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Things to do in Johor Bahru: A Guide to the City’s Best Attractions

Things to do in Johor Bahru: A Guide to the City’s Best Attractions

Johor Bahru Causeway

Johor Bahru, the capital of Johor in southern Malaysia, is a bustling city that has become a thriving tourist destination. It’s a place where contemporary development meets rich cultural heritage, conveniently located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, just across the causeway from Singapore.

You’ll find it offers a blend of attractions that promise an eclectic mix of activities suited for every traveler.

If you’re looking for a break from the cosmopolitan rush of Singapore, Johor Bahru presents a more laid-back atmosphere without compromising on excitement.

Whether you’re interested in exploring vibrant street markets, savoring local Malaysian flavors, or diving into fun-filled theme parks, this city has you covered.

From the historical charm of the grand Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque to the child-like wonders within Legoland Malaysia, your itinerary can be as diverse as the region itself.

Beyond its attractions, Johor Bahru is also a shopping haven, with numerous malls and markets where you can hunt for bargains.

As the sun sets, the nightlife in Johor Bahru comes alive, with multiple spots to enjoy good food and entertainment.

Discovering this border city gives you a unique insight into the culture and lifestyle of southern Malaysia while providing easy access for a quick day trip to or from Singapore.

Things to do in Johor Bahru #1 : Historical Landmarks

Johor Bahru is steeped in history, with landmarks that reflect its heritage from the British colonial period and the lives of its founding fathers.

As you explore, you’ll walk in the footsteps of the Sultan of Johor and discover architecture that dates back to the 19th century.

Istana Bukit Serene

Things to do in Johor Bahru: Istana Bukit Serene

Istana Bukit Serene is the royal palace and residence of the Sultan of Johor. The palace is renowned for its striking architecture, including a tower that proudly displays the Johor royal emblem.

Visiting the palace grounds offers you a glimpse into the grandeur of the Johor monarchy, although access to the inside of the palace is not open to the public.

Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque

Things to do in Johor Bahru:Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque

The Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque stands as a testament to the legacy of the Sultan who commissioned its construction in the 19th century. The mosque showcases a blend of Victorian and Moorish architecture, making it a unique cultural tapestry.

Bear in mind to dress modestly if you plan to visit this sacred site.

Johor Bahru Old Chinese Temple

Johor Bahru Old Chinese Temple
Credit Image: Wikimedia Commons

Dating back to the 19th century, the Old Chinese Temple is a symbol of the unity among the Chinese community’s five dialect groups.

The temple is tucked away amidst the modern cityscape, a treasure trove of culture with its intricate designs and significant artifacts, such as the Qing dynasty bell, preserved within the Kwong Siew Heritage Gallery.

Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Street

Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Street
Image Credit: Flickr

Stroll along Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, named after one of Johor Bahru’s founding fathers, where the past comes to life.

This heritage street is lined with colonial buildings that now host charming cafes and boutiques.

Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture and history, including a visit to the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple, a beacon of tranquility and an example of exquisite Indian temple architecture.

Things to do in Johor Bahru #2: Shopping Delights

Shopping Mall & Cuisine in Johor Bahru
Credit Image: Tripadvisor, Komtar JBCC & Edge Prop

Johor Bahru is a treasure trove for shoppers and food enthusiasts, where you can enjoy bustling markets, modern malls, and a mouthwatering array of culinary delights.

From shopping havens offering duty-free goods to bakeries that have stood the test of time, explore the unique blend of traditional and contemporary flavors.

Johor Bahru City Square & Komtar JBCC

No need to travel far for a taste of shopping and entertainment in Johor Bahru. Johor Bahru City Square and Komtar JBCC, conveniently located next to each other and a stone’s throw from the customs checkpoint, offer a one-stop shop for visitors. City Square caters to a wide range of budgets with over 200 stores, from high-street fashion to local boutiques. It also features a unique “Inner City” section with trendy shops and eateries. Komtar JBCC leans more towards mid-range and luxury brands, with beauty stores and a popular food court. Both malls offer entertainment options like movie theaters and for Komtar JBCC, the exciting Angry Birds Activity Park, perfect for families. You can easily spend a day browsing stores, indulging in delicious meals, and catching a flick at this shopping haven.

