13 Places to Visit in Johor Bahru this Reading week!

Written by: Andrea Tan | BSc Real Estate Part 3

Johor Bahru, home to the University of Reading Malaysia campus, is a Malaysian town located a stone throw away from the city of Singapore. Like other cities or towns, it has a terrific selection of new family-oriented attractions that have helped its popularity grow exponentially. Any history buffs would appreciate the numerous fascinating museums in Johor Bahru, or instead, you might prefer spending your time eating your way around the city. Johor Bahru, like much of Malaysia, has a delicious local street food scene. For students outside of Johor Bahru (and maybe even those who stay within Johor Bahru), here’s a list of the top 13 places you might want to visit this Reading week or even when taking a break between classes!  

  1. Jalan Tan Hiok Nee

Jalan Tan Hiok Nee is a heritage street, also known as one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city. There are several cafes and restaurants that have been operating for decades, waiting for you to explore. The architecture is remarkable, with traditional Chinese-style shophouses as well as a number of colonial structures. For photography junkies and Instagram lovers, don’t forget to take pictures with all the art murals hidden within the vicinity! If you’re into vintage filmography, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee is a street not to be missed! 

  1. Johor Zoo

The Johor Zoo is a home for more than a hundred species of animals such as gorillas, flamingoes, elephants, lions, horses and others. It is one of the first zoos to be built in Southeast Asia back in 1928. The zoo also offers various activities such as paddling, horse riding and even animal feeding. With only RM2.00, you’ll get to experience extraordinary interaction with wild animals which is affordable and definitely is a decent choice to go for a family trip during weekends. 

  1. Istana Besar

This Royal Palace with the unique architecture of Malay and Western fusion was once the residence of the Sultan of Johor. It was built in 1866 during the time of Sultan Abu Bakar. The Royal Abu Bakar Museum which is located nearby has a collection of antiques and heirlooms which belong to the Royal Family. Looking at the antiques and heirlooms, it feels like travelling in a time machine and bringing you back in time.

  1. Legoland Malaysia

Did you know that Legoland Malaysia is one of the closest attractions to the University of Reading Malaysia? People who are in love with legos would certainly be excited when visiting Legoland. It started operating in 2012 and has 40 different rides which are suitable for younger visitors. The adjoining water park could cool you off with a variety of water-related rides and pools. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Johor Bahru as most of the things are built with legos!

  1. Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque

Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque was built between 1892 and 1900. The architect of the mosque set out to recreate colonial English Victorian architecture, as evidenced by the minarets that resemble British 19th-century clock towers. The mosque also has some Moorish architecture elements with Malay influence as well. If you prefer to visit the religious or historical architecture, make sure you don’t miss this one out! 

  1. Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple

The Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple was the first Hindu building in the world that was made of glass and it is also one of the most significant buildings for the Hindu community in Johor Bahru. Both the interior and exterior are constructed with glass which makes it shine in the sunlight. Don’t skip this on your itinerary if you prefer unusual structures, the pictures are sure to come out breath-taking!

  1. Istana Bukit Serene Johor Bahru

Istana Bukit Serene is the current official residence of the Sultan of Johor hence it is not open to the public. The palace was built in 1933. You might have seen this landmark without realising it. It is sited on the left when you’re driving towards Danga Bay from the University of Reading Malaysia. People would go to visit the exterior and the arch which is topped with the crown of the Sultan. It has a riot of intriguing sculptures and the main tower that rises to a height of 35 metres.

  1. Danga Bay

Danga Bay is a waterfront complex with lots of restaurants and entertainment to choose from. It is a popular tourist attraction in Johor Bahru since it is also home to the Danga World Petting Zoo. This is smaller than Johor’s main zoo but features animal shows where young children may get up close with the animals. The Danga Bay Complex also houses Danga World Theme Park, which includes roughly 20 rides including a picturesque Ferris Wheel and spinning teacups. This would be the perfect location for cute dates, wholesome family outings and lots more!

  1. Johor Premium Outlets (JPO)

Visitors come to Johor for a variety of reasons, one of them is to shop for bargains. JPO offers a range of international and local brands such as Gucci, Coach, Balenciaga, Jimmy Choo, Fendi etc. They are sold at competitive prices and you could grab something to eat at the restaurants during your shopping time. Cotton On is definitely the go-to place in JPO! I often seek the steal deals and my wardrobe is all filled up with clothes now. If you’re a shopaholic like me, you definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on any deals in JPO!

  1. War Memorial

You could visit the War Memorial which is located at Jalan Abu Bakar. It is composed of two obelisks dedicated to servicemen who sacrificed during the First and Second World Wars. It is also well-known for its beautiful views of the Johor Strait. History buffs would absolutely love it here. You’ll go home with lots of new stories to tell!

  1. Desaru Beach

The city centre is often busy with bars, clubs, restaurants and retail malls. When it’s time to take a break, Desaru is the perfect place to have all of the fun. Going on an adventurous banana boat trip or trying your hand at jet skiing are just a few of the things available here. This area is also famous for the beach resorts, you could decide whether you want to stay at Desaru a little longer. The Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast is offering an RM50 entrance fee for walk-in and online purchases. However, this promotion is valid until 5/12/2021, so get your ticket before it ends! 

  1. Tasik Biru Kangkar Pulai

Plan a morning hike to Tasik Biru Kangkar Pulai and you won’t regret your decision! It is a scenic lake in bright blue colour. The locals would choose to hike in order to catch a glimpse of it. If it is a clear day, you might be able to capture the reflection of the surrounding limestone formation, adding a mirror-like depth to your photo. There are 3 hiking routes available to Tasik Biru Kangkar Pulai. The level of difficulty is between easy and intermediate, the time taken would be about 2 to 3 hours depending on the routes chosen. 

  1. Puteri Harbour

Puteri Harbour is a hub to play, dine, stay and explore. It is facing the Straits of Johor and you can actually see Singapore from here! It has a variety of restaurants and bars which you could enjoy the view of the sunset while dining. Last but not least, it is only about a 5 minutes drive away from the University of Reading Malaysia, hence you could probably hear here to chill and relax anytime, as long as you’re not in the middle of class!

Interested to share your experiences with the rest of the UoRM family? Craft a contributed blog post and email it to us at secretary@rumsa.my!

Disclaimer: All images were sourced on google and does not belong to RUMSA.

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