Essential Travel Information to Johor
Overview of Johor
Johor Baru is the capital city of Johor state and second largest city in Malaysia and is always bustling with activity. Situated at the border next to Singapore, the once sleepy fishing town has grown to become a hotspot for tourists from all over the world. It is famous for its unique architecture and mouth watering cuisine.
Fortunately, the city experiences tropical weather throughout the year making it possible to travel in both peak (June to August) and low seasons (November to April).
On the outskirts of Johor Baru, get close to nature at Desaru where trekking opportunities abound, along with miles of beaches for relaxation.
What to Do in Johor
Legoland Malaysia is Malaysia’s first international theme park. If you grew up playing with Lego, or just enjoyed the Lego movie, this is a place you mustn't miss. With several roller coasters, a driving school, a water park and an Aquarium zone at Sea Life, be prepared to spend a day or two here.
If you need to get out there and do something exciting, explore the coast and waterways of Johor on a standing paddle board at Pasir Gudang. If getting wet isn’t your thing, get down and dirty riding scramblers down the world famous motorbike trails. Either way, you’ll be out in the sun, surrounded by nature.
One of the first Zoos in Southeast Asia, Johor Zoo boasts over a hundred species of animals at a surprisingly budget ticket price. See the hippos, tigers, camels, and the ever reclusive Malayan Sun Bear all in one afternoon.
Wet World Batu Pahat
Another water theme park to keep the kids and the kids at heart busy, Wet World Batu Pahat has everything you can ask for in a water theme park: kiddy pools, wave pools, lots of water slides and even a fishing pond for adults to kick back and relax.
Hiap Joo Bakery
Famous for their biscuits and banana cakes baked in a wood fired oven, this bakery is no stranger to long queues for their traditional confectionery. Expect to wait in line with locals and tourists alike before you sample the heavenly goodness baked from their 100 year old vintage oven
Angry Birds Activity Park
Complete with obstacle courses, a go kart track, huge foam pits and even a marksmanship gallery, the Angry Birds Activity Park will turn angry kids into a mess of giggling children. Best of all, there’s a Parent’s Lounge and Snack Bar Cafe to keep adults busy as their children play to their hearts’ content.
Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park
Featuring several high speed water slides that will leave you screaming in excitement and pleasure at the same time, Austin Heights Water Park is the water park to go if you want to spend more time sliding and less time waiting in line. One of their slides begins with a 90 degree drop that will make your heart skip a beat!
The adventure park is not for the faint hearted, with over 51 obstacles over 7 difficulty levels, climb net walls and walk on tightropes before finishing the course on the ultimate zip line! Beginners will be glad to know that there is a comprehensive safety briefing with hands-on simulation before you begin the obstacles, so that you’ll know how to stay safe.
Danga Bay is a beachfront area that is relatively untouched by tourists. You’ll find everything you need here for the family from carnival rides at the World Theme Park, the evening light show at the royal gardens of Laman Mahkota Istana Bukit Serene, and fresh seafood at a beachside restaurant at affordable prices.
Featuring one of the world’s biggest waterparks astride 17km of sandy white beaches and championship golf courses, Desaru Coast is a great place to escape the humdrum life after weeks of stay-home notices. With several resorts and a Hard Rock Cafe at Desaru, this is a perfect quick getaway.
Activities in Desaru include canoeing, sea sports, and even jungle trekking.
Desaru Fruit Farm
Feed animals at the mini petting zoo and learn all about herbs and vegetables at the Desaru Fruit Farm. Enjoy a refreshing fruit buffet at the end of the day, and eat all the durians you can. There’s even a guided session talking about beekeeping and honey, and you get to eat unprocessed fresh honey from the farm that is safe even for diabetics.
Desaru Ostrich Farm
Bored of riding horses? Ride on an ostrich at the Desaru Ostrich Farm! Feed them with corn kernels when you’re done, and learn about ostriches up close and personal.
If you’re not won over by these majestic birds by the time you’re done, eat an ostrich burger or ostrich egg omelette for lunch.
If you’re an adventurous foodie, try the ostrich satay before you interact with them so that you can’t change your mind after hanging out with those beautiful birds.
What to See in Johor
Rawa Island has been called the Maldives in Johor. Get baked in the sun with white sand between your toes, or jump into the sea and snorkel with the fishes above natural coral reefs. If you need to relax with the sun, sand and sea, this is the place for it.
Pulau Kukup National Park
A small fishing village with many budget options and a national park nearby, Kukup is the ideal getaway for families or couples that are looking for a break from the busy city life. Stay in a resort here with activities for families, or live like the fishermen and sleep in a kelong (offshore floating platform).
Tanjung Piai National Park
The Southernmost point of mainland Asia, Tanjung Piai is a National Park with deep mangroves. Get on the boardwalk and immerse yourself into a different world as you take in all of the nature around you, or climb the observation tower for a panoramic view of the forest and the birds flying around the canopy.
Endau Rompin National Park
This national park include is one of the oldest rainforests in the world. In a trek you can see several breathtaking waterfalls, and even interact with the Orang Asli (aboriginal natives) of the area.
Do note that food choices here are limited, and you’ll need to book your visit and guide at least 3 days in advance for a trekking permit.
