Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru (Jawi: جوهر بهرو) (also Johor Baru or Johore Baharu, but universally called JB) is the state capital of Johor in southern peninsular Malaysia, just across the causeway from Singapore. Despite being the second-largest city in Malaysia with 1.4 million inhabitants, Johor Bahru is for the most part suburban and lacks a metropolitan feel. It mostly appeals to Singapore residents who come for cheaper shopping, dining, and outdoor activities such as golf, although those staying temporarily in Singapore might be interested in the city's excellent royal museum and in getting a taste of Malaysia. Note that the highly popular Legoland Malaysia is not in Johor Bahru itself but in nearby Nusajaya, part of Johor Bahru's metro area.

Understand

Declared a city only in 1994, Johor Bahru is growing fast. Latest census figures indicate that it is Malaysia's second largest city proper (1.4 mn) and metropolitan area (2 mn). Given its relatively large land space, the city is not as dense as many other Malaysian cities. Johor Bahru is probably better known as an industrial city than as a tourist-friendly town. 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, even up to now, there has been little effort in maintaining buildings and public facilities and even the city centre may seem run-down to some. Though appreciably less organised and much more messy compared to the glitz of Singapore, shopping and eating in the city can be a real adventure, with many shopping complexes and a wide variety of food establishments offering budget to fine dining.

Orientation

Johor Bahru's metropolitan area can be easily divided into four parts - North, South, East and West.

Get in

By plane

Senai International Airport

  Senai International Airport (IATA: JHB), formally Sultan Ismail International Airport (Malay: Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Sultan Ismail), is located about 35 km north-northwest of the Causeway. It has domestic flights to and from East and West Malaysia, as well as some international flights to Indonesia. The airport is compact with free Wi-Fi.

Domestic flights are provided by:

  • 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. Currently, JB Central Line's A1 bus (Larkin: 07:00-20:30) and Causeway Link's 333 (Larkin: 06:00-20:00 about every 1.5-2 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.
  • If you are planning to go to Senai Airport from Singapore, the cheapest option is to travel from Singapore to JB CIQ (see By bus below) and then transfer to a Causeway Link Airport (CWA) shuttle bus. Alternatively, you can also go from Singapore to the Larkin bus terminal by express or non-express bus and transfer to an airport-bound bus. If you're in a hurry, you can take an ordinary Malaysian taxi for an official rate of RM45 from the taxi rank between JB Sentral and the Johor CIQ, after clearing Malaysian immigration and customs. From JB to Senai takes around 30 min off peak. Buy your coupon from the counter before boarding the taxi.

Singapore Changi Airport

  Singapore Changi Airport (IATA: SIN) across the border in Singapore is commonly used by locals due to its better connections. The downside is that you will have to pass through customs and immigration twice, and getting to/from your destination can be a bit of a hassle as normal Singaporean taxis are not allowed to cross the border into Johor Bahru and vice versa. The most convenient way to get from Johor to Singapore Changi Airport is via Transtar Travel's "cross border" coach service between Changi Airport and Johor Bahru's Larkin Bus Terminal. For most visitors, unless you are arriving from Indonesia or elsewhere in Malaysia, this will be the most practical way of getting to Johor Bahru.

By road

From/to Singapore

As of Dec 2012, Malaysian Immigration has abolished the need for the white Immigration Card at the JB CIQ Checkpoint due to the implementation of the biometric system called the National Enforcement and Registration System (NERS) introduced on 1 Jun 2011. Fingerprints may still be taken upon arrival.

Most visitors to JB arrive from Singapore via one of two land links:

Sultan Iskandar CIQ at the Causeway

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. See Singapore | Get In for details.

Rental agencies will frequently prohibit their cars crossing the border or charge extra in both directions.

From and to other parts of Malaysia

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.

By bus

Located some 5 km northwest of the north tip of the Causeway,   Larkin Bus & Taxi Terminal serves as the major long-haul bus terminal in the whole of Johor Bahru. Buses between JB and other Malaysian or Thai cities, and those between JB and Singapore will usually start and terminate here, though some buses from Singapore also drop passengers off at JB CIQ.

