Shopping in JB – 14 must-buy daily necessities

Cheaper shopping in JB
Shopping in JB

Singaporeans are constantly on the lookout for discounts to rack up savings. Whenever something is cheap and good, you can expect us to join its snaking queue. 

That’s why many of us often head into Johor Bahru to shop, dine and play. We’re blessed with strong currency, which means everything in JB is cheaper – including daily necessities. So we’ve done the research for you and listed 14 basic essentials that cost less in JB – including how much you can save with each item. 

*Note: All prices are based on online usual prices and exchange rates at the time of publishing.

1. Pediasure Milk Formula (850g)

Every parent will agree that raising a child in Singapore isn’t cheap, especially when it comes to daily consumables like milk powder. The next time you head into JB, alleviate your expenses by getting formula from supermarkets and pharmacies. Pediasure’s milk formula for children 1-10 years old is almost $16 cheaper in JB. 

Pediasure milk powder

Price in Johor Bahru: RM92.60 = $30.81 (Guardian pharmacy)
Price in Singapore: $46.30
Save: $14.85

2. Drypers Drypants Mega Pack (60 pieces) 

Another baby essential that adds up to cost a bomb in Singapore is diapers. But just across the border, Drypers Drypants Mega Pack costs just RM36.50 ($11.90) for a mega-pack of 60 pieces – it’s nearly $10 cheaper than Singapore.

Diapers at supermarket

Price in Johor Bahru: RM36.50 = $12.14 (Giant)
Price in Singapore: $21.50
Save: $9.36

3. Johnson’s Skincare Baby Wipes (75 sheets) 

If you’ve been spending way too much on baby wipes to clean up all the post-baby mess, then it’s time to shave those numbers and save in the long run. A pack of Johnson’s Skincare Baby Wipes will cost you about $2.90 less in JB for each packet.

Johnson's baby wipes

Price in Johor Bahru: RM10.40 = $3.46 (Caring pharmacy)
Price in Singapore: $6.30
Save: $2.84

4. Ribena Blackcurrant (2L) 

Milo, coffee and tea – most of the drinks we drink daily costs a whole lot cheaper in JB, with most averaging about $2 cheaper. If you’re looking for something that’s really worth your trip, Ribena Blackcurrant actually costs almost half of Singapore’s price at Cold Storage.

Ribena at grocery store - shopping in jb

Price in Johor Bahru: RM22.90 = $7.62 (Cold Storage)
Price in Singapore: $13.60
Save: $5.98

5. Berocca Effervescent Orange (15 tabs) 

Singapore’s no stranger to recurring haze and flu seasons, so many of us take vitamins to boost our immune systems. You’ll be glad to know that Berocca’s Effervescent Orange costs nearly $10 cheaper in JB, so you know where to stock up on the health boosts!

Berocca vitamin C

Price in Johor Bahru: RM27.90 = $9.28 (Caring pharmacy)
Price in Singapore: $18.90
Save: $9.62

6. Panadol Actifast (20 tablets) 

Many Singaporeans also stock up on over-the-counter medication when they’re shopping in JB, and that includes the most common go-to painkillers. Panadol Actifast costs nearly $5 less at Caring pharmacy, and other variants for flu and menstrual cramps are also much cheaper.


Price in Johor Bahru: RM13.10 = $4.36 (Caring pharmacy)
Price in Singapore: $9.10
Save: $4.74

7. Blackmores Evening Primrose Oil (1000mg, 100 capsules x 3) 

Shopping in JB - Blackmores health supplements

Whether it’s to help us battle the waves of stress from work or to improve the quality of life, we can always lend our bodies a helping hand with health supplements. Evening Primrose Oil is said to be able to help improve chronic skin conditions like eczema and contains essential fatty acids. 

You can save about $19/bottle on Blackmores’ Evening Primrose Oil when you get them from Caring pharmacy in JB.

