I’ve always felt super lucky to live in Singapore, simply because of the geographic proximity to so many wonderful vacationing spots around the region – Hanoi (a new favorite of mine), Seoul, Taiwan, Japan and so many more…
But when I have only a spare day and can’t jet off on a plane for a vacation, there’s plenty of alternatives too – such as a day trip to Johor Bahru (JB) conveniently located across the Causeway or Batam (which is another post all together)!
How to get to JB?
1) The BUS
The most common way I have personally gotten myself across to JB is by taking the bus 950 from Woodlands Regional Interchange to Kotaraya II Terminal – which basically brings you to the JB customs which is linked to the City Square Mall.
For people staying all over the island, I always recommend friends to this site for bus services to bring you across the Causeway!
2) THE TRAIN
It’s a quick 5 minute train ride from Woodlands Train Checkpoint to JB Sentral by the KTM shuttle. And the amazing thing, the train ticket costs only S$5 from Woodlands and RM5 from Johor Bahru. Buy your Shuttle Tebrau train tickets online at here. Payment will be in Malaysian ringgit and can be made by Singapore credit card. Remember to print it out to show the KTM staff at the checkpoint.
The shuttle has 7 trips to and fro each day. Check out the schedule below:
What Do I Get Up to In JB?
There is a whole variety of cafes all over JB town along Jalan Trus & Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, that I cannot seem to find enough time to visit! It’s the best activity to get up to for foodies, simply because the food is amazing (at least for the breakfast sets that I’ve been getting all along) and the prices are SUPER pocket friendly – I usually spend under SGD 20 for a full brunch get up (drinks and all) with two people.
A few that I’ve visited and would recommend:
Faculty of Caffeine
Address: 106, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor
Opening Hours: 9pm – 6pm daily
The Replacement – Lodge & Kitchen
Address: 33, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm daily
Catching up on Movies
Catch the latest blockbusters and festive films at the modern cineplexes in JB (Cathay at City Square Mall and MBO at KSL) at a fraction of the price of catching them on screen in Singapore – max of RM 15 in Couple seats on weekends for blockbusters!
Pamper Your Hair
There is a whole variety of hair salons both at City Square Mall and KSL, from the common chains we are familiar with in Singapore such as Jean Yip, Protrim, Reds Hairdressing to Korean-inspired salons.
On many occasions, we just walk around the malls to check out the packages that are most reasonably priced and just set off to do like any thing and everything, from spontaneous hair cuts, hair treatments to coloring etc. The last time I was there, I managed to get a hair cut, hair treatment and full blow & dry for about SGD 40 -AMAZING OR WHAT!
Nails Nails Nails
It’s pretty much the same deal for the nail salons. They are a pop a plenty, all over the malls, no particular favorites, my girlfriends and I usually just spot which ones have the best deals for the weekend. For my Christmas nails I managed to get a gel manicure with nail art (above) and a normal pedicure with color, for just about SGD 30-40 as well.
Singing your hearts out
For KTV lovers, you will not believe the amazing package deals, fantastic sound systems and latest updated hits that the KTV chains in JB boasts of. Whenever I have more an a couple of hours to spare, I always head for the KTV in JB.
Definitely something always on my mind when I head across the Causeway, is to get a good solid pampering session. There’s my favorite massage salon Tian You Foot Relaxing Centre that’s situated no where near walking distance to the malls, so we only get to visit when a friend drives.
On all the other occasions in the malls, I tend to frequent the chains for a quality-assured massage, such as my favorite Thai Odyssey (for Thai Massage) & QS Reflexology & Therapy (Traditional Chinese Massage). The non-chain massage outlets tend to offer better prices and packages, however after a few bad experiences, I prefer to stick with the chains for a level of assurance of the massage experience.
It’s usually a very decent price (no where near those of Thai & Indonesia standards of course) for an enjoyable hour or two of relaxation, so why not pamper yourself?
Getting Your Zi Char Fix
And last but not least, how could we end a day trip to our neighboring land of good food without getting our tummies filled to the brim with mouth-watering, artery clogging delicious zi char goodies.
San Low Seafood Restaurant – my friends are in deep love with the famous San Low Fried Bee Hoon which is charred and crispy and moist all at the same time. Personally, I don’t take too well to the charred flavor, so I tend to prefer the other dishes (seafood and all).
Restaurant Teck Sing – This is possibly my favorite restaurant in JB, beloved for their Teck Sing Paper Baked Chicken (the flesh literally falls off the bones) and exquisitely made Curry Fish Head, and a whole other variety of homemade dishes. I try to make it a point to visit every time I head in.
Taman Sentosa – I’m not exactly sure of the actual address, but any taxi driver should be able to bring you there. It’s basically an area with streets and streets of food stalls, and alot of zi char stalls! We usually get there by car, and we don’t remember any stall in particular, but I haven’t recalled having a bad meal here before! And seafood is SUPER CHEAP & GOOD here.
Restoran Soon Soon Heng Bak Kut Teh – Can’t remember too much of this, as the last time I had it was about a year ago. But it was near the KSL shopping mall, and always jammed packed with people, and I’ve checked online to find pretty much good reviews for it. And so it makes it on the list too. (Address: 43, Jalan Serigala, Taman Abad 80250)
TAKE A DAY OFF AND EXPLORE JB SOON!
There are probably plenty other places one could visit while in JB (after all, it is a HUGE state), but without a car, these are pretty much activities I can manage to cover over a day! Hope this provides some inspiration on what to do for your next trip into JB!
When I finally get a chance to try out other exciting activities such as go-karting and laser tag in JB, I will be sure to update all about it here! 🙂