Whether you’re in the mood for a budget holiday or just a short getaway from the hustle and bustle of Singaporean life, a quick leap across the border to find some things to do in Johor Bahru (JB) might just be the serene centre and perfect escape for you. With such amazing innovation and advancements in our modern day transport technology, the transport options available to take you from Singapore to JB are countless and so affordable (starting from $1.30 SGD), that price can’t be the one stopping you from crossing the checkpoint.

Accompanied by the amazing exchange rates at the moment, it is undeniably difficult for us, Singaporeans, to stay away from splurging in Malaysia-truly-Asia, giving us a better reason to cross the border.

dog driving

Image credit: itsnotthouitsme.com

Ditch the high air fares, huge luggage, ridiculous jet lag from time zone differences and hit the road to JB! A perfect last minute getaway destination for family and friends.

This guide will take you through getting to JB as well as show you the attractions of JB that are worth visiting and will (hopefully) make you think again before buying a budget flight elsewhere, for your next holiday. The attractions on this list are ideal for a day trip or short holiday with your loved ones. No less than 100% satisfaction is guaranteed!

GETTING THERE: SINGAPORE TO JOHOR BAHRU

There are so many cost-savvy modes of transport to teleport our lazy bums across the border to JB.

Taking the Train to JB

Woodlands Train Checkpoint

Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org

The fastest and most convenient way to get into JB has to be via the Shuttle Tebrau, the relatively new  train service that runs from Woodlands Train Checkpoint to JB Sentral. The train is operated by the Malaysian rail operator Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) and takes only 5 mins to get to JB, compared to up to 2 hours on a bus.

Every day, there will be 10 trains running from Woodlands to JB Sentral ($5 per trip), and another 12 trains in the opposite direction from JB Sentral to Woodlands (RM5 or S$1.80).

However, due to the sheer convenience of the trains, the trains are highly popular and tickets are sold out relatively early (tickets for trips from JB are sold out 28 days before departure). Tickets can be purchased from the KTM counters, KTM website and also KTM mobile app.

TIP: If you book your train tickets through Easybook, tickets only costs S$4.89 (and RM4.89). And if you use ShopBack, you get and additional 3.5% cashback, bringing the price down to S$4.72 (and RM4.72) per ticket! (prices accurate as of 30th March 2016)

Train departure timings:-
From Woodlands:  08.00, 10.00, 13.30, 16.30, 18.00, 18.45, 20.00, 20.45, 22.00, 23.15

From JB: 05.30, 06.00, 06.30, 07.00, 08.30, 09.00, 12.30, 15.30, 17.00, 19.00, 21.00, 22.15


 

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Taking the Bus to JB

However as the Shuttle Tebrau is often fully booked in advance, buses are the way to go for impromptu trips and for those who just want to travel free and easy.

Malaysia-Singapore Second Link

Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org

It’s amazing how there are so many bus services available to choose from that depart from the various terminals in Singapore, making our journey as convenient and time-efficient as possible.

Bus options available:-

SBS Bus services (normal bus fares):
170 (red plate) [From Queen Street to Larkin Terminal]
170 (blue plate) [From Kranji MRT to Kotaraya II Terminal]
160 [From Jurong East to Kotaraya II Terminal]
950 [From Woodlands to Kotaraya II Terminal]

Singapore-Johor Express (S$2.40/RM2.40) [From Queen Street to Larkin Terminal]

Handal Indah Causeway Link (Price varies but is about S$4): CW1, CW2, CW3, CW35, CW4, CW45, CW5, CW6

However, if you value comfort and safety more (especially if you’re travelling with a family of young children or if you’re heading a bit further into JB), perhaps you might prefer to opt for a coach bus instead. These coach buses depart from most of the bus terminals in Singapore and arrive at different destinations in Johor.

To find the most suitable coach service for your trip, again you can use booking websites such as Easybook. You can set your departure point in Singapore and arrival point in JB to find all the available coach services for your travel dates and destinations. Tickets range from S$10 to $30++ but if you book your tickets through ShopBack and enjoy 3.5% cashback on your coach tickets!

Driving to JB

If you have a car, that’s great! Simply drive to the checkpoints at Causeway (Woodlands checkpoint) or Second Link (Tuas checkpoint). You’ll be surprised that you’re actually able to get to JB in 15-30 minutes during an off-peak hour! However, during weekends, public holidays and peak periods, it might take up to 2 to 3 hours, so do try your best to avoid the heavy traffic then.

It may be a good idea to check the traffic conditions from real-time cameras online before heading out for a drive.

