MALAYSIA > PENINSULAR MALAYSIA > Johor Bahru
Welcome to Johor
Places of interest in Johor Bahru
Larkin Bus Terminal
Larkin Transport Terminal Complex - the largest public transportation terminal in JB located in the Larkin Town. Facilities such as a bank, food stalls etc. are available inside terminal building.
A dance form, believed to have been brought in by the Muslim missionaries from the Middle East in the 14th century.
A dance or game usually performed by Javanese descended Johoreans. Performers straddle on Kuda Kepang, a legless horse puppet, during performance.
A musical instrument of the string family, originated from Arab.
Home of the legendary Princess 'Puteri Gunung Ledang' once wooed by the Sultan of Melaka. The Sultan had heard of her beauty and wanted to marry her but she set seven impossible conditions for him. The Sultan was not able to fulfill all of her request.
Legend of Badang
Badang was a man who gained super human strength by eating the vomit of a river spirit.
A blend of both the Middle East and local Malay culture, it is a traditional theatre performed during weddings and festivals.
Ayer Itam is a small town famous for its ceramic, pottery and porcelain crafts. Ceramic vases, crockery and the delicate porcelain here make attractive and inexpensive gifts. The bazaar-like atmosphere appeals to visitors.
Tanjung Prai-Johor National Park
Dubbed the southernmost tip of mainland Asia, Tanjung Prai is a haven for a diverse species of flora and fauna and a hot spot for birdwatchers to visit during the migratory season, which falls around September and March.
Gunung Ledang's breathtaking Puteri Waterfall, is a popular picnic spot, especially on weekends and public holidays. The view from the summit of the mountain lures thrill seekers to scale its peak.
Mount Lambak Recreational Forest
Located at the foothill of Mount Lambak, this recreational forest is perfect for picnics, swimming and mountain-climbing.
Pulau Aur (Aur Island) is located 65km east of Mersing on the east coast of Johor. This island is rated by divers as one of the best scuba diving destinations within the Johor Marine Park area.
Twenty-five kilometers of white, sandy beach and lush tropical greenery makes up Desaru - the most popular beach in Johor. Desaru is also known as the 'Village of Casuarinas'.
Pemanggil Island is a fisherman's best-kept secret. It is well known for deep-sea fishing and angling for marlins - black ones if you're fortunate, and mackerels.
Kukup, is a well-known fishing village with most of its houses built on stilts. With a farming and fishing population mainly of Bugis descent, it is famous for its fish farms and seafood restaurants.
Since its official opening, many state events and cultural performances have taken place here. The clock tower overlooks a beautiful fountain, and a wide open green lawn, making it a great venue for outdoor performances, events, and gatherings.
Endau-Rompin Johor National Park
This National Park, encompasses the rivers Endau and Rompin, from which it derives its name. With its abundant range of flora and fauna, the park is haven to nature lovers.
Teluk Ramunia has several beach resorts that cater to the needs of budget travelers as well as those who seek a bit more comfort at a reasonable price. A sea sports centre here rents out various water sports equipment.
Danga Bay stretches for about 3km, and is actually the waterfront of Johor Bahru. To view the causeway that links Johor to Singapore, try out a dinner cruise that is available here.
Pulau Tinggi or Tinggi Island is one of the many captivating tropical islands on the east coast of Johor. Its white, sandy beach surrounded by alluring blue waters makes it a perfect haven.
Air Papan Beach
Air Papan is synonymous with Pesta Air Papan (Air Papan Festival), which is held annually on 1st of May. Each year, the water event draws a huge number of local tourists to join in the fun and games.
Orchid Valley is reputedly the largest tropical orchid farm in the world. It has beautiful and exotic orchids from over 80 varieties. It is also internationally recognized, with some hybrids registered with the World Orchid Society in London.
Renowned for its spotless stretch of white coral sand beach, and offshore coral reefs, Rawa Island is unmatched by other islands off Mersing.
The island's calm and quiet ambience is the perfect choice for those who dream of a relaxing and laid back vacation. The coral reef encircling the island is home to many colorful and exotic fish and marine life, making it haven for scuba divers.
