Peninsular, or Western, Malaysia stretches from Singapore up to the Thai border. This is Malaya proper. The east and west coasts of the peninsula are quite distinct geographically and even to some degree culturally.
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The mountain range which runs west of center down the peninsula makes the western half of the peninsula rather hilly right down to its white sandy beaches. While in the east the mountains give way to a wide plain which slopes gently down to the sea.
Culturally, the west coast is the site of greatest colonial influence, with the trading ports of Melaka and Penang. Most of the western Malay states came under direct British rule by the end of the nineteenth century, while the east remained semi-autonomous right up to independence.