Price in Johor Bahru: RM242 = $80.51 | $26.83/bottle (Caring pharmacy)
Price in Singapore: $42/bottle
Save: $15.17/bottle

8. Simple Micellar Cleansing Water (200ml)

Simple Micellar water

Makeup remover is essential for makeup junkies. The only thing is, it’s often consumed quickly, because you can’t skimp on that essential cleansing step to maintain healthy skin. 

Simple’s Micellar Cleansing Water doubles as a facial cleanser and makeup remover, and you can get these at just RM23.70 ($7.93) at Guardian pharmacy – that’s nearly $10 less than its price in Singapore!

Price in Johor Bahru: RM23.70 = $7.88 (Guardian pharmacy)
Price in Singapore: $16.90
Save: $9.02

9. Revlon Colorstay Makeup (30ml) 

Revlon foundation

Make-up is a rather pricey essential for some of us. If you happen to be in JB, you’ll definitely have to grab a bottle of your favourite foundation because it’s significantly cheaper. Revlon’s Colorstay foundation can be found at Guardian for RM75.90/bottle ($24.87), about $9 less than it costs in Singapore.

Price in Johor Bahru: RM75.90 = $25.25 (Guardian pharmacy)
Price in Singapore: $33.90
Save: $8.65

10. Maybelline SuperStay Matte Lipstick  

Maybelline lip cream

While you’re at it, you might as well stock up on the lippies too! You can find most drugstore brands that are commonly carried in Singapore. So if you’ve been tempted to try out new shades but don’t want to spend so much, here’s your chance. You’ll save more than $5/each on products like Maybelline’s SuperStay Matte Ink.

Price in Johor Bahru: RM36.90 = $12.28 (Guardian pharmacy)
Price in Singapore: $17.90
Save: $5.62 

11. Dettol Antibacterial Bodywash Original (950ml + 250ml) 

Dettol antibacterial soap
Look out for bundles of 2 for even more savings when shopping in JB

Shower gel is a necessity that’s a ton cheaper on shelves in JB. For example, Dettol’s Antibacterial Bodywash is almost $9 cheaper in Guardian Malaysia. If Dettol is not your go-to shower gel, there’s a wide range of the same shower gel brands you’d find in Singapore, and most of them cost less too. 

Price in Johor Bahru: RM20.25 = $6.74 (Caring pharmacy)
Price in Singapore: $10.50
Save: $3.76

12. Pantene Shampoo Micellar (530ml) 

These pastel blue bottles of Pantene Micellar Shampoo have hit the shelves in Singapore, and they’ve been a hit with Singaporeans because of highly touted benefits of being hydrating and detoxifying, while purifying our locks simultaneously. You can get the shampoo at RM35.90 ($11.76) at Giant, which is about $5 less than it would cost in Singapore.

Pantene Micellar shampoo

Price in Johor Bahru: RM35.90 =$11.94 (Giant)
Price in Singapore: $16.90
Save: $4.96

13. Eyewear

Girl trying on glasses

Spectacles for only $30? Yep, only possible in our neighbouring country. Throw the skeptic in you aside, many of the cheap glasses found in JB’s eyewear stores are of equally good quality! Many spectacle frames cost about $50 cheaper in JB – for example, Ownday’s glasses cost about RM398/pair ($130.36), while the same frames cost $178 in Singapore.

For options on glasses, check out shops like Eyesmate and MOG for a range that spans regular and high-end brands alike. 

Price in Johor Bahru: Can average about RM90/pair ($30)
Price in Singapore: Cheapest options average about $80/pair
Save: $50

14. Contact lenses

For those unfortunate enough to suffer from the woes of not having perfect eyesight, contact lenses are a necessity. This is especially so for people who can’t stand the hassle of having to wear spectacles 24/7 or those who love sports and have to go spectacle-free. 

At optometrists like Eyesmate, you can grab Contact lenses for about RM95/box and RM680/8 boxes. 