From and to Singapore

There are three main types of bus transport between JB and Singapore: private buses, Causeway Link buses and SBS Transit/SMRT public buses. All buses except CW3, CW3S, CW4 and CW6 use the Causeway. Other than the immigration checkpoints, all Johor Bahru bound buses can only stop at one or two destinations in Johor Bahru, while Singapore-bound Causeway Link and Singapore-Johore Express buses can only stop at one destination in Singapore. Terminals aside, all buses make one stop each at Singapore immigration checkpoint and at Malaysian immigration checkpoint, which may mean boarding (esp. on those line buses where you can pay with an EZ-link card) a different bus. At both immigration points, you must disembark with all your luggage and pass through passport control and customs, then board the the same or next bus by showing your ticket or using your EZ-link card.

The following private buses run between various stops in Singapore and either JB CIQ or Larkin Bus Terminal in Johor Bahru.

SBS Transit and SMRT public (non-express) buses provide non-express services which charge based on distance travelled, and can be paid in cash or by EZ-link card. Exact fare is required without the EZ-Link card; you will not get any change back from the driver.

Causeway Link buses are bright yellow and hard to miss. Buy tickets from the ticket counter at the terminals. Boarding anywhere else will require payment to the driver with no change given. These are by far the cheapest option to cross the Johor Straits but it also causes mad rushes and queues at the checkpoints. The main CW buses are:

The restriction of Malaysian-operated buses not stopping anywhere within Singapore and conversely, Singapore ones in Johor Bahru could be used to your advantage. 30 min could easily be shaved off the journey time within Singapore alone by boarding express buses CW2, CW5 or SJE when leaving Singapore from the Queen Street terminal or Newton Food Centre's car park. A little more time could be saved on the Johor Bahru side by hopping on to a Singapore-registered non-express bus (e.g. SBS 160/170, SMRT 950) once you clear Malaysian customs and immigration at the Johor Bahru CIQ, but you will have to pay a new fare as you did not start your journey in Singapore on a Singapore-registered non-express bus.

It is possible but more expensive to use the EZ-link card compared to paying in cash in Malaysian ringgit when boarding SBS 160, SBS 170 or SMRT 950 at Larkin bus terminal/Johor Bahru CIQ to go anywhere in Singapore. The percentage price difference becomes greater the further you go into Singapore. For example, it costs S$1.90 using the EZ-link card to go from Larkin bus terminal to Queen Street terminal by SBS 170. This is slightly more than 100% more expensive than by paying in cash (2.20RM) based on exchange rates of S$1 = 2.40 RM. It is also cheaper to pay in ringgit when travelling from the Woodlands Checkpoint to the Johor Bahru CIQ by the Singapore-Johore Express bus. Conversely, it can be cheaper using the EZ-link card for both the bus and MRT train if one has the intention to connect to the MRT train at Kranji, Marsiling or Woodlands MRT stations, due to Singapore's Distance Fare.

West Malaysia and Hat Yai

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, located some 5 km northwest of the north tip of the Causeway. 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 (2 RM per bag per day, 7AM-10PM).

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. Note that 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 passenger(s) is or are willing to pay for the remaining seat(s). 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 1.70RM 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.

By taxi

Only specially licensed taxis are allowed to operate across the border. The rules seem baffling at first, but boil down to this: Malaysian taxis are only allowed to go to the designated terminal in Singapore, and Singaporean taxis are only allowed to go to their terminal in JB.

The "basic" direct taxi service from the Singapore Taxi Terminal at Queen Street (in Bugis) to the Larkin Terminal costs S$15 per person or S$60 per car departing from Singapore, and RM15/60 from Johor Bahru. The main advantage of a taxi is that you don't need to lug your stuff (or yourself) through Customs at both ends; you can just sit in the car. This service is also available 24 hours a day.

If you want to take a taxi from Queen Street to somewhere other than the terminal in Johor Bahru, you have to use a Malaysian (yellow) taxi, and the price will be at least S$45 (depending on distance). Likewise, if you want to take a taxi from Larkin to anywhere in Singapore, you need to use a Singaporean taxi and pay at least RM70 for the service.

Taxis can also be booked to bring you from anywhere in Singapore to Larkin, or from anywhere in JB to Queen St. ☎ +65 6296 7054 (Singapore) or ☎ +60 7 224-6986 (Johor Bahru), and be sure to get the taxi's number, driver's name and his phone number.

If you need to get directly from point A in Singapore to point B in JB or vice versa, there are two options. The more expensive option is to take a limousine taxi licensed to take passengers from any point to any destination, but only a few are available and they charge a steep RM150 per trip. However, unlike normal cabs, they can also use the Second Link, which makes them by far the fastest way of getting to western parts of Johor. Advance booking is highly recommended, ☎ +60 7 5991622. Alternatively, you can arrange a 2-taxi ride through the call centre, whereby once across the Causeway, you swap taxis.

