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When is the Best Time to Visit Malaysia in 2023?

the best time to visit malaysia

Malaysia is an often overlooked country on trips to South East Asia, but one you shouldn’t miss. Most tourists come to Peninsular Malaysia, with Penang and Kuala Lumpur being the most visited spots.

However, if you are looking for something a little more adventurous, Borneo (East Malaysia) should also be considered! Today we are going to discuss the best time to visit Malaysia to help you plan your next trip itinerary.

Weather in Malaysia

Visit the Batu Caves Malaysia 2020
Batu Caves, Malaysia. Source: https://whileyoustayhome.com/

The weather often varies throughout different parts of Malaysia. Even if you are just traveling between Penang and Kuala Lumpur, you will notice a difference.

Malaysia’s location is near the equator, so the weather is quite similar throughout the year. The country has two main seasons, rain and dry, but the temperature does not change much.

Whenever you choose to visit, expect the average Malaysian temperature to be about 30°C with a humidity of over 80%.

There is one major exception to this, and that’s the highland areas. If you are visiting the Cameron Highlands, temperatures are around 25°C. This can drop down to below 15°C in the winter, so pack appropriately if you are visiting this area.

See also: 15 Best Things to Do in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Weather in Kuala Lumpur

kuala lumpur yearly average temperature by month
Kuala Lumpur average temperatures Source: https://weather-and-climate.com/

Kuala Lumpur is the first stop on most people’s visit to Malaysia, and the main airport to fly into. The city has a tropical climate, so be prepared for rain at any time during your stay! Expect the most rain in April, October and November.

The driest time to visit is between June and August. However, the city does get more than 200 days of rainfall a year!

As it’s a city with plenty of shopping centers and cafes, there’s always somewhere nearby to hide. Showers usually pass quickly here, and then you can get on with your day.
Humidity-wise, the highest levels are experienced between September and November.

If you prefer to travel in what will feel like a cooler month, I’d recommend January. January can have low temperatures of 23°C, making it one of the best times to visit Kuala Lumpur.

Weather in Penang

yearly average temperature in penang
Penang average temperatures. Source: https://weather-and-climate.com/

After Kuala Lumpur, the next most popular spot for tourists is Penang. Located in the north, Penang is known for its fantastic food and places to visit.

The driest months to visit here are between December and March. The start of the year in January and February is also a good time to visit, but it can be very hot!

To escape the rain, consider avoiding September and October, which are the wettest months. It’s not unusual to experience up to three rain showers a day while visiting here, so pack for the everchanging Malaysia climate!

Weather in Borneo

average yearly temperature in borneo
Average temperature and rainfall in Borneo, Malaysia. Source: hikersbay.com/climate/

Heading east from the Malaysian Peninsula, we get to the world’s third-largest island, Borneo. There are so many outdoor adventures to be had here, so I’d recommend visiting between June and August.

However, due to the tropical rainforests on the island, rain can be expected throughout the year. If you travel between December and February, expect heavy rainfall that can disrupt hiking and other adventures.

Weather Elsewhere in Malaysia

Tioman Island, Malaysia. Source: lonelyplanet.com

Another popular vacation spot is Malaysia’s Perhentian Islands, which experience the best weather between June and August.

The islands are extremely busy with locals and visitors during this time, so book ahead. You can visit in the winter, however many beach resorts and restaurants do close during this time.

I would also recommend a visit to Langkawi, which is very popular for its beautiful beaches.

The high season here is between December and February, and the weather is best at this time. A lot of people complain about jellyfish in the ocean here, especially between May and October.

One final spot I recommend is Tioman Island, located close to Singapore. Between April and September, you will experience dry weather here, and this is also a quieter island to visit. I love exploring these gorgeous Malaysian beaches during this time.



Booking.com

Festivals and Events in Malaysia

When choosing the best time to visit Malaysia, it’s also worth considering the festivals and events taking place. Some of the highlights throughout the year include:

  • January/February (dates vary): Chinese New Year. This is a national holiday in Malaysia, and throughout the country, you will see celebrations. It’s a vibrant and exciting time to visit! Thaipusam Festival is another cultural event that takes place in January.
  • June: Birthday of Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Kuala Lumpur, in particular, celebrates the birthday of Malaysia’s king in June. This is a national holiday for the country.
  • June/July: Dragon Boat Festival. If you happen to be in certain areas during this time, this is a fun sight to see! Rowing boats dressed as dragons race in Melaka, Penang and Kota Kinabalu. This is to commemorate the drowning of a Chinese scholar who protested against political corruption.
  • July: Hari Raya Aidilfitri. This may be a time to avoid traveling during. This celebration marks the end of Ramadan and is one of the most important dates in the Islamic calendar. Travel can be hectic during this time due to families gathering for feasts.
  • 31st August: National Day (Hari Merdeka). This day commemorates the independence of Malaysia from British ruling. It’s celebrated with parades and fireworks and is a fantastic sight for visitors to see!
  • 16th September: Malaysia Day (Hari Malaysia). September 16th commemorates the Malaysian Federation’s formation. This is now a national public holiday.
  • Between September and November: Awal Muharram. Sometime between September and November falls the beginning of the Islamic New Year. This is marked by religious gatherings, singing and praying.
  • December: Christmas Decorations. Like many places in the world, Christmas can be a magical time to visit. Cities like Kuala Lumpur decorate their streets with lights and colourful decorations, making it an excellent time for photography.

There is a lot to take into consideration when planning a trip to Malaysia, including Malaysia’s climate and various festivals. The weather is generally quite consistent, but you should pack umbrellas and coats for any visit!

Whatever time of year you visit, you will find at least two areas that have good weather during that time. I think Malaysia is an often overlooked country in Southeast Asia. It’s well worth factoring into your next visit to this part of the world.

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Catalin Geangos
Catalin Geangos is the founder and previous owner of TravelTrained. He has been to more than 35 countries and lived in a few more before. He was a digital nomad travelling and backpacking extensively in Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam and others parts of South East Asia from 2020 to 2023. He wrote about many articles about his first hand backpacking and partying experiences in these countries. He stayed in many hostels and hotels, met many other backpackers, travelers and locals whom he partied and shared his story with. His articles have inspired travelers, mostly single backpackers, around to world to take the leap to explore South East Asian countries from grassroots and not just the tourist attractions but also the real and happening life on the streets after the sun sets down! He now writes about outdoor gear and hiking.