FOR THE FOODIE: GOOD FOOD IN JB

Every Singaporean’s natural talent!Food in JB is extremely delicious and not to mention, inexpensive. Indulge in authentic local cuisine and savour the taste of Malaysia.

Here are some restaurants worth checking out!

San Low Seafood Restaurant

San Low Seafood Restaurant Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: ohhhoney.wordpress.com

As the name itself suggests, this is the place to be for delicious fresh and tasty JB seafood. With food in varying portions, from small to large, customers can eat their favourite local seafood to their heart’s content. This place is known for their taste of “homemade” food. Do give their fried rice and noodles a try as well!

Address: Jalan Biru off Jalan Merah, Taman Pelangi, 80400 Johor Bahru
Telephone: +60 07-3323869 / 3343623
Opening hours: Open Daily. 4:30pm to 1:00am

Taika Huat Braised Duck

Taika Huat Braised Duck Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: jb-food-hunting-posts.tumblr.com

A family business that has been in operation since the 1970s, you’ll find that the walls of this eatery is covered with newspaper articles of features and praises. Known for their tender, juicy, braised duck meat, customers love pairing the delicacy with a bowl of fresh kway teow.

Address : Jalan Kilang Nenas (8 1/2 Mile, Jalan Skudai, 81300)
Opening hours: 8:30am to 4:00pm (closed on the first day of every Lunar month)

Restoran Woon Kiang

Restoran Woon Kiang is proclaimed by many to have best Kway Teow Kia in Johor and possibly Malaysia! The noodles are said to be QQ and smooth, whilst the pork innards are tender and juicy. With no lard being used in the sauce, the braised broth is refreshingly light and delicious. You definitely won’t be stopping at just one bowl!

Restoran Woon Kiang Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: foodspotting.com

Address: TKT #G-06, Jalan Pandan 1, Pangsapuri Impian Stulang, 80503 Johor Bahru
Telephone: +60 19-7690005
Opening hours: 9.30am to 3:30am

IT Roo Café

IT Roo Cafe Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: David Wong | facebook.com

This quaint and homely Hainanese cafe was awarded the title for “Best Chicken Chop” back in 2003 by The Star newspaper. You can choose from a grilled or deep fried option, but either way, you will be guaranteed with a tender and perfectly cooked piece of chicken chop! Tantalise your taste buds even more with the accompanying potato wedges and coleslaw. And did we mention that everything served is completely Halal as well?

Address: 17 Jalan Dhoby, Johor Bahru
Telephone: +60 7-2227780
Opening hours: 10am to 9.30pm

FOR THE COFFEE CONNOISSEURS: CAFÉS IN JB

Also, with the recent buzz about unconventional hipster cafés and the huge hype about café hopping, it may be a good idea for you to check out these cafés in Malaysia.

Chaiwalla & Co. Container Café

chaiwalla and co. container cafe Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: facebook.com/chaiwalla.co

This cafe looks pretty hip doesn’t it? The Chaiwalla & Co. Container Café is Malaysia’s first container cafe concept. For those who don’t know what that is, the kiosk is literally stationed in a container.

chaiwalla and co Container cage Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: chaiwallaandco.blogspot.sg

The container has been beautifully refurbished to give a vintage minimalistic modern look that is pretty “instaworthy”.

Being a popular hangout among youths and adults alike, you might find yourself enjoying the tunes of some local bands as you sit back, relax and enjoy your cuppa.

Address: Lot 2180, Tan Hiok Nee Street, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor
Telephone: +60 18-943 0769
Opening hours:
Mon-Thurs (12:00pm-12:00am)
Fri-Sat (12:00pm-1:00am)
Sun (12:00pm-12:00am

Bev C’afe

Bev C'afe Johor Bahru
Image credit: bevcclothingbrand.wordpress.com
The ultimate place to up your Instagram game with its photogenic foods and interesting café interior. Besides satisfying your guilty pleasures for tasty desserts, artisan drinks and pastry, the ambience is sure to please your eyes 100%. Bev C’afe is not just a food establishment, but also a clothing store, selling the creations of Beverly and Cally under the brand, Bev C. When you’re there, be sure to try their oh-so-unique Espresso Ice Cube drink!
Bev C'afe Johor Bahru
Image credit: facebook.com/bevcclothingbrand
Address: 54 Jalan Tan Hiok Nee 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor
Telephone: +60 7-221 3530
Opening hours:
*Closed on Mondays

Tue- Fri (1pm – 11pm)
Sat- Sun (12pm – 11pm)

ROOST Café

taro ice facebook 10398061_1001854979873635_5205603354701411630_n

Image credit: Taro Ice | facebook.com

ROOST Café greets you with its rustic charm along the café-ridden street of Jalan Dhoby. Be entertained for hours in this café with its peculiar furnishings and the books available for your perusal on their Alice in Wonderland-esque bookshelves. Be treated to its wide range of food, from salads and juices to Hainanese Beef Noodles and Chicken Chop!