The beach has many attractions and activities for visitors, which includes boating, canoeing, fishing, camping and jungle trekking at a nearby forest. You can also visit the Malay villages here, take an island excursion or visit a kelong (fish farm) on the way back.
The town of Tangkak is known as the "Textile Town" of Malaysia, offering prices that are lower than those in the cities. The range of fabrics and upholstery are endless, with some produced locally and others, imported from Asian countries and Europe.
Sultan Abu Bakar Royal Museum
The museum occupies the Istana Besar (Grand Palace) which was specially commissioned in 1864 by the father of modern Johor Sultan Abu Bakar.
Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque
The mosque on a hill top combines neo-classical western and Islamic architecture.
Johor Baru Duty Freezone
Johor Bahru Duty Free Zone is the largest duty-free complex in Malaysia strategically sited on a 17 acre of prime land at the end of Jalan Ibrahim Sultan in Stulang, Johor Bahru. The zone comprises of shopping area and a 503 room international class hotel above the shopping complex.
The Mawar House Handicraft Centre
The centre offers hand-drawn and dyed batik cloths, batik paintings, straw mats and other goods for sale, making it a one - stop handicraft centre destined to be one of Johor's leading tourist attractions. There are also demonstration of traditional songket weaving, batik silk painting and the art of fine pottery.
This is a 33-acre theme park that features replicas of the world's famous structures within its grounds.
Surrounded by mythical stories, Gunung Ledang is located near Tangkak and is surrounded by lush protected rainforests.
Equipped with a children's adventure park, an orchid garden, seven lakes, campsite, chalets and a food court, this park, located in the heart of the city, is an ideal haunt for urbanites.
Kota Tinggi Waterfall
One of Johor's noted natural attraction, the Kota Tinggi Waterfall is a favorite among the locals and visitors. Originating from Gunung Panti, the waterfall cascades down a rock face some 34m into a small pool below.
Johor is Peninsular Malaysia's southernmost state and is linked to Singapore
by a causeway and a bridge. The state capital Johor Bahru, is home to
world-renowned golf courses and shopping establishments. JB, as it is more
popularly known is famous for its historical buildings and impressive
Johor's vast landscape is characterized by plantations of pineapple, rubber, coconut and oil palm on the fringes of which nestle tranquil kampungs and quaint fishing villages. Retaining much of its natural splendors, the state has miles of golden sandy beaches and beautiful offshore islands as well as lush dipterocarp forests.
There is accommodation here to suit all budgets. For a different experience join a home stay programme and live in a traditional village. There are many street stalls, food courts, fast food outlets and fine dining restaurants to choose from in Johor offering both local and international style cuisine.
Places of Interest
The Grand Palace and Royal Sultan Abu Bakar Museum In 1866, Sultan Abu Bakar the father of modern Johor built the magnificent Istana Besar (Grand Palace) as his official residence. The North Wing today houses the Royal Sultan Abu Bakar Museum, showcasing rare and beautiful treasures from all over the world.
Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque On top of the hill overlooking the Straits of Johor not far from the Istana Besar, stands the magnificent Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque, one of the most beautiful old mosques in Malaysia.
Sultan Ibrahim Building Dominating the Johor Bahru skyline, the building houses the state secretariat and the offices of the state government. The building reflects both local and colonial architecture.
Gunung Ledang In the north, Gunung Ledang or Mount Ophir at 1,276m provides a challenging two-day return trek passing through waterfalls and forests. At the relatively flat summit, a panoramic view of the Straits of Malacca and Sumatra coastline can be seen on a clear day. Also, a popular picnic spot is the Gunung Ledang Waterfall, at the base of the mountain.
Endau-Rompin National Park Explore the vast wilderness rainforest in this park, one of the peninsula's largest virgin lowland forests. It is a major conservation area to the diversity of flora and fauna found within. There are some 26km of jungle trails within the park, the most well-trodden path being the grueling 16km trail from Kuala Jasin to Batu Hampar and Buaya Sangkut, with numerous rapids crossings. At Buaya Sangkut, be enchanted by the beautiful sight of a waterfall.