Johor Bahru City Square

106 – 108, Jalan Wong Ah Fook,  80000 Johor Bahru, Johor

Operating Hours : 

Daily: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Open on public holidays

Komtar JBCC 

Menara KOMTAR,Johor Bahru City Centre,
80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10:00am – 10:00pm

 

Southkey Midvalley The Mall Johor Bahru

Southkey Mid Valley Johor Bahru is a bustling hub of activity, boasting 260 tenants that cater to a diverse range of interests. Among its anchor tenants are the prestigious Mid Valley Exhibition Centre, renowned department store SOGO, the luxurious AURUM Theatre, popular GSC Cinemas, reliable household name Harvey Norman, Japanese home goods store Nitori, premium grocery store Village Grocer, and the beloved LEGO store. This dynamic mix of offerings ensures there’s something for everyone, whether you’re seeking entertainment, shopping, or simply looking to indulge in a delightful culinary experience.

Mid Valley Southkey

No.3, Persiaran SouthKey 1, SouthKey, 80150 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia.

Operating Hours : 

Daily: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Pasar Karat

Stroll along the vibrant Pasar Karat, also known as the night market, where you can haggle for a variety of items from clothes to antique goods.

Power up your shopping spree at local food stalls, featuring classic street food that defines Malaysia’s local food scene.

Don’t miss out on the pastries from the iconic Salahuddin Bakery, well-known for its traditional baked goods.

Experience:

  • Unique finds: Antiques and collectibles
  • Salahuddin Bakery: Historical bakery with a rich taste of tradition

Johor Premium Outlets

Johor Premium Outlets Kulai
Credit Image: Impiana Hotel Senai

For high-end brands at competitive prices, Johor Premium Outlets is your go-to destination.

This outlet mall offers a luxurious shopping experience with a selection of designer labels and international brands.

Beyond the racks, indulge in an assortment of dining options from fast food to exquisite restaurants that cater to every palate.

Highlights:

  • Brands: Designer and international names
  • Dining: Fast food to fine dining
  • Savings: Discounted prices on premium products

Things to do in Johor Bahru #3: Nature and Wildlife Exploration

Johor Bahru offers you a diverse range of nature and wildlife experiences. From up-close encounters with exotic species at the local zoo to serene beachside wildlife, you can immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this vibrant city.

Johor Zoo

Johor Zoo
Credit Image: The Star

Johor Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Malaysia and it offers you an opportunity to see a wide variety of animals up close.

Here, you can observe elephants and lions, and be charmed by the playful antics of gorillas.

The zoo is also home to colorful flamingoes, and the marine life exhibit is not to be missed, giving you a glimpse into the underwater world.

Zenxin Organic Park

Zenxin Organic Park
Credit Image: Zen Xin

Experience nature at its most nourishing at Zenxin Organic Park, the first open-to-public organic farm in Malaysia.

Here, you can discover various species of plants and learn about sustainable farming practices.

Take a leisurely walk through the farm and enjoy the tranquil surroundings that give you a break from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Desaru Beach

Lotus Desaru Beach
Credit Image: Tripadvisor

For a relaxing encounter with nature, head to Desaru Beach, known for its pristine sandy shores and clear waters.

While exploring the beach, you might spot different types of marine life and enjoy the calming sound of the waves.

It’s a perfect spot for beach lovers looking to unwind amidst natural coastal beauty.

Things to do in Johor Bahru #4: Theme Parks & Family Activities

Johor Bahru is brimming with fun-filled attractions suitable for families, thrill-seekers, and anyone looking to have a good time.

From world-renowned theme parks to leisure hotspots along scenic coasts, you’ll find an array of activities that promise a memorable experience.

Legoland Malaysia

Legoland Malaysia
Credit Image: Shutterstock

Legoland Malaysia is a must-visit for families, boasting over 70 hands-on rides, slides, shows, and attractions.

Here you can explore themed areas like LEGO City and Miniland. For added adventure, the Legoland Theme Park—right next door—offers water slides and a wave pool perfect for cooling off in the sun.

Address

Danga Bay

Danga Bay l Night Time Activities
Credit Image: Tripadvisor

For a more relaxed evening, visit Danga Bay, one of the largest recreational parks in Johor Bahru.

