I’ve travelled to Malaysia a few times, so I know what it’s like to visit the country as a solo traveller. I recently decided to spend 3 days in Johor Bahru and thought it’d be useful to share my experiences with those who may not know what to do in the area.
From the history of the Sultanate of Johor, sightseeing at the Danga Bay waterfront, or trying delicacies like Mee Rebus and Roti Jala – there’s plenty of activities for everyone!
Through my travels, I’ve gained some authority and trustworthiness which will hopefully help you if you’re looking for advice on where to stay or what attractions are worth visiting.
Although unknown to many, Johor Bahru is one of Malaysia’s largest and most developed cities. Often referred to as JB, the city serves not just as the capital of the state of Johor but also as the gateway to Singapore (connected by a causeway).
If you plan to visit Johor Bahru for a few days, we’ve narrowed down the top places and things you can do in this 3-Day Itinerary for Johor Bahru. This guide will help you get the best experience in the city.
The city’s strategic location (near Singapore’s border) has influenced the city’s unique blend of cultures, including Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences. The city is known for its bustling streets, diverse culinary scene, and vibrant nightlife.
Johor Bahru is also renowned for its cultural sites, laid-back cafes, and theme parks. It is often visited by families and friends who want to enjoy and, at the same time, experience a laid-back vacation in Malaysia.
Now, the options are endless if you’re lost on what you can enjoy during a 3-day trip to Johor Bahru.
One of the most visited sites in the city is the Legoland Malaysia Resort. This world-class theme park offers many rides, shows, and interactive attractions for kids and adults. Some other famous leisure attractions include the Johor Zoo and waterparks.
Meanwhile, if you want to glimpse the city’s historical heritage, you will appreciate visiting the Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque, an architectural masterpiece showcasing the region’s Islamic heritage.
Of course, a visit to Johor Bahru will not be complete without a delightful culinary experience, especially at the city’s lively night markets. These vibrant bazaars offer many local delicacies and street food, including the famous Johor Laksa and Mee Rebus.
As a popular weekend getaway for shopping, food, and outdoor activities, you must enjoy your 3 days in Johor Bahru without worrying about the weather. This is why it is highly suggested that you visit between May and September.
During these months, Johor Bahru experiences the dry season, with sunny skies and low humidity. However, remember that this is also the peak tourist season, so be prepared for larger crowds and higher accommodation prices.
Not known to many, Johor Bahru has been stepping up regarding architectural wonders, including great accommodations and tranquil spaces. So, the only thing left to plan is the area you’ll be staying in.
Generally, the best place for tourists (especially first-timers) is Bandar Johor Bahru – where most museums and famous tourist spots are. But we’d also suggest you stay in Taman Abad, which is in the city centre. Most transportation hubs, bustling local streets and historical landmarks are also situated here.
As we continue with this travel guide, take notes and remember essential tips you can use for your trip to Johor Bahru. Keep reading!
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Overview of 3 Days in Johor Bahru Itinerary
Without further ado, here’s a glance at what you’ll see and do during your three-day stay in Johor Bahru:
Day 1 in Johor Bahru:
- Get Kaya Toast for Breakfast
- Explore Arumlmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple
- Visit the Johor Bahru Old Chinese temple
- Lunch at Restoran Hua Mui JB
- Check out Johor Bahru Chinese Heritage Museum
- Sneak a Peek at the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque
- Stroll at Danga Bay
- Dinner at Mee Rebus Tulang
Day 2 in Johor Bahru:
- Breakfast at Restoran Kin Hua
- Johor Bahru Old Railway Station
- Visit Legoland Malaysia
- Cafe Hop at Mount Austin for Lunch
- Tour around Istana Besar
- Shop at Johor Bahru City Square Mall
- Dinner at Sedap Corner
Day 3 in Johor Bahru:
- Grab a quick breakfast at Space Cafe
- Morning Stroll at Johor’s Forest City
- Explore Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest
- Lunch at Flowers in the Window
- Meet Animals at Johor Bahru Zoo
- Explore The Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Street
- City View from the Skyscape of Menara Jland
- Street food for Dinner at Medan Selera Meldrum
Day 1 in Johor Bahru
Get Kaya Toast for Breakfast
Start your day in Johor Bahru with one of the local’s favourite breakfast meals, Kaya Toast. This delicious treat consists of crispy toast generously slathered with kaya, a sweet coconut jam, and paired with a soft-boiled egg and a cup of aromatic local coffee or tea.
Often, you can find this popular breakfast dish at numerous local coffee shops and food stalls throughout the streets of Johor Bahru. It is best paired with hot tea or coffee, adding to the local experience! It may look like a simple treat, but it’s a great meal to kickstart your adventure in Johor Bahru.
