Picture by Adamina – DSC05594, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42250204
Tired of spending your time in the weekends shopping in Singapore? Time to cross the borders and explore Johor Bahru, where you can get more with less cost! Just across the river from Woodlands checkpoint, this southernmost city of Johor Malaysia is home to many great cafes, restaurants and shopping malls offering affordable food, clothes and professional services. From haircuts at S$15.00 to Mixed Grill Meat Platter for S$9.40, Johor Bahru can be your next stop at grocery shopping and cafe hopping weekends!
1) JB SENTRAL
Directly after the Johor CIQ checkpoint, this railway station is a connection building between the checkpoint and City Square Mall. There are a few shops lying around here, but the most prominent one is the bakery named Rotiboy that is just right at the entrance from the checkpoint.
With an unmistakable coffee bun aroma emanating from the bakery, this Rotiboy outlet lets you experience the coffee buns that were once in Singapore many years ago. Now, there are 4 different flavours to choose from and are priced at less than a dollar each. We recommend to eat the buns upon ordering, as they offer buns that are made fresh out of the oven.
MENU AND PRICING:
2) JOHOR BAHRU CITY SQUARE
LOCATION: Level 4, Lot M4-13 & 14
A Korean eyewear shop is situated at level 4 of city square mall offering Korea’s trendy eyewear at affordable prices. The average prices for their Korean-made spectacles are ranging from 80-120sgd which is approximately 50percent cheaper than making it in Singapore. Despite it being cheaper, their spectacles are of high quality and standard. We recommend you all to get their Titanium Korean-made frame as it is featherlight and sturdy, most importantly it is just 100sgd.
LOCATION: Level 4 – MS-11 & 12
If you are looking for an affordable game of lasertag, a very good place would be this one. Laser Battle is situated in City Square Mall, Johor Bahru, the nearest yet cheap lasertag place you can find. Having a game of lasertag is fun and intense, it helps in training cardio too.
If you have the stamina, it is recommended to go for 3 games.
TYPES OF GAMES:
REDS HAIR SALON
Location: Level 4 – J4-10
Want to dye or cut your hair at a reputable salon without burning a hole in your wallet, then REDS hair salon located at level 4 of JB Sentral is the place that you should go!! You can do 2-step treatment and cut your hair for just 100Sgd. Do note that it is very crowded during the weekends especially in the afternoon, you might have to wait up to 1hr for your turn. Based on the REDS’ manager advice, it best to go on weekday as it is less crowded.
JANTZEN HAIR SALON (TO AVOID)
LOCATION: Level 4 – M4-15 & 16
This hair salon looks pretty grand in City Square Mall, though we would highly advice against patronizing this salon. The staff are generally quite hostile, service quality is rather poor.
3) KOMTAR JBCC
LOCATION: Level 2, Lot-215-216
An affordable restaurant situated at level 2 of Komtar JBCC, this mixed cuisine shabu-shabu offers hotpot sets for 1 person, 2 persons and even has a dedicated menu for vegans, at about RM30.00 (S$10.50) per person. Diners get to choose their choice of refillable soup stock from the 10 different types available. We recommend to top up RM2.00 for a more flavoured broth such as the Sukiyaki broth, Milk broth and the Tomyam broth. The Sukiyaki broth is for those who like savoury soup and Tomyum is definitely for spicy lovers. The Milk broth is a soup that is rich in warm condensed milk. Do use their self-service sauce, especially their special Hong Kong sauce unique in the restaurant.
MENU AND PRICES:
The selection of soup:
- STRAWBERRY BLENDED
They also have a nice drink menu with blended drinks and milkshakes. It is recommended to try any of their drinks selection as it is only about S$3.50 or less!
LOCATION: Level 2, Lot-209-210
Feeling hungry after hours of shopping at Johor? Give Sushi Zanmai a try if you are looking for some affordable and diverse selections of Japanese dish. Some ingredients such as salmon may not be of freshest quality, but it is pretty good for its affordability. Service quality is decent.
