12 June 2017
The Bridge Between Two Countries
Formed in 1855 and long known as an industrial city, Johor Bahru now has a developing tourism industry. The city’s position at the southern tip of Malaysia, adjacent to Singapore, means it’s become a connection point for the two countries.
Johor Bahru is the second largest city in Malaysia. Located at the southernmost point of Malaysia, the city is the capital of the state of Johor and is the gateway to Malaysia from Singapore thanks to a bridge in the city’s heart that connects the two countries. A second bridge is located in Kulai, in the west of Johor Bahru.
With its proximity to Singapore, the two cities often get compared; a comparison that’s been unfavorable for Johor Bahru which has been the country’s industrial center for many years. Recently though, areas of JB, as it’s often termed, have been redeveloped and the city is well on its way to rebranding itself. Today, the city has become an important industrial, commercial, and tourism hub for southern Malaysia.
For decades, most travelers skipped southern Malaysia's largest city, but in recent years that’s been changing. Johor Bahru has begun offering more for tourists and as a result, the city’s seen a steady increase in the number of visitors. For tourists, especially Singaporeans, Johor Bahru is a cheap place to shop. Not only that, the area is home to some special attractions that are worth exploring.
Golfers can enjoy a round on one of Johor Bahru’s golf courses, or take to the ocean for some water sports such as scuba diving, boat diving, windsurfing, and paddle boarding. Tourists can take a cruise that runs from and to the Danga Bay, or on weekends enjoy a dinner cruise on a triple-deck cruise ship to the Causeway, which is the link to Singapore, and then back to the Danga Bay.
Johor Bahru is home to some historical landmarks, including the Royal Village of Johor, which was formed in 1900 during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim, Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque which is built purely in the British style of architecture, and the largest private Chinese high school named Foon Yew High School which was built in 1912. Additionally, there are several natural attractions around the area as well.
PLACES TO VISIT
Legoland Malaysia is a world-class family theme park in Johor. Opened in September 2012, it is Legoland's first theme park in Asia. Legoland covers 76 acres and has over 70 interactive rides and activities spread through six different lands as well as shops and cafes. Although the park is designed for kids aged 2 – 12, adults and older children can enjoy it too. To go along with the main Legoland theme park there’s also the Legoland water park.
GUNUNG LEDANG (MOUNT OPHIR)
Gunung Ledang is 1276 meters high (4186 feet). The mountain, which is actually only Malaysia’s 64th highest mountain, is one of the most popular and frequently climbed mountains in Malaysia. Located in Johor, the mountain can be reached in a couple of hours by car from Johor Bahru or Singapore. Along with enjoying the climb, hikers can see the Puteri Waterfalls, a 60-meter cascade with pools and a pleasant picnic and bathing area further downstream.
KOTA TINGGI WATERFALL
Located 15 kilometers from Kota Tinggi town and around 60 kilometers from Johor Bahru, the waterfalls are the most popular in Johor Bahru, and even in Malaysia. Situated at the foot of Gunung Muntahak (Mount Muntahak), the area around the waterfalls offers abundant natural beauty and provides a refreshing escape for busy city dwellers. The cooling river waters also provide an ideal place for swimming and a nice spot for picnics. Kota Tinggi can be reached in a one-hour drive from Johor Bahru.
PULAU RAWA (RAWA ISLAND)
Rawa Island is known as a popular tourist destination and is a coral island in Mersing District, Johor, Malaysia. It offers unspoiled white sand beaches, snorkeling, and scuba diving. "Rawa" in Malaysian means white doves, which are abundant on the island. Native wildlife such as tropical fish, squid, jellyfish, octopus, Malayan sea eagles, and reptiles can be spotted on Rawa Island. You can spend the night on Rawa at one of the small island’s two resorts: Rawa Safaris and Alang's Rawa. From Johor Bahru, head to Mersing terminal (a two-hour drive) then take the one-hour boat trip to reach Rawa Island.