Discover the best time to visit Malaysia and create your perfect itinerary. With a variety of activities and experiences to choose from, the ideal time to explore this vibrant country is entirely dependent on your personal preferences. Whether you prefer to soak up the sun on the beautiful beaches, experience the rich cultural heritage, or explore the lush rainforests, selecting the best time to go to Malaysia is a crucial step in crafting an unforgettable travel experience.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Malaysia?
What is my recommendation for the best time to visit Malaysia in 2023? Of course, it depended entirely on personal preferences and desired activities tourists want to do in Malaysia. However, it is important to note that some regions of the country, specifically the east coast, may be affected by the monsoon season (early November to March). Therefore, tourists may want to consider visiting the west coast, which experiences less rainfall and can be visited at any time of the year.
Climate and Weather
Malaysia’s climate is tropical, with high temperatures and occasional yearly rainfall. However, according to Malaysia Meteorological Department, the country is divided into four main climate zones that experience different weather patterns.
- Northeast Monsoon – Malaysia monsoon season, commonly called the rainy season, significantly impacts the states in East coast Malaysia, namely Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang. The islands in the South Chinese Sea, including Tioman, Perhentian, and Redang Islands, also experience its effects. This season typically begins in early November and concludes in March, characterized by consistent easterly or northeasterly winds ranging from 10 to 30 knots. The wet season is marked by roughly 4-5 monsoon surges, which have the potential to cause flooding.
- Southwest Monsoon – The southwest monsoon, also called the hot season in Malaysia, typically occurs from the latter part of May or early June until September. The prevailing wind flow during this season is generally southwesterly and light, below 15 knots. The weather is relatively hot and dry, except for Sabah, where the climate is slightly different. This season is the best time to visit Malaysia for beach and island enthusiasts.
- Inter-monsoon – The inter-monsoon period in Malaysia occurs twice a year, typically between March and April and again between October and November. During this time, there is a transition between the southwest and northeast monsoons, resulting in a variable weather pattern that includes sudden rain showers, thunderstorms, and occasional strong winds. The inter-monsoon period is characterized by a higher frequency of thunderstorms and rainfall, which can lead to flash floods in some areas.
Average Temperature in Malaysia
Malaysia’s average temperature can vary greatly depending on the season and region
- Northeast Monsoon – the temperature on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia can be affected by cold surges from Siberia, resulting in lower daily temperatures than the west coast. In Kuala Terengganu, for example, daytime temperatures during the northeast monsoon rarely reach 32°C and often do not reach 27°C. Some areas have even recorded temperatures that do not exceed 24°C at night. The average temperatures at night during this season usually range between 21°C to 24°C. However, the temperatures in almost all stations can be significantly lower than these ranges, and cool nights are usually followed by hot afternoons.
- Southwest monsoon – The temperature in Malaysia during the southwest monsoon is generally hot and humid, with average temperatures ranging from 28°C to 32°C. However, there may be some regional variations in temperature due to differences in elevation and proximity to the coast. The southwest monsoon typically lasts from May to September and brings heavy rainfall to the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and the northern states of Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo. Despite the rainfall, the southwest monsoon is still considered the best time to visit Malaysia for beach activities and water sports due to the generally calm waters and sunny weather in many coastal areas.
- Inter-monsoon – During the inter-monsoon season in Malaysia, the temperature remains relatively consistent with little variation. The daily temperature range is also small, with temperatures ranging from around 23°C to 32°C during the day and dropping to around 22°C to 26°C at night. However, it is important to note that there can still be occasional rainfall during this period.
Visitors to Malaysia should be aware of the potential for extreme weather events, such as floods and landslides, particularly during the monsoon seasons. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to stay informed of the latest weather forecasts and travel advisories to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Malaysia.
High Season vs. Low Season
In addition to monitoring weather and climate patterns, festival and public holiday are essential when choosing the best time to visit Malaysia. High season generally refers to the busiest and most popular time for tourism, while low season refers to the quieter and less busy period.
