In need of a getaway but don’t have too much time (or money) to spare? A weekend trip to Johor Bahru, Malaysia is enough to get you refreshed and back on your feet!
While you may think there’s nothing much you can do at JB but shop (which is great too, by the way), we’re here to change your mind with a list of things you can do at the neighbouring city that’ll make you feel like you’re on an actual vacation:
Take the KTM there
Photo credits: KTM Berhad Facebook
Kick-start the trip right: rather than taking a bus to JB, how about you hop on the KTM for an experience you wouldn’t have in Singapore? While we do have trains in Singapore, they don’t quite look like these old-school ones that you see in old movies. Stepping foot in these trains will give you a surge of nostalgia — even if it’s your first time taking a train like that!
It’s also a lot more convenient and less time consuming to take a train — the train journey is only 5 minutes long! With the waiting time and clearing of customs taken into consideration, it’ll take you only about half an hour to travel to JB, compared to changing buses which usually takes much longer.
Board the train at Woodlands Train Checkpoint which will take you to Johor Bahru Sentral Railway Station. When you’re there, you can take a bus or cab or cross over to hang around the shopping malls directly across (great for day trips to JB)!
Price: from RM5 (SGD1.70) for a one way ticket, can be bought online or at the train station’s counter
Address: 11 Woodlands Crossing, Woodlands, Singapore 738103
Spend the day at Spring LABS
New and opened recently, Spring LABS brings food, shopping and play to you in the form of a park. As it’s still pretty new, this retail concept park is not bustling with people (yet), making it ideal for your Instagram shots. The shops come in the form of colourful houses and you’d find many Instagrammable spots across the park (think giant flowers and colourful umbrellas).
That is not all there is to the park — my favourite part has got to be the variety of cafés you can find there! From Taiwanese breakfast, Thai desserts to classic wine-and-dine options, you can go café hopping within the park itself. Regrettably, I only had the stomach for brunch and tea though I wish I got a taste of the other delicacies!
I personally really enjoyed the Taiwanese-style breakfast (sandwiches, soya milk, fried noodles with a good ol’ sunny side up!) at good morning food truck and desserts (carrot cake and french toast) at Tropique Cáfe & Restaurant!
Address: Jalan Ekoflora Utama, Taman Eko Flora, Johor, Malaysia
Pamper yourself at Little Paris
For those of you who would love to travel to Europe but only have the weekend to spare, this is probably the closest you’d get to “Paris”. While this cannot be compared to the great city of Paris, its white Parisian-insipired shopfronts and streets littered with gates, bridges and benches could pass off as props for a film set in Paris — you’ll still get your pretty Instagram shots!
With boutiques, salons and cafes at Little Paris, you can indulge in a day of self-care and pamper yourself! There is even a café, Cafe de Flore, named after the famous one in Paris — you could very well dub this your low budget version of a day at Paris.
It’s said that Little Paris looks better at night so you might want to head there in the afternoon for a taste of daytime in Paris and watch the streets light up with the evening’s setting sun.
Address: Jalan Jaya Putra 1/1, Taman Mount Austin, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Catch a movie at the Beanieplex Cinema
Photo credits: TGV Cinemas Facebook
Here’s a unique alternative to catching a movie at the cinema! Many Singaporeans already make day visits to JB to catch a movie because movie tickets are cheaper there. Instead of settling for the regular stiff seats we are all familiar with in Singapore, why not cosy up on a bean bag instead? It makes the movie-watching experience a lot more fun and comfy and you get to experience something new!
Price: Tickets are sold in pairs at RM52 (SGD17)
Address: AEON Bukit Indah Shopping Centre, 8, Jalan Indah 15/2, Taman Bukit Indah, 81200, Johor, Malaysia
Shop at Johor Premium Outlet
Photo credits: KLOOK
What’s a visit to JB without some shopping? While shopping at the malls could be satisfying enough, there’s no harm checking out Johor Premium Outlets for some great deals we wouldn’t have here. Prices go as low as 70-80% off (which is a steal for those who do not mind last season’s goods)!
With brands like adidas, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci and even lower-end brands like Cotton On, you can shop for everything between sportswear, luxury handbags and fast fashion!
This is also the closest Premium Outlets to Singapore so it’s not a bad idea to pop by and check it out, even if you’re not keen to shop much — though this might change when you’re there!
Address: Jalan Premium Outlets Indahpura, 81000 Kulai, Johor, Malaysia
Photo credits: legoland.com.my
Every listicle about “places to visit in JB” would include LEGOLAND and while we tried to steer from the mainstream, we had to include this in the list.
Truthfully, a theme park will always find its way into our hearts, regardless of how small or humble it is. While LEGOLAND is not only smaller, the rides and attractions are also milder than the large-scale rollercoasters we have at our local Universal Studios. Hence, it may seem like LEGOLAND was made for children but hey, what better time to bring out the child in you than when you’re on a vacation?
Aside from the usual rides and shows you’ll expect at a theme park, you can also find several attractions built with lego bricks, bringing across the true essence of LEGOLAND, setting this theme park aside from any other!
Star Wars fans, be prepared to be blown away by the Star Wars Miniland at LEGOLAND, where you would be able to find over 2,000 LEGO Star Wars models, all made from lego bricks! With the Star Wars themed sound effects and lighting filling the exhibition, you’ll find yourself in awe as you walk through the seven rooms, each depicting scenes from the different Star Wars movies, in chronological order.
PRICE: From RM185 (SGD61.30) for senior/child and rm231 (76.50) for adults
Address: No 7, Jalan Legoland, Bandar, 79250 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Visit the shopping malls near JB Sentral
Many Singaporeans spend their day at the shopping malls directly across the border, shopping, eating and indulging in entertainment and grooming services during their day trips to the city. Once you’ve cleared the customs and arrive in JB either by bus or train, you just have to cross over to the malls opposite JB Sentral, Johor Bahru City Square and KOMTAR JBCC and you’ll have everything you need in the span of two huge malls.
You can also take a bus down to KSL CITY Mall from JB Sentral if you’ve already explored Johor Bahru City Square and KOMTAR JBCC. While these three neighbouring malls have their equal share of good food, shopping deals and affordable services, they aren’t quite the same.
Photo credits: tripzilla.com
Johor Bahru City Square is similar to your reliable neighbourhood shopping malls — it has everything and you’ll find recognisable and affordable brands everyone is familiar with like UNIQLO, Watsons and Etude House.
Address: 106, 108, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Photo credits: internationalinvestor.com
KOMTAR JBCC is a step above your average neighbourhood mall — it houses slightly pricier brands (Doctor Martens, adidas) but also has its fair share of affordable brands, kind of like the malls you’d find at Orchard Road.
Address: KOMTAR, Level 3 BUTIK ARMADA LANUN JOHOR, City Centre, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Photo credits: johornow.com
KSL CITY Mall, on the other hand, is similar to our local Bugis Street. You would not find Sephora or branded goods there but rather, several nameless or unrecognisable store names selling cheaper and more youth-centric pieces.