Malaysia,  Travel

Let’s Go Mall Hopping in JB, Malaysia

Sam and I recently made another trip to Johor Bahru, Malaysia on a weekday. This time, our main objectives are to do a fun activity together and feast on all the cheap and delicious local food. While doing so, we ended up visiting a few malls and came to discover the sheer number of shopping malls in JB. Mind you, some of these malls are megamalls and it might take you hours just to comb the whole ground.

Shopping Malls in Johor Bahru

Unlike the shopping malls in Singapore, the malls in Johor Bahru are rather unique in their own way. Each mall has a unique selling point to it and you often can’t find the same shop at every mall. Since the malls in Johor Bahru are also exceptionally huge, there isn’t much of a crowd. Our shopping experiences were great and most importantly, we did not feel poor as we checked out all the stores. Have you ever felt like a pauper walking pass the rows of branded stores at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands? Get what I mean?

Our Mall Hopping Experience

Besides eating durians and hunting down for the best Fish Head Curry or Char Kuay Teow, you could also be hopping from mall to mall to shop till you drop. Enjoying some air-con and seeking shelter away from the hot sun and rain are some of the perks that come along with it.

What are some of the JB shopping malls which are worth checking out?

1. Johor Bahru City Square

JB City Square Shopping centre Malaysia

This mall is slightly more crowded than the rest of the other JB malls in the precinct due to its close proximity to Woodlands Causeway. It is situated right outside JB checkpoint, next to Komtar mall. And this is where Singaporeans would spend their money here like there’s no tomorrow.

You can watch a movie for less than $7, get a decent massage treatment and hair cut for less than $50. Besides, there is also a Gong Cha outlet selling your favourite boba tea too. There is also a Lavender Bakery outlet which offers delicious pastries and bakes that are way cheaper than BreadTalk.

Gong Cha JB City Square Shopping centre Malaysia

2. KOMTAR Mall

We also checked out Komtar Mall which is connected to Johor Bahru City Square. It is huge but there aren’t many food outlets there so it appears to be less crowded. There are several hair salons there though, along with a supermarket which is worth checking out. I regret not taking pictures of the place while I was there.

3. KSL City

If you have time to spare, I highly recommend that you venture out to check out the neighbouring malls within the vicinity. You can easily take a Grab to other malls like KSL City for less than $5 a ride.

Such malls are found closer to the heartlands in JB and that is where you can find lesser known fashion stores and famous local eateries. There is a Tiger Sugar outlet at KSL City too!

4. Mid Valley Megamall

Johor Bahru JB Mid Valley Megamall Shopping Centre Mall Hop

Mid Valley Megamall is one of the most impressive shopping malls I’ve been to in my life. You feel expensive just by walking on polished marble floors and being surrounded by all the posh and high-end stores.

Johor Bahru JB Mid Valley Megamall Shopping Centre Mall Hop

I wish I had more time to check out this mall as there are so many restaurants, cafes and other unique stores to check out. We came here for dinner and came across this popular South Korean fried chicken restaurant chain called KyoChon. There was a line formed at the entrance while we were there. It has to be good, right? I thought. So we joined the queue and we were glad we did so because their fried chicken was finger licking good.

Johor Bahru Mid Valley Megamall KyoChon Korean fried Chicken

We ordered 8 pieces of their signature soy garlic chicken which comes with a small bowl of salad. It was really worth the wait!

The well-seasoned fried chicken was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. And all the fried chicken pieces were fried very evenly.

Johor Bahru Mid Valley Megamall KyoChon Korean fried Chicken

5. Aeon Tebrau City

Johor Bahru JB Aeon Tebrau City

The next mall we checked out is Aeon Tebrau City which is some distance away from JB central. We actually came all the way here for one thing – cereals.

Yes, Sam wanted to check out this Cereal cafe called Let’s Get Cereal. It has shifted from Jalan Dhoby to Aeon Tebrau City. He was determined to visit this cafe as he is a huge fan of cereals.

Johor Bahru Aeon Tebrau City Let's get cereal costura

But lo and behold, this cafe did not turn out to be what we have expected. It is more like a small coffee bar which shared the same space as this fashion store called Costura.

They have about a selection of 20 over types of cereals. However, most of them were not available that day. What a bummer! Sam ended up ordering the Oreo cereals with full cream milk. And that’s it. There is really nothing special about this cereal cafe. And we were both very disappointed.

The Alley saves the day!

On a brighter note, we spotted the famous bubble chain store – The Alley! We wanted to try their Brown Sugar Milk drink in Hong Kong but we did not have the chance too. This time, we managed to get their signature drink which got everyone so excited about!

Johor Bahru Aeon Tebrau City The Alley Brown Sugar Deerioca Milk Boba tea

Here’s a good cup of Brown Sugar Deerioca Milk. I love the chewy pearls and creamy goodness of the milk.

Johor Bahru Aeon Tebrau City The Alley Brown Sugar Deerioca Milk Boba tea

We also had a haircut done at a salon in Aeon Tebrau City which costs us around $25. Do note that there is only one hair salon in that shopping mall!

Johor Bahru Aeon Tebrau City Salon Haircut

6. R&F Mall

Johor Bahru R&F Mall JB CIQ

So the last and final mall we checked out in JB was R&F Mall. This new mall looks very promising too. It is another megamall that features a classy cinema and many other popular stores like MUJI.

