Top 10 Things to do in Johor Bahru

One thing’s for sure, you’re never going to be short of things to do in Johor Bahru. The city provides a fun and interesting mix of partying, history, shopping and family friendly adventure. You can admire the beautiful architecture of religious buildings, immerse yourself in hours of retail therapy or play with Hello Kitty. It’s a fascinating and enticing amalgam of attractions. If you need some help deciding on where to dedicate your time, here’s our top 10 list of what to do in Johor Bahru.

10. Chinese Heritage Museum

Chinese Heritage Museum in Johor BahruThis impressively laid out museum is dedicated to the Chinese immigrants who brought their skills and passions to this part of the world. Set over three floors it contains exhibits including historic documents, instruments and porcelain. If you’re trying to decide what to do in Johor Bahru this attraction gives you a fascinating insight into the lives of the Chinese people who settled in this area.

Different groups of Chinese brought with them different skills. The Cantonese were renowned for their carpentry ability, the Hakkas for Chinese medicines, and the Hainanese for introducing coffee shops. This penchant for coffee shops is something you will still see today when you visit Johor Bahru and if you decide to visit this museum you won’t be disappointed; the exhibits are interesting and it’s easy to find your way around. A major positive is that the museum has plenty of good signage in English.

You’ll find an array of insightful documents on the first floor of the museum that help to introduce you to the history of the Chinese people in the area. The second and third floors are packed with exhibits, and the top floor plays host to variety of different temporary exhibits.

9. Angry Birds Activity Park

Captain Black Birds Ship inside Angry Birds Activity Park in Johor Bahru
Captain Black Birds Ship inside Angry Birds Activity Park. ©

No doubt you’ll be familiar with the Angry Birds phenomenon and in this family friendly Activity Park, kids and adults alike get to immerse themselves within the popular franchise. If you’re visiting the city with kids, the Angry Birds Activity Park should definitely be on your list of top things to do in Johor Bahru. It’s set over an area of 26,000 square feet, inside the newest addition to retail and entertainment within the city, Komtar JBCC.

There are several different zones in the Activity Park, so you should be able to find something for everyone to enjoy. In the Danger Zone you can sample the Lazer Bird Scoot and the Space Drop Air Bag. Move on to Utopia and you can enjoy the Anti-Gravity Trampoline, the Giant Leap Foam Pit and the Piggy Shooting Gallery. If all that wasn’t enough you can spend some time in the South Beach zone where the whole family can play the Angry Birds Video Game or visit Captain Black Birds Ship. Whatever you try, this Johor Bahru attraction will be a welcome break from sightseeing for the kids!

8. Komtar JBCC

Komtar JBCC in Johur Bahru
Entrance to Komtar JBCC shopping mall. © Iwavns / CC-BY-SA-4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Komtar JBCC is the latest addition to the world of shopping and entertainment in the city of Johor Bahru. The mall was opened in 2014 as an extension to the existing Komtar building. It’s located in downtown Johor Bahru which is the main center for retail, entertainment and tourism. The area is being developed as a hub for fashion with the aim of attracting people from Singapore by tempting them to try a different shopping experience.

The project to build this impressive mall was endorsed by the federal government as a major part of a revitalization and renovation plan for the entire city. The vital and energetic vibe around the mall is hard to resist. It’s not just about shopping but about a unique experience to enjoy. You can spend your money in the multitude of stores, then relax with some refreshment or have some fun at the onsite Angry Birds Activity Park. If you’re looking for things to do in Johor Bahru you should definitely think about paying a visit to Komtar JBCC.

7. Johor Old Chinese Temple

Johor Old Chinese Temple in Johor BahruMany of the attractions in Johor Bahru are modern. The federal government has worked hard to make the city a cool and up to date place to visit. If you’re visiting the city it’s good to see the old as well as the new though, and the Johor Old Chinese Temple is just that. It’s located amongst the modern skyscrapers which make an interesting contrast to this ancient place of worship. This temple is a place of unity for the five Chinese dialect groups that made their homes in the area; Teochew, Hoklo (Hokkien), Cantonese, Hakka and Hainan.

The temple was originally built in the 19th Century and was renovated in the 1990s. The renovation process did not disrupt the historic feel of the building and historic artefacts such as the bronze bell and the joss stick pot are still present in the temple today. There are no existing records of the building of the temple but its age is evident from a plaque and the bronze bell. It’s a fascinating place to visit if you want to get a glimpse into the history of the Chinese population in the region.

6. Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple

Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple in Johor BahruThe Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple is one of the most popular attractions in Johor Bahru. It’s the only glass temple to exist in the country of Malaysia. The origin of the temple was as a simple structure back in 1922. This makes it one of the oldest Hindu temples in the city. The temple was re-built in the 1990s and re-opened in 1996. The re-building in glass was instigated by Guru Bhagawan Sittar who was influenced by the temples he saw during a trip to Bangkok. He saw the glasswork in the temples there and believed that using the same type of work in a temple structure in Johor Bahru would attract more devotees and more visitors overall. The fitting of the glass in the temple began in 2008 and was completed in 2009.

