The best part of visiting Johor Bahru is that it is located between Malay peninsula and Singapore. It is the best place to explore the island nation, Singapore and Malaysian culture. You can easily plan a trip from Singapore to Johor Bahru.
Why should anyone visit the city?
Johor Bahru has very strong historic roots which portray different cultures like Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Singaporean. Most of the tourists visit it to explore the history and iconic landmarks. There are many Mosques, temples, museums and other landmarks. Johor Bahru also offer a huge variety of cuisines from different cultures and a lot of shopping places.
How does one get to the destination (airport, ferry or others)?
Johor Bahru has a very well serviced Senai Airport (JHB) that welcomes flights from all around the world. There are shops, restaurants, food court, ATMs, pharmacy and money changer. You can get your sim and exchange money at the airport.
JB Sentral Train Station is located in the center of the city so it is very easy to get to the center of JB by train.
Bus station of Johor Bahru is located next to the train station so it is also a nice way to reach the city center from other parts of Singapore and Malaysia. There is an immigration check point where you can get your document stamped.
You can get to Johor Bahru from Indonesia, Malaysia and other islands through ferry. This trip is very interesting and can be booked from Berjaya Waterfront Ferry terminal in Indonesia. They reach to Batam Centre and Harbour Bay.
Is the city safe? What areas are not safe?
Johor Bahru is a bit conservative tourist destination. Single women travelers cannot walk alone due to harassment. It is mandatory for females to travel with group of a companion and dress conservatively. Watch out while walking because jaywalking is considered as violence. If you see corruption or bribing, then do not raise voice against it because police will take more money from you if you report. Mugging and robbery is common in Johor Bahru so avoid flashing jewelry, money and expensive clothes.
What’s the weather like?
- March to May is the spring season with humidity and warmth. Temperature reaches the maximum limit of 32oC with rarely any rain. It is the busiest tourism time of Johor Bahru.
- June to August is the summer season with high temperature and almost no precipitation. Tourism is very less so the prices of accommodation and other things.
- September to November face less tourism and the temperature starts falling as well. Temperature is mild with normal precipitation.
- December to February is the perfect time to visit the city due to pleasant weather. The maximum rise of temperature is 29oC with small amount of rain. Tourism is very high during this time aling with the prices.
What languages are spoken in the area? Is English spoken?
There are different languages spoken in the city but the official one is Malay language. Mandarin Chinese and English are also widely spoken. People belonging to the tourism industry speak English very fluently.
What’s the local currency?
Is US Dollar widely accepted?
The official currency of Johor Bahru is the Ringgit. US Dollar is also used by tourists in hotels, restaurants and shops. The best currency to use for exchange in Malaysia is British pound sterling. Banks can exchange the currency whereas hotels and other places can only accept the Dollar and travelers cheque by giving change in the local currency.
What are the best areas or districts to stay in the city?
- Bandar Johor Bahru is the best area to stay for the first timers. There are a lot of interesting places to explore like historical monuments, museums and architecture of the grand palace.
- Taman Setia Indah is the best area in mountains for budget travelers. This area is very relaxing and pleasant with budget friendly accommodation.
- Kampung Stulang Laut is the perfect option for the nightlife and party lovers. This aera also has some of the very interesting tourist attractions and temples.
- Danga Bay is the best area to stay with families. There are many places which are kids and family friendly.
What’re your top 3 hotels (budget, moderate, luxury) and why?
- The Leverage Business Hotel Skudai is a three-star hotel with business facilities, free Wi-Fi, laundry facility, coffee maker, hair dryer, toiletries and other amenities.
- Somerset Medini Iskandar Puteri is the four-star hotel with many facilities. It offers business center, laundry and dry cleaning facilities, fridge, microwave. Free Wi-Fi and other facilities. It also has an outdoor pool.
- Amari Johor Bahru is the luxury hotel with five star facilities. The elegant guest rooms have free internet, mini bar, and amenities. It offers an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center and spa. The restaurant has a huge menu filled with international and traditional dishes.
How does one get around the city? Taxi, Uber, similar apps, ATVs?
- Public buses are available in the entire city that starts from JB Sentral Bus Terminal. You can find the map and route online.
- Grab and Uber are easily available through the app. You can check the estimated time and fare while booking the car. You can also hire a taxi in different parts of the city or from the taxi stand.
- Renting a car is also a way to explore the city whereas it sometimes becomes very difficult because of the traffic in different areas of the city.
Can you highlight the Top 5 MUST see sightseeing?
- Lego land is an amusement water park that is designed by using the Lego blocks. It has rides, roller coaster and many other entertaining activities. Lego land is an amazing place for adults and kids.
- Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm is more like a crocodile sanctuary. You can feed the crocodiles and watch their activities. However, it is better to avoid playing with them and making them over excited.
- Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Street is a heritage building. It is an arched entrance of the street with yellow and red signs having Mandarin Chinese. This is a very nice heritage walk.
