Although Malaysia has a tropical climate, this is not unbearable despite the proximity of the equator. Temperatures rarely drop below 22°C, but rarely rise above 32°C. In the highlands of the Malay Peninsula (Cameron Highlands) the daytime temperatures are about 20°C, at night the thermometer usually drops to around 15°C. Apart from the highlands, the humidity is very high all year round. At the east coast of "Peninsular Malaysia" the months November to January are the rainiest, at the west coast the months April and May respectively October and November. In Kuala Lumpur, January and June/July are the months with the least rainfall. Most rain falls in this region in April and in the months of November and December.
In East Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak) the climate is tropical. Temperatures in this area are almost constant throughout the year. The average annual temperature at sea level is 28°C. Daytime temperatures vary between about 26°C at night and 33°C at noon. The rainy and dry seasons are different depending on the area. In Sabah, for example, the rainy season in the Kota Kinabalu area begins in May, peaks in October and ends in December. In Kudat, the rainy season starts in November, reaches its peak in December and ends in January, with relative humidity in the rainy season exceeding 80 percent. Rainfall is highest in the Labuan area, lowest in the Tawau area.
Heavy tropical thunderstorms with lightning strikes occur all year round.
In general, the most pleasant time to travel is in the summer months of June to August. However, there are strong regional shifts in the rainy season.