Muar

Padang Nyiru Laman Maharani.

Muar is the second biggest town and district of the state of Johor in southern Malaysia. Muar is at 2°3′N 102°34′E, at the north-east of the state. Muar is also known by its other name, Bandar Maharani, which means Empress Town.

Understand

History and Etymology

Muar's name is believed to have originated and derived from its geographical location at the mouth or estuary of Muar River, the Malay words "Muara" which means eastuary or mouth of river. Muar is rich in history as mentioned in many historical records and archeological evidences. It is believed that the history of Muar started much earlier than the Sultanate of Malacca which witness the rise and fall of the empire. There were many accounts recorded and said about the history early and modern days of Muar. There are a few famous old historic legends which evolved around the area of Muar namely, Hikayat Malim Deman (Epic of Malim Deman), Legenda Lembing Awang Pulang Ke Dayang (Awang's Spear Return to Dayang Legend) and Legenda Puteri Gunung Ledang (Mount Ledang Princess' Legend).

Geography and Climate

Muar district (inclusive of Ledang) formerly covers 2346.12 km². The whole Muar district (North and South) is roughly the size of two and a half Singapore. Muar is located at the mouth of the Muar River, on the coast of the Straits of Malacca. Muar's geographical ground and area generally has a flat terrain. The town is about 150 km (93 miles) southeast of Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, and about the same distance (179 km) northwest of Singapore. It is 45 km south of Malacca Town. It is also 50 km north of Batu Pahat.

Muar as the rest of peninsular Malaysia enjoys a year-round tropical rainforest equatorial climate which is warm, humid and sunny, along with plentiful rainfall, especially during the southwest monsoon season from September to December. The temperatures is between about 22°C/72°F (night) and 30°C/86°F (day), between 70% and 90% humidity, and an annual total rainfall of about 2400mm. The climate is very much dictated by the adjacent sea and the wind system.

Population and Language

Muar has a population of 437,164 (2007) with a multiracial demography, consists of mainly Malay, Chinese, Indian etc. Beside the local languages like Malays, Chinese (Mandarin and other dialects Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese) and Tamil, English is widely understand and spoken.

Government and Administration

Get in

Muar River scene in 2006, showing the older of the two Muar River bridges

By plane

Nearest airports to Muar are the Malacca (Batu Berendam Airport)(IATA: MKZ) with the Johor Bahru (Senai International Airport)(IATA: JHB) and Sepang's KLIA(Kuala Lumpur International Airport)/LCCT(Low Cost Carrier Terminal) (IATA: KUL) airports located farther afield. There is also the southern neighbour, Singapore's Changi International Airport (IATA: SIN) across the causeway. Transfer by bus or taxi has to be taken to redirect to Muar.

By train

The nearest train railway stations are Segamat with Seremban or Kluang located farther. Transfer by bus or taxi has to be taken to redirect to Muar.

By car

Besides federal roads, Muar is also accessible via the North–South Expressway through the Tangkak and Pagoh interchanges exits which are located 20 km and 30 km from the town, respectively.

If you're driving from Kuala Lumpur on the North South Expressway (NSE), take the Tangkak exit (Interchange 235) and drive on past Sg. Mati and Parit Bunga (on highway 23 and 5). Muar town is about 27km from the Tangkak exit. If you are driving from Johor Bahru, exit at Pagoh and head to the Muar town.

By bus

There are two bus stations in Muar; Hentian Maharani Bus Station and Bentayan Express Bus Station (formerly Pagoh Bus Station).

By taxi

There are also chartered taxi services available below two taxi terminals.

These chartered taxis travel within Muar district and outside Muar such as to KLIA International Airport, Kuala Lumpur and even Singapore. They carry up to 4 passengers at a time. The taxis in Muar don't have a metered system, and they often charge according to the travel distant, time and number of passsenger.

By boat

Ferry services to/from Bengkalis & Dumai, Sumatra, Indonesia are available on every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday, ticketing booth located at and ferries also departing from the Custom Jetty at Jalan Maharani at 12.00 pm. Journey time is just under two hours. Tickets cost RM80/160 one-way/return. (Tel : +60 12-6363614) Muar is the only district (besides the state capital Johor Bahru) in Johor that has its own Custom and Excise Duty Department office and checkpoint at its own jetty.

Get around

See

Masjid Sultan Ibrahim

Recreation and leisure places

Religious Sites and Worship Places

Historic places

Do

Zhang Quan Association Building

Events and festivals

Buy

Wah To Medical Centre in Muar, featuring a row of old shophouses (2009)

Famous local delicacies and products can be found at:

The town is also robust of business and trading activities, with many old traditional Chinese shops offering variety of products at reasonable and attractive price. There also Pasar Malam and Pasar Tani selling variety of local products

The shopping centres and supermarkets or hypermarkets in Muar are Wetex Parade , The Store, Giant, Econsave, Astaka Shopping Centre, Lagenda Complex, K-Mall, Fresco, One-Stop, Arked Mara and Hentian Maharani.

