Johor Bahru

Travel Guide Asia Malaysia Johor Johor Bahru

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Introduction

Johor Bahru.

Johor Bahru.

© Outi K.

For most visitors to Malaysia, Johor Bahru is just a stopover city. But this perception about the town is just not right. Johor Bahru of today is just different from yesteryears. It has reinvented itself and yet, it is traditional in its heart. It is the capital city of the state of Johor and most people use it as gateway to Singapore.

Johor Bahru was declared a city in 1994 and is growing fast. The city has about 500,000 inhabitants, and its metropolitan area has about 1.4 million. Johor Bahru is for the most part suburban and lacks a metropolitan feel. It is the third largest city in Malaysia. Given its relatively large land space, the city is not as dense as many other Malaysian cities. Many of the world's top electronics manufacturers have at least one plant in Johor Bahru and its harbour is one of the busiest in the region.

Due to its proximity to Singapore, it unavoidably suffers from comparison with its neighbour. Clean-up initiatives like greening the city and covering the open sewers that until a few years ago ran through the centre of the city have made it a more pleasant place to live. However, there has been little effort in maintaining buildings and public facilities, and the city centre may seem run-down to some. Shopping and eating in the city can be a real adventure, with many shopping complexes and a wide variety of food establishments offering from street food to fine dining. There are also plenty of spas and resort hotels in the city, typically at much lower prices than the ones in Singapore.

Johor Bahru has a good mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures, with racial harmony actively promoted by the Sultan of Johor. The city has been receiving lots of investments, particular from Chinese property developers, as part of the Iskandar Malaysia project. As result, there is massive construction all over the city. While mostly residential properties are being built, some are aiming to create man-made tourist attractions such as Danga Bay, although few are in a finished state. Johor Bahru is a sprawling city; its city center is rather small for a metropolis of its size, and many of the city's best shopping areas and restaurants are in the suburbs rather than in the city centre. While the public transportation leaves much to be desired, local e-hailing app Grab makes the task of exploring the city much easier.

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Neighbourhoods

Johor Bahru's metropolitan area can be easily divided into four parts:

  • North - Its main centers are Taman Daya, Taman Mount Austin, Taman Desa Tebrau and Ulu Tiram, which can be accessed via the trunk road, Jalan Tebrau. There can be a relatively frequent peak hour jam along this road. The area has been a hive for construction activities with the latest AEON Tebrau and IKEA Tebrau locating in its vicinity.
  • South - The main city centre (IIBD) and Larkin is located on the southern part of the city, in which many of the old town areas are located, including its Chinatown and Little India areas. It is an area with housing estates which have been around for more than three decades. Important estates include Taman Pelangi, Taman Century and Taman Sentosa.
  • East - The main suburbs here are Plentong and Permas Jaya, a housing suburb; other parts remain undeveloped and house Sultan Iskandar Reservoir.
  • West - The main suburbs here are Bandar Baru UDA, Tampoi and Kempas.

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Sights and Activities

  • Royal Abu Bakar Museum is counted among the finest museums in South East Asia, it showcases the treasures of the royal family of Johor Bahru. The museum was founded in 1990 by the late Sultan Iskandar (1932–2010) in Istana Besar, or Grand Palace, built by Sultan Abu Bakar in 1866. Apart from an extensive art collection, the museum presents the ceremonial regalia, personal memorabilia, furniture, objects d'arts, and cultural artifacts associated with the royal family of Johor.
  • Shopping in Johor Bahru is around the city square of Dataran Bandaraya. If you wish to buy souvenirs or gifts, you should visit Pasar Malam, the local flea market.

Bukit Serene Palace (Istana Bukit Serene), sandwiched between Jl Kolam Air and Jl Straits View. This green-roof, stone building is the official residence of the Sultan of Johor. The palace has a huge sprawling garden which is a common site for many royal gatherings and celebrations. It was built in 1933 in the Art Deco style. Part of the palace building can be seen afar from Jalan Skudai. The palace walls have fantastic and exquisite carvings. The main tower is 35 m tall. The Istana is guarded by the personal military force of the Sultan of Johor. Neither the building nor its gardens are open to the general public. In front of the palace gate, there is the Laman Serene public square.

