Travel . Lifestyle . Dining


1 Day Johor Bahru Itinerary / Planning the Perfect day trip to JB

The frequency of H & I visits JB has increased over the years. From once a year to once every few months. Trip to JB always ends with a good meal and massage. With the new shopping mall and bubble tea store opening up every quarter in Johor Bahru, there’s always something new for us to explore. Bookmark this page as I will update this page by area and whenever I try something new!

Getting Your Sim Card

Getting the sim card not only helps us to search for the high rating restaurants on google, but it also helps us to navigate and get around without getting lost. We used to purchase the 10 RM sim card from the mobile store but it always expires before we can top up. Now we use data roaming from Starhub. These days, we purchased the $5 for 1 GB data-roaming plan from local telco. I wouldn’t say it’s the best but at least travelling to JB is now a lot easier. 

If you are a frequent traveller to JB, you may want to consider getting the 10RM Sim card with Hotlink. Do note that not all outlet carries the 10RM sim card especially major shopping malls. We got ours in one ulu mall that we stop by while we were on our way to Pontian.

Plan your trip in advance
Even though free and easy is fun and exciting but if you want to fully utilize the trip and enjoy in JB, I highly recommend you to plan in advance. Purchase your train ticket to avoid the massive jam during the weekend. Weekend tickets are sold out fast. Faster fingers win!

Other than just getting your train ticket, one can also book your massage in advance. The popular ones are always fully booked for the weekend! We usually visit Thai Odyssey because the standard is consistent. Where is your favourite massage place in Johor Bahru?

Where to go to Johor Bahru?
Deciding where to go in Johor Bahru is always the first question that comes to our mind. No doubt driving and exploring JB is easy. However, to fully utilize your day trip, I highly recommend you to stay in one or two area max. We have grouped the things to do, shopping mall and even some of our top pick for food in the same area here. After all, you brave through the jam to enjoy the day!

Most importantly, know when NOT to visit JB. The traffic across the causeway is no joke. If you really plan to travel any long weekend, please set off real early! The jam lasted around 3 hours even we set off at 5am. Can’t imagine those who set off later than this.

Bandar Johor Bahru/ Jalan Dhoby
After you exit the immigration, you will reach Bandar Johor Bahru also known as JB Sentral to some. It’s perfect for the first-timer to JB and someone who does not want to wander too far off. You can even explore this area without data roaming! Just load your map before you cross over and start exploring by foot!

Shopping Malls near Bandar Johor Bahru / Jalan Dhoby
City Square Mall/ Kotmar JBCC Shopping centre
City square mall & Kotmar is the mall that is frequently visited by Singaporeans because it is located right in front of immigration. You can find shops such as Uniqlo, Daiso, Sephora, H&M and etc. This mall is perfect for visitors who just want to catch a movie, get a good rub and have lunch in JB. If this is your first time to JB, City square mall is the best place to start.

Places to eat near Bandar Johor Bahru / Jalan Dhoby
Café the street along Jalan Ah Fook
Jalan Ah fook used to be a popular area before the Malaysia government decide to redesign their immigration route. These days, many cafes lined along the street in this area. Hit and misses along the way! Skip flower in the window because not only it will waste your calories, they are pretty expensive too.

The Replacement - Lodge & Kitchen

Image Credit: The Replacement Lodge
Inspired by Melbourne café scene, The Replacement was started in 2015. Since then, they have immerged as the big brother in the café scene in JB. With beautiful and simple interior design, the café is had a very homely vibe. Not only did they win the recent coffee champion hosted by the common man, but they also serve delicious and quality food.

Address:  33, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hour: Daily, 10am – 6pm

Hiap Joo Banana Cake
This old school Banana Cake is very popular among Singaporeans and mothers. The old school style banana cake is baked with wood-fire oven making the cake more flavorful as the heat is distributed evenly. The cake is moist and soft too! Plus, they make a great gift for your friends and neighbours too!

To be honest, we bought it multiple times and there are some days the cake does not taste better than the other days. Hopefully, they will have consistent quality with the increased of demand. One way to see if the cake is good that day is to buy one and try before buying in bulk! 