Explore Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple
Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Johor Bahru Shining in all its glory; this unique Hindu temple stands out among other temples because of it’s intricate glasswork.
During your first day in Johor Bahru, exploring critical historical sites and cultural heritage spots – including the Glass Temple, would be great.
Before becoming a tourist destination, it first served as the shelter of the Sultan of Johor. But after a few years, the Guru, inspired by his trip to Bangkok, made it possible to use 300,000 vibrant glass pieces and gold sculptures to create this Hindu temple.
Although it became renowned for being the first-ever glass temple in the world, the shrine also holds an essential meaning to Malaysia’s rich, diverse culture. This is why, as you explore the temple, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn about Hindu culture and traditions.
Visit the Johor Bahru Old Chinese temple
As mentioned, Malaysia, particularly Johor Bahru, is home to a diverse culture. This is why it is no surprise that the city’s major tourist destinations are a mix of different cultures.
The Johor Bahru Old Chinese Temple, also known as Johor Kong Temple, was built in the 19th century and is another must-visit you should include in your Johor Bahru itinerary. This temple is dedicated to five deities and is an important religious and cultural centre for the Chinese community in Johor Bahru.
Although it may not look as grand as the other temples, during your visit, you can still get to admire the intricate wood carvings, colourful murals, and ornate architecture and, at the same time, learn about the Chinese community and their culture.
If you’re lucky, you can also catch some yearly celebrations and festivals on the temple grounds open for viewing and watching.
Lunch at Restoran Hua Mui JB
Head to Johor Bahru’s famous restaurant, Restoran Hua Mui JB, for lunch. This Halal Chinese restaurant near JB City Square serves various Kopitiam dishes, such as Hainanese Chicken and roti bakar (a must-try).
Be prepared to wait outside and line up, especially during the peak season, since this restaurant is a go-to for tourists and locals. Once you have your seat and your food is served, you’ll realise why it’s worth the wait!
Check out Johor Bahru Chinese Heritage Museum
The Johor Bahru Chinese Heritage Museum is a 3-storey colourful, and vibrant museum that showcases the history of the Chinese community in Johor Bahru.
It is housed in a restored heritage building, and it showcases artefacts, photographs, and interactive displays that provide insights into the early Chinese settlers and their impact on the city’s development.
You can easily visit the museum alone, but it is highly suggested that you book advanced museum tickets online before visiting. Some charters can take you on tour inside if you prefer someone to explain Chinese life and why they migrated to Johor Bahru.
Sneak a Peek at the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque
After discovering historical collections at the museum, head to the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque and admire a stunning architectural masterpiece that symbolises Johor Bahru.
Perched on a hill overlooking the city, this mosque blends Islamic and Victorian architectural styles.
Since non-Muslims are not permitted to enter the prayer hall, you can take a quick peek at the mosque’s intricate details, towering minarets and vibrant stained glass windows during your visit.
Plus, enjoy a towering view of the city while Singapore’s city view is at the back of the mosque.
Stroll at Danga Bay
Before ending your first day in Johor Bahru, stroll along the scenic waterfront promenade of Danga Bay.
This picturesque area is one of the most famous picture-takin spots for tourists, especially if you want a glistening and reflective sight of the sunset at the waterfront.
At Danga Bay, you can take in the views of the waterways, relax in the parks and gardens, or rent a bicycle and explore the area at your own pace.
It’s just a few minutes from the several known restaurants in the city square, making it convenient and accessible.
Dinner at Mee Rebus Tulang
To cap off your day in Johor Bahru City, spend your night indulging in good food at a great restaurant. Mee Rebus Tulang is a popular local eatery known for its signature dish.
It is a unique version of the traditional Malay noodle dish, Mee Rebus, which features thick yellow noodles in rich and savoury gravy.
But aside from the must-try dish at the restaurant, Mee Rebus Tulang also offers a casual and relaxing vibe for a perfect dining set-up. You can meet fellow travellers and locals here who are alos searching for a great dinner in the city.
Day 2 in Johor Bahru
Breakfast at Restoran Kin Hua
Another crowd breakfast favourite in Malaysia is the Nasi Lemak, a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and served with various condiments. We suggest you get this for your breakfast on the second day.
To prepare for a fun-filled adventure in the city, get this hearty meal at a famous local restaurant, Restoran Kin Hua. They are known to serve lots of authentic and traditional Asian food, including the mentioned Nasi Lemak and Roti Canai, a flaky and crispy flatbread filled with flavorful curries.
