The Malay Peninsula is home to a long mountain range known as the Titiwangsa Mountains or Titiwangsa Range. The Titiwangsa Mountains naturally divide the Malaysian Peninsula into two, and separate Thailand’s west and east coasts. The mountain range is locally referred to as “Banjaran Besar,” which means “Main Range.” The Titiwangsa Mountains are located in both Malaysia and the southern part of Thailand. The mountain range’s name in Thailand is the Sankalkhiri Range. The formation of the mountain range is believed to have occurred 300 million years ago, during the Late Triassic Period, when two terranes, the Indochina and Sibumasu, collided with each other.
The Titiwangsa Mountains are a section of the larger Tenasserim Hills, which is a 1,040-mile long mountain system. This mountain system is itself part of the Indo-Malayan cordillera, a mountain chain in which the Titiwangsa Range is the southernmost part. The officially recognized description of the Titiwangsa Mountains starts in southern Thailand as the Sankalkhiri Range, runs south of the Malay Peninsula, and ends near Johor, Malaysia, near Mount Ophir. The range is composed primarily of limestone and granite rock.
The Titiwangsa Mountains are among the longest of its kind in Southeast Asia, with a length of 300 miles and a width of 75 miles. The highest peak in the range is Malaysia’s Mount Korbu, which reaches a maximum elevation of 7,162 feet above sea level. Also known as Gunung Korbu, the mountain represents the southernmost part of the Tenasserim Hills. The summit of Mount Korbu is the second-highest peak in the Malay Peninsula and is only exceeded in elevation by Mount Tahan. The Thai portion of the mountain range (the Sankalkhiri Range) has Ulu Titi Basah as its highest point. Ulu Titi Basah is located near the Thailand-Malaysia border and has an elevation of 5,030 feet.
The Titiwangsa Mountains are of great ecological importance to the entire Malay Peninsula. The mountain range is home to the Titiwangsa Forest Complex, a large forest that covers much of the slopes of the Titiwangsa Range. The forest complex is part of the larger Central Forest Spine of Peninsular Malaysia, which covers most of the Malay Peninsula. The Titiwangsa Forest Complex is home to a diverse biosphere but is best known for its towering trees. The forests surrounding the mountain range are a bird-watchers paradise, as hundreds of different species of bird are endemic to the Titiwangsa Forest Complex.
Tourism and Conservation
In order to preserve the fragile forest ecosystem, numerous national parks have been established along the range in both Thailand and Malaysia. Some of these national parks include the Taman Negara, Hala Bala Wildlife Sanctuary, Royal Belum State Park, Krau Wildlife Reserve, and San Kala Khiri National Park. Thousands of tourists visit the Titiwangsa Mountains each year, many of whom are drawn to the hiking destinations on the range, which include Fraser’s Hill and the Cameron Highlands. The mountain range is easily accessible by road, with numerous roads running through the surrounding forest complex.