The best time to visit Malaysia is between February and September, though the country is hot and humid year round, interspersed with tropical rain showers. The wet season on the east coast is between November & February, which is when the west coast experiences sunny, dry weather. Conversely, the wettest months on the west coast are April to October, which are the driest months on the east coast.
Situated between 1° and 6°N, the whole of Malaysia has a classic equatorial climate, with high temperatures and wet months throughout the year. Temperatures at sea level range from 21°C to 32°C, whilst at higher elevations it is much cooler, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C. Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm.
A beach holiday can be enjoyed all year round in Malaysia, as the east and west coasts experience their wettest months at alternate times of the year.
The wet season on the west of the peninsula (Apr-Oct) brings thunderstorms in the afternoons, but these are usually brief, and the odd downpour is a welcome way to reduce the humidity.
The east coast, however, tends to have a heavier wet season, and is best avoided during the rainy period (Nov-Feb). During these months, many of the beach resorts close, and re-open in March.
The west coast mainland and islands off the Malay Peninsular are typically tropical; hot, sunny and humid with showers all year round. During September and October the showers are heavier, however even during the rainy season it is still possible to enjoy a week or two's holiday experiencing little more than the occasional short tropical downpour.
With heavier seas at this time of year, diving is poor during September and October due to bad visibility.
Kuala Lumpur and Malacca are both hot and humid throughout the year, temperatures range from 22ºC to 32ºC year round and with a tropical climate, showers occur almost daily. Downpours during the rainy season (Apr–Oct) are not much heavier than the rest of the year and these can bring welcome relief to the sometimes stifling humidity.
Malacca benefits from a sea breeze which brings the temperatures down by 1 or 2 degrees and on a humid day this can make all the difference!
Located at an altitude of 1,500m above sea level, the Cameron Highlands have a distinctly different climate to the rest of Malaysia. Temperatures average a very pleasant 22 ºC in the daytime and a relatively cool 15 ºC at night – an excellent climate for growing tea, flowers and fruit, and for visitors it offers a pleasant contrast to the hotter lowland areas. A typical day consists of blue skies in the morning, showery afternoons and chilly nights, with rainfall at its heaviest between September and early December.
The east coast is hot and sunny for much of the year with the warm waters of the South China Sea generating a breeze that moderates the humidity somewhat. The North-East Monsoon strikes between November and February and so the islands are generally best avoided during this period. The rains are a lot heavier on this side of the peninsula and they can disrupt boat crossings, and some of the resorts close during these months, re-opening in March.
Outside of the North-East Monsoon months, the east coast is usually drier than the rest of Malaysia and therefore offers the perfect destinations for hitting the beach.