For many years, at least since Singapore became a global megacity, Johor Bahru has been used as a getaway for people looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of Singapore. That is made easy by the fact that the two cities are just less than an hour’s drive between them. Read how to get from Johor Bahru to Singapore.
Johor, just like the rest of the border towns around the world, has had a somewhat sordid reputation for quite some time before things dramatically changed in recent times with a range of numerous family-friendly sites and attractions that have contributed to its upsurge in popularity.
In this guide, we are going to look at top things to do in Johor, whether as a solo traveller or with family.
Things to do in Johor Bahru
There are only eight LEGOLAND parks in the whole world (in Billund, Florida, California, Dubai, Windsor, Germany, Malaysia, and Japan), and the one in Malaysia is located in this border city. For this reason, if you find yourself in Johor Bahru, visiting LEGOLAND Malaysia is just a must. Besides, it is probably in Johor LEGOLAND Park that you will not deal with large crowds.
LEGOLAND Malaysia is also the only Legoland in the world with Lego VR Coaster. It also has Stars Wars Miniland.
The park opens daily from Monday to Thursday from 10 pm to 6 pm and Friday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm. Book cheaper tickets to Legoland
If you coming to Johor mainly to visit Legoland you should stay in Legoland Hotel, it’s a great adventure for everyone – big and small.
Singapore is a perfect and safe place for a family holiday. When planning your visit, know about things to do in Singapore – Read our guide
Johor Bahru Shopping – Johor Premium Outlets
If you want to snatch something in Johor Bahru for a bargain, then look no further than at the Johor Premium Outlet. You will find a lot of local and international brands such as Dickers, Coach, Ralph Lauren, and so on, selling their products at affordable prices. You can save even more with Johor Premium Outlets Savings Passport
The market is open-air, so make sure you are well-prepared to deal with the heat.
The complex opens daily from 10 am to 10 pm.
Check Out the Desaru Ostrich Farm
Come to Desaru Ostrich Farm to have a close-up experience with the largest bird in the world. This farm has more than 200 ostriches and is the largest bird farm in Malaysia, and one of the most well-known ostrich farms in Southeast Asia.
Last but not least, they also serve some ostrich meat if you always wonder how these huge birds taste, we didn’t try it as the birds were too cute, but we try ostrich omelette and it was yummy (10 RM)
The ostrich farm opens daily from 10 am to 6 pm, with tickets going for RM20 for adults and RM15 for children.
Ostrich farm location.
Enjoy the Dishes
Being at the crossroads of two of the most famous food cultures (Singaporean and Malay) Johor Bahru sure has some of the varieties of dishes you will never find anywhere else. The food scene here is just unbelievable, with a different type of food welcoming you every corner of the street you take. We were eating out all the time and I’m afraid I gain few kilos during our Johor Bahru trip.
Be sure to try out laksa with wholesome broth at Laksa House, or some fluffy yet crispy roti canai at Bukit Chagar Roti Canai.
Visit Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple
There is one reason you must visit this temple- it is the only first and only first glass temple in Malaysia. The building has been listed on the Malaysian Book of Records consecutively since 2010. It is also one of the oldest temples in Malaysia and was influenced by Guru Bhagawan Sittar’s visit to Bangkok, Thailand.
The Glass Temple is embellished with 300,000 glasses.
The temple opens from 7 am to 10 pm.
Who doesn’t enjoy shopping? Especially if it is about trinkets?
Bazaar Karat or as it’s commonly known by locals Pasar Karat is one of the most vibrant markets in Johor Bahru.
The market is the best place to find cheap clothing, household items, and trinkets. Though it is sometimes underrated night market, Bazaar Karat features a wide range of local dishes and beverages at much lower prices compared to most parts in the city.
There is always something intriguing about joining locals in a night market far away from home.
The market opens daily from Monday to Friday starting from 6 pm to 12 am and on Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 pm to 12 am.
Visit Jalan Tan Hiok Nee
Named after one of the most prominent people in the history of Johor Bahru, Jalan Tan Hoik is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the town.
If you have not yet tasted any of the dishes the city has to offer, you will find here several fine restaurants and cafés serving some delicious Malay dishes.
You can also shop for some antique products within this old neighborhood.
The architecture in this neighborhood is also something to behold, with a mixture of Malay and Chinese style shops and several colonial structures.
Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm
Not afraid of huge reptiles? How about a visit to Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm located in Kota Tinggi.
The farm is well-maintained and the caretaker will take you around the farm and show you crocodiles of all sizes at no extra fee.
Before you visit this farm, you should know that they feed the crocodiles with live chickens, so if the site of live chickens being devoured by large reptile is stomach-churning to you, maybe you should avoid the farm entirely.