  • War Memorial (Tugu Peperangan), Jl Abu Bakar, (across the road from Johor State Syariah Court and Iskandar Johor Islamic Center). The twin obelisks commemorate martyred servicemen of the First and Second World Wars, and the Emergency (the confrontation with Indonesia in 1962). It was completed in 1962 and unveiled by Colonel H.H. Sir Ismail, Sultan of Johor, on 1 Jul 1962. It was erected by the ex-servicemen association of Malaya Johor Branch. The erection was funded from donations by the government of Johor, ex-servicemen association of Malaya and members of the public. Seldom visited by more than a few persons at any one time, it is a clean, quiet spot with vantage views of the Straits of Johor.
  • Grand Palace (Istana Besar), Jalan Belukar, 80000. 9AM-5PM (Saturday-Thursday). The palace consists of the Royal Abu Bakar Museum. The official entrance to the palace museum grounds is through a gateway facing the High Court building on Jalan Air Molek. You can also exit/enter the palace museum grounds by walking down/up the grassy slope to/from the main road - Jalan Tun Doktor Ismail. The museum is closed when there are official functions and ceremonies. Entry US$7/3 (payable in ringgit at a poor exchange rate) for foreign adults/children, RM5 for Malaysian and Singaporeans, and only RM1 for Malaysian children. Last ticket sale is at 16:00. Definitely Johor Bahru's top attraction, this is the opulent former residence (Istana Besar or Grand Palace) of the Sultan of Johor. It is still used for royal and state ceremonies and functions. 53-hectare garden (free admission). The adjoining Zaharah Botanical Garden lies about 300 m northwest of the palace museum complex centred about a roundabout. The palace complex was first completed in 1866 but has been extended and refurbished many times since. It was built in the neoclassical style by local artisans under the supervision of a European architect. The original furniture of the palace was made in England and ordered by Sultan Abu Bakar in 1866. The museum is housed in two of the three white buildings (all with blue-tile pitched roofs) in the complex and consists of 4 parts: the Dewan (in the west building); the Throne Room, the Treasure Rooms and the Hunting Room (in the central building). The east building is not open to the public. The scale of the palace is suitably grandiose. Photography inside the museum is forbidden.
  • Johor Bahru City Square (Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru), Jalan Datuk, Sri Gelam, 80100. Johor Bahru City Square is a public square that was constructed in conjunction with Johor Bahru being granted city status on January 1994. A yellow coloured building with a gigantic, yellow clock tower built stands on the north edge of the square. The square is surrounded by two sports fields on the south side and three sports fields on the west side. Many outdoor events are held here. To get there from the city centre, take any of the very frequent buses (one-way fare RM1) that go to Bukit Indah/Kulai/Selesa Jaya from opposite City Square (starting point) at Jalan Wong Ah Fook or from the bus stop in front of the old railway station at Jalan Tun Abdul Razak. Free.
  • Mahmoodiah Royal Mausoleum (Makam Diraja Mahmoodiah), Jl Mahmoodiah. This is a royal mausoleum of Johor state. It is a white colored building with two domes. The first sultan of Johor laid to rest here was Sultan Abu Bakar in 1895, as are the three sultans that reigned after him - Ibrahim, Ismail and Iskandar. Other persons interred here include: sultanahs (wives of the sultans) - Sultanah Fatimah, Sultanah Ungku Maimunah Ungku Abdul Aziz, Sultanah Rogaiyah, Sultanah Tun Aminah; other royal family members; notable politicians like Dato' Jaafar Muhammad, Dato' Onn Jaafar, Tan Sri Othman Saat and Dato' Muhamad Salleh bin Perang. The mausoleum is not open to the public.
  • Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple, No. 22, Susur 1, Jalan Tebrau (less than 50 m west of Tebrau Highway and 400 m north of Tropical Inn/Landmark Shopping Centre and beside the railway track). Inaugurated in 1996 and touted as "The First Glass Temple in the World". The inner surface of the walls and the columns inside the temple are clad with imported glass, hence the name. The floor is paved with granite. There's a canteen at the back of the temple building and sells only Indian vegetarian food. Thousands of tourists and pilgrims coming here everyday. There are food and drink stalls lining both sides of the driveway in the front of the temple. Temple prayer hours 07:30-12:00 daily; Temple closure Tu-Su 12:00-13:00 & M 12:00-19:00; Temple visiting hours daily except Mon (closed to visitors) 13:00-18:00. Chitra Pournami Paal Kudam Festival held every Wed and Glass Chariot Procession held every Thurs at the temple. RM10/5 for adults/children (5-12 years old), still photography/video fee RM3/5, leaving shoes with the guardian RM0.50.
  • Johor Bahru Old Chinese Temple (柔佛古廟), Jalan Trus. 7:30AM-5:30PM. It is a Chinese temple believed to be built in 1870 by a group of Chinese community leaders led by Tan Hiok Nee, a famous, local Teochew businessman. This is where five different Chinese dialect groups - Cantonese, Hainanese, Hakka, Hokkien and Teochew - worshipped their respective deities and their effigies are all found inside the prayer hall. The Goddess of Mercy and the Weather God are also worshipped here; their effigies are found outside the prayer hall. The prayer hall is straight ahead as you enter the wooden gate entrance from Jalan Trus. There is a small museum behind the prayer hall which have illustrated descriptions of the five deities and the history of the temple, as well as giant photos showing the Parade of Deities (see below). Photography is forbidden in the museum and captions are mostly in Chinese only. The temple organizes an annual 4-day Chingay parade known as the Parade of Deities. The climax of the parade occurs on the night of the 3rd day when the deities are paraded around the city centre. Free.
  • Mawar Gallery (Galeri Mawar; Mawar is the Malay acronym for Majlis Wanita Johor), No. 888, Jalan Sungai Chat, 80100 (50 m west of the Thistle Hotel on the same side of the road), ☎ +6072214100. M-F 10:00-16:00. Complex consists of several buildings, among them a handicrafts workshop (closed to the public) and 'Rumah Mawar' (also known as 'Galeri Mawar'). The latter is housed in a pretty 2-storey white building. It has photos of members (especially female) of the Johor royal family and various famous women of Johor. There are also displays of clothes worn by Sultanah Zanariah on the first level and mannequins wearing wedding clothes and traditional Malay clothes on the second level. The admission of RM5 includes a mandatory guided tour of the 'Rumah Mawar'. You have to get one of the staff from the administration building to open the door to the 'Rumah Mawar'. He or she will act as a guide. Photography is forbidden except for the mannequin display on the second level. There is a small canteen selling Malay food at the entrance to the complex. To get there from the city centre, take any of the very frequent buses (one-way fare RM1) that go to Bukit Indah/Kulai/Selesa Jaya from opposite City Square (starting point) at Jl Wong Ah Fook or from the bus stop in front of the old railway station at Jalan Tun Abdul Razak. Alight at the bus stop in front of the red-colored Sultanah Aminah Hospital on Jalan Abu Bakar. It is about 5 min walk from here.

