Just only 1KM away crossing to Singapore separate with Straits of Johor. It has been a gateway for many Singaporean spend their weekend in the city for food, shopping and leisure.
For many Malaysian living outside of Johor seem quite a far away vacation from the capital city Kuala Lumpur.
It takes at least 4 hours driving from KL to JB compare just 2-3 hours drive to another major attraction like Genting Highland, Cameron Highland, Ipoh, Melaka, Port Dickson, and many more.
Thus, many could not find reason going to the southern part even for Singaporeans can find excuses due to heavy traffic jam at the causeway up to 3 hours or more during peak season.
Here in this article will help you find reasons and worth your time to visit Johor Bahru for your next trip.
Excellent for shopaholic, other than the well-known shopping district like Bukit Bintang in KL. Shopping malls in Johor are not losing behind. There are many newly open shopping malls like the largest in the region, Paradigm Mall JB.
Image credits: Southern Corridor Malaysia/youtube
Spanning over 1.3 million square feet with over 500 retail outlets in Skudai, It houses an ice skating rink, an indoor climbing gym and Malaysia’s first indoor skate park as well as the largest GSC cinema in Johor boasts a total of 16 screens with more than 2,000 seats.
Basically, you could spend the entire day just inside the mall for entertainment, shop, and delicacies.
Capital 21 Mall
It's one of the largest mall in Johor, located in Tampoi. It was said to be the largest indoor theme park in Southeast Asia.
Image credits: Capital 21 shopping mall facebook
There would be three main sections - Movie Planet, Cartoon Planet and Music Planet that occupied 2 levels, it was featured by MCM Studio.
Another attraction is the Thematic Mall that showcase of five continents across its five floor. Each floor will seek to showcase at least 6 iconic cities in the design to represent that continent.
The biggest attraction and unique part of the mall compare to other mega malls is definitely the entertainment, that's great for family with kids and young people.
Aeon Tebrau City
It is one of the largest department store in the state, many local and singaporean like shop for their groceries and household items. Situated at Taman Desa Tebrau, next to Tesco and the newly open IKEA.
Apart from the Tebrau City, other popular Aeon Malls in the state are Aeon Bukit Indah, Aeon Kulai and Aeon Bandar Dato’ Onn that newly opened in september 2017. The mall often held promotion event like Aeon Member Day, up to 80% discount rewards for the member at the selected Aeon mall.
Thus many local and even singaporean family willing to drive from singapore and beat the traffic jam at the causeway just to grab the hot deals.
it’s the 3rd Ikea store in Malaysia and the largest in south-east asia with 46,713 square meters of land, before the store open many local will travel to Singapore or even KL Damansara ( the 1st and only Ikea few years back) to shop and find inspiration for home decoration.
Now with the store open, many singaporean willing to drive from singapore to get better deal because of the currency exchange. If you buy in bulk could save you up to few hundred sing dollar. The bad thing is they do not provide delivery to singapore.
KSL City Mall
It is also one of the popular mall, inside the mall has Tesco supermarket as well as numerous shops and entertainment centres like MBO cinema.
The well-known of the mall is the choices of delicious food can be found not only inside but around the mall outside.
If you looking for cheap fashion accessories and clothes, especially for the lady. This is your choice. For those body massage lovers, there some authentic thai foot/body massage shops offering great value for your bucks.
Other popular shopping malls in the downtown city area are;
City Square and Komtar JBCC.
Within walking distance from the JB checkpoint, it has been a popular shopping gateway for many singaporeans. A lot of them just spend 1 day trip to shop in the area, it could be exhausted when travel back and forth singapore within 1 day.
If you would like to enjoy a bit more and shop with ease, you can book and stay at our guesthouse at Sky Habitat, just 15 mins walking distance from the checkpoint and City Square mall.
Furthermore, there’s an upcoming new shopping mall nearby would be Princess Cove Shopping Mall which located in Tanjung Puteri.
Image credits: enrichindonesia.co.id/projects/30-rf-princess-cove
Just crossing a road opposite our Artsy Guesthouse. Next to the mall is the first ever world-class Opera Theatre in Johor, it’s one of the mega project by Chinese developer. After the completion in 2019, It would be a new landmark of Johor.
Other upcoming new shopping mall would be Mid Valley Southkey Megamall, located in eastern part of JB about 5-10 mins drive from the JB customs.
Once it complete and open in 2019. It will be the largest mall in the state.
Country Garden Shopping Mall is by another chinese developer project, it will be completed in 2018. Located at the seaside of Danga Bay, facing Singapore with a stunning view of the straits of Johor. With the seafront location, it’s very similar feel of Vivocity in Singapore.
Lastly, Johor Premium Outlet, taken 45 acres of land with over hundred of brands included Burberry, Coach, Tory Burch, CK Calvin Klein, and loads more.
It also known by many tourist and local to shop for branded stuff at high discount offer all-year round.
With all these current and upcoming shopping malls, that would definitely enough to compete with those in Kuala Lumpur. Giving those shopaholic excuses and reason to visit Johor Bahru.
For your information, Johor alone has the most Theme Parks in Malaysia, there are currently up to 10 outdoor & indoor theme parks in the state and the number won’t be stop because the state government are already planning more amusement parks to be opened in the coming years.
