Where to Go in Malaysia Throughout the Year

It’s possible to travel to Malaysia at any time of the year. But there are various factors to consider when deciding the best times and places to visit, including the weather and climate, peak tourist seasons and festivals or public holidays.

Weather and climate

Malaysia has a tropical monsoon climate. It’s hot and humid and rain generally falls evenly throughout the year, but the main rainy season is from October-April.  There can even be sudden, heavy downpours in the middle of the dry season, but they disappear as quickly as they arrive.

The country is split between West and East Malaysia and both areas remain under the sway of the southwest monsoon (May-October) and the northeast monsoon (November-March). Overall, the best time to visit most of Malaysia would be between March and October, when there’s less rain and humidity, but there are better times to visit each area.

For current weather forecasts and relevant information or reports on extreme weather or monsoon season, see the Malaysian Meteorological Department website.

Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia)

Where to Go in Malaysia Throughout the Year

Image Caption: Beautiful Langkawi on the northwest coast

The southwest monsoon brings rain to the lowlands on the west coast, but particularly on the southwest coast between Kuala Lumpur and Melaka. The northwest coast, around Penang and Langkawi, receives heavy rain from September-October. So it’s best to visit the east coast from April/May-October, when there’s plenty of sunshine, clear blue skies, dry weather and calm waters.

However, this changes when the northeast monsoon hits. The east coast receives a lot of rain and even flash floods during November-February. As a result, most resorts close and boat services decrease or stop altogether until the rain eases. Therefore, it’s better to visit the west coast at this time.

Here are the best times to visit the following areas according to the driest months:

  • Kuala Lumpur (June-August)
  • Penang (December-March)
  • Langkawi (December-February)
  • Perhentian Islands (June-August)
  • Tioman Island (November-March).

Malaysian Borneo (East Malaysia)

Where to Go in Malaysia Throughout the Year

Image caption: The iconic Sarawak State Legislative Assembly building.

The states Sabah and Sarawak receive heavy rain between October-March from the northeast monsoon, making them damp for the entire period, but January is the wettest time, so avoid visits in January. The northeast monsoon particularly affects the west coast of Sarawak, with November-February seeing the heaviest rainfall. In Sabah, September and October are the wettest months.

The southwest monsoon hardly affects the region, but the typhoon season in the Western Pacific, which runs from April-November, sees cold, wet weather hit Sabah and Sarawak at random intervals. It’s best to travel to Malaysian Borneo in the summer months.

Peak seasons

Malaysia has two peak tourist seasons. The first peak season is from December-January, in which the major winter holidays of the Northern Hemisphere are celebrated, such as Christmas, New Year’s Day and Chinese New Year. As a result, public parks, shopping malls and beaches will be more crowded.

The second peak season is during June-August/September, when most hotels will be booked by Middle-Eastern families whose children are on school holidays at this time. School holidays in Singapore occur from May-June and November-December, so many seaside resorts will be booked by Singaporean families during these months.

Festivals and public holidays

Where to Go in Malaysia Throughout the Year

Image caption: Musicians from the Bidayuh tribe celebrating the Gawai festival in Sarawak

Despite the heavy rains in some months, there are a number of festivals and public holiday events that are worth seeing. Government offices and some shops and restaurants will be closed during official public holidays, but you can look out for special sales and celebrations.

Here’s a list of festivals and public holidays and the months they fall in:

  • January – New Year’s Day and Chinese New Year
  • February – Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday and Thaipusam
  • May – Sabah Festival, Labor Day and Wesak Day
  • June – Gawai Festival in Sarawak and the King’s Birthday
  • June/July – Ramadan and the Rainforest World Music Festival in Kuching, Sarawak
  • August – Hari Merdeka (Independence Day)
  • August/September – Hari Raya Puasa (aka Eid al-Fitr)
  • October/November – Deepavali in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, and Hari Raya Haji (aka Eid al-Adha)
  • December – Christmas

Before you plan your trip to Malaysia, make sure to confirm the dates of the festivals and public holidays listed above, as some vary depending on the phases of the moon. Also, check the weather and peak seasons for each area. This way, you can have a fun, relaxing and stress-free vacation.

