The time to avoid traveling in Malaysia is during Malaysia public holidays such as public schools holidays and holidays relate to cultural festivals. The disadvantages of traveling during these periods are traffic jammed and crowded places packed with people. Moreover, hotels usually consider these periods as peak seasons and they will normally increase their room rate which lead to expensive accommodations. It’s also difficult to find a room with reasonable rates at these periods. Therefore, it’s best to avoid traveling in Malaysia during these periods.
Most of Malaysia public holidays are not fixed in terms of the exact dates but follow the lunar or Muslim calendar. These include Hari Raya Puasa, the main Muslim festival, a 2-day holiday celebrating the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan; Hari Raya Haji, celebrating the annual Muslim pilgrimage season; Awal Muharam, the Muslim New Year; and the Birthday of Prophet Muhammad, during which prayers and Quran recitals are held at mosques.
Some public holidays are observed only in certain states; for example, the birthday of the respective state sultans. If a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday is a holiday; likewise if a holiday falls on a Thursday or Friday in the states that follow the Muslim week, the following Saturday is a holiday. Therefore, if you are not sure if the places you are visiting are open for business or not, call before going there or consult the tourism office.
Public school holidays occur during the months of March, May/June, August, November/December. When planning your holidays in Malaysia, avoid these periods.
The following are a list of public holidays relate to cultural festivals observed in Malaysia.
January New Year’s Day (1st); Thaipusam, the Hindu festival of penance, celebrated colorfully in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
January/February Chinese New Year, a 2-day holidays for the main Chinese festival celebrated over a 15-day period. Make sure to visit Kuala Lumpur Chinatown during this period.
April Pesta Kaul, a Melanau festival celebrated in the fishing communities around Mukah on Sarawak’s north coast.
May Labor Day (1st); Wesak Day, temple celebrations to mark Buddha’s birthday, death and enlightenment; Harvest Festival, a 2-day holidays, the main festival for the different tribal groups of the state of Sabah.
June Gawai, a 2-day holidays that is the main official festival for the different tribal groups of Sarawak; Birthday of the Yang Dipertuan Agong (king) (5th).
August National Day (31st), celebrated with parades at the Merdeka Square.
October/November Deepavali, Hindu festival of lights.
December Christmas (25th), midnight mass, celebrated in churches all over the country.