Price per box
Price in Johor Bahru: RM 95/box = $31.60/box (Eyesmate)
Price in Singapore: $44/box
Save: $12.40

Price for 8-box bundles
Price in Johor Bahru: RM680/8 boxes = $226.22/8 boxes (Eyesmate)
Price in Singapore: $316.80/8boxes
Save: $90.58

Bonus: Contact lens solution (355ml x 2)

Heavy contact lens users who prefer monthly or bi-monthly lenses can also stock up on solution. Contact lens solution usually comes in a bundle of 2 x 355ml bottles with a free 60ml bottle.

Price in Johor Bahru: Approximately RM13.74/ bottle = $4.57/bottle (Eyesmate)
Price in Singapore: $13.50/bottle
Save: $8.93

Shop conveniently in JB with NETS 

Shopping in JB

Johor Bahru is a shopping haven for Singaporeans, and if we stock up on our essentials here, all of the savings can add up to help you save big time. Even toilet paper and rice are about $2 cheaper on average. And bonus for us, if the stores there happen to have bundle prices and sales!

The only gripe we might have about shopping in JB is that we have to change our Singapore dollars for Malaysian Ringgit before heading in. Plus, there’s the constant worry that cash will run out before we’re done with our shopping spree. 

It’s good news then, that NETS has crossed the border into Malaysia, and you can now skip the hassle of carrying cash and credit cards while you’re in JB. 

NETS terminal

With NETS, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that it comes with the authentication process of inserting your PIN upon checkout. Plus, there are no hidden or extra charges so you can shop worry-free.

The best part is, you’ll be able to use NETS at major malls like Johor Bahru City Square, Paradigm Mall JB, KSL City Mall, Sutera Mall, and Sunway Big Box. Head straight for stores like Giant, Cold Storage, Caring, Guardian and Eyesmate to suss out all your everyday essentials. And if you’re here looking for entertainment, it can also be used for taking in a movie at outlets like mmCineplexes

Shopping and chilling at JB during your quick weekend getaways will be a whole lot more convenient!

Shopping in JB

Find out more about NETS in JB here  


How to get from Singapore to Johor Bahru

For those who have been planning to cross over to the neighbouring land of JB for some cheap shopping, massages, and food, this travel guide is for you.

From the different modes of transport to take and their expected costs to helpful tips, here’s our guide on how to get to JB.

– Prior to departing for JB –

Apply for E-Gates

Good news: you can now skip the snakey queue at JB customs and opt for automated clearance via E-Gates instead. 

JB travel guide

The speedy service, however, is only available for Singaporeans, Malaysian Permanent Residents, and Malaysia Automated Clearance System pass holders arriving by bus and train. If you’re qualified and hold a biometric passport with at least 3 months’ validity, you can submit a Malaysia Digital Arrival Card up to 3 days before your trip to gain expedited entry.

Once you arrive in JB, go through the manual counter to register your passport in the system. This step is only required for those using E-Gates for the first time and will ensure you can breeze through the electronic customs clearance on your subsequent visits.

– Getting to JB –

Now that you’ve got your travel prep sorted out, it’s time to settle your transportation.

By bus

Cross Border Shuttle Bus

Singapore to JB

The transportation we went for was the Cross Border Shuttle Bus, which picks you up from Woodlands Checkpoint CIQ and drops you off after a 15-minute ride at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar for a small fee of $2. Remember to bring the exact amount of cash as this service does not provide change. 

JB travel guideYou’ll alight here and proceed on foot to customs. 

To get to Woodlands CIQ, hop on a 10-minute cab ride from Woodlands MRT or take bus 911, 912 or 912B and alight at Woodlands Train Checkpoint. You’ll need to walk about 900m after alighting, or you can change to bus 160 and alight at the W’Lands Checkpoint bus stop.

Cross-border bus services

If you missed the $2 shuttle service, don’t worry because you’ll still have cross-border buses to turn to.

JB travel guideImage credit: @__nadia_1135__ via Instagram 

Check out different routes and departure times on the Causeway Link website to find one that’s convenient for you. Fares start from S$2.60 for a 1-way ticket and you’ll need to purchase using a cashless mode of payment such as EZLink, Nets, or ManjaLink. Take note that you won’t be able to use credit cards with EZLink function.