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Events and Festivals

  • Chinese New Year (05 Feb 2019 - 19 Feb 2019) - Chinese make up about a quarter of the total population and in honour of the Chinese New Year, Malaysia has declared the first two days as public holidays. In the Gregorian calendar, Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, a date between 21 January and 20 February. On 5 February 2019, the year of the Pig commences.

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Weather

The city has an equatorial climate with consistent temperatures, a considerable amount of rain, and high humidity throughout the course of the year. Temperatures range from 25.5 °C to 27.8 °C with an annual rainfall of around 2,000 mm, mostly from November until February. Although the climate is relatively uniform, it can change through the monsoon seasons with variation of wind speeds and direction, cloudiness, and wet and dry seasons throughout the year. There are two monsoon periods every year, the first one happens between December and February, and is known as northeast monsoon. It is characterised by heavy rains and winds from the northeast. The second one is the south-west Monsoon, characterised by relative dryness with winds driven from the south and south-west. It occurs between June and August. There are two inter-Monsoon periods from March to May and from September to November, which are relatively calm with less rain and weaker winds.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max31 °C32 °C32.5 °C32.8 °C32.5 °C32.1 °C31.5 °C31.5 °C31.5 °C31.8 °C31.3 °C30.6 °C
Avg Min21.9 °C22 °C22.4 °C22.9 °C23.1 °C22.9 °C22.4 °C22.4 °C22.4 °C22.6 °C22.7 °C22.4 °C
Rainfall162.6 mm139.8 mm203.4 mm232.8 mm215.3 mm148.1 mm177 mm185.9 mm190.8 mm217.7 mm237.6 mm244.5 mm
Rain Days11913151512131313161715

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Getting There

By Plane

Daily flights connect Senai Airport to various Malaysia cities like Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kuantan and Kuala Terengganu. It also has some international flights to other Asian cities.

Causeway Link operates airport express shuttle buses between the airport and JB CIQ. The bus schedule is revised several times a year due to changes in flight schedules. Tickets cost RM8 one-way and the journey time is about 45min.
There are also non-express buses from and to the airport. JB Central Line's A1 bus (Larkin: 07:00-20:30) and Causeway Link's 333 (Larkin: 06:00-20:00 about every 1½-2 hr, one-way fare RM3.50) go between Larkin bus terminal and the airport. The A1 bus terminates at Senai Airport and Permas Jaya, so you can board or disembark from the bus at various points.
Taxis are available and the ride takes about 30 min. Taxis leaving from the airport operate on a voucher system - buy your voucher from the taxi desk inside the terminal (next to the car rental desks). A trip to the city centre is RM45 for up to 4 passengers.

