Looking for a place for the family to spend the holidays? Vanessa Gomes compiles a list of famous attractions in Johor, perfect for a family with kids or for a fun day out with a group of friends.
The southern-most state in Malaysia, Johor has recently seen a growth to accommodate a business hub as well as to cater to an international audience, not forgetting the influx of Singaporeans travelling across the border for a quick getaway. Over the years, various outdoor activities and attractions have cropped up, not just to cater to tourists but also Malaysians who want to travel locally.
LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort
One of the first international theme parks in Malaysia, LEGOLAND has proven to not just entertain kids, but adults as well. There are two parts to the theme park – the theme park itself and the LEGOLAND Water Park. Within the park itself there are various sections to appeal to children of all ages as well as educating while having fun, including LEGO Technic. Here, children (and perhaps an adult or two) get to enjoy awesome rides as well as enroll in the LEGO Academy, where there are workshops that are not only fun but jam-packed with knowledge as well. If you’re more into science, check out LEGO Mindstorms and build your own robot as well as see it move!
Cool off at the LEGOLAND Water Park, where there is a wave pool, a river for you to float along, as well as tube and body slides. There are also interactive water attractions, like the Brick Blaster, where a group is places in large tube and sent down slides and tunnels of splashing water. A similar ride is the Red Rush for a greater adrenaline rush as a tube, large enough to fit the whole family, slides down a 312-feet long curved track. Be sure to check out the LEGOLAND Hotel as well, with their themed rooms and LEGO pieces at every corner!
For more information, visit legoland.com.my.
Sanrio Hello Kitty Town
Did you know that Hello Kitty is British? Her back story also says that she is a perpetual third-grader that resides in London, who is “five apples tall”. The Hello Kitty trend started in the 1970s in Japan, which is also the time the Japanese women took an interest to Britain. Here at Sanrio Hello Kitty Town, you get to learn more about this adorable cartoon character.
Here, there are different play areas as well as regular stage shows that go on, with Hello Kitty telling showcasing dances from different countries. Take a spin on the Tea Cup Rides and create your own souvenir to bring home at the Wishful Studio!
For more information, visit puteriharbour.com/play/sanrio-hello-kitty/.
Angry Birds Activity Park
One of the more recently added attractions in Johor, this indoor park is located in the state’s premier shopping mall, Komtar JBCC and covers a whopping 26,000 square feet! Predominantly an activity park, it has various games and attractions for people of all ages, from toddles to children, and even adults.
There are six different sections in the park – Danger Zone, Utopia, Classic, South Beach, Parents Lounge, and Red’s Jungle Run. The Angry Birds Go! Kart Track is one for the older children, making sure to keep interactivity a highlight in all their activities. From parkour to large trampolines and even a giant foam pit, the park is sure to keep the kids busy for the whole day!
For more information, visit angrybirdsactivitypark.my.
Wet World Batu Pahat Village Resort
Enjoy a fun-filled day with interactive water activities suited for families and even groups of friends. There are 10 different types of attractions, such as the Batu Pahat Tower, Big Splash, Kiddy Pool, Wave Pool, Mini Waterfall, Swan Boat, Lazy River, Fishing Pond, SPA Pool, and Dino Land. The Wave Pool is one the main attractions here, with man-made waves riding allowing visitors to be swept to shore. If you’re looking for something a little more laidback, then give the Lazy River and SPA Pool a go, both of which require you to just float in the moment.
For more information, visit wetworld.my/batu-pahat/attractions.
Desaru Fruit Farm
If you’re looking for an educational attraction and a journey of the senses, the Desaru Fruit Farm is a good start, where you get to learn about the different types of tropical fruit here in Malaysia, as well as eat them at the end of your trip! Taking up 180 acres, the Tropical Fruitland was awarded the Best Agro-Tourism Site in Malaysia in 2006 as well as the Innovative Tourism Attraction-Agro Tourism Conservation at the Malaysia Tourism Awards in 2010.
There is also a Herbal and Vegetable Garden and a talk on how to keep and manage bees and if you’re lucky, you will get to sample some raw honey! For children, there is a petting zoo where they can learn about different animals while getting up close and personal with them.
For more information, visit desarufruitfarm.com.
Desaru Ostrich Farm
It’s an ostrich party up in here with more than 100 ostriches housed at this farm, where they roam free! Don’t be shy and get up close to the world’s largest living bird in the world. Worried about being pecked or chased? Not to worry, the caretakers got your best interests at heart and will serve as your personal guide as you explore the spacious farm. If you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, take a ride on the ostrich for a small extra fee.
Their souvenir shop has an array of ostrich-themed items, from decorative lamp shades using an ostrich egg to enjoying ostrich-meat delicacies such as an ostrich burger and omelette!
For more information visit facebook.com/desaruostrichfarm.
Royal Abu Bakar Museum
Take a look into life as royalty at the Royal Abu Bakar Museum where visitors are given a glimpse into the royal quarters. One of the oldest buildings in Johor, the museum was previously the Grand Palace of the Johor Sultan. This Victoria-era building was built in 1866, and was turned into a museum in 1982, where it was filled with information and rare artefacts of the Royal Family. For a better look into the history of the royal family tree, there are picture galleries depicting the royal family over many decades. The belongings of the Royal Family are exhibited there, too, including the traditional weapons of Malaysia.
Surrounding the palace are several hectares of beautifully manicured grounds. If you walk behind the palace, it leads to an arched gateway, which is the entrance into Taman Botani Zahara, the Royal Botanical Garden. Just one kilometre away is the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque, known for its impressive architecture. Perched atop a hill with sweeping views of the Johor Strait and 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.
Sultan Abu Bakar Monument Park
Ibrahim International Business District (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.
*This originally appeared in The Expat July 2018.