What's the best time to visit Malaysia?
The best time to visit Malaysia is between March and June to enjoy the dry season across various regions, ideal for exploring the country’s rich history, lush jungles, and vibrant street food scene. This period avoids the worst of the rainy season, offering great wildlife viewing opportunities and perfect conditions for outdoor activities like hiking and beach visits.
The Southeast Asian country of Malaysia is an incredibly rich place to visit. Visitors are welcomed to a country with thousands of years of history, lush jungle landscapes, and a culture characterized by hospitality and great cuisine.
Most trips to Malaysia start in Kuala Lumpur, the capital. Take in ultramodern sights, such as the Petronas Towers, once the tallest buildings in the world. The capital is a melting pot of cuisine, so one of the best things you can do is eat your way through the country’s famous street food scene.
Many beautiful sights are a day trip away, such as the towering Batu Caves, a Hindu holy site. Outside of the capital, there is plenty to do. You can explore one of the other cities, such as hedonistic George Town or multicultural Melaka, a historic spice trading point.
But while there’s plenty to see and do, what’s the best time to visit Malaysia? We’ll show you this, the cheapest, least busy, and worst times to help you find the right time for you; let us be your guide!
Overall Best Time to Visit Malaysia
The best time to visit Malaysia is between March and June, as this allows you to catch the dry season in different regions throughout the country.
Although Malaysia is a relatively small country in Southeast Asia, its regions actually differ vastly in terms of their climate — and even in terms of their seasons!
Malaysia has two major regions divided by the Gulf of Thailand — Sarawak on the island of Borneo and the mainland on the Malay Peninsula. Borneo and the peninsular part have different seasonal patterns.
Due to the influence of coastal winds, Malaysia’s East Coast and West Coast have different seasonal patterns, especially rainy seasons. Every region of Malaysia is located in a tropical climate zone, meaning that it is hot, humid, and fairly rainy all year round.
The main difference is the timing of the rainy season, which occurs during:
- West Coast: May-October
- East Coast: October-March
- Borneo: November-February
Visiting in the early spring allows you to avoid the worst of the rainy season in most of the country (although Kuala Lumpur is fairly rainy all year round).
If you’re planning to visit Malaysia and try to see most of the country’s different regions, this is the best time to put together a wide-ranging itinerary. March-June is also one of the best months to see wildlife in Malaysia, especially in Sarawak and Sabah’s amazing natural parks.
For example, Taman Negara National Park is best visited during this time. The dry season means that the park is easier to navigate (rainy season can turn the park’s roads into mud trails), so you’re more likely to see wildlife.
During spring, there are also more migrating birds throughout the country. This time marks the beginning of the dry season in Borneo, which means that is the perfect time for other jungle adventures. Spring is the most popular time to go hiking in Borneo, for example on Mount Kinabalu.
Not only are the paths more passable, but also the dry weather makes for better visibility once you reach the top. Spring is also the perfect time for beach weather in the country.
It’s mostly dry on both coasts, so you can lounge on the pristine sands of the Perhentian Islands. Spring marks the end of the monsoon season on the eastern coast, so you’ll be able to take advantage of good weather.
Towards the end of the spring, you may even catch turtles hatching! If you visit in early spring, you can also go to the beach on the western coast, before the monsoon season starts on the other side of Malaysia.
The high season in Langkawi and other Andaman Sea destinations ends by March but the rains aren’t here yet, so you can lounge on the beach while enjoying some discounted hotel prices.
Mid to late spring is when Malaysia’s best cultural festivals start. If you want to get a feeling for the diverse ethnic groups and religions that call Malaysia home, this is a great time to visit.
Popular events include:
- Guan Yin Festival, celebrating a Buddhist goddess (March)
- Raptor Watch, an event inviting bird watchers to follow migrating birds of prey (March)
- Regatta Lepa, a traditional boat festival in Sabah (April)
- Harvest Festival, celebrating the indigenous people of Sabah (May)
- Wesak Day, a major Buddhist Festival (May)
- Dragon Boat Festival, celebrated by Penang’s Chinese community (June)
- Festa San Pedro, honoring Melaka’s Portuguese heritage (June)
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Cheapest Time to Visit Malaysia
The cheapest time to visit Malaysia is in the fall, between September and November. However, the cost of visiting Malaysia doesn’t vary that much throughout the year, so the savings will be minimal.
Malaysia doesn’t have much in terms of a typical tourist high season because it attracts tourists almost all year round. The exception is the fall.
As we established, the timing of the rainy season varies throughout the country, but pretty much the whole country is holding an umbrella in September, October, and November due to the influence of the monsoon season.
Hotel operators don’t get a lot of visitors during this time, so you can get discounts on rooms that normally go for much more expensive prices.
Even hotels in tourism hotspots, such as the Cameron Highlands, usually offer discounts to those willing to brave Malaysia’s rains during this time. There isn’t as much demand from international visitors, so you can also get discounts on flights during this time.
There are also no school holidays in the fall in Malaysia or in popular origin countries for its visitors, such as the United Arab Emirates, so flight prices will be lower.
Fall is also a common season for sales in the country. If you want to visit to go shopping, this is one of the best times to visit as you can get discounts on designer goods.
Least Busy Time to Visit Malaysia
The least busy time to visit Malaysia is during the fall, between September and November, as fewer people visit during this rainier season of the year.
As we mentioned above, Malaysia gets plenty of visitors throughout the year, but the rate of tourists slows to a trickle in many parts of the country during this time.
As long as you don’t mind the rains, this is a good time to explore the popular sights of Kuala Lumpur or lounge on the beach without fighting through the crowds. Fall may be rainy, but it also has some benefits for visitors.