MENU AND PRICING:
LOCATION: Level 2, Lot-211-213
A non halal restaurant serving authentic Shanghainese cuisine at half the price you would expect in SG. Definitely a must go place for chinese food lovers.
LOCATION: Level 2, Lot-203
Offering only beef and lamb in their ribs selection, this halal friendly menu is only available in Malaysia. Tony Roma’s here is no exception to the other restaurants in Johor in terms of affordability. We recommend trying their lamb ribs which are also exclusive in Malaysia.
LOCATION: Level 2, Lot-235
Calling out for all pretzels fan! There is a small shop of Auntie Anne located at level 2 of KOMTAR shopping centre near the linking bridge and the price of it is very much cheaper. The quality of pretzels is the same as the ones sold in Singapore.
MENU AND PRICING:
LOCATION: Level 3, 313A
There is a supermarket located at level 3 of Komtar JBCC offering a wide unique variety of food,drinks and household products that cannot be found in Singapore. However, their price is about the same as Singapore.
- MILO MOCHA FLAVOUR
Can only be found here! ?
There is a Daiso outlet in level 4 of Komtar JBCC. Each item there only costs RM5.30, which is less than S$2.00. Selection of items there are about the same as the ones in Singapore. It is always a good idea to stop by for shopping on affordable household items during your trip.
ALL ITEMS @ RM5.30!
BRANDED FOOTWEAR BAZAAR (NEW BALANCE, ASICS, NIKE, AND MORE)
Some of the few things to keep an eye out for when traveling in Johor are bazaars held at mall atriums, it is usually the best place to find yourself some highly discounted branded goods, which are rare to come by. At the time we went there was a Branded Footwear Fair held at the atrium of Komtar JBCC. They carry brands such as New Balance, Onitsuka Tiger, Adidas, and more for really low prices, from as low as S$30.00 for new balance shoes.
LOCATION: Level 1, 101
This store is located on the first level of Komtar JBCC and is one of the best options if you are looking for good quality and decent-looking clothing at a low price of 2 for RM79.90 (S$26.70). They mostly carry products of the local brand Rope Man aside other few local brands, and the designs changes from time to time so you will always find yourself fresh selections when you come back again.
4) JALAN DHOBY CAFE GUIDE
IT ROO CAFE
The best chicken chop in town as claimed by the cafe, is also the best in terms of price. For a large piece of quality grilled chicken chop with mushroom sauce, some potato wedges and coleslaw at the price of RM16.00 (S$5.40), it’s totally a steal! Also, with RM28.00 (S$9.40), you can taste all of It Roo’s grilled meat and fish in the mixed grill set. Do note that the cafe will be more crowded during weekends.
MENU AND PRICING:
- CHICKEN CHOP WITH MUSHROOM SAUCE
- MIXED GRILL
This whole platter contains a piece of grilled chicken, steak, lamb chop and fish together with a fried egg, some prawns and the usual potato wedges and coleslaw. At a surprising cost of only S$9.40, this dish will definitely fill your stomach and you get to try out the different grilled meats they have to offer in one plate.
Contact: +60 7-222 7780
Directions: From JB Sentral, cross the bridge into City Square Mall. Exit City Square mall to Jalan Wong Ah Fook. Cross this road and walk along it until you reach a crossroad. Turn right into Jalan Ungku Puan and follow along this road. Walk until you see another crossroad and turn left into Jalan Trus. Walk a bit more until you see a third crossroads where the Roost cafe is. Turn right and walk along the left side until you see It Roo cafe.
Jalan Dhoby is a must visit street for all the great cafes residing there. Apart from It Roo, other cafes such as The Replacement – Lodge & Kitchen and Koone are some of the great cafes that can be found in this famous street.
Get across the borders during the weekends now to enjoy all these food and shopping!