Grab Bus

Singapore to JB

For a cheap-as-chips travel option, consider booking a Grab Bus. Operating by the Transtar bus company, the 40-seater coach only makes a few stops along the way to pick up passengers before zooming off to Woodlands Checkpoint. Tickets start from S$3 for a 1-way trip and can be purchased straight from the Grab app, under the “Travel” tab.

SBS Transit

SBS Transit also has the following options that’ll take you to JB:

  • 160 that goes between Jurong East and Johor Bahru 
  • 170 which commutes between Queen Street Terminal and JB Larkin Terminal 
  • 170X that travels between Kranji MRT station and JB Sentral

Other buses you can catch include SMRT bus 950 cross-border service from Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange to JB Sentral Terminal, as well as Transtar Travel TS1, TS6, and TS8 services. 

By car

JB travel guideImage credit: Simply Enjoy JB

You can also get a cab from the Queen Street taxi terminal, or hire a car from taxi companies such as Strides with licensed cross-border taxi drivers to bring you across. As usual, your passports will be checked and digitally stamped, and toll fees are charged to your CashCard.


JB travel guideBook an SUV that can comfortably fit the whole fam.
Image credit: @japan.ryo via Instagram 

SGMYTAXI also offers various services, from 1-way transport to JB to full-day city tour. To get to popular places like JB Sentral, Komtar JBCC, KSL or City Square, you can hire a Toyota Innova that sits 6 people – the one-way fee is S$15/pax. For 7 passengers, the Toyota Alphard 1-way fee is S$20/pax.


JB travel guide
Go cafe-hopping in JB.

The Private Transfer option on Klook lets you book a 1-way car ride from Singapore to a set location in JB. At S$188.25 per trip, you’ll get to squeeze up to 6 people and 4 pieces of luggage into an SUV. However, there’s a midnight surcharge of S$80 if your trip is between 11pm-7am and a baby car seat is an extra S$15. So, we’d say bring your own gear for your bub and plan to depart during the day.


You can also book a basic taxi service from Singapore to JB with SG2JB, or opt for a one-day trip to locations such as the Johor Premium Outlets. A standard 1-way trip to JB on a Toyota Innova will cost S$80 for up to 6 people, and you’re allowed to customise your pick-up location and timing in Singapore.

By train

If you didn’t know you could reach JB by train, well, now you do.

JB travel guide

The KTM Shuttle Tebrau that made a comeback in 2022 can get you from Woodlands Train Checkpoint to JB Sentral Railway Station in 5 minutes. Yep, you read that right.

Singapore to JB

A ticket from Singapore to JB will set you back S$5 and can be purchased on the KTM website in advance, especially if you’re heading to JB on the weekend. On the way back, the price is slightly less at RM5.00 (~S$1.56). If you take the train route, you’ll get to clear customs at a separate station from those coming in by bus and car.

By ferry

Say goodbye to gridlock traffic, sardine-packed bus station, and hours of queuing when you travel to Johor by ferry. In a mere 40 minutes, you’ll cross the ocean from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Pengelih in Johor.

Singapore to JB

However, there’s a catch. A 1-way ticket will set you back S$70. That, plus the roughly S$58 you’ll have to set aside for a private car to take you from the jetty to JB City Square, certainly doesn’t scream cheap. But if your goal is to explore the shops and stores on the eastern side of Johor before venturing into JB, then this route’s for you.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, you can secure a seat on the ferry on the Batam Fast website.

By foot

Here’s another way to cruise through JB customs and beat traffic on the causeway without spending a dime: go by foot.

JB travel guide

This option will work best for those travelling light and don’t mind trekking across the bridge. To start your journey, get off at Marsiling MRT station and follow the signs towards Woodlands Checkpoint. The 40-minute walk is pretty easy and will help you prep your appetite for the mountain food at JB buffets you’ll devour on the other side of the border.

