It might be your 148th time in Johor Bahru (JB) but amidst the ‘hipster’ cereal cafes, cheap zi char and over the top emphasis on massages, there really isn’t anything else to do or buy. Or so you thought. With most things significantly more affordable in the blessed land just across the border, I’m sure we could all do better than massages, lok lok, and well, more massages sessions. Putting our national trait of kiasuness to the ultimate test, these are the things to look out for that are souvenir worthy/most bang for your buck the next time you’re in JB!

If you’re still looking for a comprehensive guide on what to do in JB, click here for a detailed guide on how to go, where to eat, and what to shop!

  1. Contact Lens/Spectacles

contact lens cheap
Image Credit: Marco Verch | Flickr

Contact lens solution, contact lens, daily wear or extended wear ones. Cases to store your contact lens, mini bottles to store your contact lens solution to use on-the-go, there are just so many dispensable products and let’s not get started on how much they cost! Tough luck for people who are bespectacled… until now that is! Any given contact lens is on average S$10 cheaper (per box) than the ones you could get in Singapore, do a quick math and that is easily S$120 saved annually.

  1. Banana Cakes from Hiap Joo Bakery

banana cakes from hiap joo
Image Credit: Paul Ng | Flickr

This is probably not foreign to frequent JB visitors but if this is the first time you’re hearing about Hiap Joo Bakery, then make sure you read on! More than just a bakery, Hiap Joo Bakery is truly a gastronomic destination one should not miss out when in JB. Banana cakes you might think, yet another unassuming bake good that surely isn’t worth the crossing over to Malaysia for, but you’ll be surprised at the sheer boxes of these delectable banana cakes us Singaporeans patronize. Not any other banana cakes, but specifically the ones from Hiap Joo Bakery. Though dainty, the shop perfumes its immediate radius with whiffs of fresh bakes. If you’re not a huge fan of banana cakes, do check out the other fresh bakes from Hiap Joo bakery!

  1. Beauty Products from Sephora/Drugstores

make up sephora
Image Credit: Maria Morri | Flickr

If only beauty products from Sephora costs the same numerically over in Malaysia, ladies would’ve been paying a third of what they’re already paying here for beauty products! Though that sounds too good to be true, a vast number of products from Sephora are significantly cheaper over in JB! Keep in mind the prices of products you see in Singapore and the next time you’re in JB, pop by real quick and see for yourself! Sephora aside, even drugstore makeup and beauty products are notably cheaper there too!

  1. Groceries

groceries cheap
Image Credit: Francis Chang | Flickr

Groceries being cheaper should be a no-brainer. I can remember a time when I was younger when trips would be made on weekends, simply for the the sole purpose to restock the fridge and really anything that could be found in a grocery shop! You can easily save up to 50% of what you would otherwise spend in a local grocery shop. Just make sure to remember to bring trolleys or perhaps even drive through so you don’t have to lug the bulk of groceries back to Singapore!

PRO TIP: Snag them Magnum Ice-creams while you’re there! Bring an icebox along if you need to, we’re not exaggerating.

5. Kopi Powder from Sai Kee Kopi Serbok Sdn Bhd

coffee powder famous
Image Credit: Marco Verch | Flickr

Kopi powder might sound like a slightly obscure product to specifically go for, but if you’re anything like me – a huge coffee drinker, then this could possibly be THE landmark to go to in JB. Famed after their 434 brand coffee, it’s almost synonymous with the upscale coffee you could get from far west. Whether you’re in for a cold brew or just traditional Kopi, the 434 brand of coffee powder is worth the trip! Apart from ground-up coffee powder, you could also sit in for a cuppa!

  1. Dental Services: Bracers

dental services cheap
Image Credit: Marco Verch | Flickr

Dental services as one could imagine, isn’t exactly the cheapest thing. A wisdom tooth removal procedure could easily set you back S$700, while cosmetically enhancing dental procedures like bracers could easily rocket up to S$3000, and oftentimes more here in Singapore. In JB, for RM7000 or S$2000+, you could get the same procedure done! And then there are procedures like scaling and polishing, teeth whitening that would cost significantly cheaper over in JB!

  1. Dim Sum from Kedai Kopi Tang Chuan

dimsum cheap jb
Image Credit: Shubert Ciencia

Kedai Kopi Tang Chuan though nestled in Johor is a hotspot that Singaporeans would frequent. If you’re impressed by the likes of Swee Choon and 126 Dim Sum. The prices of these precious bamboo baskets of dim sum from Kedai Kopi Tang Chuan do no justice to how tasty they are. You could have them to-go and they’d still be warm by the time you’ve crossed the causeway! Fridge them up and you’ll be good to go for next day’s meals. Their Lo Mai Gai are amongst the plethora of other popular dishes that people often take away, be sure to pop by for a meal even if you’re not intending to bag them back home!

  1. Cigarette/Petrol (Controversial)

*Disclaimer: We’re not advocating for any crime/health habits, practice at your own risk! 

petrol station jb
Image Credit: CharlesEi1 | Flickr

So long you ‘prove’ that the pack of cigarettes that you bring back when you cross the sg customs with is an opened pack with sticks of cigarette from it already consumed, you’re good to go. Again, tobacco amongst the many other prohibited items are declarable, failure to do so might land you in some trouble. If all else fails, you could always finish your pack of a discounted cigarette while you’re still in Malaysia. I mean, it’s still very much cheaper especially after the recent increase of tobacco tax.

It was pretty much a known fact for Singaporeans to top up their petrol just after crossing the causeway. It only costs a fraction of what you’d have to pay in Singapore, couple that with the near-causeway petrol stations, it’s as good as going to a neighbourhood petrol station to top-up your tank. Again, practice this at your own risk as many would advice going into JB with at least 3/4 filled tank in order to avoid getting fined by the Malaysian authority.

Going shopping to JB?

Well, that’s all to it, our top picks for a little souvenir whenever you get away for the weekend. For all you people who frequent JB enough, comment down below on the things you personally would bring back without fail every time you visit the country!

Are you looking for more cashback deals and promotions? Or are you looking to book a stay with Booking.com at Johor Bahru to enjoy even further? Stay tuned for the year-end shopping sale ShopFest.

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