Owing to its close proximity to Singapore, Johor has long provided a popular ‘escape’ for the island inhabitance, and it is not difficult to see why. Johor is full of excellent attractions, from its state of the art, internationally recognized theme parks, to its unspoilt tropical vistas and its sparkling islands.
Listed here are just a few of the most popular destinations that this steadily developing Malaysian state has to offer.
1. Endau Rompin National Park
Encompassing a breath taking pre-historic rainforest as well as dual bubbling rivers (the Endau and the Rompin) that flow into stunning waterfalls, Endau Rompin National Park is an absolute must for visitors who want to experience the very best of the steamy Malaysian wilds. The leafy undergrowth contains a plethora of amazing creatures and was once home to the great Sumatran Rhinoceros. Herds of elephant are also known to lumber into plain sight at certain sections of the site.
Visitors can enjoy a 45 minute guided boat cruises along the Endau River which weave right through the heart of the jungle. Also, for visitors who want to complement their experience of the national park with some old fashioned exercise, treks to Malaysia’s oldest existing landmark can be arranged.
The volcanic rocks at the Upeh Guling Waterfalls are over 240 million years old. The beautiful Buaya Sangkut Waterfall is also accessible, and though the explorer will need to endure an extensive walk to reach it, the views offered are well worth the labor. The local Orang Asli that still dwell in the area – the main tribe of which is the Jakun – can be met at Kampung Peta a mere 15 minutes away from the national park’s headquarters.
A great location for surfers and nature enthusiasts alike, Desaru beach, though largely bereft of nightlife spots, shops and shore-boutiques, is a little stretch of heaven. Waves are highest during the monsoon season that runs from December to February, though this period can be dangerous and the temperature can get quite cold. Surf lessons are available for RM100 per person, and jet-skis can also be rented during the milder months.
A popular spot nearby is the Sungei Lebam river, which is lit with the lambent swarms of fire flies that reside along the banks. Hotel excursions to Sungei Lebam are regular, and a far easier method for reaching the river. Bizarrely enough, Desaru also contains a huge ostrich farm which is home to over 300 of these incredible avians.
Guests so inclined can lodge at the local chalets and mid-range resorts, though it should be re-asserted that the main attraction of Desaru is the beach itself, and there are few local places were a top notch meal and a drink can be enjoyed. This fact, however, should not dissuade potential visitors, as Desaru is an idyllic way to escape the more crowded centers of Johor.
3. LEGOLAND® Malaysia
One would be very hard pressed to find anyone, young or old, who wouldn’t be contented to spend their days world-building with LEGO® bricks. Fortunately, Johor’s LEGO® Land will allow visitors to live out their fantasies with a colossal range of brick-built attractions including robots, tower-drop rides, castles, computer games and, of course, an endless supply of LEGO® materials for your imagination to run wild with. For visitors aged 2-6, a Duplo playroom is also offered.
Particularly dazzling are the famous Asian architectural marvels that have been re-created in miniature (though still quite large) at the park. Guests will marvel at the lego Taj Mahal, Wat Arun, and even the PETRONAS Towers which have been skillfully rendered in LEGO®.
4. Danga Bay
There is always plenty going on at Danga Bay, Johor’s famous waterfront city. The high end retail outlets and top-notch sea-food resteraunts make it the perfect location at which to relax and unwind after a long days’ worth of sight-seeing. There is a small theme-park with 20 different rides at the bay, and though it will certainly keep the family entertained, it doesn’t compare to the more prominent amusement centers that can be found throughout the state.
Danga Bay’s cultural center showcases a range of locally produced handy crafts, and guests can learn about Johor’s rich heritage and past eminence whilst enjoying some peerless examples of local cuisine at its best. For guests looking for some nautical respite, Danga Bay offers a quality dinner cruise along the waterfront. Live music and Karaoke facilities and awesome views of the harbor are just a few of the stylish benefits the Danga Bay Dinner Cruise has to offer.
5. Pulau Rawa
No rundown of Johor’s most appealing attractions would be complete without mentioning Pulau Rawa. This sun-kissed coral island, rimmed with white sands, has many excellent sites for diving and snorkelling and the pristine waters are ideal for island hopping in a kayak or Hobie Cat – the likes of which can be rented out at the local Aqua Shop. Guests can even charter fishing trips at the local resorts.
Pulau Rawa has only two resorts- Rawa Safaris Island Resort and Le Club Rawa. The former of the two should be the first choice for accommodation as each room is fully air conditioned and furnished. Many rooms at the Rawa Safaris Island Resort offer amazing sea views which are alone worth the fee. By comparison Le Club Rawa, though certainly not dilapidated, is fairly minimalistic and lacks many of the luxuries to be had at Rawa Safaris.
For the visitor who favors adventure to reclining with a good book on a calm beach, nature treks that lead through Pulau Rawa’s verdant jungles (populated by monitor lizards and macaques among other creatures) is sure to appeal. There are three hills on the island and, at 800meters high, one can get an astounding view of the whole island as well as the hunting sea-eagles that roost among the crags.
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