Best Time to Visit Malaysia: A Comprehensive Guide

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A Sunny day in KL at Titiwangsa Park with Menara 118 in the background

Are you planning a trip and wondering what is the best time to travel to Malaysia? Look no further! In this post, we’ll give you a comprehensive guide on the best time to visit Malaysia, rain or shine.

Get first in line to the most anticipated local events and time your travel according to optimal climates and seasons. This diverse and culturally rich country prepares you for unforgettable multicultural experiences, sunny beach escapades, and vibrant city life exploration.

There’s no one good time to travel to Malaysia if you want to get the most out of your stay. Understand local climates and seasons and get a good idea of the best months to go to Malaysia.

KLCC Park Wading Pool on a beautiful day with the Twin Towers in the background

Climate Overview in Malaysia; a Tropical Country in South East Asia

March to May (Spring) is the best time to travel to Malaysia for a beach getaway

March marks the beginning of the Spring season and extends until May. By this time, the northeast monsoon decreases in intensity, and you’ll expect less strong winds.

Spring is the best time to travel to Malaysia to enjoy calm weather and warm temperature. Go on a beach exploration and discover seaside destinations like Tioman Island on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

It will be hot and sunny most of the time, so don’t forget your sunscreen! Rainfall might be minimal, but it’s better to be prepared with an umbrella.

The weather in Kuala Lumpur from March to May is getting warmer, and even though it rains less, you can still expect heavy downpours several times a week, usually paired with lighting and thunder. In most cases, these rainy periods happen late afternoon or early evening.

TIP: Click here to read our article featuring the best things to do when it rains in Kuala Lumpur

June to August (Summer) is the peak season for summer activities and awesome events

Summer is the hottest and driest time of the year in Malaysia, especially on the east coast. You can also expect humidity in cities like Kuala Lumpur and less rainfall in most of the country.

Meanwhile, by the end of August, periodic rainstorms will start on the west coast of Malaysia in preparation for the northeast monsoon.

Summer is a peak season in Malaysia, and it’s usually the time when tourists visit Kuala Lumpur and other popular destinations in Malaysia because of its favorable weather conditions. This is the best time to visit and enjoy activities like water sports or swimming in resorts.

Watch out for this season’s most exciting events at Sarawak Cultural Village, Kuching, including the Rainforest World Music Festival. Or celebrate Malaysia’s Independence Day, also known as Hari Merdeka, which happens at the end of the summer on August 31.

TIP: Click here to learn more about Hari Merdeka and other public holidays in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

September to November (Autumn) shoulder season calls for an unforgettable indoor outing with family

In Malaysia, Autumn, or the wet season, starts in September and ends in November. This time you can expect an increase in rainfall and experience the wettest month of the year.

The temperature during the day is still high, but you can look forward to cooler nights. Night temperatures range from 22 to 23 °C (72 to 73 °F). During this period it’s best to wear summer attire as it is still warm during this season, but also to keep an umbrella handy.

Autumn is the best season to travel to Malaysia if you love indoor adventures. Shop at malls, visit museums, drink at bars, and enjoy live entertainment at theaters.

The most awaited events this season are Malaysia Day (September) and Diwali or the Festival of Lights (November).

December to February (Winter) high season is the best time to visit Malaysia’s West Coast

Winter is another tourist season, especially with the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays. It’s a relaxing but busy time for locals and tourists looking for an enjoyable, luxurious vacation.

The northeast monsoon brings heavy rainfall from October to March on the peninsula’s east coast destination. However, you can experience better weather conditions on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, including in Kuala Lumpur

Combine a stay in Kuala Lumpur with a visit to beach islands like Langkawi or explore stunning colonial-era architecture in George Town, Penang. You can look forward to cultural events like Chinese New Year and Thaipusam, a Hindu festival the Tamil community celebrates.

TIP: Click here to read our blog about our favorite – locally produced – natural sunscreen for kids

January is the best time to visit Malaysia's west coast - here's our little girl on the beach in Penang

Winter is the best time to visit Malaysia’s west coast – here’s our little girl on the beach in Penang in January

The Best Time To Visit Malaysia Broken Down By Month

January: cultural and religious celebrations

January is the best time to experience the beauty of different cultures in Malaysia.