By Train

Johor Bahru houses the JB Sentral and Kempas Baru railway stations.

JB Sentral station is located along Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and Jalan Jim Quee. It is connected to both the CIQ and City Square by pedestrian overhead bridges. There are retail outlets (including a 24-hr 7-Eleven store), food and beverage outlets and money exchange offices (the one at street level is open 24 hr). There are coin-operated (2 x 50 sen), small left luggage lockers, a Muslim prayer room, toilets, a police post and a tourist information booth in here as well.

There are three pairs of shuttle trains a day to Gemas to connect to the ETS network north of Gemas all the way to Padang Besar in Perlis. Tickets for each train are sold separately; for example, when going to Kuala Lumpur from Johor Bahru, tickets are sold as JB Sentral-Gemas on the shuttle and Gemas-KL Sentral on the ETS. There is also a nightly express train that runs through the East Coast Jungle Line to Tumpat.

The Johor Bahru-Singapore stretch is now served by the Shuttle Tebrau shuttle train. The train station in Singapore is at Woodlands Train Checkpoint, which is 700 m from the start of the causeway. There are 14 departures per day from Woodlands and 17 per day from JB Sentral. Shuttle trains will leave Woodlands for JB Sentral at 07:20, 08:30, 09:40, 10:50, 12:20, 13:50, 15:20, 16:30, 17:40, 18:50, 20:00, 21:10, 22:20, 23:30 and leave JB Sentral for Woodlands at 05:00, 05:25, 05:55, 06:20, 07:30, 08:40, 09:50, 11:20, 12:50, 14:20, 15:30, 16:40, 17:50, 19:00, 20:10, 21:20, 22:30. When you depart from Singapore by train, you get stamped out by Singapore immigration first inside the Woodlands Train Checkpoint, and just across the hallway, Malaysian immigration stamps you in before you board the KTM train. In the reverse direction, Malaysia immigration stamps you out before boarding the train at JB Sentral, and upon the train reaching Woodlands Train Checkpoint, you disembark and Singapore immigration stamps you in. Gate opens 30 minutes before departure and closes 10 minutes before departure.

Tickets from JB to Singapore are MYR5 and tickets from Singapore to JB are SGD5. Buy them at the counter at least 30 minutes before departure time. Although the train fare between Woodlands Train Checkpoint and JB Sentral is at least three times the bus fare between Woodlands Checkpoint and Johor Bahru CIQ, it does have the advantage of avoiding potential jams on the Causeway. Go to KTM's website or Easybook.com to buy online train tickets. Ticket purchases can only be made within 30 days of the departure date, up to 15 minutes before departure if still available.

For JB Sentral-Woodlands, at JB Sentral there are turnstiles installed at the departure gate (Gate A); scan the barcode or QR code on your ticket (can be one stored on a mobile device) to activate the turnstile. For Woodlands-JB Sentral, tickets bought online must be exchanged at the KTMB ticket counter before departure.

The nearest MRT station (1.5 km or 15 min walk) to the KTM Woodlands Train Checkpoint is Marsiling MRT station on the North-South Line. SMRT bus number 856 goes from Marsiling MRT station to Woodlands Train Checkpoint, while SMRT bus number 950 serves the reverse direction. The last full-service southbound train leaves Marsiling MRT station for Marina Bay at 23:12, though there are later MRT services that end at Toa Payoh or Ang Mo Kio. In the other direction, the last train leaves for Jurong East MRT station at 00:38. Although Marsiling MRT station is the nearest, more buses go between Woodlands MRT station and Woodlands Train Checkpoint. From Woodlands MRT station, take SMRT buses 911, 912 (longer route), 913 or 856 to Woodlands Train Checkpoint. In the reverse direction, take SMRT buses 911, 912 (longer route), 913, 903 (longer route) or 178.

By Car

JB is at the southern end of the North South Expressway, the toll highway which runs the length of Peninsular Malaysia. Those accessing or leaving the city can exit or enter at Jalan Skudai, Jalan Adda Utama, the Pasir Gudang Highway or Jalan Tebrau.

JB is also at the southern extremity of the Federal Route One, the main trunk roads which runs the length of Peninsular Malaysia's West Coast states. Federal Route Three or the East Coast Road also links JB with the East Coast towns of Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu and Kota Bharu via Kota Tinggi and Mersing. The West Coast's coastal road can be accessed from Pontian.

