12 DecLocal Time: 11:23 MYT UK Time: 03:23 GMT
- Sunrise 07:17
- Sunset 19:06
- Moonrise 14:28
- Moonset 02:07
|Temp feels like:||29°c (84.2°f)|
|Length of Day:||11h 49m|
|Pressure:||29.8 " (1009 hpa)|
Average for December: 27.5°c (81.5°f)
Weather Overview for Penang
Penang has an equatorial climate which means high heat, high humidity and high rainfall year round. The year’s weather is split into a wet and a dry season, though there are actually two monsoon seasons affecting Malaysia, and wet weather is always likely. The climate is largely dictated the monsoon winds of the surrounding seas. Due to its proximity to Indonesia, all of Malaysia is prone to the phenomenon known as “the haze”, as winds carry over ash particles from the forest fires of Sumatra. The sun can hide behind a muggy grey sky for days. This is a tropical location, just above the equator, with rainforest and white sandy beaches. Penang is a state on the northwest coast of Malaysia. Its capital is Georgetown. Part of the state is part of mainland Malaysia, while part is an island called Pulau Penang which can be reached by a causeway. Once a penal colony, Penang is now a favourite holiday location for local and international holidaymakers.
Heat and Humidity
Penang’s equatorial location means there is little seasonal variation in temperature. The average high temperature sits in the low 30s for the entire year, while the average low sits in the low 20s. The absolute highest temperature ever recorded in Penang is 37°C and the lowest is 18°C. Generally, you can expect it to get up to around 31°C in the day and down to 21°C at night, with little variation either side. Humidity is high year round which makes it feel even hotter – on arrival you will feel like you’ve just stepped into a sauna, or been wrapped in a hot wet blanket, or both simultaneously. High humidity stops your sweat from evaporating (evaporating sweat being your body’s main cooling mechanism).
Dry Season: December – March
Penang’s short dry season takes place while the east coast of Malaysia is drenched by the northeast monsoon season. Rainfall remains relatively high but is dramatically lower than during the rest of the year. Rainfall levels and the frequency with which it falls decrease till the driest months of January and February which see under 100mm of rain each on only around ten days each. Rainfall is much higher at the beginning and end of the season. Rain usually falls in the form of short storms, often in the evening, and these tend to give a brief respite from the heat and clear the sky of any haze or lingering clouds. Unsurprisingly, the dry season is sunnier than the wet season, though due to the short-lived nature of tropical rainfall the difference is not as great as one might expect. Sunshine levels average at around eight hours per day for most of the season. The sea temperature drops very slightly at this time of year, but it is still bath-like at around 28°C.
This is by far the most popular time to visit Penang, or any of Malaysia, and all because of the weather. It is probably worth braving the crowds and forking out for the pricey flights, as the dry season has lower rainfall and humidity, and overall more predictable weather than the wet season.
Wet Season: April – November
The months from April till November come under the influence of the southwest monsoon. The southwest monsoon season technically lasts from May till September, but rainfall is high in the lead up to and the tailing off of the monsoon winds. The average rainfall of April is 220mm. After this it lessens slightly, getting down to 180mm in June, then increases again. The year’s absolute highest rainfall is seen in September and October. September sees an average of 360mm of rain while October sees almost 400mm. On average it rains more than half of the days in each month and later on in the season it is actually unusual to see a day without any rain. Storms are severe with unbelievably fast and heavy rain, and sometimes strong winds. While some are over quickly these storms can last for days and are often accompanied by thunder and lightning. The rainforest and giant monsoon drains take care of most of the water, but flash flooding is quite common in the wet season. This can make roads almost impossible to use and even cause landslides.
While rain is the dominant feature of the wet season, there are usually plenty of periods of dry and bright weather every day. Sunshine levels only reduce slightly to seven hours of sunshine per day. Humidity rises, making the marginally higher heat even less bearable. The sea temperature gets up to around 30°C.
You might want to take advantage of the cheaper flights and accommodation in the low season, but good weather is certainly not to be depended on, as the changeability of the weather might have you rushing in and out to catch the sun and avoid the rain a thousand times a day, and there will be some overcast, wet days, which see no sun at all – not what most people are looking for in a tropical holiday. It should also be noted that many, many people still travel to Penang despite the weather, so you won’t really be avoiding any crowds by travelling at this time of year.
Penang is not large but it is hilly which means there is some regional variation in the weather. The conditions given above can be observed in all low-lying regions. Higher up it is cooler but also wetter, and sometimes even misty. Penang Hill’s Western Hill is the highest point in the state at 830m.
2004 Boxing Day Tsunami
The Indian Ocean earthquake on 26th December 2004 caused a tsunami known for causing devastation across coastal Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and the Maldives. Most of Malaysia was sheltered from the tsunami, but Penang and other outlying islands were affected. 52 deaths were recorded in Penang and many homes in fishing villages were destroyed. Penang was the worst affected area in Malaysia due to its location far north on the east coast, which afforded it less protection by Sumatra.
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My holiday in Penang
4 It was raining when we got there at 1:30am but after that very hot and sunny for the rest of the holiday.... Read full review