Address: 13, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hour: 
7:30 am – 5:30pm (Tuesday to Saturday)
12 noon – 5:30 pm (Monday)
8am – 12pm (Sunday)

It Roo Cafe Famous Chicken Chop
It Roo Café sells one of the best chicken chops in Johor and I’m sold too. Not only the fried chicken is crispy, but the meat is also very tender! My personal favourite got to be the grilled version! Meat is grilled to perfection and sauce is dope too!

Address: 17, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hour: Daily, 12 pm – 9:30 pm

金龍咖哩魚頭 Kam long Curry Fishhead
Curry Fish head fan will love this bowl of Claypot curry fish head. Together with the curry fresh fish head and cabbage, one can have it with many bowls of rice! Highly recommend one to visit during weekday to avoid the long queue!

Address: 74, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hour: Daily except for Monday, 8 am – 3:30pm

Attractions near Bandar Johor Bahru  
Johor Bahru Zoo
Image Credit: Sham Hardy
If you are not planning to watch a movie or go for a massage, visit Johor Bahru Zoo! For just 2RM Adult and 1RM for kids, one can take an educational tour around the Zoo! Expect to see over 100 species of animal in one of the oldest Zoo in Malaysia. Remember to hydrate yourself well in the hot sun.

Address: Jalan Dato Jaafar, Taman Dato Onn, 80350 Johor Bahru, Johor Darul Ta’zim
Opening hours: Daily, 9am – 6pm

Bazar Karat Pasar Malam (Night Market)
We chance upon the Saturday night market during one of our last-minute decision to stay over in JB. After our late supper/ dinner, we visited at Jalan Wong Ah Fook area.  Unlike the items we saw mostly were mainly new, the term Pasar Karat actually refers to second-hand items. 

We went there on a Saturday night - around 10pm and find that the night market is still very crowded. Stall ranges from fashion apparels to household items. You can even have your meal fix there. Unfortunately, we were too full and most of the food was not to our liking. Overall, I think it is a nice place to explore but we doubt we will be back.

Bazar Karat Pasar Malam
6pm to 12am, Every day except Friday
6, 20, Jalan Segget, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Accommodation near Bandar Johor Bahru / Jalan Dhoby
Hilton Double Tree
Hilton Double Tree is our top choice to stay whenever we feel like staying a night in JB. Not only the room is clean and comfortable, but the cookies are also dope! Plus, being HH gold entitled for a free upgrade! The only disadvantage is its location. Thankfully, with private hire, getting around is not difficult.

Average Price per night: S$120/night

Amari Hotel

Amari Hotel has one of the best locations near the immigration checkpoint as it is accessible by foot. The rooms are minimal but they are great options if location is your priority because the price per night is on the higher side. For the price of S$120/night, I was expecting more.

Swiss-Inn Johor Bahru
During our last minute trip to JB, we book a night at swiss-inn Johor Bahru. Although the location is not ideal, the rooms are clean and comfortable. To get around, booking Grab is the best option. For the price of S$40/night, I think the room is definitely worth the price. 

Pelangi / Taman Sentosa/ Tebrau Jaya
Long before the help of data roaming and GPS, Taman Sentosa is the place we frequent the most as a kid. Horror stories of kids being taken away or car is stolen is very often found in this area. Thankfully, things ain’t that bad now (I hope so!)

Places to eat near Pelangi / Taman Sentosa/ Tebrau Jaya
Forget about the Wanton noodle or Abalone Noodle, you can find delicious wanton noodle almost anywhere in Malaysia. Not that it is bad, it’s just that the one sold here is over-price and catered to Singaporeans. There are lots of delicious food hidden around this area and Bak Kut Teh is my favourite.

Ah Soon Bak Kut Teh/亞顺肉骨茶
Ah Soon BKT is my favourite in JB because not only the soup is delicious, the service is really good too! Ah Soon BKT is different from the one opposite KSL, so do not mix up the shop!

Ah Soon Bak Kut Teh/亞顺肉骨茶
141, Jalan Keris 1, Taman Sri Tebrau, 80500 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Daily 8am - 4pm, close on Monday

Korean Family Restaurant
Our favourite Korean restaurant in JB! Not only they serve authentic Korean dishes, but their banchan is also great too! Our all-time favourite is the seafood pancake! Crispy and top with lots of ingredients!

