This is one of the articles I did for the media.Tap-Trip project before the website got shut down. It is not my best article but it’s the only one I have on my computer. We usually write directly on the TapTrip website so unfortunately since the website have shut down I have not been able to gain access to my other articles. Which is terrible because I would love to save it as record. Anyway, here’s one of my articles that I did for Tap-Trip:
THINGS TO DO IN JOHOR
If you are travelling south, from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, then you should definitely spend a few days in Johor. Johor Bahru is the name of its capital, or JB for short, is the southernmost city in Malaysia and the closest to it’s southern neighbor, Singapore. Separated only by the Johor Straits, Singapore can easily be seen from across the waters. A state steep with history, Johor have always been a choice for travellers. Especially now with the developments in Nusajaya, Johor Bahru itself is a modern day city filled with not-to-be-missed attractions for the whole family!
Currently the number 1 main attraction in Johor. Located in Nusajaya, Legoland is a must visit for the young and old alike. Stretching over 70 acres of land, Legoland not only have a themepark, it also has a waterpark and it’s own hotel! In short, it has Lego EVERYTHING! From small miniature monuments to kiddy cars and rollercoasters, everything is made of (or decorated with) Lego! For the adults, if you remember playing with Lego as a child, then you cannot miss this place. For the kids- it’s pretty self-explanatory. And if possible, try your best to get a room at the Lego hotel. You will be transported into a world of bricks and blocks.
- Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque
The Sultan Abu Bakar mosque is actually one of the must visit mosque in Malaysia. It is very unique because of its architectural style, which has a combination of Victorian and Moorish elements. You can go anywhere in Malaysia but trust me you will not find another mosque like this. First constructed in 1892 and finished in 1900, the mosque is now more that 100 years old. It is also located on top of a hill, in the center of JB, it commands a breathtaking view of the Straits of Johor across to Singapore. Other historical landmarks that you might not want to miss are the Sultan Ibrahim building and also the Istana Bukit Serene.
- Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru
Dataran Bandaraya is the official city square where events or festivals can be held. It features a clock tower in the center of JB and located right opposite the Thistle hotel. I highly recommend that you visit this place at night mainly because of one thing. Located near the square is an open air hawker center and this is where you can find the famous Tauhu Bakar (grilled tofu) of Johor along with many other local cuisines. It is a very well known side dish among the locals. And I still don’t know why you can’t find this “tauhu bakar” anywhere else. Not even in Kuala Lumpur and even if they did the taste will not be the same. So yes, basically if you are ever in JB town, come down to the dataran hawker stalls at night just for the grilled tofu! You won’t regret it.
- Endau-Rompin National Park
The Endau-Rompin National Park is situated near the Johor-Pahang border. It is effectively the second largest national park in peninsular Malaysia. From JB town, the trip to Endau-Rompin will take approximately 2 1/2 hours and a further 30 min boat ride to the park itself. Be forewarned, this park is not for the faint hearted. If you are looking for a five star service, then this is not the place for you. This place is all about nature! If you love hiking, beautiful river and waterfalls, trees, and the sound of wildlife in the night, then you are most welcome to camp (and survive!) here.
- Gunung Ledang
Gunung Ledang is one of the most mystical and legendary mountains in Malaysia, that they even made a movie out of it (see Puteri Gunung Ledang). Even until now, you will hear supernatural stories among the locals whenever they share their experience on Gunung Ledang. Legend has it that once a beautiful princess caught the eye of the Sultan of Melaka and he sent an emissary to win her hand. The princess having shared no such feelings ran away to the mountains to escape the Sultan’s wrath. It is said her spirit still dwells in the mountains to this day and she sometimes appears to travellers and tourist alike. An age old legend, but it is enough to enthrall adventurers to come to this legendary mountain which is also rich with natural beauty.
- Sanrio Hello Kitty Town and The Little Big Club
Also located in Nusajaya, The Hello Kitty Town and the Little Big Club is an indoor theme park and is actually located in the same building. The tickets for both places are sold separately but I highly recommend you take the package for both of the theme parks as there will be more activities for you to do. The kids will really enjoy this place as it has more to offer than you think. Hello Kitty, Thomas the Train, Dora the Explorer to name a few. Here’s a tip, if the weather looks unfavorable and it looks like it might rain, which is a really big problem if you are planning to go to Legoland, I suggest you change your destination to Hello Kitty town as it is actually very near each other. As it is indoor, you will never have to worry about weather conditions. Save Legoland for a sunny day!
- Danga Bay
Another new development in the Johor state. Danga Bay is a great place for waterfront fine dining. It is also a recreational area that contains a petting zoo, a funfair and a few shopping malls. Lazio, one of the best steakhouse in JB is also located here. If you want to enjoy the sea breeze on a nice cool evening, you should come and kick back and relax at Danga Bay.
A long stretch of beach on the eastern side of Johor, Desaru is great for beach-loving holidaymakers and it’s only about an hour’s drive away from JB town. But apart from it’s beach, it should also be noted that there are a few other things that you can do while visiting the area! There is a tropical fruit farm, a crocodile farm, an ostrich farm that I’m sure kids will enjoy. You can also try and catch the firefly cruise located at the Terapung Bujang Restaurant. Enough activities to keep you occupied for a whole day!
These are some of the main things that you can do in Johor. Hope you will enjoy your visit to the southern most state in Malaysia!