- Desaru Beach is the amazing natural wonder that you can enjoy with many water activities. Tunamaya resort is a less crowded part of the beach where you can enjoy the untouched side of the coastline.
- Desaru Fruit Farm is another relaxing and pleasant place to explore. You can try fresh fruits, vegetables and other delicious things made of fruits.
What’s the best place to take a photo?
There are a lot of places to click photos whereas the best piece of history and architecture is Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque. It belongs to eighteenth century constructed in Victorian-Moorish style.
What about the top 3 restaurants?
- Amaya Food Gallery is the European and Asian restaurant. You can tray some delicious combination of traditional and international cuisines. This is also an amazing place to enjoy delicious breakfast and desserts.
- Chez Papa French Bistor and Wine Bar is a very fancy place with delicious food menu. This place offers the French classic dishes, baked items, cocktails and wonderful wines. The restaurant has a wine cellar where you can try some tasty drinks.
- Spice Grill is the fusion food restaurant with traditional Malay, Indian and European foods. The Indian food is spicy and cooked in the typical flavor. You can try some amazing desserts after the meal.
What about the top 3 breakfast places?
- Roti Canai Bukit Cagar is an authentic breakfast place with many options to add in the morning meal. Roti Canai is a specific kind of food item that is crispy from the outside with a delicious texture.
- Hua Mui Kopitiam is very well known for the Hainanese delicacies. It is one of the best breakfast places of Johor Bahru. You can try some delicious sandwiches for the breakfast.
- Kin Wah Kopitiam is a very amazing breakfast spot of the city that is existing for 56 years. It is famous for its kaya toast and coffee. The toasts are made on charcoal and the coffee is hand pulled.
What’s the one thing you MUST eat in the city?
Finger Licking Herb Roasted Duck is the delicious dish among the huge list of food options in Johor Bahru. It is cooked in chewy and tender style. The roast is served with herbal sauce that makes it more flavorful. It is served with lotus soup or plain fluffy white rice.
What about food markets?
Entire city has a lot of restaurants, street food areas, stalls and food vendors whereas you can especially head towards food markets to have a food tour.
- Taman Pelangi Morning Market is the amazing market with many vegetable dishes, fresh sea food dishes, organic food products from the farms.
- KSL Pasar Malam is famous for the crispy shrimp cake and drinks. It also has a lot to offer like clothes, electronics, costume jewelry, electronics, household items and many more.
- JB Sentral Meldrum Night Market is opened every night that offers a wide variety of foods. The best thing to try is the sea food. You can also try delicious wanton noodles.
Where should one go at night? Any bar/nightlife areas or districts you recommend?
Johor Bahru has a lot of nightlife entertainment options to enjoy a fun and party experience. The well-known areas for a fun evening are:
- Bandar Johor Bahru has a lot of museums, eateries and historical places where you can roam around in the day time. For the night, you can get to the bars and clubs in the area.
- Danga Bay is a wonderful coastline area with many bars, clubs and nightlife places. There are many restaurants to enjoy a pleasant evening and views.
- Kampung Staulang Laut has some amazing temples and other places to explore. You can enjoy a wonderful night in clubs and bars.
Any rooftop bars or restaurants that you recommend?
Sky Bar @ Hotel Jenis very close to the Malaysia and Singapore link. The bar and restaurant also has an infinity pool on the fourth storey of the hotel. You can see beautiful sunset of the Puteri Harbour.
Sky 26, Holiday Villa is a very popular social and entertainment place. This place offers open stage so the guests can participate in signing and other activities. Menu has a huge food menu and extensive range of drinks.
Can you recommend the best shopping areas? Best shopping mall?
- Sutera Mall is a very famous Singaporean place with a variety of stores, brands, electronics and wellness outlets. It also has food court and restaurants.
- KSL City Mall remains filled with locals and international visitors. It has stores, restaurants and entertainment options for the guests.
- JB City Square and Komtar is the most famous and busiest shopping mall of Johor Bahru. It is situated on two shopping malls with a lot of shopping, food and entertainment options.
Do you recommend any tours outside the city? Islands? Boat Tours?
The places near Johor Bahru for day trip are:
- Firefly Valley Leisure Park
- Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark
- 5D Art Studio
Are Casinos allowed? Blackjack tables? If so, what’s the best Casino in town?
Hallmark Regency Hotel has a casino with many gambling options. You can also order food and drinks while playing.
Marina Bay Sands and Casino Singapore is a huge resort with a beautiful ambiance, panoramic views and swimming pool. You can play at the casino and have delicious food with drinks.
Any last advice for people visiting the city?
- It is not a very safe place so bring the things that you really need. Ladies should be more careful in Malaysia.
- Try to carry back pack instead of the sling bag and handbag because it is safe to carry. Do not keep all the money at one place. Keep your passport and other important documents in the hotel and carry the copies with you.
- Avoid walking alone in the dark and isolated areas.