With its cosy ambience and friendly service, Restoran Kin Hua is the perfect spot to fuel up before starting your day.
Johor Bahru Old Railway Station
Before heading to the most awaited highlight of your second day in Johor Bahru, pass by the famous Johor Bahru Old Railway Station. It is the oldest railway, built in 1909, but at present, the train is no longer operational and is later turned into a museum.
The station boasts charming colonial-era architecture and serves as a reminder of Johor Bahru’s rich heritage. You can take an hour at least to explore the well-preserved building, admire the classic design, and learn about its role in connecting Johor Bahru to other parts of Malaysia.
Visit Legoland Malaysia
If you want to make the most out of your three days in Johor Bahru, you must make time to visit Legoland Malaysia. It is a bit far from the centre of Johor Bahru, but once you’ve made it to the attraction, you’ll enjoy your time here.
Legoland Malaysia offers several attractions for their guests. Those staying in Johor Bahru for more than five days plan to spend at least one day here. But you can still enjoy a trip here for a few hours.
Now, if you’re wondering if adults can still enjoy their trip here, the answer is – OF COURSE!
This world-renowned theme park is a paradise for Lego enthusiasts of all ages. Some of the things you can do and enjoy here include visiting the Lego City, riding various kinds of rollercoasters and checking out the Lego Mindstorms and Miniland.
You can also enjoy the Legoland Malaysia Water Park and Sea Life with more time. Now depending on the pass you’ll avail of, you’ll need to ensure the attractions you visit are covered.
It is also suggested that you book your Legoland Malaysia tickets beforehand since they get sold out quickly.
Cafe Hop at Mount Austin for Lunch (Ukiyo Cafe)
Mount Austin is renowned for having many restaurants and coffee shops. This is where locals and visitors usually experience the cafe scene in Johor Bahru. For your lunch (or late lunch) on the second day, we suggest you visit Mount Austin and explore the neighbourhood.
You can check out some famous cafes here: Ukiyo Cafe, Bloom by MokMok and Shi Ba Cafe. These cafes make great photo spots for your socials while you enjoy sweet and savoury treats. Make room for lots of them because you’d want to enjoy your food while going cafe hopping!
Tour around Istana Besar
Another must-visit during your trip to Johor Bahru is the Grand Palace of the city, also known as Istana Besar. This served as the official residence of the Johor royal family, showcasing stunning architectural details and intricate designs.
You’ll need to join a guided tour to explore the area. During the tour, you will see opulent halls, the royal museum, and the palace grounds, which include beautiful gardens and a picturesque view of the Straits of Johor.
Your professional tour guide will share insights into the rich history and cultural heritage of the Johor royal family as you wander through the grandeur of Istana Besar.
Shop at Johor Bahru City Square Mall
A trip to Johor Bahru will only be complete with going on a shopping spree! After a long adventurous day, head to Johor Bahru City Square Mall to indulge in retail therapy.
Johor Bahru City Square Mall is a premier shopping destination in the city. Here you can find a wide range of international and local brands, from fashion and accessories to electronics and home decor.
If you plan to buy gifts or shop for yourself during the trip, this is the best place to be. Johor Bahru City Square Mall is a shopper’s paradise with its convenient location and many retail and dining choices.
Dinner at Sedap Corner
Having it at a known local favourite restaurant, Sedap Corner, is highly recommended for your second-day dinner. This restaurant is famous for its delicious Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine.
When dining here, you must try their Nasi Padang, a selection of Indonesian-style dishes served with rice, delicious satay skewers and fragrant curries. Plus, with the restaurant’s cosy ambience and friendly service, you’ll enjoy your dining experience here.
Day 3 in Johor Bahru
Grab a quick breakfast at Space Cafe
Now that you’ve come to the last day of your weekend getaway in Johor Bahru, it’s okay to take things slow and enjoy the environment and nature behind the city’s urbanised area. But before anything else, get a quick breakfast at a modern cafe in the city centre.
Space Cafe is a famous and trendy cafe known to many tourists and locals. They offer breakfast options, from fluffy pancakes to creamy pastries and hearty sandwiches. You can enjoy your meal at the cafe or take them out to enjoy at your next stop.
Morning Stroll at Johor’s Forest City
Johor’s Forest City is one of the newest attraction spots in the city. It is a few minutes from the centre in an integrated residential development town.
This artificial island was built to offer an innovative and green futuristic city, combining nature and technology.
So, if you plan to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the perfect place to visit. You can take a leisurely morning stroll through the lush greenery, breathe in the fresh air, and embrace the tranquillity of the surroundings.
There are also duty-free shops, cafes and restaurants here, which you can enjoy during your stroll.