The high season for domestic tourism in Malaysia coincides with significant public holidays such as Eid Fitri, Chinese New Year, and school holidays. As for international tourism typically spans from June to August, during which the volume of international visitors to Malaysia experiences a twofold increase.
Visiting Malaysia during the high season has advantages, such as a broader range of activities and attractions and a lively and bustling atmosphere. However, the high season also means higher prices, larger crowds, and difficulty securing accommodation and tickets for popular destinations. This is particularly true during major holidays and festivals such as Chinese New Year and Hari Raya, celebrated nationwide and drawing large crowds.
On the other hand, visiting Malaysia during the low season can offer lower prices, fewer crowds, and a more relaxed atmosphere. However, it’s important to note that some destinations and activities may be closed or have reduced hours during the low season due to lower demand. For example, some islands and beaches may not be accessible during the monsoon season, which can vary depending on the region.
Some famous tourist destinations in Malaysia affected by the high and low seasons include Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang. Langkawi is a popular beach destination that experiences the high season from November to March. Kuala Lumpur and Penang are busy year-round due to their popularity as cultural and historical hubs.
Visiting Malaysia During a Major Public Holiday
In the event that tourists are only able to visit Malaysia during a major festival such as Eid Fitri or Chinese New Year, it is recommended to consider alternative travel arrangements or adhere to the following suggestion.
- Make travel arrangements well in advance and book accommodations early to avoid the possibility of not getting a desired hotel or paying higher rates.
- Planning and booking any activities or tours are also recommended to ensure availability.
- Opt for a private tour guide as it provides greater flexibility than a group tour. Furthermore, most Malaysian tour guide operators offer valuable guidance to customers regarding the optimal time to commence the trip to avoid congested areas.
- Concentrate on specific locations, such as Kuala Lumpur city or any nearby islands in Malaysia, which do not necessitate extensive travel.
- Commence your tour early, particularly if you intend to take a day trip from Kuala Lumpur, especially to Cameron Highlands.
Culture and Religious Consideration
Traveler must be aware of cultural or religious events that may affect your travel plans. Malaysia is a multicultural country with a diverse population, and there are many customs and practices that visitors should be aware of.
One of the most critical events in Malaysia is the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which takes place from late April to early May. During this time, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Altought the Ramadhan time consider the best time to visit Malaysia, but many businesses and restaurants operated by Muslim may have reduced hours or be closed during the day. Therefore, visitors should respect the customs and practices of the local population and avoid eating or drinking in public during daylight hours If tourists planning to had a dinner try to avoid to go to local restaurant during fasting breakfast time from 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm. Most of the restaurants of food courts will full occupied.
Another important cultural event in Malaysia is the Chinese New Year, which usually occurs in January or February. This is a time of family reunions, fireworks, and celebrations nationwide. Visitors can join in the festivities by visiting Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur or other areas with large Chinese populations.
Visitors should also be aware of Malaysia’s dress code and customs, particularly when visiting religious sites. For example, modest clothing that covers the shoulders and knees is recommended, and shoes should be removed before entering mosques and temples.
In addition to respecting local customs and practices, visitors to Malaysia can also participate in cultural and religious events during their trip. Some popular events include Thaipusam’s Hindu festival, Wesak’s Buddhist festival, and Hari Raya Aidilfitri’s Malay festival.
By being aware of cultural and religious considerations in Malaysia, visitors can ensure a respectful and enjoyable trip that celebrates the diversity and richness of this vibrant country.
Best Time To Go To Malaysia for Specific Activities
Malaysia is a diverse country with various activities and attractions for every interest. So whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or culture, there’s something for everyone in Malaysia. However, the best time to visit Malaysia for specific activities can vary depending on weather, crowds, and availability.
- Beach Vacation – The best time to visit Malaysia for the beach is from March to October. The weather is generally sunny and dry during this time, making it perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Some of the best beaches in Malaysia include Langkawi, Penang, and Cherating beach.
- Diving – The best time to visit Malaysia for diving enthusiasts is from April to September. During this time, the clear and calm waters offer excellent visibility for exploring the underwater world. Some of the best diving locations in Malaysia include Sipadan Island, Layang Layang Island, and Perhentian Island.