Most visitors to JB arrive from Singapore via the 2 Causeway linking Malaysia and Singapore is a very popular and thus often congested entry point connecting directly into the heart of JB. While congestion isn't as bad as it once was, the Causeway is still jam-packed on Friday evenings (towards Malaysia) and Sunday evenings (towards Singapore). The Causeway can be crossed by bus, train, taxi or car.

Driving a car from Singapore to Malaysia is relatively uncomplicated, although small tolls are charged for both crossing and (for the Second Link) the adjoining expressway. Tolls on the Singapore side can only be paid with a CashCard or Autopass, and on the Malaysian side only with a Touch n Go card. Be sure to have both ready.

Entering Singapore with a foreign-registered car is more complicated and expensive. Rental agencies will frequently prohibit their cars crossing the border or charge extra in both directions.

By Bus

The main bus station can be a bit hectic and scammers tend to wait outside offering to buy tickets for you. Just walk in and buy a ticket from the different booths for the different bus companies. This is a major bus station and it connects with most major towns in the area. Most places north of Kuala Lumpur will connect and stop in Kuala Lumpur for a few hours. In the bus station itself are several small grocery stores and some fast food restaurants.

Direct buses between Johor Bahru and many cities and towns in West Malaysia as well as Hat Yai in Thailand depart from and arrive at Larkin Bus & Taxi Terminal. This L-shaped terminal has coach and bus ticket booths, shops, about a dozen food and beverage outlets, a market, and a left luggage office (RM2 per bag per day, 07:00-22:00).

There is a big, open-air car park in front of the bus terminal - enter from Jalan Garuda. Several dozen bus companies run direct bus services between Larkin and various destinations in West Malaysia with services to Kuala Lumpur typically starting from just after sunrise and ending at slightly past midnight. Except during public holidays (when you should buy the ticket in advance), you can usually purchase your ticket on the day of departure or even less than an hour before the scheduled departure time. You may have to pay a hefty surcharge on top of the normal ticket price for departures on public holidays. You can also buy the bus tickets for some destinations for some of the bus companies from the local travel agencies (there are about half a dozen of them) located on the ground floor of Merlin Tower facing Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and even arrange for a shuttle van (RM4 per person) to send you to Larkin terminal. You can also buy Causeway Link and Plusliner intercity coach tickets from the ticketing counters in City Lounge on the north edge of Kotaraya bus terminal.

There are shared taxis departing from Larkin terminal to various destinations (only as far as Genting Highlands) in West Malaysia. The fare per person for the shared taxis is at least three times the coach fare per person for the further destinations. The shared taxis, unlike the intercity buses, do not depart at set times. They only depart when the shared taxi has reached a maximum of four passengers or if the passengers are willing to pay for the remaining seats. Shared taxi fares per person in RM: Genting Highlands 120, Kuala Lumpur 95, Kuala Lumpur International Airport 95, Malacca 65, Mersing 40, Senai International Airport 10, Kota Tinggi 10.

There are local buses connecting Larkin bus terminal with various parts of the city. To go from the city centre to Larkin, you can take the Maju bus or Transit Link's orange-red 'City Bus' (all of these do not have bus numbers - they have the word 'Larkin' prominently displayed on the front of the bus; the one-way bus fare is RM1.70 and average frequency of the Maju bus is 5-10 min). These buses stop at the bus stop opposite City Square in Jalan Wong Ah Fook and at the JB Sentral's bus bays facing Jalan Jim Quee.

To go to City Square or JB Sentral from Larkin bus terminal, you can take the Maju bus number 208, 224 and 227 (one-way fare RM1.70) or Transit Link's orange-red 'City Bus'(one-way fare RM1.70). Maju bus number 208, 224 and 227 go from Larkin bus terminal to City Square/JB Sentral en route to Masai, Pasir Gudang and Kota Tinggi respectively.

If going to Singapore it is possible to use a different bus station. From the Johore Bahru CIQ Border complex you can take Transtar TS1 to Singapore airport (and other places in Singapore, with some airlines, Scoot for instance, free If you show your bording pass) every 2 hours and taking about 2 hours. If the Transtar bus is not included in your airticket, from the Larkin bus terminal take SBS Transit bus 170 for 1,80 Ringit, last stop is Queen street terminal not far from Bugis metro station.

