of the month. It is most impressive in Kuala Lumpur. 

September in Malaysia sees the returns of the rains

September marks the end of the dry season for the part of the country in the northern hemisphere.

I am currently writing this during September and I can conclusively tell you Borneo is super hot and sticky with a few storms normally at the end of the day. It has been like that for the whole month. 

October in Malaysia brings lower numbers of tourists

It’s raining on both coasts and it’s not any better in Borneo. However, the peninsular could be a buzz with Davali celebrations. There is an extensive Indian community that became very evident during this time. 

November in malaysia is the height of the low season

November in Malaysia is very quiet. Well as quiet as it’s ever going to get. The weather is becoming quite miserable, especially towards the end of the month.

I must confess I enjoy travelling during this time as the country is almost empty and everything is green. The beaches are not any good though. However, the rivers and waterfalls are breathtaking. 

December in Malaysia is the least popular time to visit

This is quite possibly the worst time to come to Borneo. It will be chucking it down pretty much every day. Many of the natural spaces will be closed because it’s too dangerous to visit. 

December in Malaysia brings widespread mayhem due to the vast Christian Chinese communities celebrating Christmas. It is at this time you can see just how big the Chinese population is. 

other Bloggers


No Malaysia travel guide would be complete or fair without suggesting other writer’s blogs as mine is simply one opinion. Here are a few more Malaysia travel guides I genuinely believe have value for the reader.

Forest, aerial, rainfall

An important note about when to visit Malaysia 

Please note that 30 years ago this would just have been an accurate albeit rough guide because hey, it’s the weather. Today due to climate change and erratic weather patterns, any blog no matter who writes is nothing more than an educated guess, quite frankly.

I have just visited Malaysia during what should be the driest months and it rained almost every day. If you believe in climate change or not things are certainly different now than they were 30 years ago. I found some interesting climate graphs from Meteroblue that help highlight the point. 

In summary 

The experience you get while you travel in Malaysia will be greatly affected by when you decide to travel here, so give it some real thought to make the most of your time. 

If you are not sure what you want from your time and money then feel free to check out my blog on Malaysia travel for inspiration. If you have any further questions please let me know.,