Downtown of Johor has been filled by many travellers from Singapore especially during the weekend. With the higher currency exchange rate to ringgit Malaysia in recent years, even more people are willing to spend the time and effort to beat the traffic jam at the Causeway link just to escape the fast paced environment in Singapore to a more chill and relax place in Johor.
Most visitors are spending their leisure time at the nearby shopping mall like City Square and Komtar JBCC.
Here in this guide you will find more attractions within walking distance from the checkpoint not only inside the mall but also outside the shopping malls.
I would recommend you spend at at least 1 - 2 days maximum in the downtown area. Sound too long? You will find out yourself later in this article.
Let's start with the City Square mall, since it's the pioneer mall in the downtown area, getting more international brands and restaurants opening up their store to cater to demand of shoppers from Singapore.
Those brands are included H&M, Uniqlo, Levi’s, Din Tai Fung, Dragon-i and many more you could name it. Besides all these shop and dine there's some activities can be found inside the mall.
Image from Laser Battle
Located at level 4 InnerCity zone. It’s a fun activity play with your family and friends. Each game is last about 10 minutes and cost RM35 / RM45 to play 2 / 3 games per pax.
Sound too short to play with 10 minutes? When you’re in the game you don’t feel it as you will be tired and exhausted.
There’s are many kinds of battles game can choose such as Standard Solo, Standard Team, Capture the Flag, Base Flag, and many more! The area is big enough like a maze suitable with a few group to play at a time.
*Insider’s tips from us:
Try to dress comfortable like sport wear with a good running shoe.
Bring your own drinking water, hand towel and a new shirt to change as you could get sweat a lot!
Lockers is provided for you to keep your belongings.
Go during weekdays as peak time is always during weekends and holiday.
After the game you could feel exhausted and feel like treat yourself a good body massage. Located at the same zone but level 3 you can find;
Image from FB Thai Odyssey
one of the a well-known Authentic Thai Massage chain in Malaysia. They offer Traditional Foot / Half Body Massage ranging from RM63 for 30 minutes to RM78 for 60 minutes.
For those who bring their kids along should visit
Angry Birds Activity Park at KOMTAR JBCC.
It features indoor play areas and obstacle courses inspired by the Angry Bird Game. The kids could play up to 4 hours as there are many activities with different play zones, parents and kids can rest at the lounge area and snack bar cafe.
Single entry for Malaysian cost RM60 and RM75 foreigner. Buy tickets online would give you better offer or discount, so do check out the website to discover more promotion before you visit.
*Insider tips from us:
Don’t go straight if you had just finished a meal as it require your kids to be run and move around.
Go during weekdays as it has lesser crow
After those activities you may find your tummy calling you for food, it’s time to head out the mall and satisfy your tummy.
Let's go outside the mall to Jalan Wong Ah Fook and walk about 2 minutes towards the traffic opposite direction, you will see people queue up at the famous Kam Long Curry Fish Head restaurant on your left.
Everyday would have people queue for their fresh serving fish head / fish tails. Single order start from RM20 onwards, come with small, medium, and large pot.
Usually if you reach before 11am have lesser people.
Restaurant Info :
Address : 74, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : 8am-4pm, Open Daily
Crossing over Jalan Wong Ah Fook to Jalan Segget would be the;
Ah Hua Kway Teow Soup
Famous of its old school charcoal cooked Kway Teow and Half Boiled Eggs, you can order additional kidney slices or oysters.
Some customer may find it a bit tasteless as they don’t put MSG, it’s a true authentic home cook taste worth to try.
Restaurant Info :
Address : 30, Jalan Segget, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : 7:30am-2:30pm, Closed on Friday & Saturday.
Ya Wang 鸭王 Restaurant
The Roasted Duck Rice at the next 2 doors, famous on its herbal duck and roasted meat.
You can find the taste in Singapore’s Dian Xiao Er restaurant, which Ya Wang serves as the consultant to the specific dish of Ten Wonder Herbs Roast Duck (十全烤鸭).
Restaurant Info :
Address : 28, Jalan Segget, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : 8am-6pm, Open Daily
Walk further towards down Jalan Segget and turn right at the junction to Jalan Trus you can find;
Kok You Yong Herbal Tea
A household name here over a century old run by their family.
Worth stopping by and have a glass of cooling chrysanthemum tea under the hot weather.
Restaurant Info :
Address : No. 4 Jalan Pasar, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : 6am-1am, Closed on Sunday
Turn left to Jalan Trus walk until the cross junction you will find;
Hua Mui coffee shop (华美茶餐室)
The appearance looks like typical old school ordinally chinese coffee shop but it is a certified Halal restaurant.
This two-storey coffee shop is usually filled by many locals and tourists as early as 9am. Famous of its charcoal grilled butter and kaya toast for breakfast and serving both Eastern to Western cuisine.
Their famous signature crispy Hainanese Chicken Chop is a must try! The plate of Fish & Chips and Chicken Chop are quite well executed just the potato a bit stingy. But It costs only RM12 each plate, so it serves well in term of the price.
