INTRODUCTION

Malaysia is a vast country spanning across the South China Sea. Generally it is divided into two main parts: Peninsular Malaysia or West Malaysia which is connected to continental mainland Asia by the isthmus of Kra; and East Malaysia which comprises the two Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Peninsular Malaysia comprises of the eleven original states that formed Malaya (the precursor of Malaysia) in 1957 and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur (created 1974) and Putrajaya (created 2001).

Selangor is one of the eleven original states, and both the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya were once part of the state of Selangor before the federal government took over both areas. Located centrally on the west coast side of the peninsula, the three areas therefore share similar weather characteristics.

WEATHER

Being located so close to the equator, Peninsular Malaysia does not have distinct seasons such as spring, summer, autumn or winter.

Instead the temperature is rather uniform throughout the year, with high humidity and copious rainfall. Situated in the doldrums, although Malaysia has abundant sunshine, it is extremely rare to have a full day with completely clear skies, due to the presence of cloud cover at various times during the day. Conversely, it is also exceedingly rare to have days with completely no sunshine.

Outside of the highland areas, temperatures generally range from 27C to 35C during the day. It rarely, if ever, drops below 20C at night, with temperatures usually around 25C.

But it is usually not the heat that most tourists find difficult to handle, it is the humidity. The mean monthly humidity can range from 70 to 90%, which can leave you drenched in sweat after a short walk! Fortunately most buildings are air-conditioned, and a quick hop into a shopping mall will quickly cool you down.

Wind-flow in Malaysia is generally light and variable; however there are some recognisable variations in the wind-flow patterns throughout the year. These can be generalized into four periods: the South-West Monsoon, the North-East Monsoon and two shorter inter-monsoon periods.

The South-West Monsoon is usually from June to September. The wind-flow is generally south-westerly and light, approximately 15 knots. As the central and southern areas of the peninsula are shielded by Sumatra from the winds associated with these monsoon, it has vary little impact on the Selangor / Kuala Lumpur area as the winds are usually bereft of rain by the time it hits the central and southern part of the peninsula.

The North-East Monsoon is from November to March with steady north-easterly or easterly winds of up to 20 knots. Generally the Selangor / Kuala Lumpur area is protected from the brunt of the winds by the Titiwangsa mountain range which runs through the spine of the peninsula and the monsoon makes its mark mostly on the east coast of the peninsula, where speeds can sometimes reach 30 knots.

During the two inter-monsoons of April-May and October, an equatorial trough lies over Malaysia, and winds are variable.

Rainfall in Malaysia is copious, averaging 2409mm (94.8 inches) of rainfall in a year, 200mm average per month. The maximum rainfall in the Selangor / Kuala Lumpur area tends to fall during the inter-monsoon months when the equatorial trough lies over Malaysia. The primary maximum occurs during October-November and the secondary maximum during April-May. The primary minimum occurs during June-July with the secondary minimum around February. Even in the supposedly "drier" months, the monthly rainfall is still about 100mm compared to a wetter month where the average monthly rainfall could be about 275mm of rain. By comparison, London in a wet month would only get 60-75mm of rain.

TIPS ABOUT THE WEATHER

The first rule about the weather in Selangor/Kuala Lumpur is “Don’t worry about the weather!”.  It will always rain at some point of your visit, but you will always see sunshine as well. Except on the east coast of Malaysia during the North-East monsoon season, there will never be a time of non-stop rain throughout the day and night during your visit. Besides, weather in Malaysia is unpredictable and the weather will do what it wants to do. So no point stressing out about it.

The second rule is don’t bother looking at weather forecasts. It will always perpetually show  cloudy with a chance of rain, when the truth is it could be a five minute warm shower in the warning and a blazing hot day for the rest of the time.

The third rule is carry a small mini-umbrella around with you. Don’t bother with raincoats or you will be cooked in the equatorial heat. The umbrella serves a dual purpose of covering you when it rains, and protecting you from the intense heat of the sun most of the times.

The fourth rule is drink plenty of water and keep hydrated at all times. Carry around bottled mineral water to deal with the high humidity.

The fifth rule is…. just enjoy Selangor & Kuala Lumpur! There is no right or wrong time to visit!