Desaru Near the peninsula's southeastern tip is a 25km beach resort destination for Johor folk and neighboring Singapore. The waters here are often conducive for swimming, water-skiing, canoeing and catamaran sailing. Enjoy recreational activities such as go-karting, golfing and ultra-light aircraft flying. The Desaru Fruit Farm is also located here and offers interesting agro-tours. Nearby is Lebam River where visitors have the opportunity to see fireflies at night. About 8km north of Desaru is the Fishermen's Museum at Tanjung Balau which displays fish traps and equipment used by the local fishermen and various artifacts of the trade.
Kota Tinggi Waterfalls The water cascades from a height of 36m down a steep precipice into a pool deep enough for swimming. At the base of the fall, there are changing rooms, camping grounds and restaurants.
Danga Bay Situated along the popular Lido Beach, Danga Bay is a great place
to unwind, relax and just watch the city go by. Sample the delicious fare
available from the number of restaurants serving both local and international
Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation (JARO) The Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation or JARO is located along Jalan Sungai Chat where visitors can purchase baskets, bedspreads, furniture, soft toys and various other products made by the disabled community.
Tanjung Piai This environmental sanctuary is also the southernmost tip of mainland Asia. It is made up of coastal mangroves and is home to many species of birds. There is a park and visitors' complex where one can learn more about this wetland.
Islands off Mersing The state's beautiful offshore islands, Sibu Besar, Sibu Hujung, Sibu Tengah, Sibu Kukus, Rawa, Aur, Pemanggil and Tinggi are accessible from both the Mersing and Tanjung Leman jetties. Aur Island, along with Dayang Island, Lang Island and Pinang Island, are rated among the best diving destinations within the Johor Marine Park Area. The deeper waters around the area ensure good visibility and variety of marine life. Dive trips can be booked at most dive shops on any of the islands. Simple resorts are the order of the day on these idyllic secluded getaways, all boasting beautiful beaches with shady cool trees and clear waters.
Nasoha Spices and Herbs Paradise A few kilometres from Pagoh town in the district of Muar, lies the Nasoha Spices and Herbs Paradise. This 1,000ha spice and herb farm is home to hundreds of medicinal plants. There is also accommodation and a restaurant at the farm.
Shopping Johor is a delightful place to shop. There is an immense variety of goods and the state is noted for ceramics and handicrafts as well. Bazaars and open-air night markets are found throughout the city. The Johor Bahru Duty Free Zone is located at Johor Bahru's eastern waterfront area and is the largest duty free complex in Malaysia. It has a hotel and convention centre; and a five-level shopping podium. There are also ferry links to Singapore and Indonesia from here; and immigration and customs facilities.
Souvenir and handicraft stores and modern shopping complexes all offer a multitude of items at reasonable prices.
Via the North-South Expressway, Johor Bahru is 220km or a 4-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. It is also accessible from Kuala Lumpur and several other states such as Sabah and Sarawak by air. Bus services from major cities and towns in the peninsula run several times a day to Johor Bahru. The 1,038m Singapore-Johor Causeway, is the most frequently-used mode for commuting between the two cities besides ferry, rail and an alternative bridge.
Immigration Office (Senai Airport) City Lounge (Senai Airport)
Tel: 607-599 1055 Tel: 607-227 1454/223 1032
Johor Bahru Railway Station Ferry Service (from Johor Bahru to Batam,
Tel: 607-223 4727 Tg. Pinang & Tg. Belungkor)
Syarikat Tenggara Senandung Sdn. Bhd.