The ticket price is RM8 for adults and RM4 children.
Visit Johor Zoo
Dating back from 1928, Johor Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Southeast Asia. The zoo houses more than a hundred different animal species including the common ones like gorillas, lions, elephants, and flamingos.
The zoo also has a variety of birds and reptiles.
There are also several eateries scattered around the zoo in case you fancy a snack.
Johor Zoo is perfect for children as well, as it gives youngsters a chance to interact with different animals during feeding sessions.
Istana Besar used to be the official residence of the Sultan of Johor in the days gone by. The white palace was built back in 1866 during the era of Sultan Abu Bakar and it was constructed with a mix of Western and Malay architecture.
Don’t miss the large dome on top of the building and as well as the stylish blue roof.
Make sure you also check out the Royal Abu Bakar Museum which features some interesting collection of antiques and family treasure that belonged to the Royal Family.
Enjoy a nice evening walk along the promenade at Puteri Harbor. This is great for a family with young kids.
There are also some great selection of fine restaurants and bars if you would like a fine dinner.
Chinese Heritage Museum
If you like things that take you back in time then make sure you visit the Chinese Heritage Museum. The museum contains four floors with loads of information about the history of Chinese immigrants with English signage.
Check the Angry Birds Theme Park
Are you are a fan of Angry Birds? This park in Johor Bahru is dedicated entirely to anything related to the Angry Birds. The park is one of the most visited spots in the city, and sprawling some 26,000 square feet, the Angry Birds Theme Park is spacious and inclusive enough for every kind of visitor.
Besides numerous fun rides and amusement arcades, the park also hosts daily shows and performances by Angry Birds characters. One of the best attractions of the park is that it is usually open up to late into the evening, meaning you can stay until you feel like you have gotten your money’s worth.
Enjoy the Pies at the Salahuddin Bakery
One of the oldest bakeries in Johor Bahru, Salahuddin Bakery was opened first in 1937 and the rest is history. The pastry shop sells some delicious selection of baked delicacies including the main attraction, the curry puffs, which are local Malay treat of curried vegetables or meat stuffed inside a flaky pastry.
The bakery still has its ancient setting.
Go see Fireflies at Kota Tinggi Johor
Visiting Kota Tinggi is one of those activities that suit a family seeking for something calming and breathtaking at night. Kota Tinggi or Firefly Valley Cruise Experience include boat tours through the mangroves to witness a remarkable scene created by the glow of thousands of fireflies. Seeing so many fireflies is really magical, we all loved the whole experience.
Just to share with you some insider tips; make sure you visit the Firefly Park during the dark months i.e. avoid visiting during the full month period as it will be too bright to see the spectacle clearly.
Komtar JBCC and JB City Square
Komtar JBCC was opened in 2014, making it one of the newest malls in Johor Bahru. With plenty of boutique stores lined across all the five levels, Komtar mall is perfect for anyone seeking for some retail therapy.
The mall is located just a few walking distances from the Malaysian immigration checkpoints and close to the Johor Bahru City Square mall.
This waterfront complex is lined with a range of dining options and lifestyle attractions. It is one of the top tourist spots in the city and also where you can find the Danga World Petting Zoo.
There is also Danga World Theme Park at the complex featuring more than 20 rides including spinning teacups and Ferris wheel.
The Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception
This ancient church complex is one of the oldest buildings still standing in the city of Johor Bahru, having been built back in 1883.
The building is famous for its lone steeple topped with a remarkable spire and designed in British colonial style.
If you visit Johor in January, you may watch the Harvest Festival, a traditional celebration based on the Tamil festival of Pongal.
Being the largest public park in Johor Bahru, Taman Merdeka is a great place to relax and enjoy refreshing air. It is one of the city’s few green spots and features a wide range of sections including an open-air theater as well as a number of rock sculptures.
There is also a monument dedicated to Malaysia’s independence.
For a nice sunbathe, visit the Desaru Beach along the Strait of Johor. A day on this beach will give you a nice escape from the busy life of Johor Bahru. The beach is lined with bars, restaurants, clubs, and shopping stalls.
There are some watersports as well, such as jet skiing and boat ride, and if you want to hang around the city for a little longer, there are also beach resorts.
Gudang Kite Museum
Gudang Kite Museum was opened in 2002 as the first museum in the country dedicated completely to the history as well as the cultural impact of kites in Malay.
For this reason, you will find many galleries with a lot of information about how the kites or layang-layang are made and how they involved as well as watch the videos about kite flying.
Pasir Gudang also holds an annual Kite Festival.
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