Posted By: blend -- 10th September 2012
Kota Kinabalu Weather
Kota Kinabalu, also called Kk by locals and tourists, is the gateway to East Malaysia. It is the capital of Sabah State and the largest urban area in Borneo, with a population of nearly 500,000. Kota Kinabalu was originally called Jesselton,after the Vice Chairman of the British North Borneo Company in the late 1800s. In World War II, the city was repeatedly bombed by the Allied forces in the Borneo Campaign. Jesselton was later changed to Kota Kinabalu, the name of the tallest peak in Malaysia, Mount Kinabalu. Besides Mount Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu is also popular for its biologically-diverse rain forests, islands, shopping, leisure andadventure activities.
The Kota Kinabalu climate is tropical rainforest, but the wet and dry seasons can be noticeably wetter and drier. Because the city is only a few degrees north of the equator, it is always hot and humid. It’s not too uncomfortable even for new visitors, however, and those who stay in the area for long periods may forget about the weather altogether. Shopping malls and nearly all enclosed spaces (including taxis) are air conditioned, so it’s easy to get around even when the weather is particularly bad.Temperature in Kota Kinabalu is fairly uniform year-round, with frequent rains and occasional dry spells. December and January are general the coolest months, while April and May are the hottest.
The thermometer hovers pretty much around 30 degrees C all year, but rain and cold winds blowing all the way from Siberia during the cool months can occasionally lower early morning temperatures to 20 degrees C. In urban areas, expect an average high of 32 degrees C and average low of 22 degrees C. Interior areas like Kinabalu Park and Kundasang are much cooler, and the summit of Mount Kinabalu can approach freezing temperatures.
Kota Kinabalu has two monsoons: the Northeast Monsoon and the Southwest Monsoon. The Northeast Monsoon (November to March) brings light rainfall and cooler temperatures, while the Southwest Monsoon (May to September), is accompanied by heavy rainfall and warmer temperatures. Inter-monsoons prevail from April to May and from September to October. The driest months are usually February and March, while the wettest is around October. Whenever rain occurs, it rarely lasts the whole day. Rain that lasts from 15 minutes to two hours or more is expected. Locals call Kota Kinabalu the “land below the wind” because of its location below the typhoon belt. This means rain is almost perpendicular, so you can stay dry just by covering your head with an umbrella.
When to Go
Kota Kinabalu enjoys year-round tourism, and many travelers don’t consider the wet and dry season too seriously when deciding to visit.Officially, January to April are the driest months and the best time to enjoy the scenery without getting wet. Rain is not a daily occurrence, but it can rain once a day even during the dry months and twice a day or more during the wet months.When it isn’t raining or raining hard, the sun is always present. It is recommended that you stock up on high-SPF sun block, as it can get expensive when you buy locally at the islands. Visitors who don’t mind the heat enjoy walking around the city, but most people prefer to travel in taxis or minivans.
People dress casually in Kota Kinabalu due to the weather. Tourists mainly wear shorts, t-shirts or sundresses. Just remember that it is considered disrespectful to be scantily clad in places of worship like mosques and religious sites, so wear long pants, shirt with sleeves and closed shoes if you plan to visit them. In the evening, you can wear warm clothes made with light materials. Those who climb Mount Kinabalu recommend wearing light layers that you can peel off when it gets warm.