Things To Do In Johor Bahru
Johor Bahru is the capital city of Johor and the second-biggest city in Malaysia. Two prominent amusement/theme parks (Legoland and Hello Kitty Town) opened here back in 2012 making this city widely visited and one of the major contributors of tourism revenue to the economy of Malaysia. Visit the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple, an exceptional Hindu temple enhanced with splendid glass mosaics. It may be small but it is creatively constructed using the bits of glass covering all aspects of the sanctuary. It is at a remote location and rough roads must be passed before reaching this sacred temple. However, once you are there and see its grandeur, it is worth all the effort.
When To Go:
For the most part, the best time to visit and enjoy the city is generally from April to October, yet you need to discard plans for any travel when its storm season which generally occurs from the cold months of November until February. The strong monsoon season can likely put a halt on your adventure plans during this wet atmosphere.
Notwithstanding the downpour, the temperatures in JB are moderately steady all year. The highs come in a normal 86f lasting throughout the year, and lows for the most part sit in the mid-70s. The humid temperature is for the most part high, so bring light cotton garments to avoid being inconvenienced by the heat. The dry temperature can get into the 90s, so with the high dampness, things can get a bit uncomfortable.
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These are the main sightseeing attractions and things to do when in the city of Johor Bahru.
Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple
It is quite tricky to find the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple but ask the way around to a passerby and you will find this majestic temple that is about half an hour's walk from downtown Johor. Tourists are most welcome but one must observe the proper tradition when inside their temple. What makes it so authentic is the deep devotion displayed by its faithful believers. It is not so large, but it is very colorful and shiny because of the hundreds of colorful mosaics pieced altogether to form part of the overall design of the revered sanctuary in Johor Bahru City.
It is such a visual delight, especially when the sun strikes through the cut glasses creating a stunning impression of a sparkling temple in the midst of a busy city. Lots of people from all walks of life come and go but the place remains very solemn and the growing crowd every hour; it is totally manageable with the help of the monks who direct the crowds where to pass so as not to distract other tourists and pilgrims. There is no entrance fee but a small donation at the entrance is required but not a compulsory obligation.
The Legoland Malaysia is mainly aimed at children, but adults can also have fun in this great amusement park. The place looks more exciting because of the water parks with Lego characters used. You will be amazed at the beautiful and enormous reconstructions of Asian countries and major attractions all made in Lego like; Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Asian and their main monuments. This amusement park certainly tops the list in every travel to Johor Bahru, especially if you're coming from Singapore, which is just right on its border. It is not to be missed, and for those who love Lego it is perfectly awesome!
The park first opened in October 2012. A year after, in September 2013 they opened the hotel and the water park. Legoland Malaysia is full of fun things to do and lines are endless on every featured attraction but it is practically tolerable, it is always full of huge crowds mostly on weekends and before the Christmas season. It is very clean and surrounded by thousands of statues made entirely of Lego bricks.
It is great for everyone, all the games are enjoyable for children from just above 120 cm. They are quite strict regarding the height requirement and every ride is accompanied by a meter to measure the height. For younger guests there is a lounge with Lego free play (with nothing scheduled), but for the larger ones, it is basically the same attractions to be found like any other park, meaning there is nothing that is distinctive regardless of age and everyone can have their own turns to have fun in every ride. There are interesting models made of Lego for tourist sites like the PETRONAS Twin Towers and the Raffles hotel in Singapore. The space is very well done, but nothing interactive. It is much better to book tickets online or in advance to avoid the long wait on the queues at the entrance gates.
Sanrio Hello Kitty Town
For girls in love with Hello Kitty, the Sanrio Hello Kitty Town is their own pink paradise. There are all sorts of thematic learning activities, such as making cookies, paint your nails, and other girly activities. For boys, there is a second floor with the characters of Hit Entertainment - Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder; they are all interesting for kids. However, the indoor playground is very small, comprising only of 3 floors which are not so broad.
The bicycle was not much and less attractive. It is only suitable for lovers of the Hello Kitty character because there is a large room filled with ornate Hello Kitty collections. Only a few activities that can be done here. Generally this place is more suitable for girls. Teens can still enjoy this place, though not for long. It is just about a 10-minute drive from Legoland, but there is nothing else around. A visit should be more than enough for 1-2 hours.
The Little Big Club
For children under 10 years of age, the Little Big Club is very exciting with lots of fun games and the opportunity to meet the characters from children's favorite TV shows such as Barney, Thomas, Pingu, Angelina, Bob The Builder etc. For teenagers, some still prefer the Hello Kitty Town. Too bad the place is small and not as much activity in The Little Big Club. To be able to try all the games in The Little Big Club and Hello Kitty Town, spend a day from start of the opening hours from 10:00 am to 18:00 pm. There are photographers who will photograph kids with figures such as Barney, etc. Photos can be purchased and you can even have them signed or laminated. For food, outside the building there are many food stalls.
The characters are all cool and fun to watch, it's just that they only appear at the time of taking pictures, and they are not always around to greet or interact with the children. Still, the children are very happy to see their favorite TV characters in real. The atmosphere here is very comfortable with its cold air conditioning system that makes it an ideal place to go to during summer. The downside is, the admission fee is not cheap and because the building is not too big, it feels very crowded and cramped.
Johor Old Chinese Temple
The Johor Old Chinese Temple is a Chinese Buddhist sanctuary that is close to the central station of Johor. It is not very large, but painted in bright red that makes it stand out as a beautiful temple in the city center. A lot of people come to pray early in the morning. It is open to the public and anyone can enter and observe as long as the gates are open.