Chinese New Year gives you a lively celebration of Chinese culture with parades, lion dances, and street bazaars. This event is best experienced in big cities like Kuala Lumpur and George Town.

Thaipusam is a wonderful Hindu festival celebrating the devotion of Muslim devotees nationwide. You can look forward to two of the biggest celebrations of Thaipusam in the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur and George Town on Penang Island.

During this month, avoid places on the east coast, including Sarawak. Some optimal places to visit are Langkawi and Penang and cities like Melaka, KL, and George Town.

Lion-Dance-in-Celebration of Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur

February: a great time for festivals

Chinese New Year and Thaipusam can also fall in February. Since this is peak season, expect tourist crowds, especially in Langkawi, Penang, and Kuala Lumpur.

It’s also the best time to visit Malaysia’s Sabah, in Kota Kinabalu. Kota Kinabalu is unexpectedly dry during this time, making it ideal weather for climbing Mount Kinabalu or cruising in the Kinabatangan River.

The World Kite Event is also one of the most-awaited annual events held at Pasir Gudang, Johor.

February is almost the same as January, with the east coast experiencing unfavorable weather conditions because of the northeast monsoon rains. Best to avoid destinations like Perhentian Islands and Tioman due to high winds and heavy rain affecting these places.

Sunset on a beautiful evening during a boat trip in Kota Kinabalu
Cruising a river in Kota Kinabalu during the dry season in Sabah

March: start of the dry season on the east coast and rain in the west

March becomes more forgiving on the east coast as it prepares for Spring. Expect that the climate will be hot and humid throughout the country. But expect rainfall on the west coast, including Kuala Lumpur, Cameron Highlands, and Melaka.

Langkawi and Penang are still excellent choices for vacation destinations at this time. Meanwhile, Tioman and the Perhentian Islands see better and sunny days as the northeast monsoon leaves the east coast.

Anticipate exciting events and festivals such as the Perlis East Wind Festival, Raptor Watch, and the Birthday of Kuan Yin.

March is the beginning of the dry season of Malaysia's East coast
March in Miri, Sabah, on Malaysia’s East coast

April: the best time of year to travel to Malaysia and explore the country

It’s time to take advantage of Malaysia’s ideal weather conditions, especially the east coast’s dry season. Bask under warm weather and plan for outdoor activities like mountain trekking and beach hopping.

Expect rain showers from time to time. Despite the occasional heavy rainfall in Peninsular Malaysia, particularly Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, and Cameron Highlands are still hit tourist destinations. As mentioned before, even though there are still downpours in KL, they mostly occur late in the afternoon or early in the evening and have hardly ever disrupted our plan.

Rainy days in Kuala Lumpur: little girl splashing in water puddles
When it’s raining in Kuala Lumpur… it’s still a lot of fun!

Observe cultural events this April, like Vaisakhi, a Malaysian festival celebrated by the Malaysian Sikh community. There’s also the Sarawak Folklore Festival, which commemorates the Sarawak culture.

May: the best time to travel to Malaysia’s east coast

It’s a tough time on the west coast this month, with high winds and heavy rains terrorizing the coast. Even Penang and Langkawi are not ideal places to visit in May. 

The east coast, though, is as sunny as can be! Perhentian and Tioman Island are the top destinations to enjoy nice sunny weather. Treat yourself to amazing underwater adventures at Tenggol or Redang Island and go scuba diving or snorkeling.

Look forward to many significant events, including Wesak Day and Harvest Festival (Tadua Ka’Amatan).

June: the start of the school holidays

June kicks off summer with a bang! This is the peak season for tourists as school holidays have started in most countries, and many places will make a great addition to your itinerary. Just make sure to plan ahead because there will be a high demand for hotels and accommodations.

Enjoy the summer heat while exploring the vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur. Yes, KL is extremely hot in summer, especially in the afternoon sun with average temperatures around 95 °F (35 °C).

Tioman, Redang, and Perhentians Island are must-visit destinations if you’re looking for an optimal time to go scuba diving.

A trip to the west coast is also worth it being relatively dry. Some recommended places to go are Penang, Pangkor, or Langkawi.

If you’re in KL, check out the Malaysian Festival of Colours. Meanwhile, Sarawak holds two of the year’s most important events, the Gawai Festival and the Rainforest World Music Festival.

