Johor is the Southern Gateway to Malaysia. Located in the southern part of Peninsula Malaysia, Johor is one of the most fascinating states to visit in Malaysia. Take your journey to Johor to experience it yourself. Its rich culture and diversity in food has something for everyone to enjoy. From famous cuisines like Mi Bandung and Laksa Johor to Zapin or Kuda Kepang performances, or even the mysteriously alluring Princess of Gunung Ledang (known as Mount Ophir) visitors always look forward to come back. Johor owes its diverse in food and culture to the visitors and traders throughout history.
Johor was named after Arabic word “Jauhar” which means precious gems. Arab influence in Johor has been significant due to Arab traders who used to come to trade spices a long time ago. Visitors and traders from Siam used to call Johor “Gangganu” which also means gems.
Johor is indeed precious. Seeking adventure or leisure, shopping or excitement, Johor offers them all. Golf lovers would appreciate Johor’s finest golf courses. Adventure seekers would enjoy Johor’s vast rainforest of Endau Rompin, which is one of the Peninsula’s biggest virgin lowland forests.
Food lovers would enjoy the palette of traditional food Johor has to offer. The creamy Laksa Johor is a unique Johorian, using spaghetti instead of the typical rice noodles used in other types of laksa. Mi bandung, Briyani Gam, Roti Kirai are among other must try food.
Johor’s culture, especially its traditional dances owe their existence to Arabs mostly. The musical instruments used in Zapin and the movements can be traced back to the Arabs’ Hadramaut. The Javanese also had heavy influence on Johor’s culture. Kuda Kepang, a dance which uses horse-shaped plaited mats as props, originated from Java. The dance is mystical and some performances involve the witch doctor, as the dancers sometimes ended up being possessed by what they believe is spirit of the horses.
Johor’s biodiversity is best exemplified by its five national parks. One of them is Pulau Kukup, an uninhabited island in the south-west region of Johor. Located about 1km offshore from the 150 year old fishing village of Kukup in Pontian, the island is home to 50% of the world true mangrove species, 12 species of fauna and also 76 species of birds.
Lovers of water sports and beaches would love the white powdery sandy beaches and consists of several unique islands in Johor waters. Not many are aware that Johor is the only state in Malaysia that has a beach that stretches 400 km on both the East and West Coast. The west coast of Johor fronts the Straits of Malacca while the east coast of the state provides access to its beautiful beaches and islands. It also has coral-fringed islands which makes Johor the perfect sandy getaway. These islands are accessible through Mersing Jetty or Tanjung Leman Jetty.
- To journey to Johor, is to bask in mystical history, diverse culture, ecological treasures, gastronomical delights, and the finest in leisure.
- Dubbed the Southern Gateway into the country, the fascinating state of Johor sits majestically at the southernmost tip of Peninsular Malaysia.
- Rich in history with a combination of cultures from traders around the world, Johor remains as one of the most fascinating states in Malaysia.
- Make your journey to Johor and experience the diversity of culture, people and cuisines. Learn the art of Kuda Kepang, a traditional dance performance, and taste the uniquely-Johor delicacies like Kacang Pool and Mee Bandung.
- Take a snapshot of Johor from the bird’s eye view of Gunung Ledang, a legendary mountain with its own tales and history.
- Johor was named after the Arabic word “Jauhar”, or jewels – a name bestowed by the Arab traders a long time ago. Visitors and traders from Siam used to call Johor “Gangganu”, which also means gems.
- Johor is indeed precious – adventure seekers or leisure lovers will find everything they desire in this land of jewels.
- Seek serenity amongst the gentle ocean waves in Pulau Rawa, or in one of the five star-rated traditional spas.
- Golf lovers especially, would appreciate the numerous finely laid out golf courses which Johor has to offer.
- Be your own version of Indiana Jones and explore Johor’s vast protected nature preserve of Endau Rompin, one of the Peninsula’s largest virgin lowland forests.
- Urbanites would not be short of entertainment at the theme parks, shopping malls and indoor sports arena.
