Malaysia boasts a varied topography that brings different micro-climates between the insular and peninsula regions of the country. Just like other tropical countries throughout the equatorial zone, there are two seasons experienced in Malaysia. However, it is relatively unique compared to most other nations around the world in that the eastern part of the peninsula and Borneo experience their wet season between the months of October and February. Daytime temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year, hovering at around 90°F (32°C). During these months, the western side is mainly dry as a north-east monsoon sweeps across the China Sea.
Almost the exact opposite weather is found between the months of April and October. The north-east monsoon recedes, while the south-west monsoon hits Southeast Asia. This leads to heavy rainfall on the eastern coast, while leaving the western region of Malaysia relatively dry. Of course, due to the equatorial climate, some rainfall is still experienced in the ‘dry’ seasons.
While the western and eastern regions have opposite seasons, the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula boasts a relatively wet climate all year round. Cities like Kuala Lumpur remain ‘damp’ throughout the year.
As aforementioned, temperatures in Malaysia vary slightly month to month. Some of the highland regions experience a significantly lower temperature than average with daytime highland areas tending to stay around 77°F (25°C).
Best Time to Visit Malaysia
Despite the presence of long wet seasons, the heaviest rainfall is experienced during the months of October and November on the east coast and April and May in the western regions. Even though this period is considered to be the low season and therefore cheapest time to visit Malaysia, the heavy downpours tend to ruin any beach, water, or sightseeing activities. If you plan to visit during these months, plan on indoor attractions.
There are two periods of the year to avoid in Malaysia. The first is the Christmas/New Year holiday, which results in huge crowds, low vacancy rates, transportation issues and high prices. Another is between the months of June and July, which see the country’s best attractions overrun by travelers on their break from school, especially those from the Middle East.