Malaysia & Borneo Destination Guide

Infographic of Malaysia's Islands and beaches including tourism information, price index, best beaches, travel seasons, and Unique Selling Points for Malaysia and Borneo.

* International arrival numbers are from 2014. The “Most popular among” category represents annual arrivals to Malaysia by country divided by that country’s total population. As such we get an understanding of where Malaysia is most popular per capita. Only countries falling within the top 30 total arrivals are considered here, and we have omitted the neighbouring countries of Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia.


Malaysia Weather – When to Go

Great news! Malaysia can be visited anytime of the year. There are dry and wet seasons, but there are always exceptions, so don’t be surprised if you experience rain in the dry season and dry days during the rainy season. Regardless of rainfall, you will always be warm in Malaysia, unless you are going to the highlands and mountains.

Since Malaysia is a large country, it makes sense to break up the country into parts when we talk weather. Here we will break up the country in Peninsular Malaysia eastcoast and westcoast, and Sarawak and Sabah on Borneo.

Malaysia Annual Weather Charts

 Westcoast Peninsular Malaysia 
 Eastcoast Peninsular Malaysia 
 Sabah, Borneo 
Sarawak, Borneo 

Note that the eastcoast islands of Peninsular Malaysia, Perhentian Islands and Redang Island, are more or less closed down during the monsoon season from October / November to February. During this time the seas are rough, it rains a lot, and most resorts and restaurants are closed down for the season.

For the rest of Malaysia, it is possible to enjoy your beach holiday throughout the year with varying tourist numbers and weather conditions. Please note that the above weather charts show the average temperature of a 24 hour span. This means that the temperatures can be expected to be slightly higher during daytime and lower during the night.

Malaysia and Borneo has it all!

“Selamat datang”, welcome to our Malaysia page. Malaysia is one of the few countries that has it all: High-tech cities, a colourful population where diversity is celebrated, oversized shopping malls, cuisines from all corners of the world, a rich cultural history, top notch beaches, magical rainforest jungles, extraordinary wildlife, mountains, and a traveler-friendly infrastructure. This means that no matter what you are looking for in a tropical holiday, Malaysia can deliver. Malaysia is commonly divided into two main geographical areas, Peninsular Malaysia (which borders Thailand to the north and Singapore to the south), and Malaysian Borneo (covering the northern part of Borneo and sharing borders with Brunei and Indonesia).
Malaysia has around 4,800 km of coastline and includes nearly 1,000 islands ready to be explored. The most popular holiday island in the country is arguably the family-friendly Langkawi on the west coast. Langkawi has its own airport with direct flights from near and far. Also on the west coast, you will find Penang and the Pangkor Islands. The former is colourful city slash beach destination for those who seek a little bit of everything within easy reach. The latter used to be one of the late opera singer Luciano Pavarotti’s favourite exclusive hangouts. On the east coast of the peninsula, Perhentian Islands, Redang Island, and Tioman Island all provide chill-out island experiences with beautiful beaches and good snorkeling.

Although, Sarawak is most known for its ethnic Malaysian orang asli communities, natural parks, and cozy Kuching city, you will have no trouble finding beautiful beaches. The most popular in this area is Damai Beach with golden sands and the majestic Mount Santubong as its backdrop.

The state of Sabah is a paradise for nature lovers. Amazing wildlife with orangutans, proboscis monkeys, hornbill birds, and sea turtles awaits you and should you wish for a mountaineering experience, the impressive Mount Kinabalu offers a challenging and rewarding trek. For the best beaches of Sabah, you should head to the islands. There are plenty of stunning islands in the Celebes Sea, the Sulu Sea, and the South China Sea in the northern part of the state. These offer world class diving and beach lovers’ paradises.

You could spend months sampling dishes coming out of Malaysian kitchens. Because of large Malaysian (obviously), Indian, Chinese, Euro-American, and Asian communities in the country, the culinary diversity is magnificent. If you add a lot of creativity and fusion kitchens, you will know that a long line of tasty treats awaits you. Malay/Indonesian, Indian, and Chinese dishes are the three main categories of food.
The cheapest guesthouses you find in Malaysia are around 10 USD per room. On the islands, prices generally start at 20 USD per night. But then you only get very basic accommodation, often with shared bathrooms. To move up to a 3-star category, you have to spend considerably more, and rooms and facilities are not always the most charming. On some islands, it is hard to find something under 100 USD per night, and it is not uncommon that 4 and 5-star hotels dominate the best beaches. The accommodation value and design features are not on par with Thailand, but that is also comparing to one of the top hotel value performers of the world. Comparing Malaysia’s hotel landscape to that of Europe and America will leave a better (and perhaps more fair) impression.
When you combine Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo, you get an extraordinary variety of cultural and natural treasures. Cultural, religious, and historical attractions, wildlife, jungles, beaches, and seascapes are all world class!