But at the moment, only one-fifth of the shops are open for business. And there is hardly anyone there. I believe that once the shops are all open for business, the shopping crowd will start to flood in.

Johor Bahru R&F Mall JB CIQ Linkway

There is a linkway from JB CIQ to R&F Mall which makes it convenient for us Singaporeans to visit the mall. However, do be prepared to do a bit of walking as the linkway is rather long. It took us about 10 to 15 minutes to walk from JB CIQ to the mall.

Most of the eateries in R&F mall are open for business. There is also another Kyochon and The Alley outlet there at the mall!

Food Glorious Food!

During our recent visit to the mall, we ate dinner at Song Huat Bak Ku Teh restaurant. Song Huat Bak Ku Teh is a well-known eatery in JB and now they have a proper air-conditioned restaurant located right at the mall. You can now enjoy a simmering hot bowl of Bak Ku Teh in comfort.

Johor Bahru R&F Mall JB Soon Huat Bak Ku Teh

During our 2 day 1 night trip, we covered these 6 shopping malls in JB. In addition, we also did Stand Up Paddle with Coastal Paddle and stayed at Tebrau Suites.

1Tebrau Suites

Johor Bahru 1Tebrau Suites Tebrau Apartment

To be really honest, there aren’t many good accommodations in JB. Accommodation may be very affordable but their facilities and services are up to standard.

For instance, this service apartment we lived in for one night only costs us around SGD30. But we could only check-in after 3 pm. We ended paying an extra SGD20 for checking in early.

What you get is what you paid for

Johor Bahru 1Tebrau Suites Tebrau Apartment living room review

On the exterior, everything seems clean and proper. However, there was a stench in the toilet and the towels provided had stains on it. Service wasn’t always very prompt as we had to remind them a couple of times before they assist us. But I guess what we get is what we paid for. We did not expect much either.

Johor Bahru 1Tebrau Suites Tebrau Apartment Kitchen

Each serviced apartment has a small kitchen area but we were not allowed to use the gas as it is only for those who are staying on a long-term basis.

Johor Bahru JB 1Tebrau Suites Kitchen Tebrau Apartment

Nonetheless, there are certain things about this accommodation which we like. The view from our room, for instance, is a plus.

Johor Bahru 1Tebrau Suites Tebrau Apartment JB view

The infinity pool on level 9 is rather big too! Sadly, we did not get to swim in the pool as we were only there for one night. But we managed to chill by the pool in the late evening after dinner.

Johor Bahru 1Tebrau Suites Tebrau Apartment infinity swimming pool

Stand Up Paddle

Johor Bahru JB Stand Up Paddle Coastal Paddle

Stand Up Paddle is one of the craziest activities we did as a couple. It was Sam’s idea of going out in the wild to experience something new.

An unexpected Adventure for us

Johor Bahru Stand Up Paddle Coastal Paddle

Overall, it was a fun activity to do but we were not quite sure about the safety aspects of it. We did it with Coastal Paddle at Pasir Gudang area. Their meeting point is at this far-off Kampong or village near the coast. It’s pretty close to Pulau Ubin actually.

We managed to get a Grab driver to fetch us to this remote place but he was not very sure of the area as well.

In the end, we have to rely on our GPS to lead to the meeting point which is a run-down jetty by the coast.

Praise the Lord, we managed to navigate our way and found our instructor who was waiting at the shed for us. There were only 2 of us that afternoon. So even though we were late, he waited patiently for us. (We were partly late because Sam has to buy covered shoes for this activity!)

It was a rough start

Johor Bahru JB Stand Up Paddle Coastal Paddle

Before going into the water, our instructor briefly explained to us how to stand on the board and paddle. Then we signed the indemnity form and then walked towards the jetty with our paddleboard. At the back of my mind, I was praying hard that we would return safely to shore. Even though the instructor was with us, in his motorboat, I wasn’t quite sure if there were any safety measures put in place.

Standing Up

Johor Bahru  Stand Up Paddle Coastal Paddle

Both of us were kneeling on the board to paddle as it was windy and the current was strong. We were both afraid of falling into the water so we did not stand on the board until the water was calm.

Soon, our knee caps began to hurt so badly as we knelt down for a really long time. So, I began to experiment with ways of balancing on the board without having to kneel down on my knees. I decided to sit cross-legged to paddle and it works.

Once we reached the mangroves where the water started to become calmer, I tried standing up on the board to paddle. It was a liberating moment for me.

Johor Bahru JB Stand Up Paddle Coastal Paddle

Unfortunately for Sam, he fell into the water a few times while trying to stand up. And when we both got tired, the instructor threw us a rope so that we can hold on to it while he dragged us with his motorboat.

Phew…

I heaved a sigh of relief the moment we reached back the jetty. The whole session was about 3 hours long. While it was intriguing and eye-opening, it was also rather risky for us.

Thank goodness, our instructor is a really kind man. When we could not get a Grab driver to bring us, he offered to send us to the main road on his motorbike. He had to make two separate trips to ferry the both of us to the main road. Nonetheless, we were really thankful for him.

Johor Bahru JB Stand Up Paddle Coastal Paddle

Overall, it was quite an experience. But we would recommend you to do Stand Up Paddle with experienced and trained instructors. Safety can never be comprise.

I hope you enjoy this article as I shared all the highlights of my recent JB trip. Happy shopping!

A travel and lifestyle blogger based in Singapore.

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