10 Best Things to Do in Johor Bahru (Malaysia)

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Any history buff will also enjoy the number of fascinating museums in Johor Bahru or you can spend time eating your way around the city. Like much of Malaysia, Johor Bahru has a delicious local street food scene, and some of the bakeries here are famous for having been in operation for decades.

Johor Bahru is a Malaysian town that sits just across from the border with Singapore. As is the case with many border towns, it had a rather seedy reputation for years before cleaning up its act and developing a great range of new family friendly attractions that have helped its popularity to soar.

If you are in Singapore and looking for a quick day trip then Johor Bahru is a great choice, and you will find a number of cutting-edge malls, bars, and eateries here. If you want to enjoy some of the history of this area however, then the city has a good range of historic and cultural sites, many of which date from the time of the British colonial period.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Johor Bahru:

1. See the animals at the Johor Zoo

Johor Zoo was one of the first zoos to be built in Southeast Asia and dates from 1928. There are over a hundred different species of animals here and you can expect to find gorillas, elephants, lions, and flamingoes, to name just a few examples of the fauna on show.

There are also bird and reptile houses at the zoo and a number of eateries dotted around in case you fancy a bite to eat.

If you are travelling with children then this is an excellent pick and there are also opportunities to interact with some of the animals during feeding times.

2. Explore Pasir Gudang Kite Museum

Opened in 2002, the Pasir Gudang Kite Museum, or Muzium Layang-Layang as it is called in Malay, has the claim to fame of being the first museum in Malaysia to be completely dedicated to the history and cultural impact of these colorful kites.

As a result you will find a number of galleries with information about how layang-layang evolved and are made, as well as posters and videos about kite flying.

There is also an annual Kite Festival in Pasir Gudang and you will spot the museum a mile off as it has a quirky windmill structure on its roof.

This also serves to generate electricity to run the museum and if you are looking for a quirky attraction in Johor Bahru then this is a great pick.

3. Relax at a spa

As is the case with many border towns, Johor Bahru is known for its spas.

As such, if you are looking for a way to relax and unwind while you are in town, then you will have come to the right place, and you will find spas all over the city.

One of the best known venues is a chain called Wang Zu Bu Luo and most of the spas in town offer similar services.

These include massages, facials, manicures, and more traditional treatments such as ear candling and cupping.

4. Sunbathe on Desaru Beach

Johor Bahru is next to the water and looks across to the Strait of Johor.

As a result, you will find a long strip of sand along the coastline here and one of the best places to take it all in is on Desaru Beach.

A day on the beach may be just the ticket in Johor Bahru if you are looking for a place to relax away from the main hubs which are often filled with bars, clubs, restaurants, and shopping malls.

Some of the activities that you can enjoy here include going for an exhilarating banana boat ride or you can have a go at jet skiing.

This area is also known for its beach resorts if you want to stay in Johor Bahru a little longer.

5. Go shopping at the Johor Premium Outlets

One of the big reasons that visitors flock to Johor is for the bargain shopping opportunities here, the best of which are found at the Johor Premium Outlets.

This shopping mall style complex carries a huge range of international and local brands all of which are sold at competitive prices and there are also some eateries and cafes here so you can get a bite to eat in between all the shopping.

6. Enjoy the art at the Johor Bahru Art Gallery

The Johor Bahru Art Gallery is located in a building that dates from 1910 and this is a great place to come if you want to know a little more about Malaysian art work.

The gallery has a range of different kinds of art on show such as Islamic calligraphy as well as ceramics, weaponry, and even ancient bank notes and coins.

You will also find some modern paintings on display and the building is topped with a thatched roof and has a large ceremonial drum at its entrance.

7. Visit Danga Bay

Danga Bay is a waterfront complex that has a range of dining and lifestyle attractions.

It is a very popular spot for tourists in Johor Bahru as it is also the home of the Danga World Petting Zoo which is smaller than the main zoo in Johor but has animal shows where younger visitors can get up close to the animals.

Danga World Theme Park is also located in the Danga Bay Complex and has around 20 rides such as a scenic Ferris wheel and spinning tea cups.

8. Istana Bukit Serene Johor Bahru

Istana Bukit Serene is now the official residence of the Sultan of Johor and as such it is not open to the public.

Many people still come here however to check out the exterior and you will find an arch here topped with a large model of the crown of the Sultan and you can also check out the manicured lawns from the outside.

The palace dates from 1933 and was built in the Art Deco style and as such it is a riot of interesting carvings and is topped with a main tower that soars to a height of 35 meters.

9. Have fun at Legoland Malaysia

Anyone traveling with children should make sure not to miss Legoland Malaysia which has some 40 different rides that younger visitors will love.

The park opened in 2012 and there is an adjoining water park here where you can cool off with a range of water related rides and pools.

Some of the highlights at the parks include bumper cars and planes as well as a laser quest maze.

This is one of the most popular theme parks in Johor Bahru so expect it to be busy whenever you visit.

10. Walk along Jalan Tan Hiok Nee

Jalan Tan Hoik Nee is named after one of the founding fathers of Johor Bahru and is also known for being one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city.

It is here that you will find a number of delicious cafes and restaurants and there is also a high concentration of antique shops dotted along Jalan Tan Hiok Nee.

The architecture is also spectacular here and you can expect traditional Chinese style shop houses as well as a number of colonial buildings.

COVID-19 Safety Protocol4 Theme Park located in Johor Bahru

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