Best time to visit Malaysia

Best time to visit Malaysia


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

Even nocturnal temperatures rarely fall below 20 degrees (apart from the fresher highlands), which tends to offer mosquitoes an array of uncovered banquets. In general, the west coast is wetter over the summer (May-Oct) whilst the east coast and Cameron Highlands find more showers from Sep-Dec. Then it's Borneo's turn for the worst of the weather before handing the umbrella to KL for March and April. Basically, if you don't mind a daily deluge to relieve the heat and humidity, the best time to visit Malaysia is pretty much all-year-round.

Things to do in Malaysia


WHAT TO DO IN MALAYSIA & WHAT NOT TO

Things to do in Malaysia


Head to the coast. Beach life in Malaysia is on either coast with the Perhentian Islands and Langkawi all accessible from KL via road or an internal flight. Three east coast locations worth a visit: Kapas Island, about 5kms offshore from Kuala Terrengganu; Cherating, which includes a turtle conservation and some surfable swells; and Tioman Island, a marine reserve that encapsulates the sublime shores of the South China Sea – definitely one to remember.
Discover multi-cultural Malacca. Enjoying a couple of drinks overlooking the river at sunset is well worth the visit to Malacca alone but thanks to a huge selection of museums, exhibiting everything from Islamic art to the world's bees, there's plenty to look forward to even on a cloudy day. Ruined Portuguese forts or Jonker Walk in Chinatown, if you're looking for cultural comparisons, Malacca's definitely worth a couple of days.
Street art in George Town, Penang. The hawker stalls of Gurney Drive and the blend of Anglo-Indian-Chinese architecture has long attracted visitors to George Town although, since 2010, it’s probably become better known for its commissioned street art and graffiti. 101 Lost Kittens, Kids on Bicycle, Kungfu Girl, Jimmy Choo’s former workshop and more than 50 cast iron structures, with not a Banksy in sight.

Things not to do in Malaysia


Look for fresh air in KL. Sumatra's slash and burn farming methods, congested traffic lanes and industrial pollution make Kuala Lumpur's air supply not something to write home about. Although there are plenty of green parks dotted throughout the city, the dusty haze in the dry season combined with Malaysia's heat and humidity can be a real problem, especially when the only place to escape is an air-conditioned mega mall.
Go for a full English. It would be a real shame to miss out on the range of multi-cultural dishes available in Malaysia. Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern and traditional Malay are all on offer with Mamak and Nyonya street stalls offering the tastiest and most affordable food imaginable. From 24hr night markets in KL to homestays near Kuala Kangsar, finding out more about Malaysia's cuisine is much more rewarding than searching for home comforts.
Feed the monkeys. A trip to Batu Caves, just outside KL, or the more remote beaches on Langkawi Island, such as Tengkorak, will involve monkeys. Although they may look fun from a distance, close up they’re a whole different prospect and if you feed them they will come back for more. Monkeys can be aggressive and will happily steal from children or unsuspecting sunbathers – you have been warned!

Malaysia travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN MALAYSIA

Tips on keeping dry


Haanim Bamadhaj, marketing manager of our supplier The Dusun Nature Resort, shares her local knowledge of Malaysia: “It rains at 4pm pretty much every day in the rainy season which makes the perfect time to have a hot tea and watch the storm before the mists rise out of the jungle.”

Kuala culture advice


Haanim Bamadhaj, from our supplier The Dusun Nature Resort: “If you’re in KL, No Black Tie and Under 9 are both great underground places for jazz and live music and the KL Performing Arts Centre (Klpac) is the place to be for theatre productions and dance shows.”

Wildlife watching – beyond Borneo


Mark Ord, Southeast Asia specialist for All Points East, shares tips for wildlife fans: “Belum National Forest makes the wildlife reserves of Borneo look like zoos. Wild elephants, monkeys and flocks of hornbills (we stopped counting when we got to 500) make north central West Malaysia a much more authentic environment for animals.”

Malaysia travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR TRAVELLERS

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Malaysia travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
Take a torch with a red light with you as it will be very useful while watching turtles at night. – Wendy Heck, on a marine conservation vacation

It is useful to carry a supply of 20sen coins for the loos in Malaysia. – John Newham

It's quite demanding physically in parts, and the rainforest can be chilly overnight - take warm gear for that! Be nice to your guide - they work extremely hard! – Laura Brodrick

Go to the night market in Kota Kinabalu, you get a feeling you are in a place very different from England! - Anna Davies, in Sabah

Take extra cash to tip your guides as they are fantastic and deserve it. Take a decent camera, one preferably with a zoom lens to get good snaps of the wildlife. After that sun cream, sun cream, sun cream...- Anna Higgins

This is the perfect place to relax. If you are okay without internet 24/7 (there is limited internet though), and think it is fun to have a gecko in your house that makes jungle sounds, then this is the place for you! You can be as busy or as lazy as you want: there are two swimming pools, opportunities to go birdwatching and jungle trekking - however it's quite fabulous just to sit on the terrace and enjoy the view and the peace and quiet. - Erika Dutting, who stayed in the rainforest bungalows near KL

Don't forget to plug in your mosquito zapper every night. We (ok I) forgot one night and paid the price (though not really too bad). But it showed us how well they work. - Matthew Murphy
Photo credits: [Temperature box: Esmar Abdul Hamid] [Tips on keeping dry: Rob_Wood] [Wildlife watching: Phalinn Ooi] [Review 1 - Kate Hemming: Kate Hemming] [Review 2 - Deborah Flint: Rob and Stephanie Levy]

Written by: Chris Owen
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