The country is made up of two regions: Peninsular Malaysia which lies between Thailand and Singapore, and East Malaysia across the South China Sea on the island of Borneo. The combined land area of both regions is about 330,400 sq km (127,000 sq miles).
The Peninsula is divided into the east and the west by the mountain range known as Banjaran Titiwangsa, which runs from the Malaysia-Thai border in the north to the southern state of Negeri Sembilan. Geographically, East Malaysia is rugged, with a series of mountain ranges encompassing the interior regions of both Sabah and Sarawak.
The Crocker Range in Sabah is the site of Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in South East Asia. Low’s Peak, at 4,093 metres above sea level, is the highest point of the mountain.
The country is generally warm throughout the year with temperatures ranging from 21° to 32° Celsius in the lowlands. In the highlands, however, the temperature can be as low as 9-18° Celsius. Annual rainfall is heavy at 2,500mm (98 inches). On a rainy day, thunder and lightning often accompany the heavy downpour which normally lasts for about an hour or two. The high humidity level at 80% throughout the year favours light and sweat-absorbent material like cotton for daily dressing.
Generally, Malaysia has two distinct seasons. The south-west monsoon generally lasts from May to September, during which time the north east of the country is dry. The north-east monsoon brings the rainy season to the beautiful islands and beaches of the east coast from mid-November to March.
If heat is your enemy, the only alternative is to ensure the home you choose for yourself has excellent ventilation with lots of windows for better air circulation and is fitted with air-conditioning. Most accommodation has air conditioning although many houses and apartments have it only in the bedrooms.