Adapting to the climate in Malaysia

Hello everyone,

Adjusting to new climatic conditions is key in any expatriation process. Moving to Malaysia is no exception.

What are the climate characteristics of Malaysia?

How does the local weather impact your daily life, mood or health?

What are the pros and cons of the climate in Malaysia?

Share you advice and help people adapt quickly to their new weather environment.

Thanks in advance,


Hi Priscilla,

The climate in Malaysia is predominantly hot and humid throughout the year with periods of heavy rain. That means that if you wish to walk or cycle outside then you will probably get a bit sticky and sweaty.

But the good news is that all shopping malls, offices, houses and apartments have good air-conditioning, as do all cars, taxi's, buses and trains. So for the most part you will not suffer too much. Of course if you like to walk in the many beautiful parks and gardens or visit the KL Bird Park etc you will feel a bit sticky, but you'll quickly get used to it and after a while you really won't think about it much at all.

Many restaurants have some outdoor seating and often have fans set up to keep you cool and even a fine mist sprayer to help you feel fresh. And you really will get used to the climate in the tropics.

As they say, peoples mood are affected by the weather so with the mainly sunny weather most people should be very happy living in Malaysia.


Even after years in Malaysia I sleep poorly and assumed it was just my Scandinavian blood but we're having a holiday in the UK and just this morning we both said how well we're sleeping and my wife is Malay! Sayin that this year has been mega hot with the El Nino affecting all of SE Asia.

Furthermore to the comments of above, I would suggest to pay attention to the dehydration.
Drinking more water is good but not enough. The one who sweats (a lot) needs to compensate the loss of salt minerals in the body There are salt minerals in bags to melt with drinking water or use ready made drinks. The dehydration and a lack of salt minerals can lead to serious health complications. Do not forget : this hot weather is ideal for a fast development of all kind of bacterias ....inside the body...

Its funny, you can always tell who is brand new to Malaysia, they are sweating like crazy. A newcomer will think they walked out the door and into a pot of boiling water.

I also did for about the first 2-3 years and then it gradually reduced to what is normal for any Malaysian, that is to say most of the time you will not sweat unless under physical stress like sports.

If you look around, even older people have nice skin and that comes from so much moisture in the environment. Malaysians, their skin is so soft and smooth.  Im from US and there people have to use heavy moisturizers to keep hydrated skin, thats why we all have lines and look weathered. When I have been here a while and then take a trip back to US,  my skin starts cracking and flaking with dryness and feels stiff until I go back to Malaysia.

There is nothing you can do to stop this, you just carry handkerchiefs until one day you get used to it. You will.

The weather is fairly consistent around the year, about 30c (90F) and only cools down a bit at night. Sometimes the nights feel worse than the day, thick and sticky. But humidity isnt always so high, right now for me its 65%, sometimes its as low as 50% and as high as 100%.

It affects my mood very much still. Cant say I ever loved hot-water rain. And I cant wear the clothes I want, I have to be conscious of the heat and wear the lightest clothes. Sometimes at night I cant sleep at all because the weather is thick and foul, even if using aircon. Sometimes I have severe headaches for three days straight and then the weather milds and softens and Im OK again.

I mentioned this once before, the biggest problem for me is that the weather tortures and ruins anything--plastic, steel, rubber. Other than glass, what here doesnt rust?? I buy airtight plastic containers and put desiccant inside and there you can store sensitive items. Leave shoes in light and air or they will become moldy.

Being close to the equator skin cancer is a high risk and probability. Dont wear shorts, stay covered up and use sun block. I can definitely tell there is damage to my skin after years here. Remember that the genes of locals have adapted over centuries, yours havent.

I never drink enough water but yes you should drink more than you probably ever drank in your life!

Though I miss seasons, it is also a good thing to be able to predict the weather. it wont be 0c, it wont be 50c. These days I hate the cold, if its 25c im already reaching for sweaters!

The good part about the weather is the plant life, fantastic plants, not like anywhere else.

Is the water in Penang save to use for drinking and cooking

Ooh...some new apartments have very good filtering systems. I owned a hotel and we filtered and UV treated the water so it was perfect. However even in my new apartment I use a Brita water filter jug. A good tip if you don't want the hassle of bottled water is boil all your water for at least 30 seconds.  Better safe than sick as a parrot!

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