The constant precipitation means that you can see beautiful vegetation and flowers, especially if you head inland to the Cameron Highlands. Fall also has a number of popular festivals. One of the most famous is Diwali, which is important to the local Hindu population.
This festival of lights usually takes place in October or November, and visitors can enjoy streets lit up with clay lamps and decorated with colorful murals.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Chinese community celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival or Mooncake Festival in September. This season is a good time to enjoy indoor attractions, such as museums and shopping malls (Malaysia has some of the best shopping malls in the world).
Many of Kuala Lumpur’s cultural festivals take place during this time, such as the Urbanscapes creative arts festival in November. If you plan your trip right, you can even beat the rains during rainy autumn.
Certain parts of the country, such as Melaka, don’t get a lot of rain during this time. Even in the rainiest areas, most rains happen in the afternoon, so get up early if you’re planning any outdoor activities.
Worst Time to Visit Malaysia
The worst time to visit Malaysia is during the summer, when the weather is the hardest for exploring, and there are plenty of crowds. Summer throughout Malaysia is hot and very humid.
The oppressive heat and high moisture content make it very difficult to move around if you’re not used to the temperatures. All year round, Malaysia has fairly high temperatures, but in July they can reach up to 90 degrees and higher.
Certain parts of the country, notably the west coast, are affected by the southwest monsoon season. Malaysia usually isn’t affected by the devastating tropical storms called typhoons, but the monsoons, or seasonal rain patterns, can dump plenty of rain in one day on the country.
The air quality in the summer is also the worst due to increased energy consumption and hot, hazy air trapping pollution in the cities.
In the Borneo regions, pollution increases during the summer due to forest fires and slash-and-burn agriculture. The air quality can make moving difficult and be downright dangerous for people with respiratory problems.
You would think the poor weather conditions would chase away many visitors, but summer is actually one of the most crowded times to visit the country.
It is the season of school breaks both in Malaysia and in countries from which many people visit, such as the UAE, and many families take advantage of this time to travel. You’ll have a hard time finding an affordable hotel room in coastal resorts during this time.
Still, there are some benefits to visiting during the summer. This season is the best for cultural festivals, such as the George Town Festival which usually takes place in July or different folklore festivals around the country.
Malaysia by Month: Climate & Activities
Still unsure about the best time to visit Malaysia? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:
January is the rainy season on the east coast, with temperatures ranging from 23 to 30°C (73-86°F). Explore the cultural heritage of Georgetown in Penang, visit the Cameron Highlands for cool weather, and celebrate Thaipusam with the Hindu community.
Similar to January, February maintains the rainy season on the east coast. Enjoy the Chinese New Year celebrations, explore the street art in Penang, and visit the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park.
As spring begins in March, temperatures in Malaysia range from 24 to 31°C (75-88°F). March is ideal for exploring the historical city of Malacca, diving in Sipadan for underwater adventures, and hiking in Taman Negara National Park.
April sees temperatures ranging from 24 to 31°C (75-88°F). Visit the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, relax on the beaches of Langkawi, and explore the biodiversity of Borneo’s rainforests in places like Danum Valley.
May maintains temperatures between 24 to 31°C (75-88°F). Explore the Batu Caves near Kuala Lumpur, experience the Ramadan festivities, and enjoy the cultural diversity of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.
In June, summer arrives in Malaysia with temperatures ranging from 24 to 31°C (75-88°F). June offers opportunities for island hopping in Perhentian Islands, exploring the street food scene in Penang, and visiting the historic Kuching Waterfront in Sarawak.
July maintains warm temperatures from 24 to 31°C (75-88°F). Explore the tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands, dive in the clear waters of Tioman Island, and attend the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak.
Temperatures in August range from 24 to 31°C (75-88°F). Enjoy the festivities of Merdeka Day (Independence Day), explore the cultural sites in Ipoh, and visit the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok.
As fall begins, temperatures range from 24 to 30°C (75-86°F). September is ideal for exploring the historic George Town in Penang, hiking in the Mossy Forest of Cameron Highlands, and experiencing the Mid-Autumn Festival.
October sees temperatures ranging from 24 to 30°C (75-86°F). Visit the UNESCO-listed Kinabalu Park in Sabah, explore the Sarawak Cultural Village, and relax on the beautiful beaches of Redang Island.
Fall temperatures range from 24 to 30°C (75-86°F). Explore the Batang Ai National Park in Sarawak, experience the Deepavali celebrations, and visit the Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur.
In December, winter returns to Malaysia with temperatures ranging from 23 to 30°C (73-86°F). December brings opportunities for festive celebrations, exploring the street markets in Kuala Lumpur, and enjoying the beach resorts of Langkawi. Consider diving in Sipadan for excellent underwater visibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions people ask about finding the best time to visit Malaysia:
Which is the best month to visit Malaysia?
The best month to visit Malaysia differs drastically depending on which part of the country you are planning to visit. April and May are nice in most of the country.
When is the rainy season in Malaysia?
The rainy season in Malaysia differs depending on the region. The western side of the country experiences heavy rains between May and October while the east coast’s rainy season is from October to March. Borneo’s rainy season is in the winter.
What are the best dates to go to Malaysia?
The best dates to go to Malaysia are those that don’t coincide with school breaks to avoid crowds in popular destinations. Check the school calendar before booking your trip.
What is the best weather in Malaysia?
Early spring is the best weather in most of the country. However, the weather is rainy and hot throughout the year.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Malaysia?
The best time to visit Malaysia depends heavily on which region you’re visiting, since the rainy periods differ from coast to coast. If you visit in spring, you have the highest chances of enjoying dry weather throughout the country.
So, with so much to see and do and plenty of amazing times to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip to Malaysia today and experience all that this storied country has to offer. Happy travels!