- Hiking – Hiking is another popular activity in Malaysia, with various trails and landscapes. The best time to go hiking in Malaysia is from May to September, when the weather is more relaxed and drier. Some of the best hiking destinations in Malaysia include Mount Kinabalu, Cameron Highlands, and Taman Negara National Park.
- Festival and Culture Celebration – Malaysia is known for its colorful and cultural celebrations. The best time to go to Malaysia for festivals is from January to April, when the Chinese New Year is celebrated nationwide. Other popular festivals in Malaysia include Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Deepavali, and Thaipusam.
Visitors to Malaysia should be aware of any special considerations or preparations needed for their chosen activity. For example, hiking in Malaysia requires proper footwear, clothing, and equipment, while diving requires certification and adequate gear. It’s also essential to stay informed of the latest weather conditions and travel advisories to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Malaysia.
Best Time to Visit Malaysia 2023 by Month
|1 Jan||Sunday||New year||National except Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis & Terengganu|
|2 Jan||Monday||New year||National except Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis & Terengganu|
|14 Jan||Saturday||YDPB Negeri Sembilan’s Birthday||Negeri Sembilan only|
|22 Jan||Sunday||Chinese New Year||Nationwide|
|23 Jan||Monday||Chinese New Year||Nationwide|
|24 Jan||Tuesday||Chinese New Year||Nationanwide except Johor, Kedah, Kelantan & Terengganu|
Public Holiday in January
As a tourist was planning a trip to Malaysia in January 2023, it’s worth noting that the country will be celebrating Chinese New Year from January 22nd to 24th. Chinese New Year is typically a significant festival with a long school holiday, so many Malaysian Chinese take the opportunity to extend their leave until January 29th. Therefore, January’s first and second weeks might be ideal for visiting Malaysia.
School holiday until 24th January
Weather Conditions in January
Forecasts for weather conditions in January can be challenging due to Malaysia’s continued monsoon season during that period. Nevertheless, January has been marked by unexpected sunny and dry weather in recent years.
What to Expect in January
We can categorize January 20th to January 24th, 2023, as the super peak season. But on the other hand, January 24th to January 25th is the shoulder peak season. This is because most Malaysian Chinese usually extend their holiday until January 29th to visit their family or go on holiday.
- Most Malaysian will take this opportunity to travel back to their hometown or vacation with a family.
- Most highways in Malaysia will be congested. If you plan a day trip from Kuala Lumpur, you must start early to avoid getting stuck in a massive congested.
- The super peak season rate for Hotel and airlines
- The restaurant and attractions will be overcrowded.
|01-Feb-23||Wednesday||Federal Territory Day||Kuala Lumpur, Labuan & Putrajaya|
|04-Feb-23||Saturday||Thaipusam||Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Perak, Putrajaya & Selangor|
|18-Feb-23||Saturday||Israk and Mikraj||Kedah, Negeri Sembilan, Perlis & Terengganu|
|19-Feb-23||Sunday||Israk and Mikraj||Kedah & Terengganu|
Year End School Holiday
|18-Feb-23||19-Mar-23||Year end school holiday||Nationwide|
Public Holiday in February
Thaipusam festival for 2023 falls on Saturday, February 4th, 2023. The Thaipusam celebration at Batu Caves involves a procession of devotees making their way to the cave temple, carrying milk pots as offerings to Lord Murugan. In addition, many of these devotees engage in acts of physical devotion, such as piercing their skin with hooks and skewers.
School Holiday in February
The school holiday period in Malaysia for the end of the year is scheduled to take place from February 18th to March 19th, 2023. Therefore, travel costs are anticipated to be higher than average for hotel accommodations and airfare during this time. In addition, visitors planning to make a day trip to the Cameron Highlands and Malacca should consider departing earlier to avoid traffic jams. Considering these factors, travelers can ensure a smooth and enjoyable vacation experience in Malaysia.
