There are a growing number of marinas and yacht clubs throughout Malaysia where it's possible to tighten the mainsail, tug on a halyard, hoist a spinnaker and let the tropical breezes take you to new and exciting destinations.

Situated between one and seven degrees north of the Equator, Malaysia enjoys mostly balmy weather all year round. The wet northeast monsoon blows from November to March, along the East Coast of the Peninsular as well as Sarawak and Sabah.

Even during this season, there are periods of fine weather and smooth seas. The southwest monsoon blows from April to October. Generally, westbound yachters travel during the northeast monsoon and those travelling east, during the southwest.

Historically, it has been at the centre of regional maritime trade and this continues today. The Straits of Malacca on the West Coast is the main route taken by yachters travelling from Australia to Thailand, Africa and Europe.

The East Coast is much quieter with many islands offering excellent places to moor, relax, scuba dive and stock up on essential requirements. The main ports here are Mersing, Kuantan, Kuala Dungun, Marang, and Kuala Terengganu while the enchanting islands of Tioman, Perhentian, Redang and Kapas also provide basic services.

East Malaysia is becoming increasingly popular for yachting and as a stopover for boaters from distant shores. Those arriving in Sabah from the east can sail westward around the coast stopping at exciting destinations before continuing towards Peninsular Malaysia.

Key Tips

  • Visiting yachters need to check in at each new port where the officials are welcoming, English is understood by most and paperwork is straightforward.

  • The Immigration, Marine, Customs and Health Departments (the latter if quarantine procedures are required) and Harbour Master must be visited upon arrival in Malaysia.

  • Yachters will need to produce crew passports, original boat registration certificate, boat stamp (if any) and port clearance papers from the last port of call.