You can take a stroll along the waterfront or visit Danga World Theme Park for amusement rides.

For a unique experience, head up to Skyscape at Menara JLand to take in panoramic views of the city.

Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark

Desaru Coast Waterpark
Credit Image: Reserve Daily

If you’re a water park enthusiast, Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark presents a variety of wet and wild experiences.

Catering to both adrenalin junkies and families, this waterpark features one of the biggest wave pools in the world and the “Kraken’s Revenge” roller coaster that plunges into water.


  • Theme Parks And Attractions:
    • 🎢 Legoland Malaysia: Kid-friendly with interactive rides.
    • 🎡 Danga Bay: Theme parks and leisure by the bay.
    • 🌊 Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark: Thrilling slides and fun for all ages.
  • Leisure Activities:
    • Ice Skating: Glide at the Blue Ice Skating Rink.
    • Go-Karting: Race at the available tracks for high-speed fun.
    • Laser Tag: Challenge friends at Laser Battle.
    • Rock Climbing: Scale walls for a mix of fun and fitness.

Johor Bahru Culture Experiences: Must-See & Do

Video Credit:Hobbymart Diaries

When exploring Johor Bahru, immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of cultural experiences that reveal the historical and societal influences of the region.

From observing the majesty of the Sultan’s official residence to savoring local flavors at a bustling night market, each site offers a unique glimpse into the heritage of Johor Bahru.

Official Residence of the Sultan

The Istana Bukit Serene stands as a proud symbol of the Johor monarchy.

As the official residence of the Sultan of Johor, this palace is not only a private residence but also a tableau of architectural accomplishment.

The exterior, adorned with Islamic motifs, projects the cultural identity and historical significance of the royal lineage.

Although entry to the palace grounds is restricted, you can admire its grandeur from afar, the detailed façade testament to the region’s royal heritage.

Medan Selera Meldrum Walk

At the heart of Johor Bahru’s bustling city life lies Medan Selera Meldrum Walk, a vibrant street known for its array of local cuisines and street food. Here, you can engage in the communal spirit that defines Malaysian cultural scenes.

Tables are often shared among locals and tourists alike, presenting an opportunity to mingle and enjoy the authentic flavors of Johor.

A stroll through this open-air market during the evening reveals culinary delights from Malay, Chinese, and Indian traditions, mirroring the multi-ethnic composition of Malaysia.

Your cultural journey in Johor Bahru might also lead you to other significant landmarks representative of the city’s diverse religious heritage.

You may wish to visit the resplendent Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque, a monumental building blending Victorian architecture with Islamic motifs.

Or explore the Johor Bahru Old Chinese Temple with its rich history, serving as a symbol of unity among the different Chinese clans.

To complete your cultural exploration, the historical Church of the Immaculate Conception, with its peaceful surroundings, offers a quiet reflection of the city’s colonial past.

In between visits to these remarkable sites, do not miss the chance to stop by Puteri Harbour. This modern waterfront district combines leisure and culture, allowing you to unwind alongside scenic views after a day filled with cultural discovery.

Johor Bahru Must-Do’s: Stays & Getting Around

When you arrive in Johor Bahru (JB), Malaysia, for your holiday, you might want to consider the wide range of accommodations that suit your travel needs and preferences.

If you’re traveling from Singapore, remember that the causeway connecting to JB can get congested, especially during peak hours.

To save time, plan your crossing outside of rush hours or use the Tuas Second Link, which tends to be less crowded.

For Stay:

  • Budget-friendly Hotels: Aim for accommodations that provide essential services without the frills.
  • Mid-range Accommodations: Consider boutique hotels that offer a great balance between cost and comfort.
  • Luxury Hotels: Indulge in a 5-star hotel with top-notch amenities for the ultimate relaxation.

Travel Tips:

  • Currency: Ensure you have some Malaysian Ringgit for local transactions. Cards might not be widely accepted.
  • Transportation: Private MPV car are convenient for short trips within the city. Renting a car could be beneficial if you plan to explore more widely.
  • Planning: Book accommodations and any high-demand attractions ahead of time.
  • Etiquette: Respect the local customs and practices. Dress conservatively when visiting religious sites.

 

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