The brightest diadem in the crown of Johor, its capital of Johor Bahru sits on the southern coast, facing the Straits of Johor. It is the southernmost city in the Malay Peninsula.Johor Bahru was formerly known as Tanjung Puteri. Now it is a part of Iskandar Malaysia, the country’s second largest metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 1,805,0000 in 2013.A causeway spans the straits, connecting Johor Bahru to the neighbouring city-state and international travel hub of Singapore. It is both a gateway to the Lion City, and lifeline of the commerce, culture, blood and history that continue to link the two neighbours.Johor Bahru is known for the glitter of its nightlife and variety of its retail outlets, many of which are clustered along Jalan Wong Ah Fook, the main boulevard of the city’s central business district.It also houses the ceremonial seat of the Johor Monarch, Istana Besar or The Grand Palace, one of the historical attractions in the city within which The Royal Abu Bakar Museum is located.
Named after an influx of turtles took refuge in the town after a particularly heavy flood, the Town of Kulai was once known as Gu Lai circa 1920’s, for the Chinese words that mean ‘the turtles are coming’.It is also the name of the district in which Kulai Town serves as the capital.Kulai is a haven for those who wants to experience nature at its recreational areas like Gunung Pulai and Hutan Bukit Putra and it boasts both an aquarium and a zoo.Kulai also houses the Johor Premium Outlets, which is the first luxury premium brand outlet in Southeast Asia.The Kulai District covers Bandar Kulai, Ayer Bemban, Bukit Batu, Kangkar Pulai, Kelapa Sawit, Saleng, Sedenak, Seelong, Senai and Sengkang.Administered by the Kulai District Office and formerly known as the Kulaijaya sub-district, it was upgraded to a full-fledged district on 1 January 2008 and renamed as Kulai District, making it the state’s ninth district.
The local authorities of Kulai are Kulai Municipal Council and Johor Bahru Tengah Municipal Council.
Pontian is a district in southwest Johor, the name of Pontian was transformed from a Malay word “Perhentian” which means a stop. Sailors travelling to and from Singapore or Malacca stop at Sungai Pontian Besar for shelter from the rough waters the Straits of Malacca.It is home to the National Park of Tanjung Piai with its beautiful mangroves. Tanjung Piai is a tourist attraction because it is at the southernmost tip of Asia .It is also the site of one of the observatories where Muslims use to determine religious events in the Islamic calender.Officials at the observatory observe the crescent moon to mark the beginning of the Muslim month of Ramadhan, Syawal, and Zulhijjah, which denotes the start of the Ramadhan fasting, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Aidiladha, respectively.Today, the name Pontian is also used in the names of two towns in the district, Pontian Besar and Pontian Kechil, of which the latter serves as the district capital.The capital was formerly a fishing village which has developed into a small town.Pontian ia a seafood haven noted for its variety of seafood which is sold at a reasonable price. Visitors from neighbouring towns and Singapore regularly visit Kukup, a fishing village about 20 km from Pontian Kechil, and known as the seafood lover’s mecca.Pontian Kechil is situated 1.5 hours away (via bus) from Johor Bahru (Capital of Johor State) via Jalan Johor.Other notable towns in Pontian include Ayer Baloi and Benut, north of Pontian Kechil. To the south and east of Pontian Kechil respectively are the towns of Teluk Kerang and Pekan Nanas.Pontian’s coastal areas are populated by Malays of Bugis and Javanese descent, while the Chinese community in Pontian predominantly belongs to the Fujian (Hokkien) sub-ethnicity. The Bugis Museum, located next to Masjid Teluk Kerang, in Kampung Teluk Kerang was built to preserve the Malay Bugis history.
Steeped in history, Kota Tinggi Town is home to royal tombs and the Kota Tinggi Museum which chronicles and safeguards the legacy of the state’s royalty.It is located roughly 42 kilometres north-east of Johor Bahru, on the road to Mersing.Kota Tinggi can also be reached by ferry from Changi terminal in Singapore where tourists need to pass through the immigration check point at Tanjung Belungkur ferry terminal before arrival.Kota Tinggi waterfalls is one of the main attractions in Kota Tinggi where one can enjoy the natural beauty of refreshing waterfalls. It is an ideal recreational retreat for the locals and tourists.The sleepy fishing town of Kuala Sedili or Tanjung Sedili, sits 37 kilometres north-east of Kota Tinggi town, and is the second largest fishing port in east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.The small town of Sungai Rengit is about 70 kilometres from Kota Tinggi and is very popular among seafood lovers. To spice the town, there is a World War 2 -era fortress built into a hill overlooking the coast.