By train

The Johor Bahru railway Station

Johor Bahru has a spanking new   JB Sentral railway station 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) in the new station. There are coin-operated (2 x 50 sen), small left luggage lockers, a Muslim prayer room, male/female toilets (both free of charge), a police post and a tourist information booth in here as well.

KTM long-distance intercity trains no longer serve Singapore, all trains now start and end at JB Sentral. 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 just 700 m from the start of the causeway. There are 10 departures per day from Woodlands and 12 per day from JB Sentral. Shuttle trains will leave Woodlands for JB Sentral at 08:00, 10:00, 13:30, 16:30, 18:00, 18:45, 20:00, 20:45, 22:00, 23:15 and leave JB Sentral for Woodlands at 05:30, 06:00, 06:30, 07:00, 08:30, 09:00, 12:30, 15:30, 17:00, 19:00, 21:00, 22:15. 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.

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 to buy on-line train tickets. Online ticket purchases can only be made within 30 days of the departure date but not less than 48 hr before the departure time. NB: shuttle tickets are now perpetually bought up 30 days before the actual ticketed date.

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. Note that 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 boat

The   ZON Ferry Terminal, ☎ +60 7 221-1677 is located in the east wing of "The ZON" duty free complex (locally referred to as "Duty Free"), which is 1.8 km northeast of the Causeway. 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. Note: 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 hourly on the half hour 07:30-18:30 to Batam Centre. The ferries from Batam Centre depart hourly on the half hour 07:30-15:30, and at 16:15, 17:00 and 17:45 (Indonesian time). Fares: RM69/110 one-way/return for adults, RM46/69 one-way/return for children, plus international departure tax of 10RM per passenger for all passengers. Journey time: 90 min.

From and to Bintan: Only 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 (Indonesian time). Fares: RM86/144 one-way/return for adults, RM54/86 one-way/return for children, plus international departure tax of 10RM per passenger for all passengers. Journey time: 150 min.

Note: All 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.

On foot

Walking across the Causeway from either side is forbidden. You have to take any of the public or private buses waiting at the bus bays downstairs to cross the Causeway. There is always a Singapore police officer stationed at the staircase entrance to the Causeway to prevent anyone from crossing on foot.

Get around

JB's public transport is currently limited to a bus network run by several operators. There are plans to build a light rail transit network in the near future.

By taxi

Travelling by taxi is a fairly cheap alternative, although the drivers occasionally refuse to use the meter so you must be firm with them and insist that they use it. Taxi drivers are required by law to use their meters and issue a receipt upon request. If the driver has a meter and does not switch it on, remind them to do so. If you get into a taxi not fitted with a meter, it might be best to get out again immediately to avoid being ripped off or later becoming engaged in arguments about the fare. Drivers will often claim there is no meter fitted to a taxi, but they have just hidden it, often with a rudimentary device such as a piece of cloth or cardboard in front of the faceplate of the meter. Travellers need to be vigilant when dealing with such taxi drivers, especially if the driver blatantly refuses to use his meter and negotiates a fare with you. A local person or someone more familiar with these tricks will not be fooled by this, as the driver is seeking to deceive the unwary with dishonesty and deception. Look for another taxi or insist that the driver use the meter and stop playing games. Taxi drivers will also often attempt to raise their fares after agreeing with the passengers on the amount to be paid during the initial negotiation. They will tend to get belligerent and aggressive and may even threaten passengers when passengers try to reason with them. Ride at your own risk. Some drivers demand extra money as a 'bonus' or for some fictitious 'extra' charge on top of the metered fare. Do not pay more than the amount shown on the meter or for any extra charges other than those detailed below. Do not travel in a taxi when the meter is not used. Moving taxis rarely decline to use their meters, occasionally taxis hanging around tourist areas, do.

The starting fare is RM3 (previously RM2) for the first 2 km and the fare increases by 10 sen for every subsequent 115 m (previously 150 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 (previously 45 seconds). Additional charges include: actual road toll charges; RM2 for telephone bookings; a 50% surcharge is levied between midnight and 6AM. The additional RM1 charged on the 3rd adult passenger and RM1 charged for every piece of baggage kept in the trunk were both abolished effective 1 Aug 2009.

