When to Go to Malaysia
Located just above the equator, Malaysia experiences an equatorial climate, bringing hot and humid weather, with the occasional burst of rain. This means that there’s always sunshine somewhere, making Malaysia a year-round destination. There are just two seasons here, and their weather patterns broadly split the country into its east and west coasts.
West Coast Monsoon: April to September
'East coast sunshine' might be a more appropriate name for this season, because when the rains hit the west, the east coast around Tioman Island, the Perhentian Islands and Kuala Terengganu experience glorious sunny days with temperatures hitting 30°C plus. Calm seas kick off the diving and snorkelling season in May, and while the winds pick up on west coast, by June the east coast is hot and dry – the perfect beach weather. This is also a lovely time to visit Kuala Lumpur before the seasons change over in September and the wind and rains arrive.
Best places to visit during the West Coast Monsoon:
- Hari Raya Aidilfitri: this national holiday celebrates the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting, with prayers, visits to relatives, giving to charity and of course lots of eating.
- Penang World Music Festival: in April, head to Georgetown for two days of music from Malaysian and international artists, as well as music workshops and dancing.
East Coast Monsoon: October to March
As the rains move east, the west coast begins to dry out, creating the perfect beach conditions. The rains force many east coast island hotels to close between November and March, so stick with the sunnier west coast beaches around Penang and Langkawi. With little rain, January is a great time to visit Malacca before the east coast brightens again in March and the rains head back west to repeat the cycle.
Best places to visit during the East Coast Monsoon
- Chinese New Year: join the celebrations as Malaysia’s Chinese population celebrates the New Year in January or February. Look out for dancing dragons, lanterns and plenty of eating across the country.
- Malaysian Grand Prix: held in late March, the Malaysian GP, held on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, is one of the highlights of the racing calendar and electrifying to watch. Get your tickets early!