Address : 131, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : 6am-1am, Closed on Sunday
Now you are at the start of cafe hopping area, you will find a unique cafe Flowers in the Window along Jalan Dhoby. By its name you will notice the shopfront full of greenery flora. When you step in the space might a bit small and compact but it’s more spacious upstairs.
Every corner inside the cafe are full of plants, just feel like dining in a garden.They will incorporate fresh herbs in their cakes and breads as much as possible.
It is baked fresh on the site with their passionate culinary ladies.
Not forgetting to mention their homemade beverages are filled with herb as well. A truly unique flora theme cafe worth trying. Fyi, the guys behind the cafe are the same founder of Roost Cafe.
Address : 9, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : 10am-10pm Daily but closed on Tuesdays
Opposite is the well-known hipster cafe, they Immediate catch your eye with their retro minimalist white theme look.
They offer different day & night menu serving western foods, often filled up with crowd during the weekends.
At the level 2 is their lodges, come with 3 different types of room, the Skylight (Twin Bed), the Loft (Twin Bed) and Stories (Double Desk single Bed).
The walls at the lodges are quite thin, thus expect to get some noise during their cafe business hours and free “alarm” to wake you up from the mosque behind at 5am. But overall is good and they do provide complimentary breakfast.
Address : 33/34, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Monday to Fridays :9am-7pm, Weekend : 8am-7pm.
A hipster shop that selling artisan fashion items from accessories, bag, cloths, shoes, hat to decor.
WIth its non-big name brand would be lesser people wearing on the street so it would set you apart from everyone!
Address : 29, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Monday to Fridays : 2pm-12am, Saturday : 1pm-12am, Sunday: 3pm-12am
IT Roo Cafe
Opposite Calypso Vintage is “The Best Chicken Chop in Town” slogan can be seen at the shop, it’s just beside the junction of Jalan Dhoby and Jalan Pahang.
They were awarded “Best Chicken Chop in Malaysia” by a local newspaper in 2003, so it’s not made up the slogan by themselve.
They are certified Halal Hainanese restaurant, so they certainly fighting with Hua Mui’s chicken chop.
I personally like this chicken chop than Hua Mui because of it’s juicy and thick chicken with the superb mushroom sauce! Making you addicted to go back again and again!
It costs RM15 & RM17 with eggs, a bit expensive than Hua Mui but it certainly serve value of money with the amount of potato and coleslaw given. Must try! Again and again!
Address : 17, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Daily :10am-9:30pm
Walk towards to Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, its a Culture Street in the old town area of JB. From the cross junction you will notice the eye-catching heritage shop house at the corner.
Let’s Eat at old street 為食坊.老街.
A restaurant chain with other locations at Taman Molek, Taman Johor Jaya and Taman Setia Tropika.
It used to be the famous Red House, a venue for cultural events at the heritage street. Now has painted in white wall and green windows, you may find many Intagrammer taking pictures at the window wall outside.
When you step in the restaurant you will be amazed by how well the interior has preserved from ceiling, wooden staircase, window as well as the ancient floor tiles.
With the retro replicas furnitures you certainly can't resist to take some selfie. They offer variety of local delights and western foods with no pork no lard. Certainly worth to try out their food!
Their Nasi Lemak serve well with the fried chickens and the sambal(chili) is really good! Not so spicy and not so sweet! Their Kaya French Toast is quite normal but kaya is fragrant!
Address : 56, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Daily : 9am-7pm
Bev C - Cafe
Next two doors is a boutique cafe that serve tasty food, good coffee and great ambience to instagram. You will hardly notice the cafe outside because it is too inconspicuous and being blocked by trees.
From the entrance you will not notice whether this is a cafe or boutique because their counter and tables are located upstairs!
Their ground floor are selling fashion items. When you go out you will notice there’s a lot of white shirts hanging all over the place and wrapping the chairs.
That’s a really cool concept of combining fashion and food. Founded by the fashion designer Beverly & Cally, now you know where the name came from. The popular must order items are Chocolate Mint Pie and Espresso Ice Cube.
For your info they serve no pork no lard food, friendly for Muslim. Worth to visit and try out their food!
Address : 54, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Tuesday to Thursday & Sunday : 11am-8pm, Friday - Saturday : 11am-10pm,
Closed on Monday
Apart from cafes and restaurant there’s Art 52 Gallery located next 2 doors. It is an art gallery space to promote awareness and appreciation of art.
It held a variety of fine art paintings showcased by individual artists in Malaysia.
Address : 52, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Tuesday to Sunday : 10am-5:30pm Closed on Monday
When you walking further down towards the end you will find Drums Cafe on your left. From its name and the entrance of the cafe you know it’s all about drums.
According to their FB profile it’s the only cafe with 24 Festive Drums Themed Cafe in Malaysia. Merging western style and local authentic delights. Serving from Mille Crepe Cakes, Coffee, and they main dish is Yong Tau Fu.
They will perform drums every Saturday 8pm & 9pm inside the cafe by Bangsa Johor, a team mixed with Malay, Chinese and Indian community to perform. Very unique themed cafe worth visiting!