By Boat

The 6 ZON Ferry Terminal, ☎ +6072211677 is located in the east wing of "The ZON" duty free complex. Ferries go to Batam and Bintan in the Riau Islands of Indonesia. The east wing of the complex is mostly three-storey and also comprises a big KTV club and several bars. To reach the ferry terminal's arrival/departure halls on the second level, you can go to the second level of the ZON shopping and hotel complex building, walk past the Restoran Hameed's (which is on your right) and then follow the signs to the halls. Alternatively, you can go right to the ground level of the east end of the main building (comprising the hotel, the shopping mall and the department store) of the complex. There, you will see a ticket counter beside a minimart. You can go up to the arrival/departure hall using the elevator or the staircase. There is a money changer and a small restaurant in the ferry terminal. Another ticket counter is located right inside the terminal's arrival/departure hall.

You can take the orange and red-colored Transit Link City Bus number 123/S & S yellow-red-blue S2 bus/JB Central Line bus number 727/Maju bus number 10/Causeway Link CT1 bus from the JB Sentral's bus bays facing Jalan Jim Quee (starting point) or from the bus stop opposite City Square at Jalan Wong Ah Fook. For the return leg, the buses do not go past City Square; they all terminate at JB Sentral's bus bays. The one-way fare is RM 1.30. The Causeway Link CTI bus does not pass by ZON on its return leg. Causeway Link's no. 22 goes between JB Sentral and the ZON complex en route to Kampung Bakar Batu. It does not go past City Square on both legs of the journey.

From and to Batam: Ferries depart every 45 minutes or hour on 07:30-18:30 to Batam Centre. The ferries from Batam Centre depart every 45 minutes or hour on 06:30-17:45 (Western Indonesian time). Fares: RM69/110 one-way/return for adults, RM46/69 one-way/return for children, plus international departure tax of RM10 per passenger for all passengers. Journey time: 90 min.

From and to Bintan: 3 ferries (09:30, 13:00 and 17:00) daily to Tanjung Pinang. The ferries from Tanjung Pinang leave at 07:00, 12.30 and 15:00 (Western Indonesian time). Fares: RM86/144 one-way/return for adults, RM54/86 one-way/return for children, plus international departure tax of 1RM10 per passenger for all passengers. Journey time: 150 min.

Children 3 years old and below do not require tickets but are subject to an international departure tax of RM10. Passengers must be at the ferry terminal at least 30 min before the ferry's departure.

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Getting Around

By Car

Taxi prices is Johor Bahru is fairly cheap. However, always use taxis only with meters. The starting fare is RM3 for the first 2 km and the fare increases by 10 sen for every subsequent 115 m. You will only be charged for waiting time in excess of 3 min during the journey - the rate is 10 sen for every 21 seconds. Additional charges include: actual road toll charges; RM2 for telephone bookings; a 50% surcharge is levied between midnight and 18:00. There are no additional charges for a 3rd adult passenger or baggage kept in the trunk. Almost all of major shopping malls and high-star hotels in Johor Bahru feature taxi stands in front or around them.

By Public Transport

Two major bus stops or terminals are Larkin Sentral and JB Sentral. From these two terminals, buses going to almost major suburbs of Johor Bahru as well as Iskandar Puteri and Pasir Gudang can be found. The destination also serves up until Pontian Kechil, Ayer Hitam and Kota Tinggi in the neighboring districts. The last buses leave JB Sentral for their respective destinations at about 11:00 p.m. or earlier; the last buses returning to JB Sentral leave their starting points at about 10:00 p.m. or earlier. Before boarding any bus, look at the destination boards on the bus and do not hesitate to ask the bus driver directly.

Fares (for the onward journey and return journey respectively) for selected destinations from/to the bus stop opposite City Square at Jalan Wong Ah Fook: Kota Tinggi RM4.80, Kulai RM4.00, AEON Bukit Indah RM2.70, #AEON Permas Jaya Shopping Centre RM2.60, AEON Tebrau City RM2.40-2.50,Danga Bay RM1.60-1.70/1.60-1.70, Larkin Bus Terminal RM1.70/1.70, Jalan Kebun Teh/Jalan Tebrau junction RM1.60-1.70/1.60-1.70, #ZON Mall and Department Store RM1.30/1.30, Plaza Pelangi or Taman Sentosa RM1.20-1.30/1.20-1.30, junction of Jalan Abu Bakar/Jalan Sungai Chat (within 200 m of both the Straits View Hotel and Tepian Tebrau hawker centre) RM1.00/1.00, Hospital Sultanah Aminah (5 minutes walk from or to Mawar Complex) RM1.00/1.00, Johor Bahru Zoo RM1.00/1.00. The return bus does not return to City Square but terminates at JB Sentral - all passengers must disembark there.