Weather in February
Malaysia is towards to end of the monsoon season. Unfortunately, most islands situated in the South Chinese Sea, such as Tioman Island, Perhentian Islands, and Tioman Island, are not ready to accept any bookings. An alternative tourist can visit Langkawi Island, Pangkor, and Penang.
Overview For February 2023
- February is the best time to visit Malaysia for tourists to experience the uniqueness of the Thaipusam Festival.
- We expect the year-end school holiday from February 18th to March 19th will cause massive crowds at all tourist destinations in Malaysia. Many families will take this opportunity to vacation before starting a new school term. We recommend planning your travels accordingly.
- High demands on Hotels and flight tickets cause rates to be higher than average.
|04-Mar-23||Saturday||Installation of Sultan Terengganu||Terengganu only|
|23-Mar-23||Thursday||Awal Ramadan||Johor, Kedah & Melaka|
|23-Mar-23||Thursday||Sultan of Johor's Birthday||Johor only|
|18-Feb-23||19-Mar-23||Year end school holiday||Nationwide|
There are no significant public holidays in Malaysia except two state holidays involving Terengganu and Johor states that have not affected any Hotel or airline rate.
Year-end school holidays continue until March 19, contributing to high Hotel rates, heavy traffic on the major highway, and overcrowded in a tourist destination. After school reopens, everything will go back to normal.
Weather in March
The monsoon transition phase usually occurs from March to May. During the transition period, heavy rain and strong winds at short intervals in the early afternoon and evening.
Overview For March 2023
- Starting 19 March 2023 is the best time to visit Malaysia because the new school term for 2023 has started on 20 March.
- Malaysian Muslims expect to start fasting during Ramadan on 23 March. Therefore, during Ramadan month most Muslims will stay at home.
- Malaysia’s domestic tourism expected will be slow from March until April 19. April is the best time to visit Malaysia for honeymoon and shoestring travelers because it is much quieter, easy to move around, and Hotel rates are much cheaper.
- The main attraction of the fasting month is “Pasar Ramadan.” It is available almost everywhere in Malaysia. The best places to buy traditional Malaysian food.
- Most of the islands in Malaysia are open.
|07-Apr-23||Friday||Good Friday||Sabah & Sarawak only|
|08-Apr-23||Saturday||Nuzul Quran||National except Johor, Kedah, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Sabah & Sarawak|
|09-Apr-23||Sunday||Nuzul Quran||Kelantan & Terengganu|
|15-Apr-23||Saturday||Declaration of Melaka as a Historical City||Melaka only|
|26-Apr-23||Wednesday||Sultan of Terengganu's Birthday||Terengganu only|
Eid al-Fitr is a significant and extended festival in Malaysia from April 21st to April 24th, 2023. During this time, we expected a massive movement of Muslim families traveling to their hometowns. Additionally, non-Muslims may take advantage of the holiday to go on vacation with their families, resulting in significant traffic congestion on highways and tourist attractions.
In April 2023, there are ten days of school holidays, from April 20 until May 2. A relatively long school holiday to allow Muslims in Malaysia to return to their villages to celebrate Hari Raya with their families,
Weather conditions in April
Generally, April is the beginning of Malaysia’s hot, dry season, with temperatures ranging from 29°C to 35°C. However, April is an inter-monsoon season from northeast to southwest monsoon. Therefore, although the average weather in Malaysia is hot and humid, expect heavy thunderstorms in the late afternoon.
Overview For April 2023
- The first and second week of April until 19 April is the best time to visit Malaysia because it is still in fasting month. Expecting cheaper accommodation rate and easy to move around.
- Please be advised that heavy traffic is expected on April 20th and 21st on most highways leading to Pahang, Terengganu, and Kelantan states. The congestion happens because Malaysian Muslim travel to their hometown to celebrate Eid Fitri. Therefore, if you are planning to visit Taman Negara, Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, or Genting Highlands during this time, please allow for potential delays in your travel plans.