Address: 9, Jalan Dhoby, Johor Bahru
Telephone: +60 7-2214203
Opening hours:
Mon-Sat (12pm – 4pm, 6pm – 12am)
Sun (6pm – 12am)

FOR THE OVERWORKED: SPAS AND MASSAGES IN JB

Massages in Malaysia are to die for, period.

In JB, massage parlours are easily accessible to all! No massage parlour in Singapore beats the quality and price of the massages you can land your hands on in JB. A significant number of us can vouch for that! With their services priced at the same numerical value as those in Singapore but in ringgit, there isn’t really a reason to say no to being pampered. Take your mind off work, school and other responsibilities and indulge in being a king for a day.

Thai Odyssey 

A cheap, safe and clean place for you to rid all your muscle and backaches. The pleasant environment and service that you’ll encounter at Thai Odyssey will have you back here again during your next visit for sure.

Services available:
Half Body Massage – RM 61.50 (30 min)
Traditional Foot Massage – RM 77.40 (60 min)
Traditional Thai Massage – RM 109.20 (60 min)
Thai Aromatherapy Massage – RM 130.40 (60 min)
Thai Herbal Therapy – RM 188.70 (120 min)

*Prices are accurate as of 22 March 2016

thai odyssey Massage and Spa Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: thaiodyssey.com

Address:
Lot F03, First Floor, AEON Bukit Indah Shopping Centre,
No.8, Jalan Indah 15/2, Bukit Indah,
81200 Johor Bahru
Telephone: +60 7-232 8399
Opening hours:
Sun-Thurs (10am – 10pm)
Friday, Saturday, Public Holiday (10am – 10.30pm)
Website: thaiodyssey.com

Soul Asia

Soul Asia Massage and Spa Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: soulasia.my

Just around the corner of Jusco Bukit Indah Shopping Centre, Soul Asia is a great massage parlour that has spectacular interior design and decorations. It’s reasonably priced massages and aesthetic make it a nice place to sit back and relax.

Services available:
Foot +Half Body Massage – RM 40 (60 min)
Traditional Thai Massage – RM 53 (60 min)
Thai Aroma Massage – RM 116 (90 min)

*Prices are accurate as of 22 March 2016.

Address: 1-G, 1-01& 1-02, Jalan Bestari 3/5, Taman Nusa Bestari, Nusajaya, 81300, Johor Bahru, Johor, 81200, Malaysia
Telephone: +60 07-511 1000 / 07-511 2000
Opening hours: Opened 24 hours, daily
Website: soulasia.my

FOR THE SHOPAHOLIC: JB OUTLET MALLS AND SHOPPING CENTRES

Johor Premium Outlets

Why bother travelling all the way to Milan to get your designer handbags, fragrances and apparel when you can just get them at JB, probably at even lower prices!

These outlets are the ultimate shopping paradise for shoppers who are constantly on the look out for amazing bargains of their favourite designer brands and goods. Some of these luxury brands include Burberry, Guess, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci and many more.

Johor premium outlets Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: flickr.com

Address: Jalan Premium Outlets, Indahpura, 81000 Kulai, Johor Darul Takzim
Telephone: +60 7 661 8888
Openinig hours: Open Daily. 10am-10pm

Tip: Refrain from visiting the Premium Outlets during the peak school holiday season in order to avoid the large crowds.

City Square Mall

City Square Mall Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: citysqjb.com

City Square Mall is one of the most popular malls amongst Singaporeans due to its proximity to the Causeway. Make full use of the favourable exchange rate and enjoy cheap movies at the Cathay Cineplex and fill your bellies at its affordable restaurants like Soul Thai, Sizzling Stonegrill and many more!

Address: Johor Bahru City Square, 108, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, 80000 Johor Bahru

KSL City Mall

KSL City Mall Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org

The KSL City Mall and Hotel was opened in 2010 and provides shoppers from Singapore with a complete JB shopping experience! Being the largest mall in Johor Bahru, you can stay at one of its 868 hotel rooms, watch a movie at its cinema and shop from over 500 retail stores.

