A Day in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

22-Aug-2013 • Johor Bahru Malaysia

On December 30, 2002, Marc and I traveled to historic Malacca, Malaysia for a day on a guided city tour which departed from Singapore. Along the way, we passed by Johor Bahru, the city that sits right on the border of Singapore and Malaysia. Since JB as most Singaporeans called it was so close, we decided to return and tour the city by ourselves on New Year's Eve. We took a train in the morning but took a bus on the return to Singapore in the afternoon.

We saw a few monuments which we took pictures off. We used our brand new and the most up to date camera at that time, the digital 1 megapixel camera from Kodak as well as our Nikon film camera. Unfortunately, I ended up taking more pictures of the city with my film camera than with the digital. The pictures in this blog entry are a mix of what we took with both cameras.

The day started with a trip to the train station in Singapore for our train ride across the border and into Johor Bahru.

Taken upon our arrival at the train station in Singapore. We didn't have to reserve any tickets in advance. Trains to Johor Bahru and other cities of Malaysia left from Singapore rather frequently each day. All we did was go to the window that sold tickets and bought two when we arrived. We also didn't buy roundtrip tickets since we weren't exactly sure how much time we were spending in JB nor what time we exactly wanted to return. Luckily we didn't buy roundtrip tickets since there was a train delay in the return in the afternoon forcing us to take the bus instead all the way to the border. The one way ticket price per person: Singapore $2.90

Many travelers often state that border towns and cities look gritty. All I can say is that Johor Bahru definitely looked less glamorous than Singapore but not scary. At least that was the impression we got when we went there. Our first stop was the mall close to the train station where we exited from. I believe the mall was called the City Square Shopping Center. An overpass actually linked the train station to the mall.

The mall looked nice and very westernized. We walked around the place a little bit then we headed out to the attractions in town.

The Crest Monument in front of the Makuhmah Tinggi Johor Bahru High Court Building

A closer view of the Crest Monument

The Crest monument and the Makahmah Tinggi Johor Bahru High Court Building in the background

In front of the Makahmah Tinggi Johor Bahru High Court Building

The Johor Bahru Tourism Information Office

Accustomed to visiting tourist information offices to get valuable info for touring any city, we searched for one in Johor Bahru. We ended up going to this JB Tourist Information Office in this huge building. There were two female employees who graciously gave us a brochure and a guide.

The Royal Palace was open at the time of our visit and we were able to tour the place on our own. There were no guides inside and so we just walked around the different rooms and galleries. We passed by it the day prior on our way to Malacca. The view of the palace from the bus looked impressive. Right there and then, we knew we just had to see it first hand and up close.

A view of the Sultan Abu Bakar Royal Palace and Museum

And another of the Sultan Abu Bakar Royal Palace and Museum

And another of the Sultan Abu Bakar Royal Palace and Museum

The impressive gilded doors of the Sultan A bu Bakar Royal Palace

Marc at the foot of the stairs leading to the gilded doors of the palace

Me at the palace's expansive gardens

The State Secretariat building which was located right behind the JB Tourist Office Building

The main fa├žade and entrance to the State Secretariat building

In front of the State Secretariat Building

Inside the Chinese Buddhist Temple

The Sri Raja Mariamman Temple

The Gurdwara Sahib Temple

A busy street in JB

Apartment buildings in downtown

The Johor Bahru Train Station

Given that it's been 11 years since Marc and I visited Johor Bahru, there is no doubt that lots of changes have taken place in the city since. I do hope to visit it again sometime soon.