6 Things to do in Johor Bahru to Stretch Your Dollar


Ran out of things to do during the weekend in Singapore? Or perhaps, you desperately need a day of indulgence but can’t bear the guilt that comes with a three-hour spa session. The Malaysian Ringgit has tumbled and crossed the psychological level of 3 against the Singapore dollar. Well, there’s no better time than now to make a consumerist trip up to Johor Bahru.

Here’s how you can enjoy a day in JB and stretch that dollar for all its worth.


#1 Shopping

Singaporeans have been crossing the border to shop, and purchases have been getting increasingly bigger. Like, a house. But even if you have no plans for a piece of property, you can still check out some of JB’s newer malls and stock up on daily necessities and add a few more pieces to the wardrobe.

KSL Mall

This is a rather large mall with 500 retail outlets. Get your mobile accessories here, or head to Tesco hypermarket if you need to replenish your family and your extended family’s groceries.

City Square 

This is a long-time favourite for locals and Singaporeans who can hardly wait to splash their newly exchanged ringgit at the nearest mall. It does have a good retail mix, hair and beauty salons, and a movie theatre where you can remind yourself of the days where you watched movies on the big screen.

Jalan Dhoby

If you think you are too hipster and cool and vintage to be shopping in JB, think again. Close to Citi Square is a street that could make you make you stray from Haji Lane. The street has cafes and boutiques to revive your Instagram account with. You can find TGND, a quirky vintage store, and Roost café, a rustic and charming spot to pause and pat yourself on the back for a productive day.

Johor Premium Outlet

Those who’ve been outlet shopping in the U.S may be underwhelmed by the selection here. But if you’re not going to the other side of the world, then this option on the other side of the causeway is worth checking out. You can find brands such as Burberry, Armani, and Salvatore Ferragamo. Discounts range between 25-65%.


#2 Massage and Hair services

JB has a good number of choices offering quality massages, hair, and beauty services.

Popular massage centres worth checking out include Soul Asia, Kaki Kaki, and Bangkok Spa. An hour-long Thai massage at Soul Asia and Bangkok Spa costs just RM 53 (SGD 18), which is about less than half of what it would cost in an average heartland massage centre in Singapore!

JB is also a great choice if you need an image makeover. You can get a hair cut, colour, treatment for less than half the damage, even at reputable salons (e.g. Elite, The Line)

fine dine

#3 Food

Apart from shopping, one thing that will never fail to draw Singaporeans across the causeway is the food. Beyond the street food that you may naturally gravitate towards, JB also has some good Asian restaurants.  Check out its Korean restaurants, such as Jeju Korea BBQ Restaurant. And, if you want to wind down the evening in style, head to The Skybar of Traders Hotel for drinks with a great view.

Check if your cashback or dining credit card applies for transactions overseas too. The ANZ Optimum World Mastercard, for example, gives you up to 5% even on overseas dining and shopping transactions.


#4 Dental Services

Dental services don’t come cheap in Singapore. For those who are considering getting dental services that aren’t covered by your company insurance (e.g. braces, whitening), and don’t want to be in a long waiting list at government clinics, doing it in Johor Bahru may really save you some significant costs.

You may not find services at half the price, but knocking off hundred of dollars is still good savings.


#5 Lego Land

Take the kids (and yourself) to Lego Land as a more wallet-friendly alternative to Universal Studios. Lego Land combines a themed part, water park, and even a hotel.  There are more than 70 hands-on rides, slides, shows and attractions. It’s not all kiddy rides though, some attractions are actually not too shabby even for adults.

little big club

#6 The Little Big Club

The Little Big Club is a kid’s dream comes true. Five popular characters including Barney, Bob the Builder, and Angelina Ballerina come tougher in a themed attraction. There are interactive activities to get your little ones entertained for hours.

The Sanrio Hello Kitty Town is also the first outside of Japan, and is a dreamland for fans. There are even Hello Kitty themed drinks and pastries here.


With these many things to do, there’s no better time than now to cross the border for a weekend of highly affordable fun.


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