– Upon arrival at JB –

Once you’ve made it to JB Sentral, you can get a SIM card to let your folks back in SG know you’ve arrived safe and sound.  

Singapore to JB
These stands don’t open till 9am so you can hang around and take some “arrived in JB” selfies while waiting. 

The stalls we saw offered 3 different mobile service providers – Maxis, Celcom and Digi, which are among Malaysia’s main telcos. However, remember to double-check the prices as there are specific ones only for Malaysians and others for non-Malaysians. 

You can also hit up the nearby money changer shops to exchange for Malaysian Ringgit. We came across one that’s next to a SIM card store, and the exchange rate was similar to the ones we checked in Singapore – S$1 to ~RM3.1. 

Singapore to JB
City Square Mall is a stone’s throw away from the customs. 

After that, you’re all set and ready to begin your JB journey.

– Getting back to Singapore –

After all the fun in JB, getting back to Singapore – and reality – is straightforward. For those travelling via land, you’ll basically be going through the same processes as when you arrived – head over to customs, go through the necessary passport and luggage checks and head over to the bus station, train station, or ferry terminal.

Travelling from Singapore to JB and back

We hope this guide dispels any misconception that JB is harder to get to than it actually is. With all these options, you can now pick the mode of transportation that best suits your need – whether you’re going budget or prefer to travel in comfort.


Things to do in JB near the Causeway

Ever since Singapore-Malaysia land borders opened up, many Malaysians have taken the opportunity to head home. Meanwhile, the rest of us have formed crowds to visit our neighbours up north once again, for a quick weekend getaway. Be it your first visit or your 100th, when it comes to things to do in JB, our first stop is always to check out activities near the Causeway.

If your party isn’t keen on wandering too far off from the customs area, it doesn’t mean you have to be stuck circling convenience stores and the same old malls. Head out to the streets and look out for these 8 things to do in JB that are within walking distance from the Causeway, including thrifting from RM5 and a hipster alfresco bar. 

Check out our Singapore-Johor Bahru travel guide as well to make sure you have everything prepped.

1. Skyscape – Sky-high views of JB from the 34th floor

things to do in JB skyscape

Located at the end of Jalan Wong Ah Fook, the 37-storey Menara JLand building isn’t only for white-collar workers to hustle in. Sitting high up on the 34th floor is Skyscape, which has been designed to host tourists and locals alike at its main attraction, the outdoor sky bridge.

The ticketed attraction (from RM38/adult, ~S$12) takes you to a sky deck where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of JB and Singapore right after the Causeway. 

things to do in JB skyscape transparent flooring
Portions of the flooring are transparent hard glass where you can see through to the roads below. 

Even if you’re acrophobic, know that you’ll be perfectly safe as there are handlebars to hold onto while you walk around the deck. Maybe, try not to look down though. For the rest of us, whip out your cams and take some gravity-defying photos with Singapore in the background. 

things to do in JB skyscape LED tunnelSnap a swaggy pic at the LED Tunnel.
Image credit: Skyscape Johor Bahru

Each ticket grants you 2 hours to explore Skyscape’s activities that also include an LED Tunnel for a neon photo op, and VR games. Due to capacity limits, the sky bridge has timed entries. Don’t worry if you miss your desired time slot as there are multiple sessions throughout the day.

Note: At the time of writing, the LED Tunnel is under maintenance till further notice. 

things to do in JB skyscape observatory deck

If, like me, you’re one of the faint-hearted, chill at the indoor Observation Deck where there are 2 powerful telescopes that go up to 75x magnification, giving you a close-up of other buildings in the distance. 

Skyscape ticket booking is available online as well as over the counter at Menara JLand. Alternatively, you can snag a discounted price by booking Skyscape tickets via Klook. After which you’ll only need to call in to check for session availability before making your visit. 