The frequency of the buses is not consistent, especially for the buses that do not leave from the Bus Terminals. There are generally more buses in the morning and there are fewer buses as it gets later into the day. Keep a look out for suspicious persons who wait at the bus stop and pay more attention to the people waiting at the bus stop rather than the buses on the road. Walk into a nearby shop if you feel that something is amiss.

Arriving at JB CIQ and if you are planning to go on immediately to Larkin bus terminal, you may take any of the frequent, non-stop buses that terminate at Larkin. After clearing Malaysian immigration, walk about 50 meters past the tourist office and go down the escalator. The buses are all waiting at the departure bus bays (part of the CIQ) downstairs. These bus bays are also accessible by walking along the slip road that links the CIQ with Jalan Lingkaran Dalam. Fares from Johor Bahru CIQ to Larkin: CW1, CW2 and CWL RM1.20, SBS 170 RM1.50 (payable by EZ-link card - S$1.11), Singapore-Johore Express RM1.00. These fares are payable only under the following circumstances - a. You fail to board the SBS 170 bus within 45 minutes of alighting from the SBS 160, SBS 170 or SMRT 950 bus. b. You did not buy a valid, through ticket to Larkin while in Singapore. c. You had travelled on a bus of a different bus company from Singapore to Johor Bahru CIQ (e.g. Woodland Checkpoint to JB CIQ by CW1 or CW2, then JB CIQ to Larkin by Singapore-Johore Express or SBS 170, or vice versa. The trip should take about 8-10 min in the absence of heavy traffic.

However, you can consider taking the Maju bus or Transit Link's orange-red 'City Bus' (all of these do not have bus numbers - they have the word 'Larkin' displayed on the front of the bus; the one-way bus fare is RM1.70) to Larkin bus terminal from either JB Sentral's bus bays (facing Jalan Jim Quee) or from the bus stop opposite City Square at Jalan Wong Ah Fook. City Square is less than 5 min walk from the JB passport control booths - turn left just before the tourist office and walk along the passageway until you reach the lobby of the CIQ. You then cross two overhead bridges - one linking the CIQ to JB Sentral and the other linking JB Sentral to City Square. You are not allowed to walk to the CIQ departure bus bays from City Square or JB Sentral - there is a sign forbidding entry to the passageway from the lobby.

By Foot

The city has many suburbs or areas with concentrated tourist objects or facilities. Within those areas, it is easy to walk around to enjoy what the city can offer. In Johor Bahru City Center, it is possible to enjoy by foot to the Chinatown, old town, night market and some major shopping centers (Galleria @ Kotaraya, Johor Bahru City Square and Komtar JBCC), including access to JB Sentral train station and immigration checkpoint. In Danga Bay area, visitors can walk and explore the seaside area with theme park, convention center, restaurants and also the nearby Serene Square in front of Sultan Johor's palace. In Taman Century and Taman Pelangi areas, visitors can walk and explore some shopping centers (Holiday Plaza, KSL City and Plaza Pelangi), roadside restaurants as well as a night market every Monday evening. In Taman Mount Austin, every shop, restaurant, cafe, karaoke, nightclub and even the Austin Heights Water and Adventure Park are all within walking distance to each other. Taman Desa Tebrau houses the AEON Tebrau City, IKEA Tebrau and Tesco Tebrau which are all within walking distance to each other, including nearby shop lots which house many restaurants and cafes. In Larkin area, especially around the Larkin Sentral bus and taxi terminal, visitors can easily explore the nearby attractions by foot such as Larkin Public Market, Plaza Larkin, Dato Onn Village Recreational Area, Johor Craft Complex, Tan Sri Dato' Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium sport complex and the Bulat Bulat Corner food court. Stulang Laut is a waterfront area which offers view of Johor Strait by walking along the shoreline with various restaurants are located along the way up until The Zon Duty Free shopping mall.

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Eat

Most of the food stalls and dining spots in the city come alive when night falls over the city. Common dishes include seafood and some Johor specialities like laksa and mee rebus. The adventurous can head for the stalls at Lido Beach and Stulang Laut to try the local favourites and hawker fare.

Do beware of menus without prices, especially when ordering seafood, or you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

There are many pusat penjaja or hawker centres across Johor Bahru. Hawker centres are basically a collection of pushcart, van or fixed stall vendors selling food or drinks in one particular area. Food and drinks are sold cheaply in these areas.

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Drink

The most famous and concentrated drinking area is The ZON at Stulang Laut. It features The ZON Duty Free shopping mall selling alcoholic beverages without tax but must pay upon exiting the area through the custom. It also features many pubs and nightclubs within the area. Second most popular nightlife area is Mount Austin for the more younger crowds, where it features pubs, restaurants as well as shops and occasional night market.

