||Places of Interest
|Johor is the southernmost state of Peninsular Malaysia, with a long coastline flanked by the Straits of Melaka on its west and the South China Sea on the east. Johor Bharu, the state capital, sits at the southern tip.
Its vast landscape is characterised by plantations of pineapple, rubber, coconut and palm oil, punctuated by spectacular national parks, quaint fishing villages, and 5-star sea-side resorts.
Retaining much of its natural splendour, the state has miles of golden sandy beaches, and beautiful offshore islands with clear waters which are excellent for diving, snorkelling and deep-sea fishing. The state is also endowed with several internationally-acclaimed forest reserves. Nature lovers will find the Endau-Rompin National Park located on the Johor-Pahang border, an unforgettable experience.
Johor also has some of the best golf courses and luxury resorts in the country.
It is one of the most developed states in Malaysia. The capital city and royal seat of Johor is Johor Bharu, formerly Tanjung Puteri. The old state capital is Johor Lama. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Takzim ("Abode of Dignity'). It is surrounded by Pahang to the north, Malacca and Negeri Sembilan to the northwest, and the Straits of Johor to the south which is divided by the international border between Malaysia and the Republic of Singapore. Tanjung Piai, in the district of Pontian, is the most southerly point of mainland Asia.
The name "Johor" originated from the Arabic word Jauhar, 'gem/precious stone’. Before the name Johor was adopted, the area south of the Muar River to Singapore Island was known as Ujung Tanah or 'land's end' in Malay, due to its location at the end of the Malay Peninsula. Coincidentally, Johor is the most southerly point of the Asian continental mainland.
Interesting places to visit in Johor includes:-
Johor Bharu can be easily divided into four parts - North, South, East and West.
South - Its main city centre is located on the southern part of the city which has a link to Singapore via the causeway. It is an area with housing estates which has been around for more than three decades.
This stretch of beach, formerly surrounded by virgin jungle, was developed as a tourist resort by the Johor Tenggara Development Authority (KEJORA) This resort is linked to Kota Tinggi by a modern highway and has two first class hotels as well as beach chalets for rental: An 18-hole international standard golf course has also been built and there are facilities for day visitors. On weekends hawker stalls on the normally quiet beach, cater for an inflow of day trippers. There are also facilities for sports such as tennis and canoeing.
Muar is a picturesque town popular for the delicious and inexpensive foods served by food stalls and restaurants. Also known as Bandar Maharani, the town bears a striking resemblance to Malacca geographically, culturally and in terms of their inter-connecting historical and commercial roles. Take a stroll along the tree-lined riverside at Tanjung. There is also a hot spring at Sungai Balang on the way to Batu Pahat.
Situated on the main trunk road running north from Johor Bharu, Batu Pahat is a regional business and conference centre. it is also a favourite resting place for road travellers. a brief stop here should give you a chance to taste a wide range of fruits, groundnuts and other local delicacies as well as to buy souvenirs and curios.
Mersing town is located on the mainland of the picturesque East Coast of Johor, Malaysia. It is the gateway to the unique culture and yet unspoilt flora and fauna of the East Coast of Malaysia, the very first stop for many travellers to Malaysian state of Pahang's Tioman island and the more than 40 other islands located off the coast of the southernmost Malaysian state of Johor. Mersing town is well known for its jetty where passenger ferries depart daily to Tioman Island and other Johor islands such as Pulau Besar, Pulau Tinggi and Pulau Rawa. For those obsessed with the trappings of modernity such as clubs, coffee cafes and shopping malls, it may appear that there is very little to see or do in Mersing but yet Mersing's true attraction is the beauty of its natural environment - the islands, its jungles and the sun, sand and the sea as well as the pace of life it offers amidst the warmth of living in a small town and community - a throwback to the life of Malaysians some 20 to 30 years ago.
Tanjung Piai National Park
Tanjung Piai is an environmental sanctuary, where the earth, sea, plant and animal life exist in complete harmony. This park is home to many species of birds and mangrove dwellers like mangrove crabs, beady-eyed mudskippers and crab-eating macaques. Located 90km south of Johor Bharu’s city centre, Tanjung Piai also features a National Park that gives visitors a glimpse into the mangrove dweller's natural habitat. Entrance fees are RM3 for Malaysians and RM5 for foreign visitors. These entry fees are payable at Tanjung Piai's visitors' complex. Platforms have been built through the park so visitors can enjoy these mangroves in comfort. This peaceful park has become popular as a camping destination, in recent years.
Johor has 8 large islands with numerous smaller ones. Among the popular tourist trappings are:-
Food for Thought
- Pulau Tinggi, Pulau Rawa, Pulau Sibu, Pulau Tengah, and Pulau Pemanggil
Dishes and cuisine in Johor are influenced by Arabs and the surrounding Malay Archipelago. Some of the dishes are a unique blend of ingredients not found anywhere in Malaysia. Sadly, due to their difficult and sometimes complicated recipes, some are rare delights that can only be sampled in celebrations and state banquets.