Zenxin Organic Park
Join the Organic Farmer tour to learn about organic food farming and processes in an interactive and fun way. Since we are what we eat, why not learn about the benefits of going organic through play and eating the organic produce fresh on site!
Yoyo Rakit Sea Resort & Fishing Center
If you’re a fishing enthusiast, make sure you cater time for Yoyo Rakit. Get your fishing fix right outside your room atop a kelong (wooden platform), while the children chill in the room and watch TV. Spend the night on the sea while barbecuing the fish you’ve caught!
Firefly Valley Leisure Park
Check out the mini farm and see animals such as rabbits and wild boars. Board the firefly river cruise and watch nature light-up magically with fireflies. Definitely a rare sight for city dwellers, witness the little spots of light illuminate the forest in all their glory while the guide enlightens you on fireflies and their habitat. Complete the cruise with a seafood dinner to light up your tummy!
Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm
Founded for crocodile conservation and breeding, get up close to a thousand crocodiles that can weigh up to 1000kg each! While the adult crocodiles are dangerous and you should not touch them, you’ll get to hold and take pictures with baby crocodiles here.
How to Get to Johor
Johor, the southernmost state, ranks among the country’s main transportation hubs. It is 368km from Kuala Lumpur and borders Singapore. You can fly, drive or take the train or ferry here as it is connected by a comprehensive transportation network.
Senai International Airport in Johor serves major cities in Southeast Asia and parts of China, Japan, Australia, and the UK. Alternatively, take your flight to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and take a taxi or bus down to Johor.
You can also get to Johor with a bus or train transfer from Singapore Changi Airport, but do note that it will be much more complicated as Singapore is a different country.
There are also flights to Senai Airport from KLIA.
Several buses serve the route between Kuala Lumpur and Johor if you land at KLIA. The journey should take around 4.5 hours. If you land at Senai airport, the bus down to Johor Baru will take 45 minutes in good traffic.
Book your tickets early, and you can book this ride for as little as MYR 10.
There is no direct train from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru, but you can take the ETS train to Gemas, before transferring to a shuttle train service to JB Sentral. Tickets will cost about MYR 17, and will take you about 8 hours.
By Taxi / Grab
By far the priciest way to travel to Johor Bahru from Kuala Lumpur, this will take about 4 hours and will cost you anywhere from MYR 450 to MYR 900.
Be careful of drivers who will try to take advantage of tourists, and charge an exorbitant fare. Make sure you negotiate the price clearly before you embark on the trip.
If you have a car, or have rented one from Kuala Lumpur, head South along the North-South highway, towards Singapore. The signs will point you to Johor Bahru.
If you’re driving up from Singapore, you can get to Johor either by the Woodlands Link or the Tuas Link. The Tuas Link is faster at immigrations, but a further drive. The Woodlands Link brings you to Johor Baru immediately after you clear immigrations.
How to Get Around in Johor
Taxis and Grabi (Malaysia’s Uber) are commonplace in Johor. As long as you have data or are travelling along the urban areas, it should not be an issue finding a taxi to help you get around.
Do note that many taxi drivers may refuse to use their meter, and charge you a pre-arranged fare to get around. If this happens, you can agree to their fare, or hail another cab. Grab fares are fixed and regulated by the company so you don’t have to worry about being overcharged while using their services.
What Are the Ports and Ferry Terminals Near Johor
Ferry terminal to get to Desaru. Close to the Desaru fruit farm, Ostrich farm, Sungai Lebam Wetlands (to watch fireflies) and the Tanjung Balau Fisherman Museum.
Primarily a ferry terminal to take bumboats to nearby destinations such as Singapore’s Changi Point or ferry services to Batam and Bintan in Indonesia.
Tanjung Pengelih was home to a World War II British Operations Centre. With pillboxes visible from the side of the road, this is a place for war buffs to learn about the Pacific War from the Malayan standpoint.
Tanjung Pelepas is a port near LEGOLAND and Tanjung Piai.
A Port near Pasir Gudang.
Where to Stay in Johor
Most of the places to see in Johor are in Johor Baru, so unless you plan to spend a few days at a resort, stay within the city centre of Johor Bahru. There are a number of accommodations across all budgets in the city, so pick one that’s close to the city centre.
If you’re planning to spend all your time near the beaches or resorts, there are a number of hotels nearby that should suit your purpose. Do note though that luxury options are usually found either in a resort or near the city centre.
What to Eat in Johor
Although Johor is not known for its unique cuisine, it still has a lot to offer those visiting Malaysia for the first time. Visitors can start by sampling the flavorful curries served at various restaurants that are original and timeless in their taste. Desserts and baked products are also a favorite with major bakeries in the area serving delicious cakes and ice-cream options.
To get a taste of the local food, consider buying from street vendors that line up every night to sell fresh meals.
Who is the Best Travel Companion to Johor
Traveling to Johor for a solo trip is a great way to explore the city and discover its hidden gems. On the other hand, the city is tranquil and captivating making it the perfect place for honeymooning couples and those celebrating an anniversary. The theme parks and beach resorts around also make it suitable for family weekend getaways.
Overall, Johor is a place worth visiting for short trips so that you enjoy the beauty it has to offer.