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Sleep

There is plenty of accommodation in Johor Bahru to suit all budgets. The cost of a double room in a budget hotel right in the city centre (i.e. around Jalan Meldrum, between Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and Jalan Wong Ah Fook near City Square) starts from RM50 net per room per night. In general, the budget hotels outside the city centre are cheaper. Backpacker hostels with dormitories (dorms) are not as commonly found in Johor Bahru as in Malacca, Kuala Lumpur and George Town.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are available in cities and major towns. Wi-Fi hotspots can be found in shopping malls, restaurants, food courts and cafés. Many of these hotspots are provided free-of-charge. Internet cafés can also be found in cities and towns.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Malaysia is on the GSM 900/1800 and UMTS (3G) mobile network. If you have an "unlocked" GSM band mobile phone, you can buy a prepaid SIM card and use it with your phone here for cheaper rates instead of roaming here. Prepaid mobile SIM cards are available cheaply at mobile phone shops and 24-hour convenience stores.

Below are the area codes in Malaysia:

01Mobile Phones (nationwide)
02Singapore (special access code to call Singapore)
03Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor
04Penang, Perlis, Kedah
05Perak
06Negeri Sembilan, Malacca
07Johor
080Brunei (special access code for use in Sabah and Sarawak only)
08xSabah, Sarawak (x determines the region)
09Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan
1-300Non-geographical numbers (local call rate)
1-800Non-geographical numbers (free call from landline, local call rate from mobile phone)

Area code is not required when calling a number of the same area code. However, it is mandatory when calling from a mobile phone.

There is no charge for receiving calls on any Malaysian phones. Only the caller is charged for the call made. However, if you're on mobile phone roaming service, you will also be charged for any calls received, by your operator.

To dial out of Malaysia, use the international access code 00 (zero zero), followed by the country code, followed by the area code (remove the preceding 0, if any), and finally the telephone number.
e.g. To call London, United Kingdom, dial 00-44-20-xxxx xxxx; or to call Dallas, Texas, United States, dial 00-1-214-xxx xxxx.
For mobile phones, the plus sign "+" can be used as the international access code.
e.g. Using the previous scenario, type +44-20-xxxx xxxx or +1-214-xxx xxxx and press the call button.

The country code for Malaysia is 60. To receive calls from overseas, that person will have to dial the country's international access code, followed by 60 for Malaysia, followed by the area code (remove the preceding 0), followed by the phone number.
e.g. If your prepaid mobile number is 012-1234567, and someone in the United Kingdom were to call you, the number to dial is 00-60-12-1234567. Those calling you from the United States and Canada will have to dial 011-60-12-1234567.

The emergency number is 999 and can be dialled from any phone, free of charge. The worldwide standard emergency number for GSM mobile phones, 112, can also be used on a mobile phone, even without a SIM card. Calls to 112 will be routed to 999 centres.

Post

Pos Malaysia is the national postal service of Malaysia. Rates for sending a standard letter locally is 30 sen (20 gram) to 40 sen (up to 50 gram). International airmail has minimum rates ranging from RM1.00 to RM2.00, depending on destination. It costs 20 sen to send a postcard or aerogramme locally, or 50 sen to send a postcard or aerogramme to anywhere in the world.

Expedited Mail Service (EMS), branded locally as Poslaju, is available for both domestic and international destinations. Domestic EMS has a next day delivery guarantee. International EMS guarantees mails and parcels to be delivered out of the country by the following day. The time required to arrive at its destination will depend on clearance by authorities and the postal service of the destination country. For most countries, delivery of documents can be done in 3 to 5 days.

If you need to receive mails or packages from home, there is Poste Restante service available at all General Post Offices (GPO) in the country. There is one GPO in almost every capital city of every state, and in all federal territories. Mails sent from Singapore and Brunei will be retained for one month while mails from all other places will be kept for two months, after which if unclaimed, will be sent to the Dead Letter Office.

Generally, post offices are open from 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Saturday, except the first Saturday of the month. They are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.

Electricity

Electricity voltage in Malaysia is 240V AC 50Hz. The UK 3-pin plug is the standard used in Malaysia. European 2-pin plug can also be used on the 3-pin socket by inserting a screwdriver (or any hard object that fits) into the earth pin hole to open the live and neutral shutters. However, this practice can be hazardous.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 1.46343
  • Longitude: 103.7547149

Accommodation in Johor Bahru

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This is version 24. Last edited at 15:16 on Nov 4, 19 by Utrecht. 16 articles link to this page.

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