- From 19 April to 2, May is a peak season for Malaysia’s domestic tourism. Due to the high demand for public transportation, including buses, trains, and airlines, public transportation tickets sell out a month before the festival. Kindly book your accommodation or public transportation ticket in advance.
|17-May-23||Wednesday||Raja Perlis Birthday||Perlis only|
|22-May-23||Monday||Hari Hol Pahang||Pahang only|
|30-May-23||Tuesday||Harvest Festival||Labuan & Sabah only|
|31-May-23||Wednesday||Harvest Festival||Labuan & Sabah only|
In May, Malaysia has two public holidays: Labour day on 1 May and Wesak day on 4 May. The holiday date is very close to each other, but it does not trigger any spike in domestic tourism.
No school holiday in May.
Weather in May
May is the best time to visit Malaysia weather-wise. I expected it to be hot and sunny.
Overview For May 2023
- May is the best time to go to Malaysia for tourists from Europe who would like to start the summer holiday earlier.
- The weather is hot and sunny, and all islands in Malaysia are fully operating.
|01-Jun-23||Thursday||Gawai Day||Sarawak only|
|02-Jun-23||Friday||Gawai Day||Sarawak only|
|18-Jun-23||Sunday||Sultan of Kedah's Birthday||Kedah only|
For June 2023, Malaysia has two major public holidays that require attention if tourists are planning to visit Malaysia.
- Agong’s Birthday is on Monday, June 5th. Three-day weekends Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, might affect tourist itineraries because Malaysia takes the opportunity to bring their family for a short trip in Malaysia.
- Eid al-Adha festival on the 28th and 29th of June is another major festival for Muslim people. Expected the highway and tourist attractions in Malaysia will be busy from June 27th until July 2nd, 2023. During the Eid al-Adha festival, we expected high demand for hotels and transportation.
The extended school holiday from June 28 to May 2 might cause traffic jams on a major highway.
Weather in June
The weather in Malaysia in June is generally hot and humid, with temperatures ranging from 26-33°C. However, the northern states of Malaysia, such as Penang and Langkawi, tend to be slightly more relaxed, with temperatures averaging around 28°C (82°F). Rain is also common in June, with most areas receiving at least some rain during the month. Overall, it is an excellent time to visit Malaysia as the weather is generally pleasant, although it may be a bit hot and sticky for some people.
Overview For June 2023
Although Malaysia has two public holidays that require tourists need extra care when planning their holiday, June is the best time to visit Malaysia weather wise.
|07-Jul-23||Friday||Georgetown World Heritage City Day||Penang only|
|08-Jul-23||Saturday||Penang Governor's Birthday||Penang only|
|19-Jul-23||Wednesday||Islamic New Year||Nationwide|
|22-Jul-23||Saturday||Sarawak Day||Sarawak only|
|30-Jul-23||Sunday||Sultan of Pahang's Birthday||Pahang only|
In July, Malaysia only has one public holiday, which may not cause an increase in hotel rates. Generally, July month is considered a quiet time for Malaysian domestic tourism.
Bo school holiday
Weather in July
In July, Malaysia has warm and humid weather, with temperatures ranging from 26-32°C and high humidity. Rain showers and thunderstorms are common, especially in the afternoon. It is an excellent time to visit the beaches in Malaysia, as the water is warm and the weather is pleasant. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreens and a hat to protect yourself from the sun, and carry an umbrella or raincoat with you in case of rain.
Overview For July 2023
July month could be the best time of year to visit Malaysia. Perfect weather for all activities, fruit season started, and no major public and school holidays.
|24-Aug-23||Thursday||Melaka Governor's Birthday||Malaka only|
|31-Aug-23||Saturday||Malaysia National Day||Nationwide|
Malaysia’s national holiday falls on Saturday, 31st August 2023. National public holiday does not affect any tourist attractions in Malaysia because it is like a typical weekend. So enjoy your holiday in Malaysia. The month of August is the best time to visit Malaysia, but it is also towards the end of a summer holiday in Europe. From my experience, in the month of August, many tourists from Italy and Spain travel to Malaysia.
Nine days of school holiday are from August 25 until September 9, which might spike Hotel rates and domestic airline tickets.