Address: 33, Jalan Seladang, Taman Abad, 80250 Johor Bahru

Danga Bay

danga bay international restaurants Johor Bahru malaysia

Image credit: funndelicious.blogspot.com

Welcome to the premier waterfront city in Malaysia. The view of the sea over at Danga Bay makes it worth a visit. Here, you can enjoy the cool sea breeze and a plethora of activities, restaurant choices and retail outlets. Danga Bay is considered as the biggest recreational park in JB, and not to mention, a romantic date spot for many couples.

FOR THE ANIMAL AND NATURE LOVERS: ANIMAL FARMS AND RESORTS

Johor is the ultimate destination for animal lovers and those of you looking for a petting-zoo experience!

Kota Tinggi Firefly Valley Leisure Park

Take a 2-hour drive from the checkpoint to Kota Tinggi Firefly Valley Leisure Park for a boat trip along these mangroves in the dark of night and catch a spectacular view of nature’s wonders, fireflies. This enchanting creature is one that many of us crave to see at least once in our lives. It’s a pity we haven’t discovered where these mystical creatures dwell in Singapore, or if they even exist here at all…

Kota Tinggi Firefly Valley Leisure Park Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: facebook.com

The boat ride, which lasts approximately 45 minutes is probably the closest thing you can get to glow-worm caves and caverns in South-east Asia.

Address: Jalan Kota Tinggi, Kota Tinggi 81900, Malaysia
Telephone: +60 127896224

Desaru Ostrich Farm

Apart from the fireflies, you can also enjoy the company of ostriches at the ostrich farm at Desaru. These gentle giants are extremely photogenic and always ready to strike a pose in pictures. Being a focused farm that only cultivates ostriches, you can be very sure to immerse yourself in all-things-ostrich!

At the farm, you will also be given the opportunity to learn about the breeding process of the ostriches and get up close and personal with live ostriches and ostrich eggs.

Desaru Ostrich Farm Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Address: EMR 15, Teluk Ramunia, Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia.
Telephone: +60 7 826 5846
Opening hours: Open Daily. 10am – 6pm

Fun fact: Ostrich eggs are able to tolerate 250 kilograms without breaking! 

UK Agro Resort

Located at the southern state of Johor lies Malaysia’s biggest sheep and goat farm. With 100 acres of land to graze and over 4000 sheep. The farm is self-sufficient and practices the most modern methods in rearing these animals. Also, it only takes an hour to reach the farm resort from Singapore.

UK Agro Farm Johor Bahru Malaysia Image credit: ukfarm.com.my

To make your sheep and goat adventures more interesting, you might want to opt for a farm tour in a mini-van or a horse carriage. Furthermore, guests may choose to do a farm stay.

A pseudo-New Zealand with green pastures and a ton of sheep I’d say.

UK Agro Farm Johor Bahru Malaysia

 Image credit: ukfarm.com.my

Address: Plot 8, Project Pertanian Moden Kluang, KM13 Jalan Batu Pahat, 86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia
Telephone: +60 7-759 7555

FOR THE CULTURED AND REFINED: EXPLORE JB TOWN

For a change, instead of exploring malls and “atas” shopping venues, how about you take a step back and delve into the local wonders of JB Town. If you’re a fan of old Singaporean shopping streets, shophouses full of heritage, little cafes and boutiques that sell quirky little art pieces and clothing, JB town might be worth visiting.

johor Bahru old town Malaysia

Image credit: johorkaki.blogspot.com

Projecting vibes that are similar to that of  the ever so familiar Arab street and Haji Lane, JB town brings you a bunch of cool places to dine and have an artisan cup of coffee at. Expect to see “instagram-worthy” architecture and vintage colour schemes and textures that are prevalent in the area.

JB Town is also known for their authentic local delights and sweet treats. Who knows? You might just find the perfect spot for your next #ootd shot.

Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple

Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: flickr.com

The Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple is one of the main tourist attractions in Johor Bahru and  it’s hard to see why. The glass temple was envisioned by Guru Bhagawan Sittar, taking inspiration from the glass artwork at a temple in Bangkok, Thailand. He believed a temple made of glass would attract devotees far and across the land, and attract it did. The glass reflects light and blazes bright in the sunlight, and is sure to leave your mouth agape with its beauty.

Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: flickr.com

Address: No 22 Lorong 1, Jalan Tebrau, 80100 Johor Bahru
Opening hours: Open daily. It is open from 7am to 10pm for devotees. But visiting hours are between 1pm and 5pm for tourists.