Mersing Town, with its estimated population of 21,670 as of 2009, is a favourite layover for local and foreign tourists, as it is the main departure point for ferries to the state’s many offshore island paradise.It lies on the main trunk road, part of Federal Route 3, that connects the south and east of Johor with the east coast of the state of Pahang, its capital of Kuantan in particular.The gateway to the tropical paradise of Tioman Island, Mersing is both the name of a town and district in northeast Johor.The Endau Rompin National Park is Malaysia’s second largest national park. It is the gateway to one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests. From Mersing there are two entry points, through Kampung Peta and Kampung Selai.Other than a nexus for travel to Johor’s fantastic islands, Mersing town is one of the only two major towns on the eastern half of the state, the other being Kota Tinggi.
The landlocked town and its namesake district of Kluang lies smack in the middle of the state of Johor.Out of the eight districts in the state, it is the only one that does not have access to the coast, as it shares its borders with Johor Bahru, Pontian, Batu Pahat, Segamat, Mersing and Kota Tinggi, with only Muar not adjacent to it.Nestled 110 kilometres north of the state capital of Johor Bahru, Kluang Town is east-southeast of Batu Pahat, west of Mersing and south of Segamat.The population of Kluang district exceeds 250,000 residents and the town itself has over 145,000 residents.Kluang has its own local attractions namely Gunung Berlumut and Gunung Lambak . Gunung Lambak which is popular for jungle tracking activities has become a must-visit getaway for tourists coming to Kluang.
Famous for its food, coffee and historical pre-war buildings, Muar Town is both the principal town and namesake of its district, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia.Also known as Bandar Maharani, it was declared as the Royal City of Johor and is the fourth largest city in the state after Johor Bahru, Batu Pahat and Kluang.It is the biggest town in the district, which was divided into the Muar and Ledang districts, when the Tangkak sub-district was upgraded into a full-fledged district in 2008 and given a new name.
Muar is the only district which formerly borders Malacca in the north, covering the entire northern part of the state.
The name Segamat is derived from the expression ’ most immediate ’ or ’ very fresh’. These expressions were born from the mouth of Bendahara Tepok during his exile upstream of the Muar River after the Portuguese conquered Melaka. Bendahara Tepok who suffered a paralysis was stretchered to the boat. Upon reaching Lubuk Batu, he exclaimed, how very quickly his entourage had reached a safe place, away from the threat of the Portuguese. Because on that day, the weather was quite hot, Bendaraha Tepok had a bath there. Bendahara Tepok had said after the bath, “how fresh this body feels ” these words by Bendahara Tepok became a common phrase among his followers and subsequently, the settlements where they lived was named Segamat.
Dubbed the “Shopping Paradise of Northern Johor” Batu Pahat Town (also known as Bandar Penggaram or BP) straddles the state’s northwest coast in a district that bears its name.It is south-east of the Royal City of Muar, south-west of Kluang, north-west of Pontian and just south of Segamat.As of the 2009 census, this fast growing city was the 20th most populous urban area in Malaysia, replacing Muar in 2006 as the second largest urban area in Johor, and becoming the 16th most populated Malaysian urban centre by 2012.It owes its rapid development, to the influx of shoppers from neighbouring townships, other states and overseas, that flocks its many retail outlets.Thus, it is no surprise that Batu Pahat won its “Shopping Paradise” accolade, with the proliferation of shopping malls and hypermarkets.Ethnic Chinese forms the majority of its population at 62%, followed by the Malays with 36%, and the Indians at two percent.
The newest addition to the Johorean districts is Tangkak. The Gunung Ledang National Park is where the mysterious Gunung Ledang, also called Mount Ophir awaits, teeming with the allure of its fabled mystical princess, Puteri Gunung Ledang.
With Tangkak as its principal town, the district also encompasses Tanjung Agas, Kesang, Sungai Mati, Serom, Sagil and Bukit Gambir.
The district was once the northern part of the Muar district, separated from the southern part by the river that bore the parent district’s name.