Photo: Remember your stay in JB.

Introduction

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Johor Bahru, or JB, lies just across the Johor Strait from Singapore and has long been regarded as that bright and shiny metropolis’ ugly step sister. But while JB has long had a reputation as a hotbed of sleaze, crime and pirated DVDs, change is afoot.


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Much of the questionable activity has relocated these days, and this emerging Cinderella is in the wings getting dolled up in her ball gown, well on the way to saving her somewhat sullied name. As well as the ever increasing high-rise developments, local NGO Think City has been working with the local government and communities to transform JB into a more liveable city, as is evident in JB’s revamped heritage district.

At the Glass Temple. Photo taken in or around Johor Bahru, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

At the Glass Temple. Photo: Sally Arnold

Other than day-trippers from Singapore drawn by cheap shopping and excellent food, or folks heading to Malaysia’s Legoland, most travellers hang around just long enough to hop on the next bus, train or boat out. But the hipster-ised heritage district, a handful of worthwhile sights including mosques, temples and museums, plus great eats, are good reasons to linger longer. If you’re travelling towards Singapore, you have even more cause to consider spending the night in JB, where you’ll get more bang for your hotel buck.

JB is the capital of Malaysia’s Johor State, and the southernmost city on the Eurasian continent, about two-and-a-half hours by road from Melaka, and four-and-a-half hours from Kuala Lumpur. It’s linked to Singapore by a busy (often jam-packed) causeway just over a kilometre in length, transporting cars, buses, trains, pedestrians and much of Singapore’s fresh water (until the deal expires in 2061). JB’s downtown area near the CIQ complex (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) and JB Sentral, the main bus and rail connection, conveniently offers the bulk of sights along with a handful of decent hotels (mostly midrange and up), and eateries that lure Singaporeans on ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,300 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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