Aw Pottery

Aw Pottery Johor Bahru MalaysiaImage credit: awpottery.biz

Aw Pottery is a popular and interesting destination in Johor for locals and foreigners alike. Its massive 50m Dragon Kiln was built in the 1950s and can produce up to 2000 pieces of pottery during each round of firing. At Aw Pottery, you can buy unique pieces of pottery at its Minangkabau showroom and you can even observe the masterful potters at work in the studio.

Aw Pottery Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: awpottery.biz

Address: Jalan Besar (Old Route 1), Near Kampung Machap, Ayer Hitam, 86100
Telephone: +60 7 754 1476

FOR FAMILY FUN AND THRILL-SEEKERS: ADVENTURE & THEME PARKS

Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park

The Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park is definitely unlike any other amusement park you’ve been to in your life. Bringing you multiple different parks to enjoy, Austin Heights is the ideal destination for a fun time with friends and family. If you’re an extreme thrill seeker, or just looking to make the best memories with your loved ones, this place is worth the visit. Here are the parks and some of the activities you can expect to see there.

Sports & Leisure Park 

Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park Ice Rink Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: www.funtime.my

The Sports & Leisure Park offers you the chance to ice skate on a synthetic ice rink, which is said to be 95% similar to natural ice. A cool twist to beat the heat.

Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park Drift racing Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: www.funtime.my

A fan of Tokyo Drift? Get your guts together and try out their M7, a “go-kart” inspired mobile that has the ability to drift.

Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park Trampoline Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: www.funtime.my

The indoor trampoline park facility at the sports and leisure park will be sure to impress you. Bringing you state of the art foam pits and trampolines, this safe environment is the very place for you to get your fitness on.

Fun fact: 10 minutes on the trampoline is equivalent to a 30-minute jog.

Water Park

Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park Johor Bahru MalaysiaImage credit: www.funtime.my

Probably the best water park many have been to yet. Enter a world of liveliness, surrounded by fun people around. Take in the vibrant and colourful atmosphere while savouring the spectacular sunsets and scenery over the waters.

Besides the picturesque tropical scenery you can enjoy, the Water Park also provides a variety of “jaw-dropping” water slides to relieve you from the heat.

Adventure Park 

Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: www.funtime.my

The perfect place for thrill seekers and fans of adventure who want to explore while staying dry, the suspension adventure rope course is worth a shot.

Here lies the longest indoor suspension adventure rope course in Malaysia, Adventure Park at Austin Heights guarantees maximum thrill for visitors with 7-course routes consisting 51 types of obstacle designed for the first-time players and thrill-seekers alike.

Address: No.121 & 123 Level 1 ,Jalan Austin Heights 3, Taman Mount Austin, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor 81100 Muar, Johor, Malaysia
Telephone: +60 7-353 5331
Opening hours: Open Daily
Water Park (10am-7pm)
Adventure Park (10am-10pm)
Sports & Leisure Park (10am-10pm)

Sanrio Hello Kitty Town

A little kiddy, but it’s worth a visit. Get lost in the land of kawaii and reconnect with your childhood friend, Hello Kitty, My Melody and many more. Sanrio Hello Kitty Town has a bunch of fun activities for families as well as many photo-worthy spots. Think of it as a little taste of Japan in Johor.

Sanrio hello kitty town Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: malaysia.panduanwisata.id

Address: Persiaran Puteri Selatan, 79100 Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Open Daily. 10am-6pm

LEGOLAND

Lego, our favourite childhood toy that never fails to send a piercing pain through our feet, every time we accidentally step on stray pieces we might or might not have forgotten to put away!

Legoland Theme Park Johor Bahru Malaysia

Image credit: pixabay.com

Legoland has 6 established parks in the world, one of them being conveniently situated at JB, perfect for us, Singaporeans! Bringing you a wide variety of attractions, shows and other cool set-ups, Legoland makes an ideal family holiday destination! It’s always good to release the inner child in you once in a while.

Address: 7, Jalan Legoland, Medini, 79100 Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia
Telephone:+60 7-597 8888
Opening hours: Open Daily. 10am – 6pm

To complete the ultimate theme park experience, spend the night at the Legoland resort! It is definitely a stay that the kids (and grown adults alike) will remember.

legoland hotel

Image credit: legoland.com.my

For discounted rates on theme park tickets (and travel packages), head on down to Groupon to find vouchers for Legoland, Hello Kitty Town and more Johor Bahru attractions! Use Groupon vouchers and ShopBack to earn up to 10% cashback!

And there we have it, JB has it all! This little wonderland is probably the most Singaporean wallet-friendly holiday destination you can possibly think of that has tons of amazing things to do at madly affordable prices, especially so in the case of budget travellers!

What are you waiting for?

Dive into the wonders of JB for your next short holiday!


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