Weather in Malaysia

Most of Malaysia has a tropical climate with hot, humid weather throughout the year. While the country experiences wet and dry seasons, the line between them is blurred and showers can occur at any time of year. The temperatures in Malaysia are steady, with averages of 23°C to 32°C along the coast and lowlands, and a cooler 14°C to 25°C in the highlands. It’s even colder at higher elevations like Mt Kinabalu which can see sub-zero temperatures.

When’s the monsoon in Malaysia?

Malaysia has two monsoons: the Northeast Monsoon (November to March) and the Southwest Monsoon (May to September) – although these patterns can vary each year. This means there's usually always good weather on at least one side of the peninsula.

The Northeast Monsoon brings heavy rains to the eastern side of the peninsula (including the Perhentian, Redang and Tioman islands), west of Sarawak and east of Sabah. The seas can be quite choppy so boats to the islands often cease and resorts close until the rains ease. The rains also impact water visibility, so if you want to go diving or snorkelling, you may be better off heading to the West Coast or visiting in the dry season.

The Southwest Monsoon affects the western side of the peninsula including Penang and Langkawi. August tends to be one of the wettest months, but heavy downpours are usually short-lived so you can still get out and about.

If you travel during the monsoon, expect high humidity of 80% or more and heavy, albeit brief, showers and the occasional storm – although with such oppressive humidity, the rain is often a welcome reprieve!

An orangutan eating a banana in Sabah, Borneo

Weather in Borneo

Borneo is an equatorial rainforest island, so it's hot, humid and – you guessed it – rainy all year! It's hard to predict when the wet (read: wetter) season will start, but the rainiest months are typically November to February. The wet season is more pronounced in Sarawak than in Sabah. Temperatures in the lowlands and coastal areas average a balmy 27 to 32°C, but it's not uncommon for it to climb much higher. If you hike up Mt Kinabalu (South East Asia's tallest peak), expect chilly temps of -4°C to 12°C at the summit.

Month

 Average high 

 Average low 

 March to May 

31°C

24°C

 June to August 

33°C

24°C

 September to November 

32°C

23°C

 December to February 

31°C

23°C

The cityscape of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Weather in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia's capital city is hot and humid year-round. Temperatures average a toasty 23 to 33°C, but the city air can make it feel stuffier. Due to its location in a hilly equatorial area, there's less distinction between the wet and dry seasons, and showers can be expected almost daily – even from July to August, typically the driest months. November and December see the heaviest rains. Another thing to note is that smoke from neighbouring Sumatra's agricultural fires can make Kuala Lumpur's skies hazy in August and September.

Month

 Average high 

 Average low 

 March to May 

33°C

24°C

 June to August 

32°C

24°C

 September to November 

32°C

23°C

 December to February 

32°C

23°C

A bowl of Penang curry

Weather on the West Coast

Malaysia's West Coast, including Langkawi, Penang and Pangkor, is hot, humid and rainy year-round, with average temperatures of 24°C to 32°C. This region is affected by the Southwest Monsoon, with the heaviest rains occurring between September and October, and April to May. The best time to visit is between November and March when the weather is mostly dry and sunny.

Month

 Average high 

 Average low 

 March to May 

32°C

25°C

 June to August 

31°C

24°C

 September to November 

31°C

24°C

 December to February 

32°C

24°C

The rolling tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia

Weather in the Cameron Highlands

With rolling green hills and tea plantations stretching as far as the eye can see, the Cameron Highlands has a markedly different landscape – and climate – than the rest of Malaysia. Temperatures average 14°C to 25°C, making it a great retreat from the heat. Humidity and rainfall are high year-round, but it's typically wetter between November and February during the monsoon. Heavy rains can also increase the risk of landslides.

Month

 Average high 

 Average low 

 March to May 

24°C

15°C

 June to August 

24°C

15°C

 September to November 

23°C

15°C

 December to February 

23°C

14°C

Read about the best time to visit Malaysia

Return to Malaysia FAQs

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