Johor Bahru (or JB to the locals) is located on the southern tip of Malaysia and is the closest Malaysian city to Singapore, also making it a popular location for a short vacation for the Singaporeans.
Whilst there are many reasons JB is a popular location for the Singaporeans, there also are a few places outside the city that are worth visiting while you are in Johor.
Mount Ophir is situated in the Gunung Ledang National Park. Located, approximately 2 hours by car, north-west of JB, the mountain offers trails, cascading waterfalls, campsites, stunning views and birdlife.
The summit takes about 4-5 hours for an average person to climb and hikers will need to register at the entrance of the national park. The route is well marked and along the way there are rapids, rock pools, caves and camping spots. Binoculars are recommended for bird watching. Once at the top of the mountain, on a clear day hikers are rewarded with a panoramic view of the Sumatran coastline.
Visitors not wanting to hike up the mountain can spend the day at the foothills of the mountain for a picnic or visit the waterfalls along the scenic route, which requires you to pass through the grounds of the local resort for a nominal fee. There are also basic cabins for visitors looking for accommodation at the mountain site.
This 25km of white sand and tropical flora is located 1 hour drive north-east of JB, it is also known as the most popular beach in Johor. On top of the usual activities, Desaru offers fishing, canoeing, horse riding and go-carting. . There is also an 18-hole golf course, making it a well known destination for golfers. A trip to the nearby fishing villages for fresh seafood is recommended. In the evening there are thousands of fireflies gathered by the Johor River and is a sight worth waiting for. The accommodation in the area ranges from first class hotels and resorts to chalets and camping facilities to cater for everyone.
Tanjung Piai National Park
The most southern tip of mainland Asia is a 1.5 hour drive from the city and it is at this site that the Tanjung Piai National Park is located. The park covers 926 hectares and about 60% of the land is covered with mangrove while the rest of the park is mudflats. This is a place where a diverse range of unique flora and fauna can be found living in harmony with the land and the sea. Look out for crab-eating macaques and birds especially during the migratory seasons.
Danga Bay is home to the largest recreational park in JB. Positioned along 25km of waterfront shoreline, this is a beautiful place to hang out. This location by the sea is one of the popular things to do in Johor Bahru. Bike riding, shopping, trying out local cuisine and taking a ride at the recreational park are all activities offered at Danga Bay. For something a little lower key, there is a cultural centre where traditional attire, handicraft, food and performances of the diverse ethnicities in Malaysia are available for discovery. It's a great local spot to getaway from the city. As Danga Bay is only an 8 minute drive from the city there is plenty of Johor Bahru accommodation to cater for tourists.
These locations take 1 to 2 days each, together covering about 4 days, being the perfect short vacation. Also, don't miss out on all the local cuisine for half the price on this side of the border!
Thistle hotels are part of Guoman Hotel Management (UK) Limited operating a number of hotels throughout the UK and Malaysia. The guest experience is everything; wireless internet access in every area of the hotels and personal service delivered in a warm, efficient and straightforward manner. With 32 hotels UK wide and 2 hotels in the exotic peninsula of Malaysia, the name may be the same, but they’re showing the world a very different face.
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