(Photo Credit: LEGOLAND Malaysia)
Planning a day trip across the Causeway for the entire family? Explore Johor Bahru like a true local with these 5 fun activities.
In need of a short gate away with the family? Good news is, you don’t have to look that far to plan an amazing escape. Just across the Causeway, you’ll be able to find endless possibilities for a memorable and fun-filled day trip.
With the help of booking platform Native, we’ve put together this helpful travel guide to show you how to explore Johor Bahru like a true local. Our recommendations include exploring LEGOLAND Malaysia, feasting on delectable Malaysian cuisines, and finding the best shopping deals in Johor.
Check out our travel guide below to learn more:
1) Let Your Inner Child Run Wild at LEGOLAND Malaysia
(Photo Credit: LEGOLAND Malaysia)
Theme parks are always a good idea when travelling with family, especially when there is a lack of one in Singapore. Promising fun for both young and old, LEGOLAND Malaysia is the country’s first international theme park and the first of its kind in Asia. Although the park was opened in 2012, most Singaporeans don’t even realize how close it is to Singapore. In case you didn’t know, it’s just a 20-minutes’ drive from the Tuas Checkpoint.
For adrenaline junkies, there are several heart-pumping rides for you to hop on. If you aren’t a fan of roller coasters, don’t fret, there are tamer rides as well. If brick-building is something you prefer, you can try your hand at different LEGO building activities around the park. Be sure to check out the display of miniature Asian landmarks to get some inspiration.
(Photo Credit: Smart Destinations)
If the mid-day sun gets too unbearable, you can head to the LEGOLAND Water Park to cool off. Splash around with your family or unleash their imagination by building your own LEGO raft. Once assembled, you can hop on it and float along the park’s lazy river. And yes, there are water slides and other exciting rides for you to enjoy as well.
After a day of fun, hunger will definitely set in. Thankfully, there is a whole range of mouth-watering dining options available. Whether it’s local or Western cuisine, there’s something for everyone in the family.
Address: 7, Jalan Legoland, Medini, 79250 Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: Sun – Friday 10am to 6pm; Sat 10am to 7pm
2) Feast on Aromatic Banana Cakes at Hiap Joo Bakery & Biscuit Factory
(Photo Credit: Hiap Joo Bakery)
Turning a century old in 2019, Hiap Joo Bakery & Biscuit Factory is famous for its assortment of traditional cakes and malt-flavoured breads. As one of Johor’s oldest bakeries, their baked goods are made fresh every day and are all baked in a rustic, hole-in-a-wall wood-fired oven.
Specializing in banana cake, these delectable treats will only be ready by noon. They are so popular that a line often forms even before they are ready. Soft, moist and not overly sweet, they are a must-try when in JB. A big box (10 pieces of banana cake) will set you back by 10RM (approx. S$3.30), while a small box (5 pieces) sells for 5RM (approx. $1.65).
(Photo Credit: I Eat & Eat)
For those of you who don’t fancy banana cake, traditional flavoured breads like red bean, coconut, and peanut are also available. Singaporean travellers will often buy several boxes of baked goods for their friends and family to try back home.
Address: 13, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 7.30am to 5.30pm; Sun 8.30am to 12pm
3) Shop till You Drop at Johor Premium Outlets
(Photo Credit: Lipstiq)
With the amount of shopping you can get done at Johor Premium Outlets, you’ll probably never need to visit Orchard Road again for the entire year. A mere 40 minutes’ drive from the Tuas Checkpoint, the Johor Premium Outlets is one of the largest outlet malls in Southeast Asia. With over 130 different outlet stores, ranging from designer labels like Calvin Klein and Armani to sportswear brands like Adidas and Nike, there’s definitely something for everyone here.
Discount and sales are held all-year round, so you’ll certainly pick up some steals while you’re there. Just remember to bear in mind the GST (Goods and Service Tax) payment when entering back into Singapore. For those unaware, GST will be exempted for goods valued less than S$150 if you’re travelling out of Singapore for less than 48 hours. For those travelling more than 48 hours, GST will be exempted for goods valued up to $600.
Address: Jalan Premium Outlets Indahpura, 81000 Kulai, Johor, Malaysia (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun 10 am to 10pm
4) Revel in the Worlds of Hello Kitty and Thomas the Train Engine
(Photo Credit: Sanrio Hello Kitty World)
Not a fan of LEGO? Don’t worry, because there is more than one theme park in Johor for you to visit. Located at Puteri Harbour, you’ll find Sanrio Hello Kitty Town and Thomas Town, the homes of Hello Kitty and Thomas the Train Engine. The main draw of this theme park is that it’s located indoors and is fully air-conditioned. That means you never need to worry about the sun or wet weather spoiling your family’s fun.
Unlike most theme parks, all the rides here are designed for the family, meaning parents are free to join their kids and go on rides as the entire family. If the little ones get tired, there are several cafes within the theme park for them to rest. There’s even a lounge area with comfortable sofas and massage chairs for the weary to recharge their energy.
(Photo Credit: Thomas Town)
If you’re done exploring the theme park, you can also head down to the Marina Walk, where you can find a broad range of café and restaurants to whet your appetite. If you happen to visit the Marina Walk in the late afternoon, try to stay until the sun sets. It should make for an awesome backdrop for a family photo!
Address: Persiaran Puteri Selatan, Puteri Harbour 79000 Nusajaya, Johor Darul Takzim, Malaysia (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: Wed – Monday 10am to 6pm
5) Eat like a True Johorean at KSL Monday Pasar Malam (Night Market)
(Photo Credit: KSL Resorts)
If you’re ever in JB on a Monday, you should definitely check out the KSL Monday Pasar Malam (Night Market). As its name suggest, this street market only opens on Monday nights. Stretching from KSL Shopping Centre to the Grand Paragon Hotel, you’ll find a wide range of stalls selling cooked food that is not only cheap but also delicious. Most of the food here are inspired by Malaysian cuisine, so you’ll rarely find these kinds of food in Singapore.
(Photo Credit: Exploding Belly)
Foods that you should definitely try include: mee chiam kueh (peanut pancake), steamed buns, muah chee (mochi with peanuts), chwee keuh (water rice cake with preserved radish), fried carrot cake, nasi lemak (coconut rice with fried chicken and sambal chilli), grilled BBQ squid, and tau huay (soya bean pudding). Of course, there are many other mouth-watering treats for you to try.
Once you have stuffed yourself with food, you should also check out the fresh produce section of the night market. You’ll find the freshest fruits and vegetables at prices you wouldn’t believe. This night market also comes with a clothing section, where you can pick out affordable t-shirts, bags, and gifts.
Address: Outside KSL Shopping Centre. 33 Jalan Seladang, Taman Abad, 80250 Johor Bahru, Malaysia (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: Mon from 5.30pm to 10pm
Do you have any other local JB experiences you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below.
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