Today, the temple is an impressive place to visit. Around 90% of the building is covered with pieces of glass in a multitude of colors, creating a magnificent mosaic that has around 300,000 pieces. Despite its almost century long history the temple is not short of modern amenities which you will find useful if you visit. It is fully air conditioned and has an onsite café.

5. Sanrio Hello Kitty Town

Sanrio Hello Kitty Town in Johor BahruThere can be few people in the world who aren’t familiar with Hello Kitty. Sanrio Hello Kitty Town is the perfect place to visit for all those who love the character; young and not so young. This family orientated theme park is in the same complex as another attraction which features in our top 10; The Little Big Club. Both attractions focus on immersing visitors into the world of the characters. They are also located only ten minutes away from the most well-known theme park in the city; LEGOLAND Malaysia. You can make Sanrio Hello Kitty Town part of a fun family theme park day.

This is the first Sanrio Hello Kitty Town theme park outside of Japan and it really takes its theme to heart. Visitors can enjoy Hello Kitty themed rides as well as plenty of interactive things to do. If you visit you can even make your own souvenir and enjoy Hello Kitty themed refreshments.

4. The Little Big Club

The Little Big Club in Johor BahruThe Little Big Club is a must if you have a family and you’re looking for things to do in Johor Bahru. It’s located in the same complex as Sanrio Hello Kitty Town and it features many more world famous characters such as Angelina Ballerina and Pingu. The entire complex is called Puteri Harbour Indoor Theme Park and it’s packed with fun and laughter. For any little visitors who love Angelina Ballerina there’s the major thrill of being able to attend a dance class with the character. Attendees as the class even get to dress like their favorite; although there aren’t always enough outfits to go around so it’s a good idea to arrive early. Angelina herself arrives to take the class and teaches all those taking part some simple moves.

If your children are not fans of Angelina then there are other options at The Little Big Club. In the Bob the Builder Zone children can help Bob to build a house. Once you have completed your visit to this zone you can go one to visit the Pingu Zone where children can pose with the famous penguin and to visit Barney the Dinosaur in his corner.

3. Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque

Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque in Johor BahruThe Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque was built between 1892 and 1900 and is named after the father of the sultan of that period who directed the construction. The architecture of the mosque is heavily influenced by English Victorian architecture. If you visit the mosque you will also note Moorish influence in its design. This is not the only building that was designed at that time which has a heavy English influence. If you visit the state of Johor today you will see a myriad of government and palace buildings that were quite obviously built with the same influences in mind.

The Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque is located on a prominent hill in the city of Johor Bahru at a site where you can look out over the Straits of Johor. It’s a huge building which can hold as many as 2,000 worshippers at one time. If you have a list of attractions in Johor Bahru that you want to visit this mosque should be on it.

2. Johor Bahru City Square

Johor Bahru City Square
Johor Bahru City Square. ©

If you visit Johor Bahru you can’t fail to notice Johor Bahru City Square. It’s located right in the center of the city and is close to the customs and immigration checkpoint. The complex consists not just of retail space but also of a multi-story office building. If you visit the retail section of Johor Bahru City Square you can take the opportunity to explore more than 200 different retailers. There is something for everyone as they sell a wide range of products including fashions goods and entertainment items. If you’re looking for a quirky shopping experience you should head to Inner City which is home to some of the smaller accessory shops.

Once you have finished all your shopping you can relax and enjoy some refreshment at one of the many onsite cafes. You can even enjoy a relaxing foot massage, or you may prefer to take in some entertainment at the multi-screen cinema. It’s easy to see why Johor Bahru City Square is one of the most popular attractions with visitors to the city.

1. LEGOLAND Malaysia

LEGOLAND Malaysia Johor Bahru
A dinosaur made of LEGO at LEGOLAND Malaysia. © Martin Lewison / CC BY-SA 2.0 (via flickr)

The LEGOLAND Malaysia theme park opened in 2012 and was the first international theme park to be built in the country. If you’re wondering what to do in Johor Bahru then you may want to give this fun and creative theme park a try. You can’t fail to be impressed by the choice of entertainment on offer; more than forty different attractions altogether, including shows and rides. The park is located within the Nusa Cemerlang industrial park which is also the site of office space, residential space and hotels.

If you enjoy water based amusements then you have the added excitement of being able to spend time at LEGOLAND Water Park which opened its doors in 2013. You can even choose to stay at the LEGOLAND Hotel which opened at the site in 2014. If you and your family enjoy LEGO this is the place to see if you visit Johor Bahru. There is something for all the family if you’re looking for fun activities to enjoy together. These activities include Joker Soaker where children can literally get soaked while they fire giant water cannons at each other. Another popular activity is Build a Raft which involves creating an individual raft out of LEGO bricks. After all this activity all members of the family can spend time cooling off in the LEGO Wave Pool.

Are you leaving Malaysia? If so, check out our travel guide for How to go from Langkawi to Koh Lipe