More than just a border town
Located a mere 45-mins away from central Singapore, Johor Bahru or JB in Malaysia is every Singaporean’s choice destination for chillax-ing (local slang for chilling and relaxing) on the weekends!
With exciting cafe options, great food and massive grocery chains, JB practically has everything Singapore has and more, all at super wallet-friendly prices!
The Klook Team decided to head down for some much needed R&R and here’s what we got up to!
Read on to find out how you can also Klook a chillax-ing day trip to JB!
1. Johor Bahru (JB)
Johor Bahru or JB is the capital of the state of Johor in Malaysia and sits on the country’s border with neighbouring Singapore.
Once associated with vice and crime, this border town has gained a fresh reputation for being the go-to chill-out place for most Singaporeans on weekends especially because of the lower prices of common necessities like petrol, groceries and food.
Many concept cafes and art spaces have also sprung up in JB, making it particularly popular with millennials and young adults looking for a quick weekend getaway.
2. Getting to JB
While bus, train and taxis are available, nothing beats having a whole car ALL to yourself for the entire duration of the trip! Enjoy hassle-free point to point transportation in ultimate comfort and convenience – you even have a safe place to leave all your shopping so you can go shop some more!
3. How to book a Klook-It-Yourself JB Car Charter
Unlike transfers that mostly involve one-way trips, your JB car charter will actually pick you up from Singapore, follow you around JB and when you’re ready to go home, drop you off in Singapore!
You can choose up to 2 pick-up locations in Singapore and as many places you’d like to visit in JB within a 12-hour time frame. Additional pick-ups in Singapore will incur a fee of RM15 (USD3.50) payable directly to the driver. Each vehicle can fit up to 7 adults + 3 medium sized luggage bags comfortably.
Prior to your pick-up time, your friendly driver will contact you via Whatsapp. Simply look out for the orange Klook sticker!
4. Things to do in JB
Now that you’ve gotten your transport settled, here’s some of our own recommendations for the must-visit places in JB.
P.S. We managed to cover the following places in one day with the JB Car Charter!
4.1. Monsta Cafe
Monsta Cafe is one of the more interesting cafes we’ve come across to date! Apart from the retro cafe decor the restaurant stays true to its name with monster-themed menu items like the Monsta Mamee Burger which is every bit as indulgent as it sounds.
Sandwiched by two fried Mamee noodle cakes is a fried egg and succulent turmeric-coated fried chicken chop served with a hearty dose of fried french fries and a helping of coleslaw to make you feel better about your meal.
The Matcha Latte looks almost too cute to drink, but it was equal parts frothy and rich and not too sweet. Big thumbs up from us!
We’ve all heard of cold-brew coffees but not quite cold-brew chocolate, so why don’t you give the Monsta Cold Brew Chocolate a try?
Address: 157, Jalan Bestari 1/5, Taman Nusa Bestari, 81300 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 10am to 12am | Friday to Sunday 10am to 1am
4.2. Hiap Joo Bakery
Just 5-minutes away from the Causeway you’ll find Hiap Joo Bakery – one of JB’s oldest and most traditional bakeries. Unlike the modern cake shops of today, the secret to their deliciously moist and fragrant cakes is the massive wood-fired oven sitting in the middle of the shop.
You won’t find much variety at Hiap Joo but you won’t need it. Their best-selling item is the Banana Cake (RM10|USD2.30) which is usually available around noon time. If you’re not a fan of banana you can also try their Butter Cake (RM10|USD2.30) or the assortment of buns in flavours like coconut and red bean that usually sell out by lunchtime.
The cakes come in two sizes: half or whole. The Klook Team brought home a grand total of 7 whole cakes between 3 of us #truth.
Hiap Joo Bakery
Address: 13, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 7.30am to 5.30pm | Monday 12pm to 5.30pm | Closed on Sundays
4.3. Lavender Confectionery & Bakery
Think of Lavender as the local’s favourite bakery. You’ll find a dizzying array of breads, cakes and buns with most going for just under RM3.50 (USD0.80)!
Unfortunately photography wasn’t allowed within the bakery but most of the popular breads like Coffee Bun need no introduction. Lavender also slices loaves of bread for you, so if you’re after something like their Cranberry and Flaxseed Loaf don’t worry about having to slice it yourself!