Weather in August
In August, Malaysia typically experiences hot and humid weather, with temperatures ranging from 29C to 32C. The country is located near the equator, so it has a tropical climate with high humidity year-round.
Overview For August 2023
August is the best month to visit Kuala Lumpur due to the National day celebration in Dataran Merdeka on August 31. Tourists can see the national day parade by various Malaysian government agencies and NGOs.
|17-Sep-23||Sunday||Malaysia Day||Kelantan & Terengganu only|
|27-Sep-23||Wednesday||Prophet Muhammad's Birthday||Nationwide|
Malaysia observes a single national holiday on September 16th, Malaysia Day, which falls on a Saturday this year. As such, it is unlikely to result in an increase in rates for hotel accommodations and airfare.
School reopens on September 3 after nine days of holiday. No other major school holiday after September 3.
Weather in September
In September, the weather in Malaysia is generally drier, with temperatures ranging from 24.0 °C to 28.0 °C. Although Malaysia is still in the southwest monsoon phase, most states experience minimal monthly rainfall, usually between 100 – 150mm. There may be occasional thunderstorms in the late afternoon.
Overview For September 2023
September is the best time to go to Malaysia, as it is a serene and peaceful month for international and domestic travelers. In addition, September is the ideal time for honeymooners or those who couldn’t take a summer vacation to experience Malaysia’s beauty and splendor. Most of the tourist attractions and islands in Malaysia are still operating.
|07-Oct-23||Saturday||Sabah Governor's Birthday||Sabah only|
|14-Oct-23||Saturday||Sarawak Governor's Birthday||Sarawak only|
In October, Malaysia does not have any major holidays.
No School Holiday
Weather in October
During October, Malaysia experiences a shift in weather patterns as the Southwest Monsoon gives way to the Northeast Monsoon. This transition period typically brings sunny mornings, followed by heavy afternoon and evening rains.
Overview For October 2023
Malaysia is in the phase of the monsoon season. Therefore, tourists planning to visit the island or beach in Borneo or East Coast Malaysia are advised to contact their local operator.
|03-Nov-23||Saturday||Sultan of Perak's Birthday||Perak only|
|11-Nov-23||Saturday||Sultan of Kelantan's Birthday||Kelantan only|
Malaysian Hindus will celebrate the Devali festival on 12th November 2023. The date falls on Sunday so Malaysians will get an additional day off on Monday. It is another long weekend where Malaysians travel to their hometown or take a short holiday to Malaysia’s famous tourist attractions.
No school holiday in November
Weather in November
In November, Malaysia is generally in the monsoon season, so some parts of the country may experience more rain than others. The east coast of Malaysia, specifically Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang, tends to have more rainfall during this time of year.
Overview For November 2023
Malaysia is officially in the monsoon season in November. As a result, all the islands in the South China Sea, such as Perhentian Island, Tioman Island, and Kapas Island, formally closed until late February or early March. Tourists can consider alternatives to Langkawi Island, Pangkor Island, Penang, Sipadan Island, Gaya Island, Manukan Island, Sapi Island, and Mamutik Island.
|11-Dec-23||Monday||Sultan of Selangor's Birthday||Selangor only|
|24-Dec-23||Sunday||Christmas Eve||Sabah only|
Events in December
December is considered a busy month in the Malaysian tourism industry. Besides the 17 days of school holiday, most companies in Malaysia require their workers to clear all their current annual leave balances before the new year starts. Therefore, in December, Hotel imposed a super peak and shoulder peak rate. Therefore, please book your Hotel a few months early.
The weather condition in December 2023
Not suitable to visit the East Coast and North region of Malaysia due to heavy rain. The West and Central part have a minimum effect. Please get in touch with the local operator.
Best Time to Visit Malaysia FAQ
In conclusion, the best time to visit Malaysia depends on various factors, including personal preferences and desired activities. While the monsoon season may affect certain areas of the country, such as the east coast, the west coast experiences less rainfall and can be visited at any time of the year. Ultimately, it is recommended to consider the specific destinations and experiences tourists hope to have during their trip to Malaysia to determine the best time to visit.