Sultan Ismail Airport Tel: 607-221 1677
(also known as Senai Airport)
Tel: 607-599 4500
Danga River Cruise
Tel: 607-235 2333
Seafood In Johor Bahru
There are a few Singaporean centric seafood restaurants in Johor Bahru
1) New Lucky Restaurant
2) Kong Inn
3) King Crab
There are several seafood villages popular among visitors from Singapore :
1) Kukup seafood village
2) Gelang Patah seafood
3) Perling/Danga Orang Asli
4) Permas Jaya Seafood
5) Teluk Jawa Seafood
6) Kong Kong seafood village
7) Sedili seafood
Jalan Wong Ah Fook - Downtown Johor Bahru
Plenty of hotels are located along or within walking distance of Jalan Wong Ah Fook. Most conveniences concentrate around here, including banks, money-changers, convenience stores and City Square--the newest and arguably the best shopping complex in Johor Bahru. The Puteri Pan Pacific, the only deluxe property downtown, stands about 500 meters away from City Square. About a decade old, it operates well-maintained rooms, complemented by commendable service.
Compact Hotel Johor Bahru (Formerly known as Mercure Ace Hotel JB)
Down a notch, the newly-opened Mercure Ace Hotel, at the southern end of Jalan Wong Ah Fook, packs 109 rooms into a compact tower and scores on locality.
More affordable properties within the neighborhood include the two- and one-star Merlin Tower Hotel, Triumph Star Hotel and Hotel Gateway, and the budget-class Hotel J.B.
The historic Tropical Inn lies at the northern edge of downtown, its tall grayish facade being a highly visible landmark along the busy thoroughfare leading to the Causeway.
Where to shop in Johor Bahru :
* Jusco Tebrau City - The largest mall in Johor Bahru. Find clothing brands here like MNG, Esprit and Giordano. Up market shopping with a great food court, karaoke and entertainment joint.
* City Square, Jalan Wong Ah Fook - Your typical shopping mall with plenty of teenagers and loud music piped through. The best part about this shopping mall is it is an easy walk from the Malaysian Customs. One km from the Johor immigration checkpoint. From Johor Bahru Immigration complex, look out for the railway station and walk towards it. City Square is just opposite the railway station.
* Holiday Plaza, Jalan Dato Sulaiman - The place to buy your electronics, DVDs, VCDs, CDs and PS2 games. Prices are very reasonable as well.
* Komtar, Jalan Wong Ah Fook - A very old shopping mall with a small supermarket and some shops.
The main bus station in Kuala Lumpur is Puduraya on Jalan Pudu (near China
Town). It's normally bustling and stifling. The host of amenities includes a
post office, ATMs, luggage storage opens from 7:00am to 10:00pm, food court and
Puduraya is the main hub from where buses spider outwards to the other cities. There are quite a few companies running different routes. To the uninitiated, it will appear confusing. Scout around till you find one suitable.
KL to Johor Bahru, 368km (221 miles)
JOHOR is the southern gateway into Peninsular Malaysia and is linked to
Singapore by road and rail. Its Proximity to Singapore has made it a popular
destination among Singaporeans as well as other international tourists visiting
the island republic. It is the only state in the country that boast of a
coastline stretching along the Straits of Malacca to the South China Sea. The
state is endowed with an abundance of natural attractions that provide numerous
opportunities for a wide range of outdoor recreational and leisure activities.
When in Johor Bahru, the capital of the state, take time off to tour the city or shop around.
Interesting spots are the Royal Museum,
1) the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque,
2) the Grand Palace,
3) the Johor Art Gallery,
3) the Mawar Handicraft Centre and
4) Dataran Bandaraya build in 1994 to commemorate Johor Bahru's declaration as a city .
The Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque is regarded as one of the most beautiful mosques
in Malaysia, with its amazing combination of Western neo-classical and Islamic
This mosque can accommodate about 2,000 worshippers at any one time. The mosque is strategically located on top of a hill on Jalan Abu Bakar, overlooking the Straits of Tebrau.
Sultan Abu Bakar mosque was named after the late Sultan Abu Bakar, the "Father of Modern Johor", who laid the foundation stone in 1892. Construction of the mosque was completed in 1900, a few years after his death. Today, the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque is listed as a protected heritage monument by the Department of Museums and Antiquities.
The Johor Art Gallery houses various art collections, artifacts and many
items closely related to Johor's Malay heritage since its establishment in 1993.
In 1999 however, the YAB Menteri Besar Johor announced that the Johor Art
Gallery would also be the Arts and Cultural Centre for the State of Johor.