10 of Malaysia’s Best Eco-Tourism Destinations

If you’re thinking of eco-travel, Malaysia is the place to go. Not only does it have a great tropical climate, but it also has some of the world’s best eco-tourism hotspots. If you’re a nature lover, you’ll love the many spectacular natural wonders that Malaysia has to offer.

Here are Malaysia’s top 10 eco-tourism destinations.

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, Pahang

10 of Malaysia’s Best Eco Tourism Destinations

Image caption: Elephant orphanage sanctuary in Kuala Gandah

The sanctuary is located 160km from Kuala Lumpur City. You can get there by taking the Karak Highway toward Lancang. It offers safe sanctuary for endangered and orphaned elephants that have been rescued from all over the Malaysian Peninsula. The sanctuary promotes public awareness of the elephants’ plight in Malaysia and also educates the public on the significance of habitat and environmental protection. You can join the elephant activities at any time of the year.

Santubong and Buntal, Sarawak

10 of Malaysia’s Best Eco Tourism Destinations

Image caption: Irrawaddy dolphins in Santubong. Image via Malaysia Tour Packages

Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia and is a hotspot for Irrawaddy dolphins. In Santubong and Buntal, you’ll find these dolphins swimming in groups of more than 30. Dolphin-watching tours run from April-November, which can be combined with a mangrove cruise where you can see other rare wildlife, such as Borneo’s world-renowned proboscis monkey.

Cameron Highlands, Pahang

10 of Malaysia’s Best Eco Tourism Destinations

Image caption: Stunning tea plantation in Cameron Highlands.

This hill station has low humidity, making the jungle trail hikes more pleasant. You can also pick and eat strawberries at the farms and spend your mornings at the Sungai Palas tea plantation. Selfies are definitely recommended at the stunning Boh Tea Centre. At the Rose Centre in Brinchang, you can take a hike along flowered paths, and look at weathered art installations and sculptures, like murals depicting the zodiac signs and a giant shoe.

Pulau Perhentian, Terengganu

10 of Malaysia’s Best Eco Tourism Destinations

Image caption: The beautiful beaches of Perhentian Island. Image via Dive Perhentian

If you want the sun, sand and sea, go to the Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil islands along the edge of the Pulau Redang Marine Park. These islands are a tropical paradise, with beautiful coral reefs, crystal clear waters, secluded coves and a laidback atmosphere. Also try visiting Turtle Bay, exploring private bays, getting your diving licence, snorkelling, or just lazing on the beaches.

Mulu Caves National Park, Sarawak

10 of Malaysia’s Best Eco Tourism Destinations

Image caption: Wind Cave, King’s Chamber in Mulu National Park.

It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting one of the world’s longest networks of caves, the Clear Water Cave. It’s also home to the world’s largest underground chamber (the Sarawak Chamber) and biggest cave passage (the Deer Cave). Other attractions worth seeing include the Eden Valley Walk, the Medicine Plant Trail, and the Paku Waterfall. In the evening, you’ll also witness the Bat Exodus, where millions of bats belonging to 12 species leave the caves in great swarms.

Penang National Park, Teluk Bahang

10 of Malaysia’s Best Eco Tourism Destinations

Image caption: Meromictic lake in Penang National Park. Image via K and K Adventures

It’s the world’s smallest national park, measuring 29.6sq km, but it’s the seventh highest rated park in Asia according to The prime beachfront site has many attractions, including Teluk Tekun’s lowland mangrove swamp and Monkey Beach’s hiking trails. Another unique attraction is Pantai Kerachut’s meromictic lake, where saltwater and freshwater don’t mix, resulting in different coloured layers of water.

