Located in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is a popular holiday destination for many.
Famous for its stunning coastal areas, culture, and wide range of cuisines, Malaysia is a country that must be on everyone’s bucket list.
However, since the country is above the equator, it has a very equatorial climate. So what does that mean when you’re planning a visit?
Table of Contents
- The Best Time to Visit Malaysia’s West Coast
- The Best Time to Visit Malaysia’s East Coast
- The Best Time to Visit the Lowlands, Highlands & Kuala Lumpur
- Best Things to do in Malaysia
- The Best Overall Time to Visit Malaysia
Malaysia is a vast country, meaning that one month may be a great time to visit one part of the country while the same month may be the worst time to visit another part of the country.
Malaysia has an equatorial climate, with high temperatures and wet months throughout the year. Temperatures at sea level range from 21°C to 32°C. While the temperatures at higher elevations are much cooler, ranging from 15°C to 25°C.
In this article we explore the different regions of Malaysia, the best and worst times to visit each of them and then at the end we will tell you the best overall time to visit Malaysia.
The Best Time to Visit Malaysia’s West Coast
Popular locations: Langkawi, Penang and Pangkor.
The west coast mainland and islands off the Malay Peninsula are typically tropical.
Hot, sunny and humid with showers year-round, the best time to visit the west coast of Malaysia for the highest chance of great weather is during the dry season (November to March).
The downside of the good weather in the west during these months is that there are more crowds and higher hotel rates.
The wet season on the west coast runs from April to October, with September and October experiencing the heaviest rainfall. If you visit during the early wet season, you’ll experience fewer crowds, low hotel rates and even days of sunshine!
The Best Time to Visit Malaysia’s East Coast
Popular locations: Perhentian Islands, Terengganu, Redang and Kota Bharu.
The east coast of Malaysia is hot and sunny for most of the year, with the warm waters of the South China Sea generating a cool, pleasant breeze.
The North-East Monsoon strikes between November and February, so it’s best to avoid the islands during this period.
The best time to visit the east coast of Malaysia is between April to October when there is little rain, lots of sunshine and perfect temperatures. Since the east coast is usually drier than the rest of Malaysia, it’s the best place for a beach holiday.
As underwater visibility improves during this period, it’s also the perfect time for diving and snorkelling.
The Best Time to Visit the Lowlands, Highlands & Kuala Lumpur
Popular locations: Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Cameron Highlands.
Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, and Malacca are both hot and humid year-round, with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 32°C. Being in a tropical climate, showers occur almost daily in these locations.
The wet season (April to October) has downpours that are not much heavier than the rest of the year. However, they can bring relief to the sometimes stifling humidity.
Located at an altitude of 1,500m above sea level, the Cameron Highlands has a very different climate from the rest of the country. The Cameron Highlands average 22°C during the day and a cool 15°C at night.
The perfect climate for growing tea, fruit and flowers, visiting the Cameron Highlands is a great contrast to the hotter, lowland areas of the country.
With the moderate temperatures, a typical day in the Cameron Highlands consists of blue skies in the morning, showery afternoons and chilly nights. The heaviest periods of rainfall run from September to early December.
Best Things to do in Malaysia
Being a country with diverse landscapes, including highlands and tropical islands, there is no shortage of things to do in Malaysia, including
Sip tea in the Cameron Highlands
As mentioned earlier, the Cameron Highlands has the perfect climate to grow tea, so what better place to taste delicious tea than in the highlands?
While there are plenty of hikes to enjoy in the region, as well as strawberry plantations, the quintessential Cameron experience is sipping on tea while looking out at the expansive tea plantations.
Explore the stunning Perhentian Islands
Located on the east coast, one of the best things to do in Malaysia is to explore the stunning Perhentian Islands.
Home to crystal clear waters lapping against the golden shore, it may be hard to believe that the islands are even more beautiful underwater! Snorkellers can marvel at the coral reefs and swim alongside green sea turtles.
The Perhentian Islands are also a great place to go diving alongside nurse sharks and to the MV Union Star shipwreck.
Hike to the summit of Mt Kinabalu
Gunung Kinabalu is Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site located on Borneo.
Standing tall at 4,095 metres, the view from the top of the mountain is absolutely breathtaking and standing on the summit is an absolute must-do while in Malaysia.
Although the views at the top are stunning, they come at a price. A step ascension over 8.7km will get your thighs burning, but all will be forgotten once you reach the summit.
The journey is split across two days and takes you through high-alpine grasslands, past lunar rockfaces and high above the treeline. The best time to climb Mt Kinabalu is between March to August, and you must climb with a guide.
Go off-grid on a private jungle island
If you’ve ever wanted to go completely off-grid, the best place to do so is on a private island in Royal Belum State Park.
Located in Belum-Temengor, dive off the island jetty, sleep in an A-frame tent, hike through the jungle and enjoy a few days of solitude away from civilization.
Related: This is the ultimate guide to visiting Kuala Lumpur.
The Best Overall Time to Visit Malaysia
Being such a large country, the best time to visit Malaysia depends on where you want to go.
The best overall time to visit Malaysia is between January and September. Located close to the equator, the country is hot and humid year-round, interspersed with tropical rain showers.
The wet season on the east coast is between November and February, while the west coast experiences sunny, dry weather.
The wettest months on the west coast are between April to October, meaning they’re the driest months on the east coast.
When are you going to plan your trip?