Restoration efforts were undertaken to create an art gallery worthy to be known
as one of the best in Malaysia.
A walk into the building proves to be an experience by itself. Strong colonial influences scream out in the design and architectural details of this 2-storey building. True to Malay customs, shoes are prohibited in the main display area downstairs; therefore one is required to peruse the displays and paintings barefooted. The main display area greets the visitor with beautiful works of art by various talented Johor-born artists. From paintings to sculptures and many other mediums of artworks are displayed here. The undeniable shared pride among the artists here is their apparent love for Johor's rich, cultural heritage that is still very much alive today. Favorite topics of interest includes the kuda kepang, the ghazal, beautiful calligraphy pieces. Fishing scenes is also prevalent. Tranquil pictures of small fishing boats tied to poles along coastal areas, fisher-folks coming home from the sea with their daily bounties, and many other eye pleasing, soul soothing works of art.
The upper level also showcases many beautiful art pieces, such as two ancient wooden doors with ornate carvings hung on the walls as you are walking up to the second floor. One can't help but stop to gaze at the fine craftsmanship eternally embedded on these two doors. Walking along the upper floor, you can also take a glimpse of the lower floor from the middle section, as there is an open space area from upstairs where a beautiful low hanging chandelier casting a soft yellow hues throughout the entire room.
Accommodation costs in Johor Bahru are generally cheaper than Kuala Lumpur,
and a downright steal versus those in Singapore (whose Changi Airport lies no
more than 45 minutes away by private transport on a congestion-free day).
Nearly every hotel falls within a five-kilometer radius of Jalan Wong Ah Fook, which makes getting around a painless affair, more so with the abundant number of taxis in service and a surprisingly efficient radio-booking network.
The most expensive standard double rooms find themselves within the Hyatt Regency and come with sweeping views of the Johor Straits and the Istana grounds. At the opposite end of the scale, numerous budget properties have sprung up in the singsong entertainment enclaves of Taman Pelangi and Taman Sentosa, where a basic air-conditioned room with shower costs MYR30 for a two-hour slot round the clock.
Johor Bahru embraces no less than half a dozen luxury-class hotels and numerous other inexpensive options for weekenders, vacationers on group tours, transit travelers and businesspersons. Seldom are hotel rooms in short supply, even during the peak of public holidays.
Northern Precincts around Istana Grounds
Traffic and bustle thin out along the narrow costal trunk road leading north-west, past the best of Johor Bahru's sights and spots, such as the Istana Garden, Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque, Lido Beach and Dataran Bandaraya. Amidst the serenity and greenery stands the elegant Hyatt Regency, which remains a popular choice amongst holidaymakers, golfers and business types alike. Less privileged but no less romantic, the double-storey Straits View Hotel, though deserving of a major upgrade, sits on a small hill with commanding waterfront views. The two-star Hotel Rasa Sayang, another inexpensive and secluded contender in the vicinity, sits a stone's throw away from the Landmark Mall.
Along Jalan Stulang Laut
East of downtown, a popular eating area boasts a diverse array of food options and scenic views of landmarks in northern Singapore, such as the smoking Senoko Power Station. Two luxury-class accommodations reside at the beginning and end of the straits-front Jalan Stulang Laut--part-service apartment Grand BlueWave Hotel and the well-appointed Eden Garden Hotel, both comparatively new and pleasing in their own ways. Less expensive alternatives in this area include the Lion Hotel, the Merlin Inn and the basic lodge Malaya Hotel.
A good variety of accommodation dots the suburban entertainment and shopping enclaves of Taman Century, Taman Sentosa and Taman Pelangi, all easily accessible via the Jalan Tebrau six-lane trunk road.
The Crowne Plaza and Crystal Crown Hotel top the range here, while Hotel Grand Continental, an older establishment, proves popular with sightseers on package tours. A myriad of cheaper lodgings proliferates down the scale--Hotel Surf Pacific, Cosy Inn and Tebrau Hotel, to name just three. For proximity to the Larkin central bus terminal, Seri Malaysia Hotel, a member of a local budget chain, stands out.