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Johor Baru

Introduction to Johor Bahru, Malaysia

By: Melissa Lin

 
Johor Bahru, capital of Johor in the South of West Malaysia, is the second most densly populated city after Kuala Lumpur. The gateway to Singapore, both cities are linked by a bridge slightly over 2 km in length. This bustling city has numerous shopping and entertainment centres. Although there is little in Johor Bahru to attract tourists, this regional transportation hub is an excellent stop for travelers making their way to Singapore, or to the natural attractions of Endau Rompin National Park, Tioman Island or Kukup.
 
 

 

 

 

Johor Baru

Central Johor Baru, by: Saharuddin Adnan

 

 

 

 

The capital city of Johor province, Johor Bahru is a regional transportation and industrial hub. Besides being the gateway to neighboring Singapore, and a starting point from which to explore the rich natural attractions of Johor, there is little in Johor Bahru to attract the adventurous tourist.
 
Johor, meaning Jewel in Malay, sits next to Bahru, which means new. Johor Bahru is the second most densly populated urban area after Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur. Singapore is across the causeway, linked to Johor Bahru by a bridge slightly over 2 kilometers in length. This close proximity, as well as the strength of the Singaporean currency to the Malaysian, (1 Sing Dollar = 2.3 Malaysian Ringgits), see many Singaporean visitors entering Johor Bahru for entertainment and to dine and shop. This constant and steady influx of Singaporean visitors has brought about a vibrant economy and rapid development. This is particularly true of the constant sprouting of shopping centers and mega malls not only in the city center, but in the suburban areas as well.
 
Johor Baru Cultural Connection and recreation
Apart from shopping and dining, the traveler may engage in some cultural or sporting activity whilst in this city. Located near the city center, in the lush and verdant Istana Garden, Royal Abu Bakar Museum was built in 1982. Completed in 1866, the Museum is built in the Renaissance style. The museum, built by local artisans, was supervised by a European architect. Pictures and information about Johor’s royal family, as well as silverware, ornate antiques and souvenirs of dignitaries and royals are on display in this museum. After getting your fill of Johor’s history, relax and stroll around the beautiful Istana garden. The gardens are a popular site for local joggers and nature lovers. It is also a favorite spot for couples to pose for wedding photographs. The Istana garden is home to some unusual local and foreign plants and trees, such as the Flame of the Forest and The Cannon ball tree. One may also contemplate the not too distant city line of Singapore over the waters of the Johor Straits from this garden.
 
Next to the Istana garden is the Johor Bahru Zoo. Though the entry is only two ringgits, the Zoo covers a small area and is poorly maintained, with roughly a hundred species of different animals.
 
More artifacts of Malay history and heritage may be viewed at The Johor Bahru Art Gallery. This includes traditional Malay clothing, calligraphy, ceramics, artifacts and paintings.
 
To experience Chinese history, visit the Johor Bahru Chinese Heritage Museum. This 4-storey building exhibits traditional wedding garments, old photographs, furniture and other artifacts.
 
Centre of attention
The Danga Bay area is a shopping and recreation hub. One may rent a paddleboat to explore the waters in the straits of Johor, or join their cruise. There is also a petting zoo, and a theme park. The traveler interested in Malaysia’s traditions may also wander to the nearby Rumah Limas. These are traditional wooden Malay houses named after the eight districts in Johor.
In these houses, one may encounter traditional cuisine, cultural shows, traditional arts and crafts, shop for souvenirs and enjoy a massage or spa.
 
In conclusion Johor Bahru might not be on the top of your list, but you are more than likely to pass their on or from your way to Singapore. It is a wonderfully chaotic and colorful comparison to the ordered life of Singapore, and serves as an excellent link for travelers keen on exploring the rich natural attractions of Johor.
 




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