There is a taxi rank at Jalan Jim Quee - it is right next to the Johor Bahru CIQ. You can see it below as you cross the overhead bridge from the CIQ to JB Sentral. The taxis operate on a prepaid coupon system - buy your coupon from the booth on the edge of the road. Official fixed rates for prepaid taxi coupons from the CIQ to : AEON Tebrau City Shopping Centre RM21.50, Danga Bay RM14, Larkin bus station 10.90 RM, Senai International Airport RM45. If you do your math, you will find that it is almost two times more expensive to go to any destination using the prepaid coupons compared to using the meter, excluding charges for waiting time and other additional charges mentioned above.

By bus

You can opt for a bus to move around the city. Sometimes there are no clear indications of the bus stops. Just follow the crowds and wait alongside the locals for the buses. Look at the destination boards on the bus and do not hesitate to ask the bus driver directly. There are major bus stops opposite City Square at Jalan Wong Ah Fook. This is where you can take buses to many parts of the city and its suburbs, and also as far as Kota Tinggi (41 km away) and Kulai. All public buses no longer stop in front of JB Sentral at Jalan Tun Abdul Razak. Some buses stop at JB Sentral's bus bays (opened in May 2011) facing Jalan Jim Quee. The last buses leave City Square or JB Sentral for their respective destinations at about 23:00 or earlier; the last buses returning to City Square or JB Sentral leave their starting points at about 22:00 or earlier.

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, #JUSCO Permas Jaya Shopping Centre RM2.60, AEON Tebrau City RM2.40-2.50, Carrefour RM2.20-2.30, 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

Note: 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.

JB CIQ to Larkin

Coming from Singapore 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 1.20 RM, SBS 170 1.50 RM (payable by EZ-link card - S$1.11), Singapore-Johore Express 1.00 RM. 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. Note that 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.

In the other direction, upon entering the Johor Bahru CIQ, follow the signs for "Woodlands" to get to the immigration booths and then to the Singapore-bound buses one floor below.

By car

There's little point to renting a car for touring JB alone, but if you come from Singapore, it can make more sense to rent a car here to explore the rest of Malaysia as car rental rates here are much lower than those of Singapore and fuel costs here are about half of those of Singapore.

On foot

If you planning to walk from City Square to any of the hotels just southeast of the Johor Bahru CIQ in the JL Tanjung Puteri are or beyond, you have two possible routes to choose from: a. Walk down JL Tun Abdul Razak (Jalan TAR) as far as the police station (it has white walls with blue columns). Walk underneath the newly constructed flyover and then walk along its left edge until you see a metal staircase abutting the flyover. Climb up this staircase to the flyover. Without crossing the road, walk along the sidewalk of this flyover towards the Johor Bahru CIQ (it is a massive structure and is clearly visible) or away from the Causeway for about 200 m and you will find yourself at the intersection of this flyover, Jl Tanjung Puteri and Jalan Lumba Kuda, about 300 m from the ultra-modern Grand BlueWave Hotel. b. Walk to JB Sentral by crossing the overhead bridge linking JB Sentral with City Square. Just before you reach the overhead bridge linking JB Sentral with the CIQ, you will find escalators on your right. Go down the escalator, exit JB Sentral into Jalan Jim Quee. Walk past the bus bays on your right for 400-500 m and you will reach the intersection of JL Jim Quee and JL Tanjung Puteri.

See

Historical and modern landmarks

Sultan Ibrahim Building

Religious sites

Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque
Sri Raja Mariamman Hindu Temple

Museums and galleries

Danga Bay

Danga Bay (Teluk Danga in Malay), (7 km northwest of the Causeway). Set to be the premier waterfront development in Johor Bahru, with residential properties, commercial buildings and recreational facilities. Among the attractions that have opened so far are: Danga World Theme Park, Danga World Petting Zoo and Rumah Limas. To get there from the city centre, take any of the very frequent buses (one-way fare RM1.60 or 1.70) 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 Jl Tun Abdul Razak. You can take a tourist tram from the Danga Convention Centre to the Festive Street Mall and back (RM5 per person, free for children below 3 years old).