Talang-Satang National Park, Sarawak

10 of Malaysia’s Best Eco Tourism Destinations

Image caption: Turtle Island. Image via Eco Adventures

This marine national park is made up of four islands on Sarawak’s southeast coast, which are also called the “Turtle Islands” because they account for 95% of turtle landings in Sarawak. The national park has shallow reef areas with hard and soft corals, a wildlife sanctuary, nesting sites, fish-breeding areas, as well as shelter and resting grounds for sea turtles. The peak nesting season for these turtles is between April-September. Pulau Satang Besar, the largest Turtle Island, is open to visitors.

Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Selangor

10 of Malaysia’s Best Eco Tourism Destinations

Image caption: Canopy walkway at FRIM. Image via Yahoo News

FRIM is only 30 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur and has plenty of flora and fauna. The Kepong site (a national heritage site) has a pristine, unpolluted environment. You can camp, go on a picnic or do some bird-watching. Also check out their popular canopy walkway at the Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve. The 150m walkway offers a panoramic view of the forest and the Kuala Lumpur area.

Taman Negara, spanning Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu

10 of Malaysia’s Best Eco Tourism Destinations

Image caption: Taman Negara National Park. Image via Get In Travel

Taman Negara means “national park” and is the world’s oldest rainforest – over 130 million years old. The highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia (Gunung Tahan) can be found here. Main outdoor activities are hiking, river rapid shooting and rafting, staying overnight at a wildlife observation hideout, and taking the 530m canopy walk. The rivers have over 300 species of fish, including the famous Ikan Kelah and Malaysian Mahseer, which you can feed at the Kelah Fish Sanctuary. You can also catch fish, but ask a local guide for approved locations to avoid getting a fine.

The Royal Belum State Park, Perak

10 of Malaysia’s Best Eco Tourism Destinations

Image caption: Rafflesia Flower in Royal Belum State Park. Image via Go Fishing Malaysia

The Royal Belum State Park is located within the Belum-Temengor rainforest complex. It’s home to 10 hornbill species and more than 3000 species of flowering plants, including the world’s largest flower (the Rafflesia). It’s also the natural habitat for the world’s 14 most threatened mammals, such as the Malayan Tiger and Sumatran Rhinoceros. To enter the rainforest, apply for a permit from the Perak State Park Corporation. You can stay overnight at the wildlife observation hideout, go bamboo rafting, or observe natural salt licks that attract various animals.

Whether you want to visit endangered animals, scale great heights or explore the mysterious deep, look no further than Malaysia when deciding on your next outdoor adventure.

Making the Most of 48 Hours in Penang

Penang Island is a vibrant part of Malaysia, popular with travellers for its food and history. It’s perfect for the curious and the culture-hungry as there’s so much to explore, particularly in lively George Town. If you have only 48 hours to spend in Penang, you’ll want to plan wisely in order to fit in all that the area has to offer.

Make the most of your 48 hours by following our guide to the best of Penang:

George Town

Making the Most of 48 Hours in Penang

Spend your first morning in George Town, the capital of Penang and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is described as the heart of Penang and is a must-see destination. The most popular options for getting around George Town are on foot and by bicycle. The iconic trishaws (three-wheeled cycles with a seat for passengers) can be hired with a “chauffeur” and will give you a unique perspective on Penang life as you are pedalled through the streets in traditional style.

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What to See and Do in Malaysia This October

Malaysia is a hive of activity throughout October, with festivals and events taking place across the country. With such a diverse calendar, there is sure to be something for everyone travelling to Malaysia this October. Here are some of the key events to look out for and include in your itinerary if you can.

Events for Foodies

Food lovers should not miss these events:

What to See and Do in Malaysia This OctoberFabulous Food 1Malaysia

  • Date: 1 October-31 December
  • Location: Across Malaysia
  • Price: Free

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What’s Happening in Malaysia in September?