Price (Walk-in standard ticket): RM38/adult (~S$12) | RM28/child (3-11 years old) (~S$8.90) | RM33/seniors (60 years old and above) (~S$10.49) | Shoe covers RM1/pair (~S$0.32)
Address: Menara JLand, Johor Bahru City Centre Level 34, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: SunFri 9.30am-5.30pm (Closed on Saturdays). Last entry at 4pm.
Telephone: +60 7-288 8722 | +60 7-288 8723

Skyscape @ Menara JLand website

2. Pasar Karat – Late-night bazaar open till as late as 2am

things to do in JB pasar karat

Across the road from City Square Mall JB are rows upon rows of shophouses. By day, they’re eateries and cafes. But when night falls, the entire street is transformed into Pasar Karat which translates to “market carat”, as in the unit for gold and gemstones – aptly named for being one of the crowning jewels to visit when in JB.

things to do in JB shopping for shorts at pasar karat

Think of our usual pasar malams and multiply that by at least two, because entire roads are closed for vendors to set up shop selling items like thrifted kicks, clothing, jewellery, perfume and makeup… the list goes on at this street market.

Most of the items are priced between RM15-RM50 (~S$4.77-S$15.89) apiece. Brush up on your Bahasa Melayu and auntie skills, and you might even be able to haggle for lower. 

things to do in JB sunglasses and street food at pasar karat

You can expect a whole lot more shopping than food stalls here. But in the event that you are feeling peckish, there are food options sandwiched between the shopping stalls, cooking up snacks like takoyaki (from RM5/4 pieces, ~S$1.59) and BBQ skewers (from RM2, ~S$0.64)

After a night of walking around the pasar, quench your thirst with a refreshing Lime & Plum Juice (RM3, ~S$0.95)

Save for Fridays, you’ll be able to visit this pasar malam every day from 6pm onwards, where you can shop and eat till as late as 2am. 

Address: 26/20 Jalan Segget, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Mon 9am-5pm, 6pm-2am | Tue-Wed & Sat 6pm-2am | Thu & Sun 6pm-12am (Closed on Fridays)
Telephone: +60 12-700 5009

Pasar Karat website

3. Bundlebosque – Cheap thrift store with items from RM5

things to do in JB thrifting at bundlebosque

The thrifting scene in JB is thriving, with big stores nearer to central Johor like King Outlet Bundle and Big Bundle accessible via cab rides. But that doesn’t mean we can’t pick up cheap clothing while saving up on Grab fares and sticking near the Causeway. 

things to do in JB thrifting from RM5 at bundlebosque, shoes available too

While exploring Pasar Karat, keep your eyes peeled for Bundlebosque. The majority of its offerings are shoes, but they’ve also got racks of tees set up outside of the main store that are priced from RM5 (~S$1.59). There are countless hangers of clothing to sift through, but it’s worth scouring through to find pieces for the thrifted aesthetic. 

Price: From RM5 (~S$1.59)
Address: 49 Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandaraya Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 11am-12am, Daily

Bundlebosque website

4. Jalan Dhoby & Tan Hiok Nee – Streets with over 10 cafes

things to do in JB jalan dhoby and tan hiok nee cafe hopping street

When the streets of Jalan Dhoby and Jalan Tan Hiok Nee heritage street aren’t taken over by Pasar Karat, they’re a cafe trove where social media enthusiasts flock to get pics for the feed. Those familiar with JB would have frequented The Replacement Lodge & Kitchen, a must-go when cafe-hopping, or Chaiwalla & Co. Container Cafe to get a cup of refreshing Thai milk tea. 

The Replacement Lodge & Kitchen
Address: 33/34 Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 10am-6pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
Telephone: +60 12-547 7885

The Replacement Lodge & Kitchen website

Chaiwalla & Co. Container Cafe
Address: 36 Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Mon-Thu, Sun 11am-6pm | Fri-Sun 11am-12am
Telephone: +60 17-706 6800

Chaiwalla & Co. Container Cafe website

things to do in JB ah ma teochew kuih in JB
Image adapted from:
Ah Ma TeoChew Kuih, Jun Qi, @ahmateochewkuih

Set in modern-meets-vintage decor, Ah Ma TeoChew Kuih is an old school eatery serving Teochew cuisines like kueh and porridge for a hearty breakfast. The cafe is painted a calming sage green, with a refurbished food cart at the entrance and a cosy living room set that makes for cute photo ops to commemorate your visit. 

