Design & Architecture

5 Attractions To Check Out in Johor Bahru

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In the heart of bustling Johor Bahru lies the Ibrahim International Business District (IIBD), a metropolis that is a modern commercial and corporate hub, yet one which is intertwined with heritage and contemporary culture. It’s also home to the city’s green lungs, with innovative and artistic attractions inspired by eco-friendly elements.

If you’re planning a visit to Johor Bahru (or JB, as it’s more popularly known), don’t miss out on these interesting landmarks and attractions. Most of them are clustered in the downtown area, easily accessible by foot. Walkable for 1.3km from North to South and 0.9km from East to West, IIBD’s connectivity appeals to practically anyone and everyone – whether a resident, a businessman, or a tourist.

1. Kilometre Zero

Situated at the southernmost tip of Peninsula Malaysia marks Kilometre Zero, establishing the beginning point of the connecting highway into the country via Johor Bahru. Standing on the walkway along Jalan Ibrahim allows a gorgeous view of the Johor Strait and across to Singapore, and a turn of the head looks towards the Johor Bahru municipal office and post office buildings.

2. Royal Abu Bakar Museum

A visit to Johor Bahru wouldn’t be complete without taking a glimpse of the royal quarter. The Royal Abu Bakar Museum, formerly the Grand Palace of the Johor Sultan, is one of the oldest buildings in Johor. This Victoria-era building was built in 1866, and was turned into a museum in 1982. The museum is filled with information and rare artifacts of the Royal Family. Besides, there are picture galleries featuring the family tree since several decades ago. The belongings of the Royal Family are exhibited there, too, including the traditional weapons of Malaysia. This royal palace is surrounded by several hectares of beautifully manicured grounds. Behind it leads to the arched gateway into Taman Botani Zahara, the Royal Botanical Garden.

Just one kilometre away is the impressive Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque, also a worthwhile visit, especially for architecture buffs. Perched atop a hill with sweeping views of the Johor Strait and across to Singapore, Johor’s state mosque is an eclectic blend of neo-classicism combined with Anglo-Indian influences in the use of high windows and domed minarets.

Image Credit: Klia2

 3. Jalan Dhoby 

 Jalan Dhoby is JB’s widely popular hipster street, mainly for its fleet of trendy cafés that attracts café hoppers locally and across the straits. On a stroll along Jalan Dhoby, one can’t miss Flowers in the Window, a unique eco-themed café that lives, breathes, and serves flowers and greens (literally).

Resembling more of a florist than an eatery, the café is artfully decorated with an overflowing of flora and fauna, not to mention its own garden in the backyard. Beyond its Instagram-worthy interiors and facades, Flowers in the Window offers a refreshing menu concept altogether, serving fresh sourdough, homemade cakes, traditional dishes, as well as herb-infused beverages. Going eco is very much in its DNA as they also incorporate fresh herbs in their dishes as much as possible, adhering close to its flowery theme.

To beat the heat, it only makes sense to savour some delicious ice cream in Malaysia’s year-round sunny weather. Touted the longest standing ice cream parlour in JB Old Town, The Ice Cream Project (TIP) serves homemade artisanal ice cream to delight the taste buds and cool down your own temperature. It is also the only ice cream shop in town that adopts the liquid nitrogen method. The shop is easily identified with its trademark hanging swing just outside its premises. As a sidekick to their eco-friendly agenda, TIP using recipes that are lacto-vegan friendly, without the use of rennet or animal gelatin.


 4. Sultan Abu Bakar Monument Park

Birds of Paradise, Sultan Abu Bakar Monument Park

IIBD has much to offer with touches of green – a rare trait to find in most business districts in Malaysia. Entering the Southwest gateway into IIBD, the path on Jalan Ayer Molek leads to Johor Bahru’s municipal garden, also called the Sultan Abu Bakar Monument Park. The area is home to several significant structures: the VOA Monument on which the state coat-of-arms stands atop a fountain, and the Birds of Paradise, a fond nickname to six diamond-shaped structures resembling birds in the air. During the night, these structures light up with the rest of the park to project a beautiful symphony of lights, bringing about a sense of liveliness for community to gather and sight-see.

5. The Urban Tree

We saved the best for last!  This new attraction is a must-visit when you’re in JB. Standing 20 feet tall, situated in the prestigious Sultan Abu Bakar Monument Park, is the acclaimed Eco Cornerstone of IIBD. Touted as IIBD’s first Urban Tree, the sculpture is significant in several aspects, not just for its presentation but also its representation – one of commitment towards environmental sustainability in IIBD.

Tucked in amid surrounding greenery, the symbiotic relationship of art with nature in the Eco Cornerstone is a reminder to appreciate the presence of nature’s wonders and beauty. The eco-sustainability ethos is clearly embedded in different elements of the making of the cornerstone; moreover, it encapsulates the preservation of Johor’s eco legacy through design.

The Urban Tree employs metalwork – solid stainless steel, to be exact – and takes shape as the majestic yet endangered Pokok Meranti Johor, with its branches extending into leaves and wind chimes. Thus, art creates art with the gentlest of breezes creating melodious music that will resonate the ‘Songs of Nature’. Bits of coloured broken glass built into the 20-foot wide base of the sculpture glimmers in the sunlight, a reminder that we can find beauty in recycled materials. Beyond the glitter, it underscores a responsibility call to take positive actions to be eco-committed for a sustainable IIBD future.

The Urban Tree was designed and sculpted by Nizam Adullah, an award-winning sculptor and fine artist. He has been exhibiting locally and internationally, working on metal and shaping it to become a piece of art. His work ranges from wall sculptures to functional art such as home decoration to large landscape sculptures.

Nizam’s work stems from his own personal experiences and his perception of the world and society at large. His sculptures exude meticulous craftsmanship and creative flair, carefully formed using various everyday materials that can be found in common places, such as old cans and bottles, metal rods and such.

“Designing the cornerstones of IIBD, I want to tap into the collective voice and pulse of Bangsa Johor, because the identity of IIBD bears on the identity of its residents, investors and visitors. The design inspiration behind the IIBD cornerstone sculptures is to articulate the essence of the 4 lenses of IIBD’s HOME proposition, namely Heritage, Opportunity, Mobility and Eco-sustainability, by infusing artistic and creative elements that represent each pillar.”

            – Nizam Abdullah, Commissioned Sculptor of IIBD Cornerstones


For more information about IIBD, please click here.




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Nurul Syakirin we missed this!

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