Cheap Flights to Johor Bahru
Once just a stopover for visitors heading to and from Singapore across the causeway, Johor Bahru has reinvented itself as a vibrant town with a host of cultural activities to keep visitors enthralled.
Perched on the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula, JB (as it's called by insiders) is a pleasant city to explore with its rich assortment of mosques, museums, art galleries, Chinese and Indian temples, cafes, bars and restaurants.
One especially lovely spot to stroll through is the Gardens by the Bay park with its 101 hectares of green space with three waterfront gardens. Another must visit is the Istana Besar or Grand Palace which stands in lovely 53-hectare gardens.
Johor Bahru is also a great place for the kids with its Legoland and Angry Birds theme park as well as Hutan Bandar (Jungle in the City): a playground with a pool.
It's also the gateway to the state's attractions including Desaru beach resort and Gunung Ledang, Endau Rompin and Kota Tinggi national parks. Other treats include the Kota Tinggi waterfalls and the water village at Kukup.
JB comes alive at festival time with a few special fiestas of its own as well as all the Malay ones.
Things to do in Johor Bahru
Johor Bahru is not the most scenic of cities but packs enough sights to keep you busy for several days.
Start off by visiting Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque. Located on a hill overlooking the Straits of Johor. It's striking both for its size -- it can hold 2000 worshippers -- and for its unique blend of Victorian and Moorish architecture.
Johor Bahru's pasar malam or night markets are pleasant to browse in the cool of the evening as sea breezes waft in from the causeway. The main market, known as pasar karat, is right in the centre of town along Tan Hiok Nee Road. Browse for garments, handicrafts, antiques and stop off for sustenance at trendy cafés and eateries.
In the north of the state, the fishing village at Mersing is the embarkation point for boats to the lovely Tioman Island in the South China Sea. With its colourful coral and many shipwrecks, the island is great for scuba diving and is also home to a turtle hatchery.
Events in Johor Bahru
Johor Bahru's location in multicultural Malaysia ensures a packed calendar of events with something to enjoy almost every month. In addition, some vibrant fiestas are unique to the region.
Johor International Kite Festival. This breezy event draws kite enthusiasts from around the world to compete in flying their creations in Pasir Gudang in late February. Attendees can also visit the Pasir Gudang Kite Museum in the grounds.
Deepavali. This lovely festival of lights sees Indian houses around the city decked out with a myriad of twinkling oil lamps to welcome Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. Johor Bahru's Indian community dress up in their finest and get together for feasts.
*Hungry Ghosts Festival. Held on a date determined by the lunar calendar (usually in October), this event sees the Chinese appeasing their ancestors who are thought to return to earth at this time. They burn incense and leave food out for the souls of the departed.