Ah Ma TeoChew Kuih
Address: No.13, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 7.30am-5pm (Closed on Mondays)
Telephone: +60 17-798 7600

Ah Ma TeoChew Kuih website

things to do in JB cafes in JB - the replacement, chaiwalla container & co., restoran hua mui, hiap joo bakery
Image adapted from:
@thereplacementlandk, Esther Kool, Jonathan Tye, Hiap Joo Bakery

From as early as 8.30am, grab your morning fuel of Kaya Butter Toast (RM3.50, ~S$1.11), Soft-Boiled Eggs (RM3.40/2 eggs, ~S$1.08), and a piping hot cup of Kopi O (from RM2.60, ~S$0.83) from Restoran Hua Mui. They also serve authentic Hainanese mains as well, should you be in the area during lunchtime. 

Before the trip home, make a pit stop at Hiap Joo Bakery to stock up for next day’s breakfast. This is where tourists like myself have crossed the border just to queue for the bakery’s signature Banana Cakes (RM12/10 pieces, ~S$3.79) which are baked fresh daily. 

Restoran Hua Mui 
Address: No.131, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 8.30am-6pm, Daily
Telephone: +60 7-224 7364

Restoran Hua Mui website

Hiap Joo Bakery & Biscuit Factory
Address: 13 Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 7.30am-4.30pm (Closed on Sundays)
Banana cake: Mon 10.30am | Tue-Sat 7.30am
Telephone: +60 7-223 1703

Hiap Joo Bakery website

5. Hookah District JB & District 2.0 – Container-style night market

things to do in JB hookah district

If your legs need a break from trawling the stalls of Pasar Karat, make your way to Hookah District JB and Hookah District 2.0, 2 container-style “bars” near Hiap Joo Bakery and The Replacement cafe, respectively. 

things to do in JB hookah district selling hookahs

It’s the epitome of chill vibes when the fairy lights are switched on and you’re greeted with a cool night breeze. True to its name, you’ll find hookahs here from RM10 (~S$3.18) a pipe. Choose your shisha flavour, like strawberry or apple, or try their house blends of Redbull or white grape. 

Hookah District also serves up food and drinks. A Family Set (RM75, ~S$23.84) comes with an omelette and fried squid to feed 4. Familiar coffee shop drinks like kopi and teh are available here as well, from RM2/cup (~S$0.64)

things to do in JB hookah district graffiti
Commemorate the hippie experience with dope photo spots at the various
graffiti found around the containers. 

Address: Jalan Ismail Sultan, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 7pm-12am, Daily
Telephone: +60 14-983 5018

Hookah District JB website 

6. Komtar JBCC – Affordable clothing stores like F.O.S & Padini

things to do in JB komtar jbcc
Image credit:

Post-immigration checkpoint, after a long walk on travelators and escalators, every visitor to JB will see 2 malls – City Square Mall JB and Komtar JBCC. While Johor Bahru City Square Mall  houses familiar and international names like Uniqlo, Cotton On, Din Tai Fung, and Baskin-Robbins – just to name a few – we’re taking a left and going into Komtar JBCC instead. 

things to do in JB fashion stores in komtar jbcc

After all, we left the country to suss out new and different things than what we’re used to in Singapore. Have a go at browsing through the clothing stores at Level 1 of Komtar JBCC. 

Bundle deals for casual fits and basics are commonplace at Factory Outlet Store (F.O.S.) Similar promos are aplenty at Brands Outlet too. The clothing range there reminds us of Uniqlo and Cotton On, mashed together.

Last but not least, since WFO is officially back on the table, Padini Concept Store is one for the OLs and salarymen to stock up on back-to-office attire.

Komtar JBCC was also previously known for its Angry Birds activity park, which sadly closed its doors in 2021. 