Thinking about jetsetting over to Malaysia this spring? It’s just a hop, a skip and a flight away! But what to do once you arrive? Whether you’re a spontaneous traveller, or you like to plan your holidays step-by-step, here are nine ways to make the most of your trip to Malaysia.

Malaysia Craft Promotion

  • Date: 30th August – 8th September
  • Location: Kuching Waterfront, Sarawak
  • Price: Free

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Travel Photos NOT to Share on Facebook

Everyone has that one friend. If you’re really popular, or just really unlucky, you may even have more than one. The friends who seem to make it their life’s mission to flood your news feed with copious happy snaps of them on holiday. Sipping mimosas by the poolside, riding an elephant in Thailand, toes sticking out of the sand. But if you can’t think of anyone in your social circle who fits this particular bill, then we’ve got news – it’s probably you. So without further ado, here is the definitive guide to what photos not to share on Facebook. Take notes accordingly!

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Travel Photos NOT to Share on Facebook

Most people appreciate the occasional display of food photography, and it’s understandable that while you’re kicking back at the resort or exploring unknown terrains you’re going to encounter and devour a whole lot of good, great and even gruesome meals. But as much as you may marvel at the culinary masterpieces you sit down to each and every day of your vacation, your friends and family back home do not feel the same. First of all, it’s hard to get the photography right, so most of your epic meals will probably translate into pretty average pictures. But even if you do nail it, you’ll likely just make your loved ones a little more hungry and a lot more jealous. So if you must document everything you put away during those few glorious vacation weeks, only post a couple of the best photos. Everyone will thank you for it.

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Top travel blogs in Malaysia/about Malaysia

Top travel blogs in Malaysia/about MalaysiaScores of talented food and travel bloggers are busy documenting Malaysia’s terrific cuisine, happening cities and natural beauty. Blogs report firsthand, so they are a great place to turn for inspiration and advice when travelling in a new country. Here are some of the best:

Top travel blogs in Malaysia/about MalaysiaRebecca Saw: “Wackybecky” is a Kuala Lumpur advertising consultant who is a mine of info on the latest hip and just plain fun things to do in KL. Want to navigate a maze of back-streets in the Malaysian town of Melaka to get to the legendary Nyonya chang glutinous rice dumplings made in a deceptively nondescript café? Want to know where to catch the latest performance of the hit chefs’ musical that performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Delicious Musical Bibap?  Food, travel, cars, tech – if it’s new, zany or intriguing, it’s probably blogged by Rebecca.
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Big Events in Malaysia this July & August

Big Events in Malaysia this July & AugustA public event in a foreign country can make for great travel memories. It’s a chance to rub shoulders with the locals, get under a country’s skin and see what makes it tick. If you are heading to Malaysia this northern summer, lots of events are on the calendar. Why not slot one in on your itinerary? Here is a pick of the best.

  • From July 1-31, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, only it won’t be coffee you’ll be smelling at the Penang Durian Fair. Durians are a large spiky melon-like fruit with an aroma that is – how do we put it kindly – a little challenging? Some say rotten onions, others say – well, try it for yourself. Get past the smell-test, though, and durians have a luscious flavour and custardy texture. Their creamy flesh is paired with savoury dishes and sweet, even with chocolate!  You can sample loads of clever recipes at this food-fest.

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How to Get Around Malaysia

How to Get Around MalaysiaIf you’re heading to Malaysia, this Rough Guides brief on public transport may help you find your way.

Road: Much of your travel may be by bus or minivan, especially on Peninsular Malaysia. Comfortable express buses connect all major cities and towns as frequently as every hour, while slower local buses service each town.

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9 of the Top Malaysian Islands

9 of the Top Malaysian IslandsMalaysia’s many islands are about gorgeous beaches, snorkelling and diving, and lush rainforests – but they also come with temples, villages and activities! Here are 10 of the best:

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