Address: 185, Jalan Sri Pelangi, Taman Pelangi, 80400 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hour: Daily, 12pm - 11pm 

Yu Kee X O Roast Meat Restaurant
Photo Credit: Yu Kee XO
There are a few Yu Kee XO roast meat in JB and I’m really glad that they open one outlet at KSL. Star dish includes roast meat and char siew! Do head over early because there are a few time we went there at night and they were all sold out!

Address: 8, Jalan Serigala, Taman Century, Jalan Serigala, Taman Century, 80250 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Daily, 10:30am – 9pm

Restaurant Teck Sing
纸包鸡also known as herbal chicken wrapped in paper is a popular dish in Restaurant Teck Sing! Other than herbal chicken, there are other star dish includes herbal drunken prawn and eggplant with garlic! Overall, I find that this place is a great option for Chinese food!

Address: 3&5, Jalan Sutera 1, Taman Sentosa, 80150 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Daily, 11am – 9 pm

深夜食糖 SYST
After dinner, one can visit 深夜食糖 SYST for a bowl of a traditional dessert. This dessert shop has a beautiful nostalgic design which makes you feel like you are in Hong Kong Char Chan Ting. The sesame paste I had that night was smooth and not overly sweet! Other than traditional dessert, one can find Hong kong Noodle and Toast. Average food quality but the ambience is great! Definitely, a place to chill since they open till 2am.

Address: Holiday Villa, 1st Floor Shop 25, 260, Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Taman Abad, 80250 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Daily, 3pm – 2am

Shopping Malls near Pelangi / Taman Sentosa/ Tebrau Jaya
KSL Shopping Mall

KSL the shopping mall is the mall that H and frequent the most because it is not too far from immigration and there are a supermarket, cinema and massage parlour. Although not the cheapest place you can get your stuff in JB but it’s the one mall that you can get almost everything. Plus, there’s lots of good food around this area!

Pelangi Plaza 
This mall used to be a hit during the 1990s and my mom even tells me stories of how my aunt brought her to this mall during one of their JB trips. Pelangi Mall has lost its charm even after revamp. There is a couple of fast food restaurant and a cold storage supermarket that sells almost the same price as Singapore. & that makes me wonder why people even shop there!

Giant Hypermarket Leisure Mall

Giant supermarket is a great place to go if you are looking to stock up your household items. Not only the items there reasonably price, but there’s also a wide variety of things to choose from! Plus, they are one of the supermarkets that is located nearer to the immigration.

Address: 1.01, Pelangi Leisure Mall, 01, Jalan Serampang, Taman Pelangi, 80050 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

KSL Monday Night Market
There is a Pasar Malam along KSL every Monday. Visiting the Pasar Mala definitely brings back nostalgic memories! You can find all types of hawker lined along the street! From mua chee to fried carrot cake, you will be spoilt for choice!

Address: Outside KSL, in front of Coffee bean
Time: 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Accommodation near Pelangi / Taman Sentosa/ Tebrau Jaya
KSL Hotel & Resort
Strategically located just beside the KSL shopping mall, KSL hotel and resort has the best location if you are looking to visit the mall and night market. Kids can enter the play area free too! Although many had said that the hotel is dated, there is no doubt the location is one of the best in this area.

Average Price Per night: S$100/night 

Holiday Villa Hotel
Strategically located in the prime area, Holiday Villa have positive feedbacks on the comfort and cleanliness of the room. Plus, they even have a stunning infinity pool! However, the price is on the higher end.

Average Price Per night: S$120/night

Bliss Boutique Hotel
The first hotel I stayed in JB was Bliss Boutique Hotel. It’s a no-frill budget hotel that provides minimal comfort for all guest. Rooms were clean and the design was simple. Best of all, the hotel is located near Sentosa and one can have a superb dinner/supper around this area. Definitely worth the price paid!  

Average Price Per night: S$60/night

Taman Mount Austin/ Taman Desa Tebrau

Pretty cafes and Instagram worthy restaurants can be found in this area. Mount Austin is full of life and the hippy area in town. We even ask a driver where do most locals go for a drink and unwind, his answer is Mount Austin.

