Known as a bargain hunter’s paradise, Malaysia’s southernmost state offers discount malls, pristine rainforest and idyllic tropical islands.
Take in the bustle of Malaysia’s busiest night market and shop for bargains in the city malls, then escape to find your own piece of natural paradise in the vast and diverse state of Johor. You’ll find stunning waterfalls, ancient rainforests and some of the finest diving in Southeast Asia all within Johor’s boundaries.
Johor Bahru, or JB as it’s locally known, is the state’s vast capital city. It is a favorite with Singaporeans who drive across the causeway in their thousands to scour the malls for bargains. Hunt for discount electronic goods, clothing and more. Other attractions in Johor Bahru include the Grand Palace, which features the extensive royal collections and the impressive Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque.
Escape the city boundaries in search of Johor’s natural treasures. Some of the oldest forest in Malaysia can be found at the Endau Rompin National Park. Spot elephants and leopards cooling off in the salt lakes and trek through ancient forests where numerous new plant species have been discovered. Another national park, Tanjung Piai, sits on the southernmost tip of mainland Asia and is home to macaques, mudskippers and other native wildlife.
Visit one of the many islands off the southern coast to discover pristine beaches, superb diving and exquisite seafood, such as Malaysian-style lobster and crab. Sibu and Pulau Aur are two of the most well-known islands. To get here, take a ferry from Mersing on Johor’s east coast.
Johor Bahru has an international airport and is connected to Singapore by road. A good network of buses will take you from here to all the major sights elsewhere in the state.
Avoid visiting from November to February during the rainy season, when high winds can make the islands and beaches unsafe to visit. Some of the national parks close over this period as well. The malls of Johor Bahru, of course, are open for business in every season.