Johor Bharu is a popular destination for budget-conscious gourmands from Singapore, as most dishes are half price across the border. Most of food stalls and dining spots come alive when night falls over the city. Common dishes include seafood and some Johor specialities like Johor laksa and mee rebus. The adventurous can head for the stalls at Lido Beach and Stulang Laut to try the local favourites and hawker fare.
Laksa Johor is a cuisine originated from Johor. It differs from Laksa Penang by having coconut milk added during cooking. It also differs from other laksas by using spaghetti instead of rice-based noodles.
Mee Bandung Muar is also a dish originated from Johor, specifically from Muar. The term 'bandung' is not derived from Bandung, Indonesia but as a term for anything that is mixed from many ingredients.
Mee rebus is the famous noodle dish which consists of Mee (spaghetti like mixture of flour, salt and egg noodle or better known as yellow noodle) and is served with a tangy, spicy brown sauce. Usually crumbs and boiled eggs are added.
Telur pindang - Eggs boiled together with herbs and spices, popular during wedding feasts in Johor.
Roti Jala or Roti Kirai - The name is derived from the Malay word 'roti' (bread) and 'jala' (net). A special ladle with a five-hole perforation is used to make the bread looks like a fish net. It is usually eaten spicy with curry or sweet with 'serawa'. Serawa is made from a mixture of boiled coconut milk, brown sugar and pandan leaf.
Nasi Beriani Gam – This popular item is actually a biryani rice dish originating from India with a cooking method very similar to Hyderabad biryani but with spices adjusted to suit the Malay palate. A signature item of Johor and a must try.
Otak-otak - The southern Malaysian town of Muar is a popular destination for it -- people from surrounding states often visit to buy the famous otak-otak in bulk. Otak-otak is made by mixing fish paste (usually mackerel) with a mixture of spices including chillies, garlic, shallots, turmeric, lemon grass and coconut milk. The mixture is then wrapped in a banana leaf that has been softened by steaming, then grilled or steamed. While fish otak-otak is most common, otak-otak is also commonly made with prawns, often resulting in a more textured variety. In Muar, you will also be able to find otak-otak made from cuttlefish, fish head and even chicken.
Where to Eat?
- Taman Sri Tebrau Hawker Centre, off Tebrau Highway (3 km north of JB, near Crystal Crown Hotel). Doesn't look like much, but very popular among locals and Singaporeans alike. Get here before noon, as most stalls close after the nearby wet market winds down.
- Johor Jaya Hawker Centre located across the road from Daiman Bowling mall.
- Danga Bay Bayleaf Food Park. The latest venture in waterfront development, Danga Bay houses a fairly well-run food court with a wide selection of food all fairly reasonable priced. Enjoy the view of Singapore while you dine.
- Restoran ZZ. Jalan Sungei Chat (off Jalan Mahmoodiah, behind Sultanah Aminah Hospital). Popular low-key Malay eatery with a daily-changing buffet, particularly known for their Johor-style laksa and ikan bakar (grilled fish). Open daily for breakfast and lunch only.
- Taman Pelangi Satay. One of the Malay hawkers at the small hawker centre opposite the Pelangi Mosque/Caltex Petro kiosk/Pelangi Leisure Mall.
- Kolam Air Laksa, Jalan Kolam Air (same road as Hyatt). Serves the best Laksa Johor in JB/Singapore.
- Mee Rebus Stulang Laut, Stulang Laut. The original mee rebus is located at the now Open University facing the straits. It has an alfresco type dining as well.
- Nasi Lemak Senibong Located in Kampung Senibong, it has been serving one of the best Nasi Lemak in Johor Bharu. Costing at around RM4 per plate of coconut milk flavoured rice, chicken (comes in three flavours), an egg and sambal (traditional Malay chilli sauce).
- Restaurant Singgah Selalu Located across the road from Danga Bay, it has quite a fair bit of food selections on its menu.
- Warisan Anjung Seri A popular joint for the local. Better known for its concept of tree top dining experience. There is even a nightly angklung performance. Must book in advance to get a sitting on top of a tree.
- Yi Bao Restaurant. Located along the main road in Taman Maju Jaya and within walking distance from Plaza Pelangi, this humble eatery offers one of the best 'mee hoon kueh' in town. 'Mee hoon kueh' is a popular Chinese delicacy where pieces of flour are cooked in a thick, tantalising soup consisting meatballs, mincemeat, vegetables, fragrantly deep-fried anchovies and egg, all cooked to perfection. Noodle version also available. Expect large crowds of office-going workers during lunch hours. Non-halal.
- Sentosa Mee Hoon Kueh. Probably one of the earliest vendors in promoting the Mee Hoon Kueh dish. It is located along Jalan Sutera in Taman Sentosa. It has been the subject of many Singapore based food shows which came into Johor Bharu for a review of local delicacies. Non-halal.