Places to eat near Taman Mount Austin/ Taman Desa Tebrau

Restoran Gim Cheng Dim Sum (锦成茶楼)
Restoran Gim Cheng Dim Sum still makes a great dim sum place. There is a wide range of dimsum for one to choose! Love the steam ytf style dim sum and egg tart! Do note that it can be very crowded during the weekend! Be there early to avoid disappointment and crowd! 

Restoran Gim Cheng Dim Sum
Address: 2, 2, 1, Jalan Sagu 36, Taman Daya, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Daily 7am–1pm Except for Wednesday

People & Places Café
People & Places Café is the most trendy café in 2019 because Jay Chou had visited this café when he was in town. Not only the insta-worthy design has attracted many, but the food quality is also good. We ordered a couple of finger food and find that it is delicious but the portion is small and the price is on the higher end. Do note that it is very crowded during weekend and if you are looking some place to chill, you may want to visit other cafés in Mount Austin.

People & Places Café 
6, Jalan Kencana Emas 2/3, Kawasan Perindustrian Tebrau 3, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia Opening Hour: 10am - 6pm, Sunday to Thursday / 10am - 9pm, Friday and Saturday

Mok Mok, Bloom Café
Photo Credit: Bloom by Mokmok
If you have visited Mok Mok in Pelangi, you will be glad to know that they have opened another outlet in Mount Austin. Mok Mok not only has beautiful ambience, but they are also reasonably priced too. A big juicy burger and fried onion is dope! However, their dessert is disappointing. Thus, if you are looking for dessert, you might want to give this place a miss

Mok Mok, Bloom Café
Address: 87, Jalan Mutiara Emas 2A, Taman Mount Austin, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hour: Daily 12pm - 1130pm 

Jeju KOREA BBQ Restaurant
Image Credit: Jeju Korean BBQ Restaurant
Highly recommended to us by one of our JB friends, Jeju Korean BBQ restaurant is a popular restaurant in JB that serves up to 15 types of banchan for its guest! The BBQ meat is marinated in sauce and perfect when grilled.

Jeju Korean BBQ
Address: Jalan Austin Heights 8/7, Taman Mount Austin, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hour: Daily, 11:30am–10:30pm

Shopping Mall near Taman Mount Austin/ Taman Desa Tebrau

Aeon Tebrau City
My family and I used to visit this Aeon outlet during the school holidays. Coming back here definitely brings back memories. Other than Aeon Departmental store, one can catch movie at TGV Tebrau City here.

Tesco Extra Tebrau City
Right beside Aeon Tebrau City, there is a Tesco hypermarket. Although dated, the hypermarket is well stocked. There is a wide variety of items sold here and items sold there are usually slightly cheaper than the ones you can find in Aeon.

Ikea Open its first outlet in Johor Bahru in 2017 and has attracted many due Scandinavian style furniture and reasonable price. Do note that if you are purchasing big ticket items or more than S$150, you need to declare and pay GST when entering Singapore.

Attractions near Taman Mount Austin/ Taman Desa Tebrau
Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park
Family with kids can visit Austin Height water and adventure park. Adventure Park has different difficulties level and suitable for many. From water activities to roller coaster, one can spend an entire day there. You can check the price list here 

Address: 71, Jalan Austin Heights 8/1, Taman Mount Austin, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hour: 10am - 6pm

Accommodation Taman Mount Austin/ Taman Desa Tebrau
KSL Hotspring Resort
Combine your café hopping trip with a stay at KSL hot spring resort. The newly built hotel is home to 308 rooms and has an indoor hot spring spa that allows it, guest to unwind after a long day of shopping in JB. The hot spring water from Jasin and transported to KSL Hotspring resort via water tank truck.

Average Price Per night: S$60/night 

Midori Concept Hotel
Situated in Mount Austin, Midori Concept is popular among the youngster. Located near water adventure park, one can even walk to Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park. Besides, there are many restaurant and café near the hotel which all hotel guest to explore even late at night!

Average Price Per night: S$80/night 

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