Tag Archives: Johor Bahru

Quick Getaway to Johor Bahru

Since I started working Singapore, Malaysia has been the country whose immigration stamp is the most prominent in my passport; I’ve re-entered Malaysia so many times and I don’t even think I have re-entered Cambodia as many times.

I have only few to KL a few times from Singapore but what made the difference is Johor Bahru; it has been my short day getaway from Singapore. I go there with local friends, with non-locals, and even by myself.

Considering the currency devaluation of Malaysian ringgits against SGD (and USD) recently, Malaysia has been a place I have my eyes on especially when it comes to shopping. I’m even more inclined to shopping in Malaysian, than in Cambodia.

For those that might find this useful, let me share with you a few things about Johor Bahru and what this city has to offer for Singapore residents.

A trip from the central Singapore into Johor Bahru can take between 1 to 4 hours: The trip by bus or train to the border takes roughly an hour, depending on where you depart, and if you are lucky, getting your passports checked and stamped, at both Singapore and Malaysia sides can take as little 30 minutes, but it can also take as long as 4 hours. It’s always very quick at the Singapore side, but it can be really excruciatingly long at the Malaysia side. I tend to attribute that to Malaysia’s less efficient way of working, but, prejudice aside, it might be because they are intentionally slow to control the influx of people into the country.

So try to go when there’s less traffic, if you can figure out when, although I usually can’t. You may refer to www.checkpoint.sg to forecast the traffic, for some rough estimate.

City Square (just right after the checkpiont) is very sufficient for shopping and a number of other leisure activities. There’s a new high-end, shopping mall, well connected from City Square and CIQ (Custom & Immigration Quarantine Complex). There are pretty much everything you need, from food and household consumables (Guardian/Watson) to luxury products (Nike, H&M, etc.) and even traditional costumes. The only thing, I reckon, is lacking is a hyper-mart. The closest mall with a hyper-mart is 15 minutes away by bus (the bus fare is less than 1.5 ringgit) – KSL City Mall.

Johor Premium Outlet (JPO) is a must to check out, especially if you like brand products and want to explore JB more than just shopping. A really nice place it is, located quite secluded (or maybe it is how Johor is, big and spacious), JPO is no ordinary shopping mall. The whole place is organized to look like a small porshe residential village, with a number of well-connect villas which are actually stores of brand products. I later found that the place shares a lot of similarity with Cabazon Outlets in California; the place must be associated with the same corporation.

Parking lot beside the mall
Didn't manage to take any such pic of the place, so I looked for one from the internet
Didn’t manage to take any such pic of the place, so I looked for one from the internet

The journey there is close to an hour bus ride from CIQ; there are 6 or 7 buses run daily by Causeway Link Bus to JPO. You may go find a bus JPO1. Here’s the schedule of the bus; one way fare is 4.5 Malaysian ringgits.


Besides shopping, for a couple of times, guided by anon-Singaporean, non-Malaysian friend, who lives a less conventional, more adventurous lifestyle and visits Johor very often, I took a stroll along a few local streets close to City Square. This is something a very un-singaporean thing to do, as a lot see JB as a a very unsafe place to visit (actually anywhere in the world is unsafe when compared to Singapore).

If you take a walk down the overhead bridge that connects CIQ and City Square and head southeast, you’ll see more of JB, food stalls, barbers, sari shop, etc. that locals go to etc. Further, after 10 mn or so, you can easily find a nice pedestrian street, at the beginning of which there is a remarkably red coffee house, at a corner, that serves good Malaysian snacks and drink at really cheap prices. Later in the afternoon, locals will take out their mat and open their little stalls that sell a good variety of nitty gritty items, from clothe and purses to household tools like screwdrivers. Definitely an area to explore.

I came across this walking along the street. Fortunately, the place has been now renovated and this repugnant graffiti was painted over. :D
I came across this walking along the street. Fortunately, the place has been now renovated and this repugnant graffiti was painted over. 😀


Senai Airport: Especially for those that live close to the Woodland Checkpoint, Senai Airport of JB can be quite a cost saver. It’s very well connected to KL by AirAsia and Malaysia Airline, and I once flew to Yangon from there through KL, during the SG50 holiday in Singapore, so it was a much cheaper option than to fly from Changi. If my memory serves me right, there are buses departing there at every hour from CIQ and the journey takes about 45mn.

I have also heard about a few other places, which I have yet to explore, including the Lego Land. Considering the size and the location of JB, I should think there are some nice boutique resorts for relaxation as well. I’ll dig up some more about them and will check a few out when I’m better off, with more money to spend on such luxury.

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