Flora and fauna

Do

Golf courses

Cinemas

There are four major cineplexes in Johor Bahru - Tanjung Golden Village at AEON Tebrau City, Golden Screen Cinemas at Pelangi Leisure Mall, MBO Cinemas at KSL City and Cathay Cinemas at City Square. Minimum/maximum adult ticket prices for 2D movies (minimum prices on one or more weekdays, in particular Wednesdays; maximum prices during weekends and public holidays) - Tanjung Golden Village RM8/13, Golden Screen RM6/9, MBO RM10/11 and Cathay RM6/12. 3D movies command higher ticket prices. There is an old movie theater ('Pawagam Broadway') in the city centre, about 100  m southeast of the Sri Raja Mariamman Hindu temple, that shows only Tamil-language movies.

Others

Buy

Piracy is rampant in Johor Bahru, with many shops selling pirated videos and software openly

JB is full of shopping malls catering mostly to local and Singaporean shoppers. The goods sold here are somewhat limited but prices are often lower than Singapore's malls.

JB Central

Pelangi and Sentosa

Others

Eat

JB is a popular destination for budget-conscious visitors from Singapore, as most dishes are half price at this side of the border. Most of the food stalls and dining spots 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.

Budget

Hawker Centres

There are quite a number of 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. Among the more well-known hawker centres are as follow:

Malay Food

Chinese Food

Indian Food

If you can get up early in the morning there are 2 different types of roti canai that you may try out in Johor that should not be available in other states. 'Roti canai' is a flat piece of fried dough that is served with different types of curries depending on your mood. One is located near the new CIQ building near Kim Teng Park. This version is very thick and extra crispy and the chili paste that comes with it is to die for. It is advisable to ask for directions first as it is only accessible by car. The other 'roti canai' is located at Century Garden near the Honda showroom in front of the MAA building. These are tiny, light and fluffy versions of the original 'roti canai' and it comes with a small bowl of savoury sardine-mixture to go with it. Both are reasonably priced and you should not miss them.

There are three relatively large chains of Mamak restaurants across Johor Bahru, namely Ayub, Sri Alam and Habib. They all serve similar food like roti canai, nasi lemak and mee goreng. In general they are located all across town. Just ask a local person, and they will gladly point you to the right direction.

Others

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

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 Georgetown.

Budget

Mid Range

Splurge

Stay safe

Safety precautions

Tourists should practise some common sense when walking around.

  • Do not show off your money and valuables in crowded areas. If you do so, expect to get robbed.
  • Try to use small change when purchasing merchandise, etc.
  • Do not follow anyone to any unlit lanes.

Singaporeans like to tell horror stories of crimes in the "wild, wild North" and its former Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew once claimed that Johor Bahru is crime-ridden. As a result of the high crime rate, the number of tourists from Singapore has dropped drastically over the past few years. This could partly be due to the high profile that the Singaporean press gives to crime committed in Johor Bahru against its citizens. Even Johor Bahru citizens took to the streets in September 2007, asking for the city to take action against crime. Although the crime rate in Johor Bahru is still higher than in Singapore and elsewhere in Malaysia, things have become better since the Johor Bahru administration took action to increase the police presence and initiate several anti-crime measures - including the creation of a hotline for tourists to call should they require urgent police assistance. The number is +60 7 221-2999.

In the event that you DO get robbed, it is likely that the robber would be armed with a parang, a long Malay sword. You are advised to give up most, if not all, of your valuables to avoid putting your personal safety in jeopardy.

Tap water should be boiled before drinking. As a rule of thumb, the general hawker food scene in Johor Bahru is hygienic though certain areas are less so. So keep an eye out for those dirty hawkers who pay very little attention to hygiene.

Cope

Consulates

Tourist offices

  1. Johor Bahru CIQ ('Tourist Information Centre' open daily 09:00-13:00 and 14:00-18:00). To get there coming from Singapore, walk about 50m after clearing Malaysian immigration
  2. South end of Jalan Wong Ah Fook ( M-F 08:00-19:00; Sa-Su and public holidays M-F 08:00-22:30)
  3. JB Sentral ('Tourist Information Centre', next to the passenger waiting area on level 2 daily 09:00-18:00). You can get free brochures and maps on various destinations in West Malaysia, including free maps of JB.

Publications

Connect

Internet cafés

Internet cafés in Johor Bahru are thin on the ground.

Post offices

Go next

Routes through Johor Bahru

Malacca (Ayer Keroh) Yong Peng  NW  S  Singapore
Desaru Kota Tinggi  NE  S  Singapore
Batu Pahat Pontian   W  E  END


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, February 22, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.