There are two wet markets in Muar town:

Eat

Local delicious Malay foods; Mee bandung, rojak petis, satay Muar and asam pedas are the signature foods of Muar. And don't forget delicious Javanese foods like soto, mee rebus, lontong and nasi ambeng. Locals are famous of eating goreng pisang(fried banana) and goreng tempe(fried Javanese fermented soya bean cake) with thick soya sauce with hot chili deeping. Pau Maharani is a favourite too. The local version Nasi Beriani Gam is good too. Ikan bakar; freshly catched, delicious dan cheap grilled fish and sea foods like prawn, squid, crab, mussel, clam etc, best eaten with banana leaf wrapped Nasi Lemak are available at Medan Ikan Bakar Sabak Awor, Jalan Bakariah and Medan Ikan Bakar Parit Karang every evening. Mee Siput; a local delicious snack eaten with sambal, local chili paste; only can be available in Muar. Johor Laksa is another delicious local food. Here are some tips: Eat Satay and Mee Rebus as the locals do for breakfast in the morning, mee bandung for lunch, rojak petis for afternoon and asam pedas at Parit Jawa for dinner.

Muar is also famous for many Chinese foods like the Muar Otak-otak (乌达) , Teochew Or-Luak/Or-Chien(Fried Oyster Omelette), Hainanese Steamed Chicken Rice ball, Muar Char Kueh Teow (fried rice noodle with clam), Hokkien Hae-Mee (Fried Prawn Mee), Cantonese Wonton Mee, Muar Char-Siew Perng(Red Roasted Pork Rice), Teochew Lo-Ak-Perng(Braised Duck Rice), Teochew Mee Poh(Fish Ball Noodle), Teochew Her-Moi(Fish Soup Porridge), Teochew Kueh Chap(Big pieces cut flat rice noodle in soup with braised pork, pig offal, egg and bean curd/tofu), Teochew Chwee Kueh (a delicious rice cake with salted raddish), Char Chai Tow Kueh(fried raddish cake), Cantonese Chok (Congee), Simpang Jeram's Loy Her Bee Hoon (haruan/snake head fish soup with vermicelli), Bak Kut Teh (herbal pork ribs soup with yam rice), Teochew Ter Chap Cheng Therng(Pig Organ Soup), Curry Laksa, Hakka Yong Tao Foo, Chee Cheong Fun, Mi/Bang Chien Kueh (Kueh Apam Balik Cina) etc are must-try local Chinese delicacies for visitors. Foods centres can be found at Muar Bus Station (Malay), Tanjung Emas (Mixed), Jalan Bentayan's Bentayan Hawker Centre (Chinese) and Jalan Haji Abu(Chinese) Hawkers Centre also known as "T'am Cjia Kueh" (贪呷街), literally "the glutton voracious eating street" by the Chinese befitting its reputation as the food haven of the town. There are also a few Chinese restaurants serving nice Pau and Dimsum (Chinese bun and dumpling) for breakfast.

There are also many Chinese restaurants and Malay food stalls offering variety of delicious foods on their menus. On different days of the week there are Pasar Malam or night markets and Pasar Tani selling many local foods at different locations of the town. For shopping of famous local Chinese festival delicacies like Thong Chiew Guek Peah-Mooncakes, Tao Sah Peah-Red Bean Paste Cakes are available at the Yong Sheng Confectioneries and Gift Shop and also Muar Yuen Chen Siang shop for their famous Bak Kua-Barbecued Pork.

We can also can find some good Indian continental cuisine like Banana Leaf Rice, Nasi Kandar, Mee Rojak, Rojak Mamak, Putumayam, variety of bread like Roti Canai, Roti Telur, Roti Sardin, Roti Prata, Roti Jala, Tosei, Roti Nan, Murtabak, Kebab with their superb Indian curry and dal gravy; great soups like Sup Kambing, Sup Tulang and Sup Ekor; and not forgeting refreshing cold dessert; Ice Shaved Cendol with thick coconut milk and coconut brown sugar and Teh Tarik at some Indian foods stalls and restaurants.

Drink

Muar is popular for its Sirap Bandung (Rose Syrup with milk and optional soda and cincau) beverage which is normally served during Malay wedding reception, but also easily available at most Malay food stalls and restaurant. Do try the Corn Milk Drink at the Tapak Pasar Tani Lama by the bus stations. Pear Juice sold at the fruit stalls at Jalan Yahya is very special and refreshing.

Coffee made of home fried coffee bean and powder of Muar is famous among the locals and tourists, try out a cup of this aromatic Muar coffee, roti bakar (bread toast) and half-boiled egg at Sai Kee 434 Kopitiam, located just opposite the bus station.

Sleep

The Embassy Hotel, founded in 1956, has some elements of Art Deco aesthetics

A few hotels and apartments are available in Muar, mostly ranging from cheap to medium.

Budget

Super Budget

These are mostly old hotels providing budget and cheap rooms, normally around RM30. Room condition is not so clean, but located in the middle of the town.


Mid-range

Splurge

Resorts

Homestay

There are also some homestays providing interesting stay and holiday programme located at the out-skirt villages of the town.

Connect

Go next

Malacca - Just an hour away from Muar, Malacca is a good choice to continue the journey up north.


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, September 02, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.