A Fusion of Old and New
Johor Bahru reveals whimsical attractions amidst fascinating historical sites.
There are plenty of opportunities to discover and use your imagination, as evidenced by the park’s centrepiece, Miniland, a 30-million-bricks-and-pieces showcase of famous Asian landmarks.
Located at the southern tip of the Peninsular Malaysia, Johor Bahru is a place where old and new merge in a nostalgic, yet fun-filled way. Its close proximity to Singapore means that the city has always been compared to its neighbour across the straits. However, Johor Bahru has come into its own and, like much of the southern region, transformed into a vibrant hub for business and leisure tourists alike.
A Newer Johor Bahru
Nusajaya, a waterfront precinct located on the west of Johor Bahru’s city centre (Bahru literally means “new”), is regarded today as New Johor, with its scenic Puteri Harbour considered the jewel of Nusajaya. This waterfront precinct and integrated marina development spans 688 acres, offering unrivalled views of the Straits of Johor. Located adjacent to Kota Iskandar, Johor state’s new administrative centre, Puteri Harbour enthrals with dining, entertainment, arts and culture against a picturesque setting.
Puteri Harbour comprises residential and commercial developments, and food and beverage outlets, and serves as a transportation hub and marina. Among the most exciting additions to the 688-acre waterfront precinct is the recently opened Traders Hotel, Puteri Harbour, Johor, Malaysia. The first international hospitality brand to have a presence Nusajaya, the hotel boasts world-class facilities and 283 tastefully decorated rooms and suites, ideally situated near many of Johor Bahru’s iconic attractions.
Changing the Game
In Nusajaya, a number of recreational theme parks have sprouted up, notably the popular Legoland Malaysia, offering a sprawling stretch of land and activities for the whole family. Opened in September 2012, it is the first in Asia and one of only six parks worldwide. The 70-acre development houses an assortment of more than 40 interactive rides, shows and attractions.
There are plenty of opportunities to discover and use your imagination, as evidenced by the park’s centrepiece, Miniland, a showcase of famous Asian landmarks constructed from 30 million Lego pieces. Each was painstakingly created by hand and features astonishing attention to detail. Best of all, visitors can interact with these miniature marvels and bring them to life with the touch of a button. Another highlight is Legoland Waterpark, where visitors can frolic in the sun and enjoy over 20 exciting and exhilarating rides, slides and pools with artificial waves.
Hello Kitty mania also proved to be just as popular on Malaysian shores with the opening of the first Sanrio Hello Kitty Town built outside Japan. Little ones will love themed show restaurant LAT’s Place and interactive play zone The Little Big Club, also situated in the Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park, where they can meet Thomas the Tank Engine and Barney the dinosaur. The combination of rides, activities shows and lively, colourful personalities provides an immersive learning and play experience.
As captivating as Johor Bahru is Johor Lama, or “old” Johor, has its own unique charm. Take a walk through the streets of the city centre to admire the traditional architecture of shops and buildings dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The magnificent Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque perched atop a hill overlooking the Straits of Johor and neighbouring Singapore is one of the most beautiful in Malaysia. Commissioned by the late Sultan Abu Bakar, its construction marked the beginning of Johor’s modernisation in 1892. Today, it has become a protected heritage monument. Completed in 1900 to accommodate 2,000 worshippers, the architectural style of the mosque is principally Victorian with minarets that echo the style of British watchtowers.
Also commissioned by the late sultan, the Sultan Abu Bakar Museum is an architectural wonder built in 1866. Local artisans constructed the Renaissance building under the supervision of a European architect using British furniture. It was eventually transformed into a museum in 1990 and offers a glimpse of the royal family’s grand lifestyle through the silverware, ornaments and souvenirs from dignitaries on display. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or a history buff, Johor Bahru is certain to charm with its compelling blend of old and new.