Some of the most popular now would be Legoland, with it’s door open in end of 2012 in strategic location of Nusajaya, within just 30 mins driving from the JB sentral and the Tuas checkpoint Singapore.
It’s has been gateway of paradise to the kids for many locals and singaporean.
Nearby theme park would be the Sanrio Hello Kitty Land at Puteri Harbour, few minute drive from the legoland.
It’s the first Hello Kitty themed outside of Japan. With its multi-storey indoor theme park features many attractions such as Hello Kitty’s House, Purrfect Stage, Wishful Studio,Tea Cup Rides, and Dream Photo Garden. Basically family and the kids could spend entire day there.
One of the newest indoor theme park would be Angry Birds Activity Park at Komtar JBCC, extremely near to the JB custom with just 5 mins walking distance away. The park provides variety of attractions and games suitable for youth, kids, and parent alike.
Another brand new theme park would be Fanpekka Theme Park, located inside the Aeon Tebrau City shopping mall.
The unique features of this theme park is designed on the idea that children learn by playing, It’s the first Finnish conceptual learning theme park in Asia designed by Japanese. Find out more here.
How about those who want an escape from the urban to seek for nature relief like white sandy beaches, waterfall and jungle tracking? Johor alone has more than 10 well known beaches, 7 captivating mountains. Maybe not go too far away from JB, so let’s start with mountain hiking.
The nearest to city area that would be Mount Pulai, it has 654 meters high covers about 80 square kilometers of forest reserve and one of the most popular hiking place in Johor. There are many hikers travel from Singapore during the weekend to find such a wildlife relief which they can’t find in the island.
Waterfall can be found there as well, during the hot season it’s a great time to experience the refreshing nature water, you can find cleaner water towards the foot of the waterfall as it would be lesser people at the river.
For your information, there’s the water catchment area there to supply water to Singapore island, so many singaporean would know this popular hiking spot. Driving from the JB customs it will take you about 1 hour journey to reach Kg Sri Gunung Pulai which is the entrance to the waterfall and hiking track.
Another hiking spot you can reach is Mount Panti, located in north of Bukit Tinggi district. It stands at 513 meters high, many hikers rated it Simple to Moderate route to the peak and they usually take about 4-5 hours round trip.
You can find lots of flora and interesting plant along the way to the peak. You will have chance to meet with monkeys as well.
Driving my JB custom it will take you about 1 and half hours to reach Kota Rainforest Resort, the entrance to the hiking trail is 50m before the resort.
At the rainforest resort there you can go to Kota Tinggi Waterfalls Resort just 5 mins drive, another well-known waterfall in Johor.
If you want to know more about hiking in Johor, there’s a Facebook Group you can join with the link here.
There are man beautiful and white sandy beaches in Johor especially at the east coast side, the most popular seaside would be Desaru. Many singaporean and locals visit there during the school holiday with their family and kids.
There are a many resorts along the coastline like Lotus Desaru Beach Resort, Sand & Sandals Resort & Spa, Tunamaya Resort & Spa, and the upcoming famous Desaru Coast Resorts,
Image credits: Desaru Development Holdings One
It’s a premium integrated destination resort that include Hard Rock Hotel, and the Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, it is touted as one of the world’s biggest waterparks and the largest wave pool in Southeast Asia.
Driving from the JB customs to Desaru will take you about 1 and half hour journey.
Other than the resorts, there’s a few attractions worth to visit there, Desaru Ostrich Farm, with more than 200 ostrich and only 30 mins drive from Desaru.
There are caretakers to provide tour guides for you, suitable for the kids and family as the children can get close and learn more about ostrich, they can touch, feed, and take pictures with the ostrich.
Another nearby attraction is Desaru Fruit Farm, you can find 100 species of fruits trees and plants spanning over 180 acres of land.
It’s one of the best Agro-Tourism location in Malaysia. You can take a tour of the farm and taste fresh fruit right from their tree or plant with the many guides on site, they will share with you their knowledge and expertise on each fruit species.
Great for educational to the children. If you driving from Desaru coastline take about 15 mins to reach the farm.
Other than the east part of Johor, you have the west part with a number of beautiful national parks like Kukup Island.
Image credits: tourism.johor.my
It’s a conserves wetlands and declared as a protected national park in Malaysia. It remains uninhabited to the day, famous of it’s wide array of mangrove trees.
There’s a 150 years-old fishing village, a stone’s throw away from the island, it’s popular for its cheap and fresh seafood. Thus, many tourist can found during the weekend.
Going to the village and Jetty will take you approximately 60 KM with 1 hour or more from JB sentral.
Another attraction at nearby is Tanjung Piai National Park, just 15 mins drive from the fishing village. The unique features of this place it is known as the Southernmost Tip of Mainland Asia geographically.
Many tourists and nature-lovers to experience the scenic coastal mangroves. Visitors can enjoy the long boardwalks that provide a good opportunity for bird watching and also observing the various species. animals living there.
Find out more about National Parks in Johor with this link.
In 2016, Johor was reportedly the top destination for domestic visitors, recording a total of 7.4 million Malaysian tourists that year.
The state also attracted the third most international tourists in the country in the same year, recording about 2.6 million foreigners.
Beside all than the above attractions and reasons, have not yet mention about local delights and the cheap currency exchange rate, I'm sure it will be your irresistible trip to Johor this year!
What is your thought about the southern city? Share your view on the comment below!