Explore Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest
If you want to enjoy more outdoor exploration, your next stop should be the Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest. You must travel a few minutes from the Forest City to visit this pristine forest.
Once you arrive, you can enjoy the reserve by going on scenic hiking trails that lead you through a breathtaking landscape of towering trees, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic views.
Be prepared to wear your hiking boots to enjoy the recreational park without a hassle.
Lunch at Flowers in the Window
You’ll return to the city centre for lunch at a famous local cafe and restaurant called the Flowers in the Window. This charming cafe offers a delectable brunch menu, immersing you in a whimsical floral atmosphere.
The cafe has been in business since 2015, and since then, it has continued attracting many visitors. Every spot here is IG-worthy, and even their dishes are picture-perfect.
At Flowers in the Window, you can enjoy a range of dishes, from hearty salads and gourmet sandwiches to homemade soups and refreshing beverages.
Meet Animals at Johor Bahru Zoo
Another famous destination in the city is the Johor Bahru Zoo. If you are someone who enjoys nature and at the same time learning about wildlife, this place is something to look forward to.
The zoo is home to various species, including lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, and more, all of which you can get up close and personal with.
As you take your time to walk around and discover different species, you’ll also learn about the different animal habitats and witness engaging animal shows and feeding sessions. This is the time to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of the animal kingdom.
Explore The Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Street
One of Johor Bahru’s historic and essential heritage sites includes the famous Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Street; get into the past and explore this charming street lined with beautifully restored heritage buildings.
As you stroll along the vibrant street, browse through quaint shops, visit traditional Chinese temples, and sample local snacks and delicacies. The road comes alive with cultural performances and events during festivals on some days, so you’re fortunate if you come across one!
City View from the Skyscape of Menara Jland
Before ending your three-day trip to Johor Bahru, you must climb to the city’s highest point. At Skyscape Menara Jland, you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of Johor Bahru.
This iconic landmark offers panoramic views of the cityscape, the Straits of Johor, and even glimpses of neighbouring Singapore. Take an elevator ride to the observation deck and soak in the breathtaking sights.
Plus, since you’re visiting in the afternoon, don’t miss out on that stunning sunset view and capture stunning photos. When joining a guided tour, you’ll also be able to learn about the city’s landmarks through informative displays and informative commentaries.
Street food for Dinner at Medan Selera Meldrum
To wrap up your trip to this captivating Malaysian city, you should not miss out on experiencing local life. One thing to do is to have street food for dinner at their famous Medan Selera Meldrum Street!
This bustling street is full of food stalls and vendors where you can find the most authentic and traditional Malaysian food. Try one of each kind (if you can) and enjoy the local dishes such as char kway teow, satay, nasi goreng, and more.
The street’s lively atmosphere will satisfy your cravings and give you a memorable local experience.
Tours in Johor Bahru
Firefly Watching Tour
You can add an alternative tour to your 3 days in Johor Bahru itinerary to go on a Firefly Watching Tour at night. For only USD 5, you can already have a unique experience visiting a natural feeding spot and breeding ground in Kota Tinggi.
Thousands of twinkling wild fireflies can be spotted at night along the riverbank. You will be sailing here on an evening cruise and have the opportunity to observe fireflies in action. You may also spot other wildlife, including monkeys and owls, and monitor lizards.
City Activity Tour
Although you can easily explore the city without joining a guided tour, this city activity tour differs from other charters.
Aside from seeing famous tourist destinations, you can also enjoy other activities, including riding a go-kart, feeding (or riding) an Ostrich or swimming in a waterfall.
Some places you’ll get to visit during this tour are Desaru Ostrich Farm, Kota Tinggi Waterfalls and the Iskandar Puteri. Each area is designated with each activity mentioned earlier.
3-Day Itinerary for Johor Bahru Wrap-up
There you have it, a complete and comprehensive 3 Day Itinerary for Johor Bahru! Now that you know how to spend your weekend getaway in the city, there’s nothing much left for you to do. Just pack your things, book that hotel, and you’re ready to explore Johor Bahru!
Recommended tours in Johor Bahru
- Firefly Tour Johor Bahru@Kota Tinggi Firefly Park
- Lebam River Kayaking Adventure
- Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark Admission Ticket
- Singapore: Johor Bahru to Singapore Full-Day Tour
- Magical Brooklyn Cruise at Senibong Cove
- Legoland Malaysia in Johor Bahru Admission Ticket
- Private Tour : Full Day Singapore City Exploration from Johor Bahru
- 15 Hrs Melaka Escorted Van Tour from Johor Bahru w’ Tour Guide
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