Malaysia is situated near the equator and has a tropical climate with high temperatures with lots of sunshine and rain. Showers occur throughout the year, the rain tend to be brief but intense downpours. Average temperatures range from about 32°C during the daytime to 26°C at night. No matter what time of the year it is, the tourist can always find a tourist spot to visit or an activity to do.
However,during late May to September, Malaysia experience the south-west monsoon which brings hotter and drier weather. This is the best time to go and do outdoor activities like diving off the islands, go jungle trekking to see the natural habitat and the unique wildlife or climb a mountain. From November to March, the north-east monsoon brings very heavy rain to the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia and Western Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Due to the rough weather, the resorts on the islands of Redang, Tioman and Perhentian are closed. The seas can be wild and stormy and the boats and ferries are unable to bring the tourists to the islands. However, during this time, tourists can visit places like Penang, Langkawi and other tourist areas on the west coast which are unaffected..
Festivals Of Malaysia
One can also consider to visit Malaysia during the time when there are festivals and various events which are held to mark special cultural and religious days. Malaysia is a land where there are diverse cultures from the various races and ethnic groups which have greatly influenced each other,resulting in a truly Malaysian culture that is unique. The year is filled with a celebration of exciting and colourful activities, some religious activities are solemn while others are joyous and fun events.
- Hari Raya Puasa
Muslims celebrate Hari Raya Puasa or Aidilfitri at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.This is one of the major festivals in Malaysia when many people take holidays and return to their hometowns to visit friends. relatives and reunite with their family.The roads leading outside the cities tend to be very congested with extremely heavy traffic.Bus and train tickets are sold out weeks in advance of this festival. In Malaysia, the ‘open house ‘ custom is practiced where Malaysians celebrating a particular festival invite family, friends and strangers to their homes to enjoy the traditional food and special delicacies. In Malaysia the first two days are public holidays,Muslim restaurants and government offices are all closed.
During the fasting month, many Muslim restaurants close during the day and government offices close earlier than their usual time. For the tourists, it is a great time to experience the vibrant ‘Ramadan ‘ bazaars which can be found in all cities and towns. These bazaars are patronised by all types of people as they are bustling with activities and many types of food can be found here.The colourful assortment of cakes, the aroma of the delicious food and the hustle and bustle draw the crowds to these bazaars. Even the hotels have special Ramadan buffet dinners with many types of food at this time of the year.
- Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is a major festival for the Chinese people in Malaysia. Preparations start weeks ahead with a thorough cleansing of the whole house. The Chinese believe that by doing this, they will sweep away the bad luck and welcome in the good fortune for a prosperous new year. Many people use this celebration to have a really good rest after a year of hard work, some people take an extended holiday to travel with their family and loved ones. Before the festive season starts, all the shopping centers have great discounts and the Chinese take advantage of this to buy new clothes for the new year. For the Chinese, red colour is considered an auspicious colour and many of the decorations and even dresses are in this ‘lucky’ colour. On the eve of the Chinese New Year, all the family members travel home to sit down together and eat the reunion dinner. This is an important meal and a time for the family members to relax and enjoy the celebration together. It is also a tradition to give out red envelopes containing money to children, seniors and even to those who are unmarried.
In Malaysia the first two days are public holidays,many ethnic restaurants and government offices are all closed. The Chinese New Year lasts for fifteen days, friends and families visit each other’s homes and many people have open houses where the foreign travellers and locals can experience the festivities while enjoying the delicious food .Chinese New Year falls on January or February.
Thaipusam is a Hindu festival observed as a day of paying penance and thanksgiving .Prior to this important event, the devotees usually partake a vegetarian diet for a stipulated time and cleanse their bodies by fasting. Some devotees pay penance by carrying the ‘kavadi’ on their bodies while they have hooks and spears pierced through their mouth, skin, tongue or even the cheeks. They are in a trance and religious fervor, carrying the ‘ kavadi ‘ up the 272 steps of the Batu Caves into the temple there. Some devotees carry pots of milk on top of their heads. Joining in the celebrations of Thaipusam is an unique experience and thousands of people visit Batu Caves at this time.The roads leading to Batu Caves are very congested and it is advisable to use public transport to get there. In many states, Thaipusam is a public holiday held in January or February.
image credit: travelfish
Deepavali is also known as Festival Of Lights and is celebrated by the Hindus. This celebration signifies the triumph of good over evil and light over dark. The Hindu community place many oil lamps around their houses which are then lit up. Kolam which are bright, colourful,and decorative designs made from materials like coloured rice or sand, rice flour or even flower petals. They are usually made at the entrance of the homes ,it can also be found on the floors of the shopping centers. The significance of the Kolam is to ward off evil from entering the homes. Some people believe it is to welcome their diety and ask for her blessings. Some Kolam are simple while others are more intricate and complex. In Malaysia, Deepavali is a public holiday usually celebrated in October or November.
- Mooncake Festival
This celebration is also known as the Mid -Autumn Festival or Lantern Festival in Malaysia. This is also an important festival for the Chinese and is held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. ( September or October ).This is also the time for the family members to gather together for a reunion, eating the mooncakes while enjoying the full and bright moon. Nowadays, there are many types of mooncakes with fillings such as lotus, red beans, durian, ham,nuts, fruits and eggs.To the Chinese, the round shape of the mooncake represents unity, prosperity or even reunion to different people.
On this day, the lights of the town or city are lit up and many people walk around holding their decorative lighted lanterns. This Lantern Parade is especially enjoyed by the children who carry paper lanterns in the shape of animals or their favourite cartoon character. It is a dazzling sight to behold at night !
6, Harvest Festival
Tadau Ka ‘amatan as it is known is the harvest festival celebrated in Sabah and is attended by thousands of local as well as foreign travellers . This traditional festival is a great opportunity for people to experience the local hospitality as well as to join in the celebrations. The activities include singing, dancing, traditional alcoholic beverages, cultural activities, the highlight being the crowning of the Harvest Beauty Queen. This colorful event is held in the month of May.
- Hari Gawai
This harvest festival is held in Sarawak every year in late May or early June. This popular celebration is an occasion for the communities to strengthen friendships and have a party, There are many ‘open houses’ where people can experience the warmth and culture of the local people. During this colorful occasion, the men and the women dress in their best traditional costumes and traditional rites and dances are performed. The is the time for games, processions, local delicacies and the favourite rice wine are served to family, friends and even foreign guests. This is a great time to experience these cultural activities in a longhouse where visitors are warmly welcomed
- National Day
Every year Malaysia celebrates her National Day on the 31st of August. This is a major celebration and it is a public holiday in Malaysia. Many shops are closed as people of all races gather at Dataran Merdeka to join in the exciting programmes for the day. There are various marches, musical performances by artistes and a grand display of fireworks. Many parades and air shows are held in the morning .
- Rainforest World Music Festival
This annual event is held at the Sarawak Cultural Village set against Mount Santubong in the capital city of Kuching. It is an unique music festival where local as well as well known international artistes gather to take part in the educational workshops, music lectures, jamming sessions ending with music performances on the main stage in the evenings. Indigenous musicians from Borneo also part in this three day event. The performances include contemporary world and fusion music and also emphasises on traditional music using acoustic instruments .This music festival was started in 1998 and every year thousands of people attend this fun filled music festival.There are also food stalls, craft displays as well as cultural displays during the festival.