Malaysia / Johor

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Malaysia / Johor / The State

Map of Johor State
Photo: Map of Johor State

Known as the southern gateway, Johor is the third largest state in peninsular Malaysia. Covering an area of 19,984 sq. km. at the sourthern part of the peninsular, it is bounded by the states of Pahang to the north, Malacca and Negeri Sembilan to the west, and the Straits of Johor to the south.

A causeway carrying a road and a railway line connects the state capital, Johor Bahru, to Singapore; making the state highly accessible from Singapore. Boat services also connect various points along the Johor River to Changi in Singapore.

Johor is one of the most developed states in the country, and its economy is based on a mix of agriculture, manufacturing commerce and tourism. It is a prime producer of rubber, oil palm and pineapple. Pepper is also cultivated on a large scale. It also has a timber and wood-based industry. Bauxite is another product derived from Pengerang. Its new port at Pasir Gudang on the Straits of Johor is fast developing into an important international port.

The rich mix of culture is reflected in the various places of worship - the magnificent mosques, temples and churches existing side by side. It is also evident in the various foods and local delicacies, the colourful and enchanting costumes, festivals, ceremonies and rituals. Most festivals are based on the various religions practiced here although some are also culturally derived. Whatever their origin, these festivals afford the visitors an interesting and colourful insight into the multifaceted culture that can be traced back to the history of the state.

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Malaysia / Johor / Masjid Sultan Abu Bakar

Masjid Sultan Abu Bakar
Photo: The Masjid Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque

This mosque, said to be one of the most beautiful in Malaysia, was completed in 1900, a few years after the death of the Sultan it is named after. The mosque, which took eight years to build, can accommodate 2,000 worshippers. It is located on spacious grounds not far from the Istana Besar overlooking the Tebrau Straits.

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Malaysia / Johor / Dataran Bandarayan

Dataran Bandarayan
Photo: Dataran Bandarayan

Dataran Bandaraya, or City Square, was officially opened on 31 December 1993 by the Sultan of Johor. A much sought after venue for public events like parades and stage shows, this popular tourist attraction comprises a large stage, a minaret, a fountain and a clock tower reputed to be the biggest in the region.

It is also boasts of the tallest flag staff in the state. A mega video screen has been installed for visitors to view live transmissions.

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Malaysia/ Johor / Johor Art Gallery

Johor Art Gallery
Photo: Johor Art Gallery

The Johor Art Gallery was built in 1910 and houses all discovered and historical items such as documents and cultural artifacts traditionally used by Malays, particularly from the State of Johor. Among the exhibits are clothing, weapons, currency, manuscripts and examples of calligraphy, ceramic objects and fine art.

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Malaysia / Johor / The Causeway

The Causeway
Photo: The Causeway

Entering Johor Bahru from Singapore involves travelling across the Causeway which links the two cities. Completed in 1924 after four years' work, the Causeway is 1,056 metres long and extends to a depth of 23 metres below the water level. In January 1942, the British Army demolished part of its as invading Japanese forces prepare to attack Singapore from the north.

The Japanese soon effected repairs and the Causeway resumed its role as an important road, railway and general communications link. The crossing includes a pedestrian walkway for the energetic. Singapore gets a good deal of water supply from large water pipes which have been laid across the Causeway from Johor.

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Malaysia / Johor / Waterfalls at Lombong, Kota Tinggi

Waterfalls at Lombong, Kota Tinggi
Photo: Waterfalls at Lombong, Kota Tinggi

These falls are located 56 kilometres north of Johor Bahru, towards the East Coast. The waterfall is 34 metres high and has been a popular spot with both local and foreign tourist for many years. Those who feel the need for a change from the tropical heat may like to try swimming in the cool waters at the base of the falls. A few chalets have been built near the falls for visitors wishing to spend the night and to be rejuvenated by the fresh mountain air. A restaurant serves both Chinese and Western Food. There are also foodstalls. A camping site has also been opened for the young and adventurous.

Ample parking space is available for buses, cars and motorcycles.

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Malaysia / Johor / Desaru

Golf course near Desaru Beach
Photo: Golf course near Desaru Beach

This stretch of beach, formerly surrounded by virgin jungle was developed as a tourist resort by the Johor Tenggara Development Authority (KEJORA). The resorts is linked to Kota Tinggi by a modern highway and has two first class hotels as well as beach chalets for rental. An 18-hole international standard of golf course has also been built and there are facilities for day visitors. On weekends, hawker stalls on the normally quiet beach cater for an influx of day trippers. There are also facilities for sports such as tennis, canoeing, swimming, boating, fishing, snorkeling and jungle trekking.

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Malaysia / Johor / Mount Ophir

Mountaineers at Mount Ophir
Photo: Mountaineers at Mount Ophir

The mountain is said to be the home of legendary Princess 'Puteri Gunung Ledang' once wooed by the Sultan Malacca. The mountain is a favourite among local mountaineers in search of excitement and adventure. The Sagil waterfall at its base is a favourite spot for picnicking.

Crystal clear river water and breathtaking waterfalls in tranquil, unspoiled environment beckon visitors to this area for a cooling bath or simply a quiet rest. Various amenities, including rest sheds, dressing rooms, camping sites, foodstalls and car parks are provided here. There are also tracks leading to the summit of Gunung Ledang.

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Malaysia / Johor / Endau-Rompin Forest

Waterfalls at Endau-Rompin Forest
Photo: Waterfalls at Endau-Rompin Forest

The Endau-Rompin area, covering an estimated area of 870 sq. Km, straddling the boundary between between Johor and Pahang, is one of the few remaining lowland forest in Peninsular Malaysia. It encompasses the watershed of the Endau and Rompin rivers from which it derives its name. A scientific expedition carried out in 1985-1986 revealed that this lush and relatively undisturbed area contains a wealth a unique flora and fauna.

Many unique and endemic varieties of plants have been discovered within the centuries-old forest, such as the magnificent fan palm (Endau ensis), climbing bamboo (Rhopa loblaste) and the slender-stemmed walking stick palm (Phychorapis singaporeansis) with its delicate feather-like leaf fronds. Pitcher plants, toadstolls and orchids also grace the forest floor. Moths and butterflies of every shape and hue can also be found flitting among the verdant foliage.

The forest is also home to the Sumatran rhinoceros and its reputedly rich and abundant wild-life include tigers, wildboars, elephants, tapir, deer and mousedeers. The unpolluted rivers abound with an astounding variety of fish easily observed through the clear waters. Hornbills and argus pheasants have also been sighted within the dense greenery.

A visit to his area promises a rare and fascinating insight of life in the Malaysian lowland forest.

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Malaysia / Johor / Royal Abu Bakar Museum and Grand Palace

Royal Abu Bakar Museum and Grand Palace Photo: The Royal Abu Bakar Museum and Grand Palace

The imposing palace along Jalan Tun Dr. Ismail was built by the late Sultan Abu Bakar, Father of Modern Johor. It houses an impressive collection of many rare and beautiful treasures from all over the world.

Admission fees are follow:

Non-Malaysians

1. Adults -- US$7.00

2. Children (below the age of 12) -- US$3.00

Locals

1.Adults -- RM5.00

2. Children (below the age of 12) -- RM1.00

3. Schoolchildren in uniform -- RM1.00

Opening hours: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm except on Friday.

Tickets are available at the entrance from 10 am to 5 pm.

For further information, please call:

The Curator

Royal Abu Bakar Museum Tel: 07-223 0555, 223 0222

Within palace grounds is the Mawar Gift Shop - a souvenir shop where visitors may purchase a variety of items as mementoes.