Address: Menara KOMTAR, Johor Bahru City Centre, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10am-10pm, Daily
Telephone: +60 7-267 9900

Komtar JBCC website

7. R&F Mall – New mall with Korean restaurants like KyoChon

things to do in JB R&F mall
Image credit:
R&F Mall

R&F Mall is JB’s newest addition that’s easily accessible by travellers on foot, via a 650m link bridge straight from customs. Instead of the usual right-turn after the convenience stores and SIM card shops, take a left towards the bridge which is plastered with signboards of the shops you can expect to see at the mall. 

Those looking to play out their own romantic K-drama meal scene can head toward Level 1 to find 3 Korean food restos within R&F: 

things to do in JB R&F mall kyochon chicken
KyoChon’s Wingettes & Drumettes in Honey (from RM18.90, ~S$6) and Red Pepper (from RM17.90, ~S$5.69) flavours.
Image credit: @ieat.lah

KyoChon 1991 (#L1-115) is a popular fried chicken joint that has perfected the sinfully crunchy delicacy. The fried chicken here comes in 3 different marinades – Honey, Soy Garlic, and Red Pepper. Pair it with a bowl of Garlic Fried Rice (RM7.50, ~S$2.38) that’s topped with crispy garlic bits. 

things to do in JB R&F mall dookki buffet
Best to prep your cams for the epic cheese pull.
Image adapted from: Eatbook

Next door is Dookki (#L1-116), where hotpot buffet meets tteokbokki. From RM39.80/90min (~S$12.65) per adult, the buffet has various types of tteok (Korean rice cakes) as well as free-flow eomuks (Korean fish cake skewers) for you to gorge on. An additional RM18.80 (~S$5.98) scores you a Double Cheese Ring surrounding the hotpot stew, for glorious cheese pulls and a creamy, savoury kick. 

things to do in JB R&F mall doma kbbq
Image adapted from:

If you have a taste for grilled meats, DOMA BBQ (#L1-12B) is a non-halal K-BBQ restaurant with set meals reasonably priced at RM165/3pax (~S$54). These BBQ sets come with side dishes like pajeon (Korean pancake), jjigae (Korean stew) and steamed egg as well. Plan your visit during the weekday from 11am-2pm and you’ll get 10% off your total bill. 

You can also catch movies at Emperor Cinemas if you’re looking to relax post-lunch, after a possible food coma.

Address: L2-086-A5, Mercu 1, Jalan Tanjung Puteri, 80300 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10am-10pm, Daily
Telephone: +60 7-272 7888

R&F Mall website

8. Hock Chiang Hin – Hole-in-the-wall dim sum store from RM1.50

things to do in JB hock chiang hin dim sum

Early birds entering JB for brekkie may find that several malls won’t be open till 10am. Fret not, as you will get to fill your tummies at one particular eatery that’s open from as early as 7.30am – Hock Chiang Hin. And it’s only a 15-minute walk from the JB customs.

things to do in JB hock chiang hin dim sum
Hock Chiang Hin is a non-Halal eatery.

This simple dim sum shop sells staples like fan choy and siew mai from only RM1.50 (~S$0.48). The rice and bun dishes come in large portions, where the fan choy in particular is big enough for 2 to share. Drinks like kopi and teh are also available here, and they’re served old-school tea bag style. 

Address: 18 Jalan Siu Nam, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 7.30am-2pm (Closed on Sundays)

Think of quick getaways into JB and road trips immediately come to mind. Of course, the benefit lies in the comfort and convenience of remaining within the car while going through immigration. But at times, it’s when we’re in a vehicle and zipping by that we miss out on hidden gems around the streets and within walking distance.

Travelling out of Singapore doesn’t have to be limited to hopping on a flight or going on long road trips. As long as you get to brandish your passport and obtain a chop at immigrations, it’s one for the travel books. Mark these spots on your next trip to JB for when you aren’t going by car and simply want to explore activities near the Causeway on foot.