The brightest diadem in the crown of Johor, its capital of Johor Bahru sits on the southern coast, facing the Straits of Johor. It is the southernmost city in the Malay Peninsula. Johor Bahru was formerly known as Tanjung Puteri. Now it is a part of Iskandar Malaysia, the country’s second largest metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 1,805,0000 in 2013. A causeway spans the straits, connecting Johor Bahru to the neighbouring city-state and international travel hub of Singapore. It is both a gateway to the Lion City, and lifeline of the commerce, culture, blood and history that continue to link the two neighbours.
Johor Bahru is known for the glitter of its nightlife and variety of its retail outlets, many of which are clustered along Jalan Wong Ah Fook, the main boulevard of the city’s central business district. It also houses the ceremonial seat of the Johor Monarch, Istana Besar or The Grand Palace, one of the historical attractions in the city within which The Royal Abu Bakar Museum is located.
The soul of Johor Bahru captured in a square that serves as a reminder of the humble beginnings of this thriving, rapidly developing city. Dataran Bandaraya has been the main square of Johor Bahru since it was declared a city back in December of 1993.
Once the tallest building in pre-independence Malaya, this former state secretariat office combines the best of British colonial and Malay architecture, with elements of Saracenic design. While you cannot enter the building, you can still walk around the grounds, take a selfie with the tower, and enjoy the hilltop view.
Sultan Ibrahim Building
Visit the oldest Chinese temple in Johor Bahru and gain a fascinating insight on one of the oldest cultures in Malaysia. Johor Bahru Old Chinese Temple (Chinese: 柔佛古廟; pinyin: Róufú Gǔmiào), also known as the Old Temple (Chinese: 古廟; pinyin: Gǔmiào) by the locals, is a Chinese temple located in Johor Bahru.
Located at downtown Johor Bahru of Jalan Trus, the temple is flanked by modern skyscrapers.
This temple is one of the oldest structures in Johor Bahru. The temple is a place of worship and a symbol of unity among Five Chinese Dialect Groups which are “Teochew”, “Hoklo (Hokkien)”, “Cantonese”, “Hakka” and “Hainan”. In 2007, a Documentary series called My Roots had featured the temple in the episode “Grand March with the Deities”.
Every year, the temple organises the world renowned, annual Chingay, also known as the Parade of the Deities on the 19th to 22nd day of the first lunar month. The 4-day parade reaches its climax on the 3rd night when the temple Deities are taken on an annual tour of Johor Bahru city on special sedan chairs carried by devotees.
Johor Ancient Temple/ Johor Gu Miao (Oldest Chinese Temple)
Gudwara Sahib Sikh Temple
Immerse in the rich culture of the Sikh at Gurdwara Sahib Sikh Temple and learn more on their exotic heritage, situated in the heart of Johor Bahru.
Giani Gurdit Singh Ji Ghali Village Ghal Kalan. Ferozpur served as a Granthi for nearly 22 years in this Gurdwara from 1950 to 1972.
Explore this majestic landmark of the Sikh community in Johor Bahru and see a display of culture and customs that dates back for centuries. This Gurdwara is managed by an elected committee comprising a president, secretary, treasurer and their assistants and ten other committee members, working together to ensure that this holy landmark remains as majestic as it was first built.
Catholic Church of Immaculate Conception
Over a century of history and heritage has shaped the Catholic Church of Immaculate Conception. Originating as a chapel built in the year 1883 by the late Rev. Fr. C. Saleilles, M.A.P., it was named ‘Our Lady of Lourdes’. The present Church of the Immaculate Conception (CIC) was built by Rev. Fr. M Duvelle, and blessed by Bishop Barillon at the end of 1921, when there was only a wooden bridge linking Johor and Singapore. Today, it is the oldest church in this city.
Masjid India is located on Jalan Duke and built in the 1950s. This piece of land was bought from a bread making factory for RM20,000 by Dato’ Haji Abdul Majid and Haji Mohamed Ibrahim. They built a Surau India (a small mosque) on the land. The Surau India changed its status to Masjid India in September 1994.
This bazaar ups the game on pasar malams (night markets) everywhere by including independent clothing brands and live music. It’s more like Camden than Portobello, and a lot like Penang’s Batu Ferringhi walk. Browse and bargain while the band beats it out, and don’t forget to cross the bridge for yummy tummy fillers.
An iconic landmark in the city centre, this temple build in 1911 stands out as an extraordinary heritage with more than 120 statues and 26 wall paintings in the temple. Amazing in design, the Rajagopuram opposite the shrine of Arulmigu Rajamariamman is five-tiered with five gold-plated kalasams. It is built according to the agamic tenets. There are sculptured dolls, which enhance the artistic beauty of the Rajagopuram. The pillars are made of stone and the doors are made of hardwood. The towering, magnificent 75-feet (highest in Johor) Rajagopuram welcomes you into the temple.
Arulmigu Rajamariamman Devasthanam Temple
Unique Cultural Heritage Attractions
A walk along Jalan Trus and Jalan Dhoby will reveal not only historic and majestic places of worship that attract the prayerful, but also countless unique cultural heritage attractions to discover, from local museums to heritage buildings, traditional shops to quaint cafes and restaurants.
Not long by any stretch, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee is nevertheless worth your walk — if not for the coffee (lots of quaint boutique cafés), then for the heritage. Pre-independence buildings abound on both sides of the street, itself arched by a red and yellow sign that reads, in Mandarin, “Tan Hock Nee Cultural Street” – lest you miss it.
The wafting aroma of baking bread warmed by crackling flame of the wood-fired oven is enough to entice anyone walking along Jalan Dhoby to stop by. Kedai Roti Salahuddin in the old part of Johor Bahru has amassed a loyal following from locals since it first opened. This bakery prepares breads, cakes and pastries the old-fashioned way using a 70-year-old wood-fired oven to bake their goods, infusing them with a traditional, rustic flavour.
Regulars will tell you that everything here is sublime, but be sure to try their Bengali curry puffs and buns as well. Also grab a fresh loaf of bread to go, which is best enjoyed with butter and jam. Parking can be an issue around here so it might be an idea to get someone to drive while you run in to the bakery. Do take note that Salahuddin Bakery is closed every Friday.