Housed within the flagship outlet at Taman Pelangi is also a small self-service cafe with drinks that you can order to have with your croissant or cheesecake.
Lavender Confectionery & Bakery
Address: Jalan Serampang Taman Pelangi Johor Bahru Johor Malaysia
Opening Hours: Daily 9am to 10pm
4.4. Restoran Pai Her (Restoran Bai Her)
Another thing you should travel into JB for is the food and Restoran Pai Her is one of them. The Nyonya Fish Head Curry is a crowd-favourite and something you should definitely consider ordering.
Unlike most curries, this one is light yet flavourful and comes served with ladies’ fingers. The fish was also particular fresh and fell off the bone easily.
Another dish worth mentioning is also the Sweet Potato Leaves – a fresh take on your usual Chinese greens!
Restoran Pai Her (Restoran Bai Her)
Address: 6, Jalan Molek 2/1, Taman Molek, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Daily 11am to 3pm | 5.30pm to 10.30pm
Another thing JB has that Singaporeans miss is A&W but only for one thing – their Root Beer Float.
A&W used to have a few outlets in Singapore but these closed down completely about 10 years ago. Kids would spend their pocket money on these root beer floats for a creamy, fizzy relief from the notorious Southeast Asian humidity.
Thankfully, these childhood gems are still available just a short drive away. If you’ve really missed Root Beer Float, go for the jumbo size! For reference, the ones in the picture above are the smallest available serving size.
Visit the A&W website for a list of outlets to look for one closest to you.
4.6. Kaki Kaki Reflexology
Most people also visit JB for their affordable massage parlours and spas, but you don’t want to visit just any massage chain! Kaki Kaki Refleksologi has a good reputation among the locals and has many outlets all over JB.
Prices differ across outlets, but as a gauge a 30-min neck and shoulder massage cost just RM45 (USD10.50). Some outlets reportedly even have entertainment systems like X-Box and even a buffet so everyone in the family can enjoy!
Kaki Kaki Refleksologi
Address: 59, Jalan Indah 15/2, 81200 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
4.7. Johor Premium Outlet
Shopaholics unite! Located approximately 30 mins by car away from the centre of JB, the Johor Premium Outlets is a party of all your favourite brands from Michael Kors to Gucci.
The Premium Outlets may not carry the latest seasons but they offer past collections at major discounts – sometimes even up to 70% off the original price!
The Johor Premium Outlets are quite a distance away and hard to get to unless you have a car, so this is where the JB charter comes in very handy! Plus – you won’t have to lug your shopping bags with you everywhere when you can just leave them in the boot!
Klook yourselves a FREE Johor Premium Outlets Savings Passport and enjoy Klook exclusive rewards like a complimentary drink or F&B Voucher! Simply flash your mobile e-voucher at the Information Centre and collect your Savings Passport!
Johor Premium Outlets
Address: Jalan Premium Outlets Indahpura, 81000 Kulai, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Daily 10am to 10pm
Want to pay three times less for your favourite drugstore brand mascara? Head to Watsons in JB!
You’ll find similar products to the ones you can find in Singapore but at a much lower price. This is especially useful for products like make-up removers, sunscreen and beauty products.
Lipstick running out? Time to pay a visit to JB!
Watsons stores are everywhere and can be found at most major shopping malls.
4.9. Giant Hypermarket
This particular Giant Hypermarket is JB’s LARGEST and the most extensive! Aside from your usual household products and food, you’ll find cabinets going at RM39.90 (US9.29) and clothes for even less.
Go down memory lane with nostalgic snacks like the Apollo cake and Mamee noodle snacks and bring some home for your friends!
We did some R&D of our own and found that the products with the largest price margin difference were items like washing detergent and pampers, so families with young kids you know where to go!
Giant Hypermarket Leisure Mall
Address: Lot 1.01 & B1.01, Pelangi Leisure Mal,, Jalan Serampang, Taman Pelangi, 80400 Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Weekdays 9am to 11pm | Weekends 8am to 11pm
Going to JB has never been easier!
The next time you’re thinking of going to JB, all you’ll need to bring is some ringgit and your passport! Klook yourself a DIY JB Tour and start making plans for your next holiday!