Johor Bahru (also Johor Baru or Johore Baharu, but universally called JB) is the state capital of Johor in southern peninsular Malaysia, just across the causeway from Singapore. A bustling city but one with little of interest for the casual tourist, it is a significant regional transport and manufacturing hub.
Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque. Located on top of a small hill and overlooking the Straits of Johor, this state mosque took eight years to construct (1892-1900). It has four minarets that resemble British clock towers. It is made of white marble and is a combination of Moorish and Victorian architecture, it can accommodate 2000 worshipers.
Masjid India, at the junction of Jalan Dhoby and Jalan Duke. This mosque with two different minarets located in the heart of the city was founded by the city’s Indian Muslim community. It is a modern-looking mosque with white walls, blue-tinted glass cladding on both its minarets and a blue and silver dome.
Sultan Abu Bakar Royal Palace Museum. It is still used for royal and state ceremonies and functions. It is surrounded by a 53-hectare, beautifully tended garden (free admission); the Zaharah Botanical Garden (Kebun Bunga Zaharah in Malay) lies about 300m northwest of the palace museum complex centered about a roundabout. The palace complex was first completed in 1866 but has been extended and refurbished many times since. The museum is housed in two of the three white buildings (all with blue-tile pitched roofs) in the complex and consists of 4 parts: the Dewan (in the west building); the Throne Room, the Treasure Rooms and the Hunting Room (in the central building).
Istana Bukit Serene, sandwiched between Jalan Kolam Air and Jalan Straits View, 7km northwest of the Causeway. This green-roof, stone building is the official residence of the Sultan of Johor. The palace has a huge sprawling garden which is a common site for many royal gatherings and celebrations.
Sultan Ibrahim Building. Built in 1940, this grey-bricked building is located on top of Bukit Timbalan. It houses the State Secretariat, the Menteri Besar’s (Chief Minister) office, State Assembly Hall and the offices of the state government. The building is an architectural blend of British colonial, Malay and Saracenic elements. It has a distinctive, 64m-high Mughal-style tower.
Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru, Jalan Datuk, 3 km west of the Causeway. Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru is the city square (not to be confused with the City Square shopping mall in the heart of downtown) that was constructed in conjunction with Johor Bahru being granted city status on January 1994. A yellow-colored building with a gigantic, yellow clock tower built stands on the north edge of the square. It is surrounded by two sports fields on the south side and three sports fields on the west side. Many outdoor events are held here. To get there from the city center, take any of the very frequent buses (one-way fare 1RM) that go to Bukit Indah/Kulai/Perling/Selesa Jaya/Skudai from opposite City Square (starting point) at Jalan Wong Ah Fook or from the bus stop in front of the old railway station at Jalan Tun Abdul Razak.
Johor Bahru Art Gallery (known as Galeri Seni Johor in Malay). Housed in a 2-storey white building built in 1910, it displays mostly Malaysian modern paintings. Other exhibits include Islamic calligraphy, ceramics, ornate wooden window frames, traditional clothing, weapons, currency, etc. There is a cart with a thatched roof and a giant drum displayed outside the building.
Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, 9 Jln Gereja (700m northwest of the CIQ). This beige building with a single steeple (with spire) is one of the main Roman Catholic churches in Johor Bahru. Built in 1883 in the British colonial style, it is one of the oldest structures still standing in Johor Bahru. Try to get here for the Tamil feast of Pongal in mid-January, when an intriguingly colorful harvest festival service is held within the church
Johor Bahru Chinese Heritage Museum (Malay: Muzium Warisan Tiong-Hua Johor Bahru), 42 Jalan Ibrahim 80000 (200m south east of the main post office in downtown JB). Housed in a restored 4-storey building. Learn about the history and culture of the Chinese community in Johor Bahru. The displays are spread out over four storeys.