Upon entrance, you will be given an incense stick which you must light at the prayer altar and make a wish with. There are three major ethnic shops near the Chinese temple where you can find a lot of good things and after sunset, the night bazaar and midnight shopping draws the local crowds and foreigners to shop and dine along this area. The temple has no entrance fee but the caretaker will hand you an envelope to put a compulsory donation for the upkeep of the place.
Johor Bahru City Square
Deliberately found in the heart of the city and just a short distance from the customs and immigration checkpoint area, the Johor Bahru City Square emerges as a focal point of interest in JB. This lively street is packed with 200 retailers engaged in fashion, amusement and gastronomic delights specializing in Malaysian cuisine. This place is designed to provide for everything you need from the variety of shops situated in this famous city square. The malls and shops open here as early as 9 am to accommodate tourists and locals who wants to shop to their hearts content. There are signature shops focused on clothes, trinkets, jewelries, toiletries, perfumes, electronic gadgets, etc. After a day of shopping and you feel famished, go around the restaurant’s row and enjoy a sumptuous meal, or enjoy a calming massage to relax your senses at a salon/spa shop after going around the famous attractions in Johor Bahru.
This mall has a pedestrian bridge that is connected to JB Sentral, so that people who come from Singapore and stay around JB Sentral / Jalan Meldrum can be easily reached via the mall. On each floor there are shops and places to eat, there is also a food court on the top floor. On several floors, there are businesses in all industries, restaurants and cafes are equally distributed. Although it is near Singapore boundary, the quality of the goods here cannot be compared with the shops in Singapore. The advantage is that you can often buy the same quality at a cheaper price here in Johor Bahru. The restaurants are cheaper and the goods offered at the small supermarket. It can be easily accessed from all points of Johor, from City Square buses to the central bus station of Johor Bahru and in all parts of the city. To and from Singapore, come and ride the buses from the border and customs building complex located inside the mall.
Pulau Kukup National Park
To reach the Palua Kukup National Park, you have the choice of paying Rm10 per passenger ride from a transport watercraft that is totally safe with well trained skippers who ferry passengers regularly to this attraction. The drive there is very comforting and there is usually not much crowds who have heard of this small fishing village in Johor. On the way there, you can see the floating villages and the fishing areas where they usually get their source of livelihood. The recreation center zone is really small, yet its brimming with sea creatures and untamed wildlife.
From afar you can see the mudskipper, primates, dragonflies, monitor lizards and other things. The seafood harvest is always abundant and much cheaper here than in the market. In this park, you can really have a time to unwind and immerse yourself to the daily routine of the fishing townsfolk that lives near this nature complex.
Danga Bay is a beach/ marina area that is located just about 15 minutes by car from Malaysia, Johor Bahru, from the border. Much of the area is still under renovation because this territory is included in the Iskandar plans of Malaysia. The main idea is to create a university town around this beach area, to attract more companies, shopping malls, resort development, and residential constructions. For now, guests can enjoy the long walks and the restaurants situated in this area.
The marina is filled with docked yachts, water taxis, and fishing boats. At night it becomes more lively and energetic as the outdoor recreation park gets lighted and the rides start to operate and accommodate its thrilled revelers. You will be welcomed by a giant lobster statue at the entrance plus a lot of dining options open –air pubs and restaurants that conjure a relaxed ambience and satisfying seafood meals. Do not miss exploring this part of Johor Bahru especially at night, it is more stunning.
Johor Art Gallery (Galeri Seni)
The Johor Art Gallery is located in an old provincial style building and houses an incredible gathering of Malay work of art - from paintings, sculptures, to pottery and military weapons and traditional clothing and artifacts. The fine art collections depict numerous parts of conventional Malay society, and considers Johor’s important role in Malaysia.
The structure itself is an ideal example of 1920s colonial style structural engineering and overall architecture and just like the authentic Malay tradition you must leave your shoes to gain entrance to the main gallery or social hall of the art museum. It is very near the Danga Bay and it can only be accessed by a taxi ride from the city center, just tell the driver to bring you to Galeri Seni.
Johor Bahru Zoo
The Johor Bahru Zoo is not far from the city center and it can be reached within 5-10 minutes by taxi from the city central station. The entrance fee is very affordable and it offers the simple and diverse wildlife of Johor Bahru. The location is not too large and one hour is enough to visit this zoo that has enough occupants. Shady trees create a comfortable atmosphere in which you can relax enough from the bustle of the city atmosphere.
Nothing much to explore around here, but the bird show that is highlighted twice a day is truly entertaining. On weekends, it becomes a recreational complex for the whole family where they can run along with the kids on the playground area or stroll around the walking path that is shaded by old trees and exotic plants.
Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque
If you go on a Friday to visit the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque you will see lots of people that had come to pray and the entrance gate lined with a tremendous amount of shoes and sandals. The mosque is in a very calming location, surrounded by lots of greenery, and just a short walk away to the Johor Bahru Zoo. The religious structure that is covered in white and blue looks beautiful even from afar.
You can also see the Straits between Malaysia and Singapore. However, non-Muslims cannot enter this place and visitors are allowed only in the courtyard and garden. But you can be able to hear the call to prayer and find a solemn spot in their garden to contemplate and find peace.
Grand Palace Park (Istana Besar)
The Grand Palace Park (Istana Besar) is one of the best natural parks you can visit in the city of Johor Bahru. You will like it here because it is neat and good views of the straits of Singapore. It was recently renovated and there are more walking areas and places for recreation. In the morning, it becomes a physical exercise hub for individuals who want to stay fit. There are designated running areas that are ideal for morning and afternoon runs/walks.
In the evening, this park gets closed but it remains lighted and well guarded. The garden area is also a favorite spot for wedding photography. There is a small museum and there is no entrance fee to enjoy the best features of this park in the city of Johor Bahru.
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