Diversity is reflected in a society’s value system, cultures, or simply the structural development. Such is the capital city of the Malaysian state of Johor, the Johor Bahru. On one hand it prizes the elements from what was the colonisers’ glory, while on the other it cradles the birth of modern technology. The Little Swatow has not just the solemn stage for the silent prayer, but also the gaudy grandstand for a generous offering. Every corner brings a new surprise, never letting the curiosity die out and leaving a visitor wanting for more.
And why shouldn’t they? The city has so much to showcase!
Things to do in Johor Bahru
To begin with, there is the administrative capital of Johor, Kota Iskandar. Amidst vast, blooming gardens, Kota Iskandar has been serving as a home to all Federal Government Officials, and over 6000 civil officers, since April 2009. The state administration has the State Secretariat at its center, with the State Legislative Assembly Building, the Chief Minister’s Office, and the State Executive Councillor’s Office as its operating branches. Kota Iskandar is very well connected via the Coastal Highway to Iskandar Puteri.
The very first Hello Kitty Theme Park to be started outside Japan was in this city. The park has been built in the form of the Kitty’s house, warm and welcoming as it is supposed to be. In fact, Kitty has worked to make the house her own and dolled it up according to her liking. She even gives special performances to make the visit to her house even more memorable. If that’s not enough, the Thomas Town will definitely take the children for a joy ride and the adults for a trip down memory lane. One can have fun with Bob the Builder, play with Pingu the penguin or just travel around with Thomas and his friends. If you are a fan of the Angry Birds, you can also visit the Angry Birds Theme Park which features indoor play areas and really cool games.
Iskander Puteri houses another such wonderland called the Legoland. Legoland provides the viewer with an amazing opportunity to experience landmarks from all over Asia, in its Miniland. Landmarks as exemplary as the Legends of China have been scaled down to a 1:20 proportion using Legobricks, and put on display. For the more active and adventurous souls there is also a water park, with about twenty exciting rides and activities.
One can also pay a visit to the Desaru Fruit Farm, to the five senses. A guided tour around the 180 acres fields, across the scenic, tropical Fruitlands, waters the mouth with its fragrances. Listening to the humming bees and tasting their raw honey, is not an experience one can afford to miss.
Across the Singapore border stands tall the Johor Premium Outlets, a shopper’s delight, and a shopaholic’s paradise. With more than 130 designer outlet stores available, it still remains light on the wallet with discounts up to 65% the whole year round. This shopping heaven caters to everybody. May it be a Luxury brand lover, a sports enthusiast, an admirer of high street fashion or the lovely little ones, this place serves as a shopping heaven to all. Those who seek luxury reach out to Armani, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and more. For the sporty souls there is Adidas, Puma, Nike, LaCoste and their likes. Coach, Michael Kors, Victoria’s Secret and others are flag bearers to the high end fashion. And the kids have for them brands like Ralph Lauren Children, Animation World, Annakku, and Cotton On Kids. After a leisurely, but tiresome day, out shopping, you can tuck into some sushi at Kampachi Japanese Restaurant, or enjoy a Thai meal over at Absolute Thai, or just relax over a cup of coffee at StarBucks, or simply chill out at the cute Ice cream parlours. So shoppers, hurry up and head to your happy place, and save on some big money!
If that’s not enough, one can start off with a tour around the magnificent Islands of Johor Bahru. First is the Island piece of Pulau Aur in Mersing with its picturesque scenery and beaches. Then there is the Pulau Dayangto provide a memorable experience under the sea. Next comes the Pulau Tengah reknown for its Vietnamese refugee camps and its serene, but beautiful marine life. Along with Pulau Tengah is the protected island of Pulau Besar. The island provides the extraordinary experience of luminous sea water. The most intriguing island, however, is the Pulau Rawa, which has contrasting sides. With one side a solemn pool of white sand, and the other a tiresome rocky terrain. Situated in the calm, South China Sea, is the Pulau Pemangil which is the go to place for fishing enthusiasts. But, if it is a hike one’s looking for, then one should go straight to the Pulau Tinggi. However, a visit to ALL these islands will throw the travellers’ budget off the roof! Thus, the ones with a tighter wallet, can go just to Pulau Sibu, which is a cluster of several islands like the Sibu Besar Island, Sibu Tengah Island, Sibu Kukus Island and Sibu Hujung Island. Here, one can experience the entire island culture of Johur by going to one place only.
Where To Stay : For a comfortable and relaxing stay during one’s visit to Johor Bahru, they can make bookings at any one of the luxury hotels there.To make every stay a memorable one, one should head straight to Legoland Hotel. With a dragon themed entrance and lego themed bedrooms, the hotel aspires to make the stay an unforgettable experience. The only Convention hotel Hotel in Johor, The Puteri Pacific is just minutes away from Singapore Causeway, and has easy access to The only convention centre in Johor Bahru, Persada Johor International Convention Centre. The hotel is close to remarkable attractions, shopping, dining and entertainment spots and provides Various dining options in different cuisines. Its Leisure facilities including an outdoor swimming pool, gymnasium, squash and tennis courts, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. For every Golfer’s delight, The Els Club Malaysia offers an unparalleled golf and lifestyle experience. Legacy of champion Ernie Els, this exhilarating natural setting in Malaysia provides comprehensive meeting and event facilities along with a range of food & beverage options. In the heart of the Central Business District lies the 4 star Amari Hotel. The hotel enjoys a central location, standing amidst the Angry Birds Activity Park, City Square Shopping Mall and Persada Convention Centre. Luxuriously furnished rooms and gourmet dining, complete with facilities like Swimming pool, Fitness center, SPA, makes the stay worth a traveller’s while.
How To Reach Johor Bahru : But how does one reach this wonderful land of the fusion of history and the modern world? It is quite simple. India’s first route to Johor Bahru has been started from Kolkata, by AirAsia. To start with a place as culturally rich as Kolkata, is a traveller’s joy. Decreasing the distance between India and Malaysia by leaps and bounds, this new route by AirAsia has made the journey to Johor completely tension free.
Thus, this gives one not a single reason to not travel. As they say, “Your wings already exist. All you need to do is fly.”