View over Georgtown, Penang, on a sunny day in June
View over Georgetown, Penang, on a sunny day in June

July: preparing the east coast for crowded days

July resumes summer hype as the east coast gets even hotter and more humid. Expect more visitors to come to the east coast. Meanwhile, the west coast islands experience heavy rain, winds, and thunderstorms.

This is the best time to visit east coast Malaysia for weather, specifically in destinations like Borneo, Tioman, Terengganu, and the Perhentians. Kuala Lumpur is also an excellent place to visit in July, with fewer rainy days to expect.

Celebrate one of the most traditional Malaysian festivals, Bon Odori Festival, held annually at Panasonic Sports Complex Shah Alam.

August: end of the summer season with the best festivities

Tourism on the east coast is still at an all-time high. Tioman and Redang Island are the recommended picks for diving activities. Borneo also offers the most exciting outdoor activities.

Kuala Lumpur and Melaka are popular summer destinations, so book in advance for the best accommodations.

August ends with Hari Merdeka (Malaysia’s National Day), where you can participate in activities and watch parades. The Chinese Hungry Ghosts Festival, an important Chinese traditional festival, will also be held in August.

September: calmer tourist days

The rainy season begins again after some time on the east coast. The west continues to experience heavy rains. Overall, September might not be ideal for visiting Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo.

An exception to this is Kuala Lumpur, as the capital of Malaysia is relatively dry this month. You can still enjoy some places like Tioman, Redang, Terengganu, or Pulau Besar in early September.

The Mooncake Festival, or Lantern Festival, usually fall in September. Celebrate the festival by eating mooncakes, visiting the Thean Hou Temple, and participating in mid-autumn festivities.

October: preparing for monsoon season

October continues the rain parade for most parts of Malaysia. It’s not the best time to visit the country as it is one of the wettest months of the year. By this time, heavy rainfall and strong winds come for the east coast as the monsoon sets in.

If you can’t help but travel during this time, plan your visit in late September. West coast islands like Penang and Langkawi will have more tolerable weather conditions during this time.

The Siniawan Heritage Fiesta is a worthwhile event held in a little Sarawak town every October. You can also look forward to Diwali or the Festival of Lights, usually in October or November.

November: welcoming tourists to the west coast as it opens up again

November treats the west coast much kinder with less heavy rain, but still expect afternoon rain. The east coast is the opposite, with the monsoon bringing heavy rain and wind.

This is the best time to visit Penang, Malaysia, or travel to Langkawi.

December: packed with end-of-the-year holiday celebrations

December ends the year well on the west coast with sunnier days and dry weather. Still, expect some rainstorms and humid weather conditions at this time. Meanwhile, the east coast is completely closed off due to the monsoon.

Many great destinations to explore on the west coast in December. With the sunny weather and warm temperatures, take advantage of these places: Sabah, Sarawak, Penang, Langkawi, and Melaka.

Spend New Year’s Eve in one of the big cities like Kuala Lumpur, and you can guarantee the time of your life. Of course, Christmas is also a big holiday for Christians this December.

December is a good time to visit Langkawi
December is a good time to visit Langkawi

Is Malaysia Worth Visiting?

There’s no need to tell you twice. Yes! Malaysia is very much worth visiting. And the best time to travel to Malaysia depends on the optimal weather and what activities, local events, and festivals you’re counting on seeing.

What about Kuala Lumpur in particular? What is the best time to travel to Kuala Lumpur? Visiting Kuala Lumpur is always a good idea, no matter which month. Yes, some months might be rainy, and others might be hot, but with so many things to do in Kuala Lumpur, you’ll surely keep busy.

We hope this comprehensive guide on the best time to visit Malaysia will help you to plan your trip wisely. Malaysia is full of thrilling adventures, vibrant festivals, and unique experiences that await you.

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Dive into Malaysia Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Time to Visit!
About Marlieke Kemp-Janssen:

Marlieke is the mom of a four-year-old girl and, together with daddy, they love living in and exploring Kuala Lumpur. As well as being the founder of Kuala Lumpur with Kids, Marlieke is a digital marketing consultant who has helped small businesses grow through her company Aureum Hospitality Advisers.

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