Address : 39, Jalan Ibrahim, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Wednesday to Monday : 8am-6pm Saturday : 8am-10pm Closed on Tuesday
Amphawa Boat Noodle
Next door is a Thai restaurant chain can be found in Paradigm Mall Skudai, Taman Sutera, and Austin Heights. The branch located at JB old town here is the Signature branch, from the outside might not look attractive but when you step in you will be amazed by its indoor waterfall.
It’s very cosy and comfortable inside decorate with a lot of greenery. They have variety of noodle types with different soup to try at RM1.90 and lots of colourful beverage to choose from.
A real authentic Thai boat noodle in the town!
Address : 40, Jalan Ibrahim, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Sunday - Thursday : 11:30am-10:30pm Friday & Saturday : 11:30am-12am
Johor Bahru Chinese Heritage Museum
When you go out from the Amphawa main entrance at Jalan Ibrahim turn right at 2 doors away,
there’s a mini 3 storey Johor Bahru Chinese Heritage Museum.
It houses a variety of interesting collection and exhibitions regarding the development of the Chinese community as well as the history of the state of Johor in general.
It’s a great place to discover Johor's history of early Chinese immigrant to Johor Bahru and their contribution to the area.
Admission fees Rm5 for adult and RM3 for children.
Address : 42, Jalan Ibrahim, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Open Daily 9am-5pm
Let’s go back to cultural street at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, there’s a iconic container cafe named;
Chaiwalla & Co.
It’s the first container cafe in Malaysia back in 2012 December, located at the open car park space, famous of its Thai Milk tea & Vietnamese Drip Coffee made with Trung Nguyen bean, not only these but they do offer a variety of drinks and light food. A great place to hang out / lepak or short break.
Address : 36, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Open Daily 12pm-12am
BIG Bites Cafe
Famous of their Desserts and Mille Crepe Cakes, they also offer Chicken Chop, Pizzas and Pastas as well. Their 3 in 1 Mille Crepe is a must try, it comes with 3 flavours of Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry that stacked together.
Not so sweet but rich of the flavour. They do offer private function rooms and cater up to 30-60 guests. A nice place to chill!
Address : 18, Jalan Ibrahim, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Monday-Friday 9am-7pm Weekend 9am-10pm
Hiap Joo Bakery & Biscuit Factory
Next door is the well-known of its aromatic Banana Cake, you can smell it when you queue at the entrance as it baked fresh daily by using wood fire oven.
The bread and cake are no preservatives and its Halal, it should not keep more than 3 days. They are also the Johor’s oldest traditional bakery factory up till date operate by the family members in 3 generations.
During the weekend you see many people queue and bought a few boxes of cakes and buns. So you must buy a box at least to try!
Address : 13, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Monday-Saturday 8am-6pm, Closed on Sunday
Many locals bought the bun from Hiap Joo and enjoy it straight at the Kin Hua Coffee Shop 锦华餐室 with a drink of kopi for breakfast.
They serve Kaya Toast and Soft Boiled Eggs as well and Nasi Padang with more than 15 dishes to choose from. Many locals stop by everyday to have their breakfast before kick start the day.
With the limited space and seats available, do grab a seats before heading to order the nasi padang especially during the weekend are filled up with tourist.
Address : 8, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Open Daily 7am-6pm
If you would like to take a break or find an activity you can visit the Full Wolves Board Game Station beside Kin Hua coffee shop. You pay a fee of RM7/8 (weekday/weekend) per hour per pax and choose a game of your preference from more than 50 choices.
They partner with the Shakespeare Milkshake cafe at the ground floor, so you can order the dessert and milkshake to enjoy it upstair. A great place to relax and chill.
Address : 9, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Monday-Friday 12pm-11pm, Weekend 12pm-12am, Closed on Wednesday
Bazar Karat / Pasar Karat in Malay.
Image credit : Heyjolow
It’s a flea market that strength along the streets of Jalan Segget stretch over to the end of Tan Hiok Nee at the culture street. When the night falls, all the stalls were setup and open until midnight.
You can find a variety of stuff there like Antique, Second-hands goods, T-Shirts, Fashion, Books, and many Food & Beverage stalls. The vendors are friendly so do your bargain for a better price and make sure grab it before it gone when you turn back.
Address : Jalan Segget, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru.
Business Hour : Open Daily 7pm-12am or later.
Conclusion, now you come to the end of this article and you might think that you definitely cannot go to all the places in a single day.
With all the activities, cafes and places at the downtown of JB mentioned here, I would suggest you spend at least 2 days to explore the area with an ease, many travellers from Singapore spending their 1 day trip in JB and heading back to SG end of the day.
They would definitely exhausted!
Stay a night at our Artsy Guesthouse at Sky Habitat just take 3 mins driving and 20 mins walking distance from the downtown of JB.
Not only giving you the ease of shop and dine but also you could enjoy the facilities at the apartment like the indoor swimming pools - No worries of bad weather.
Book now to experience yourself.
Found any unique cafe want to mention? Share your experience or favourite cafe in JB on the comment below!