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Where is Malaysia?

Malaysia is a vibrant Southeast Asian country that straddles two main landmasses: Peninsular Malaysia, bordering Thailand, and East Malaysia on Borneo Island. It's a melting pot of cultures, with bustling cities, lush rainforests, and serene beaches. Discover how Malaysia's unique position shapes its climate, biodiversity, and culture. What will you find intriguing about this diverse nation? Continue reading to uncover more.
Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

In a very broad sense, the country of Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia between India and China. To pinpoint its location geographically, the country is positioned at 7 degrees north of the equator. The equator is the invisible borderline that separates the Earth into Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Equatorial countries usually have hot, wet weather and Malaysia's proximity to the equator gives it a tropical climate. Neighboring Indonesia, both to the south and east, is situated right on the equatorial line.

The two main parts of Malaysia are separated by the waters of the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. The peninsular or western section of the country is attached to Thailand, while the eastern portion is located in the northwest part of the island of Borneo. East Malaysia on Borneo is divided into two states: Sabah and Sarawak. Brunei is a neighboring country on the island of Borneo.

Malaysia is a producer of palm oil.
Malaysia is a producer of palm oil.

Cambodia and Vietnam are situated to the north of Malaysian lands, while the Philippines are northeast. Singapore is adjacent to the peninsular area on the south. The size of Malaysia is said to be comparable to the American state of New Mexico as well as the countries Vietnam and Norway.

Malaysia's location is commercially significant in that it's near the Strait of Malacca. This is one of the world's main shipping straits. The Strait of Malacca is an international trade route known for its easy navigation for large commercial ships. Malaysian exports include palm oil, rubber, cocoa and spices as well as industrial building products.

Singapore connects to Malaysia in the south.
Singapore connects to Malaysia in the south.

The Andaman Sea in West Malaysia is a popular tourist area, as it features sparkling blue waters and powdery white beaches. Rather than the commercial ships of the nearby Strait of Malacca, the Andaman Sea is mostly accessed by yachts and sailboats. The Straits of Johor are another West Malaysian tourist area. Although Port Klang in Johor is a major seaport, the Lido Beach section is a resort locale for tourists. Just beyond the Straits of Johor is the country of Singapore.

A bridge called The Second Link connects Singapore with the Malaysian state of Johor. The bridge was built in January 1998 to reduce border traffic jams. For the most part the strategy was successful. The main time of intense traffic congestion at the Malaysia–Singapore border is during holidays such as Lunar New Year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Malaysia located geographically?

Malaysia is situated in Southeast Asia, divided into two distinct regions by the South China Sea. Peninsular Malaysia, also known as West Malaysia, shares borders with Thailand to the north and Singapore to the south via a causeway and a bridge. East Malaysia, comprising the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo, borders Indonesia and Brunei. The country lies near the equator, providing it with a tropical climate.

What are the main physical features of Malaysia?

Malaysia boasts a diverse landscape that includes coastal plains, hills, and mountains. The country's highest peak, Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, East Malaysia, rises to 4,095 meters (13,435 feet). Peninsular Malaysia is known for its forested central mountains, the Titiwangsa Range, and extensive rainforests. Malaysia's coastline extends over 4,675 kilometers, with numerous islands and archipelagos contributing to its rich biodiversity.

How does Malaysia's location affect its climate?

Malaysia's equatorial position ensures a tropical rainforest climate with high humidity and temperatures averaging around 27°C (81°F) year-round. The country experiences two monsoon seasons: the Southwest Monsoon from May to September and the Northeast Monsoon from November to March. These monsoons bring significant rainfall, particularly to the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and the northern part of Borneo, influencing agriculture and daily life.

What is the strategic importance of Malaysia's location?

Malaysia's strategic location along the Strait of Malacca, one of the world's busiest maritime routes, has historically made it a crucial point for trade and cultural exchange between the East and West. This has contributed to Malaysia's diverse culture and economy. The strait is a vital shipping channel that sees a significant portion of the world's trade pass through, including oil and manufactured goods, making Malaysia an important player in international trade.

Can you describe the cultural diversity in Malaysia?

Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures, with a population comprising mainly Malays, Chinese, and Indians, along with various indigenous groups, especially in East Malaysia. This multiculturalism is reflected in the country's official language, Bahasa Malaysia, and the recognition of various other languages and dialects. The cultural diversity extends to religion, cuisine, and festivals, with Islam being the predominant religion, while Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and traditional Chinese religions are also practiced.

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Discussion Comments

I would like to travel to Malaysia sometime. Does anyone know when the best time to go would be? I'm assuming it's like many other countries in that area -- there's a dry season and a rainy season, but other than that, I don't know much about it.

Has anyone ever been to Kuala Lampur? I'm sure it's a fascinating city and I'd like to learn about it. I know there is a huge amount of history there, and I'd love to explore it.

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    • Malaysia is a producer of palm oil.
      By: uckyo
      Malaysia is a producer of palm oil.
    • Singapore connects to Malaysia in the south.
      By: syphrix
      Singapore connects to Malaysia in the south.