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Peek behind the blinding glare of Singapore and you’ll find a great city, Johor Bahru, hidden just across the water in Malaysia. It isn’t surprising that this big city is developing so fast, as it sits at one end of the Johor-Singapore Causeway, the main gateway for land travel to the island. With beautiful golf courses, fantastic shopping on the waterfront, historic attractions and a pumping nightlife that even Singaporeans cross the causeway for, you’ll soon see why it’s a destination that should never be overlooked! Just book one of our Johor Bahru hotels, then organise your flights to Johor Bahru or nearby Singapore, and you’re all sorted!
The heart of Johor Bahru centres around the causeway, and the best way to orient yourself here is to use the Customs Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) building as a reference point. There’s heaps to do within two kilometres of the causeway, including heaps of midrange stores at City Square mall (five minutes from CIQ – accessible by bridges), computer electronics outlets at Landmark IT Mall (600 metres from CIQ), and ZON Mall or Plaza Pelangi further away for duty-free and upmarket goods.
While the shopping is satisfying, the choice of food at Johor Bahru restaurants is positively mouth-watering. There is everything from Chinese and Thai, to French food and pizza, but since you’re here, don’t miss the chance to get stuck into some Mamak cuisine – a mix between Indian and Malay dishes. The mix of curries, rice, roti and chilli pastes is not only tasty, but a very filling and easy meal.
Travelling families should check out Danga Bay recreational park east of the city centre. Their petting zoo, theme park rides, restaurants and street mall provide fun for guests young and old. To get there you can take a bus from nearby City Square.
Many historic and cultural attractions dot the city and surrounding areas, with a few that stand out for their beauty and accessibility – two things every traveller loves! Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple is a Hindu sanctuary that began as a small shelter in 1922, but grew and was recently rebuilt in glass form after its Guru was inspired by temple decartions in Bangkok. About one-and-a-half kilometres north of the causeway, its glittering surfaces are unique to behold. The murals and statues here promote peace and harmony between different faiths, depicting Mother Teresa, Sai Baba, and Gautama Buddha among others. Towards the end of the day, the grounds of Johor’s royal palace, Istana Besar, are a lovely calm spot to wander around. Built in 1866 with an Anglo-Malay influence, the historic museum inside is interesting, but what most people love are the views outside. Sunsets are spectacular from the hill beside the palace. Enjoy the peace here until the 7:00pm closing time, or until a guard comes to shoo you away.
Been to Singapore but never knew about nearby Johor Bahru? With its own distinct vibe and still tonnes to see, now’s your chance! Book one of our flights to Malaysia and sort through our range of Johor Bahru accommodation, from resorts to hotels and homestays.
Hotels in Johor Bahru start at AU$43 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.