Flying with AIRASIA – KOLKATA to JOHOR BAHRU, MALAYSIA

Flying with AIRASIA – KOLKATA to JOHOR BAHRU, MALAYSIA

It was a pity how I had never traveled to Malaysia in spite of being it next door, until now. And just when I was planning my solo beach getaway before going to the mountains, AirAsia broke the most awesome travel news. I can’t thank my travel stars enough for the same. AirAsia has introduced direct flights from Kolkata to Johor Bahru, Malaysia from 28th November 2017 which gave me an opportunity to visit Malaysia and, experience the very beautiful state of Johor Bahru with AirAsia and Tourism Johor.
AirAsia currently has a huge fleet of Airbus A320’s with additional flights joining in every now and then. Kolkata to Johor Bahru is a new route and takes only 4 hours 15 minutes to reach its destination.

Watching the high rise buildings vs old city of Johor Bahru through my window.

Johor Bahru is fresh, the city looks comparatively new and unexplored. It came as a surprise that southern Malaysia is not very famous amongst travelers, maybe that’s the reason the city is under major rebranding phase and it is commendable. Johor Bahru is an ideal destination for family or solo vacationers, catering to the island, wildlife, city life exposure (museums, activity centers, shopping). Not to forget, its a great place for kids.

RWA ISLAND (private Island). Clicked this beautiful shot from the hilltop as we trekked.

TRAVEL FACT: Singapore is just a few minutes ride from Johor Bahru. (Do apply for Singapore visa and multi-entry visa for Malaysia while traveling to JB).

Here’s a travel guide for you to know what to do, where to stay and more in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

ACCOMMODATION

LEGOLAND Malaysia – Are you traveling with kids? Or who cares, there is a little one inside all of us.
Located 19 km away from Johor Bahru city, Legoland is your go-to place to stay in Johor Bahru. It is the first Legoland resort located in Southeast Asia that brings together Legoland themed amusement and water park. It is the ideal family holiday destination and designed for families with children aged 2-12. it is the first of its kind in Asia and the largest in the world.
The resort has 249 themed rooms under various categories (Pirate, Kingdom, and Ninjago). Apart than LEGO theme park, the resort also has multi-cuisine restaurant, children’s play area, swimming pool and has more than 12,000 LEGO mini figures displayed. LEGOLAND hotel will turn days into nights that families won’t forget.
**Buses and Taxis easily available for city access.

Kingdom Room at LEGOLAND RESORT, MALAYSIA
Adventure Room at LEGOLAND RESORT, MALAYSIA

AMARIAmari Johor Bahru is located in the heart of the city amidst heritage trail, shopping centers, museums, traditional bakeries etc, and offers modern facilities. The hotel has a bar, food gallery, cafe, spa, meeting spaces and lounge area.
Offering easy access, Amari is a 30-minute drive from Senai international airport, 80-minute drive from Singapore’s Changi International airport.
The rooms are well lit, air-conditioned with modern facilities, with a window view to the city. Amari Johor Bahru is a great option to stay in if you want to spend time in the city.

FOOD
Johor Bahru is definitely not one of the places where you will have any problems or discomfort when it comes to food. One can explore late-night casual eateries to experience the local lifestyle or visit restaurants. Amongst restaurants, there are places serving authentic Malay meals and for the ones who miss home food, there are Indian restaurants as well.
Personal Recommendation: “Dapor Warisan” serving authentic Malay meal. If you want to taste the authenticity on your plate this is your place. Located inside the Sultan Abu Bakar Heritage complex, the restaurant is well known for its delicacies like (Laksa, Nasi Ambeng etc).  Also, the place comes with an added course – cultural performances that will add local spice to your flavor and know the culture a little better. 
India Restaurant:
For Indian food, you can visit “Chakra”.

Left: Authentic Malay Food. Right: Malaysian Cultural Dance

ACTIVITIES

1. Enjoy Lego Land

As mentioned above, LEGOLAND is first of its kind in Asia, with a combination of amusement park, water park, and a hotel. With more than 70 fun-filled rides, slides and activities, a day in lego land do not disappoint.
Timing – 10 a.m – 7 p.m. Ticket – Starts from RM 104

2. Play at Angry Birds Activity Park

If Lego Land was not enough, the city of Johor has another fun-filled activity park to get those giggles going. Located in the city center with very easy accessibility by local buses or affordable taxis, angry birds theme park offers fun games like Birds Nest climbing track, Laser Maze spaceship and more. I had a great time here, after all, it was going back the memory lane of catapulting the birds. Oh! I also mustered the guts to try “Space Drop Airbag” and boy that was thrilling.
Timing – 10 a.m – 10 p.m. Ticket – Starts from RM 75

3. Experience Johor Bahru at Kota Iskandar

Kota Iskandar, apart than being the joy and pride of Johor, the architectural beauty of this place is phenomenal. It’s stunning.Embracing Islamic design elements, Kota Iskandar is the place where’s states history, culture, and heritage is preserved. If you are a history and nature lover a few hours is too less for this place.
Named after the late Sultan of Johor, the place has a mosque, administrative center – Legislative Assembly Hall (open to the public to have a visual retreat and know a little more about the place). Kota Iskandar is truly an explosion of space.
A must see destination.

4. Take a Trishaw Ride
Constructed a little differently than rickshaws, with driver seat at the back (seen across Malaysia), trishaw ride is a good option to hop into and roam around the city. Take a 2.2km journey passing the Street of Harmony, where several places of worship, JB bazaar, museum, and the rejuvenated Sungai Segget are located.
Priced at RM15 per ride

Trishaw Ride

5. Visit Desaru Fruit Farm

Situated on 100 acres of land, Desaru fruit farm is an opening to more than 100 varieties of fruits and plants. Apart than discovering seasonal, rare and different fruits, Desaru Fruit Farm also has a lot of other attractions like the fish pond, vegetable and herb garden and a petting zoo for kids. It indeed is quite an educational tour as the tour also includes a talk on bees followed by tasting session of raw honey. Indulge in sampling fruits, talk to nature and enjoy a scrumptious meal all cooked with one kind of fruit or another. Desaru Fruit Farm is indeed an experience in itself.
For more details and packages visit their website.

Right from the Fruit Farm.
Left: Our Ride to Farm. Right: What I wore.
The meal cooked with one kind of fruit or another.

6. Shop at Johor Premium Outlets. 

Shopping. Vacation or no vacation shopping is always on our priority list. Offering more than 80 international brands (to name a few – Gucci, Michael Kors, Furla, Tory Burch etc) if shopping is on your agenda then Johor Premium Outlets is your place. Why? Because these stores are on discount all year around. Do you need to know more? I went crazy in here and I am sure you would too.

Johor Premium Outlets, Malaysia

7. Play Golf at The ELS Club Desaru Coast

Over one acre of dedicated land space filled with plush green grass, lakes, coasts, and ridges, together make the dual golf courses, “Valley Course” and “Ocean Course” divine.  A rookie or a professional, one cannot resist scoring a birdie amongst such gorgeous landscape. The club also offers a wide range of golfing equipment and accessories to up your game.
Tourists staying at the Desaru Coast has access to their golf club with the multiple packages the hotel has to offer. Truly surreal.

8. Visit Rawa Island Resort – Private Island

Owned by the Sultan of Johor, Rawa Island was the highlight of my trip. It was definitely one of the most beautiful things I have seen. An idyllic tropical island resort that you can’t stop admiring. Sun basking admits white sand and green scenery, dip in the waters of South China Sea, snorkeling along the natural coral reef and simply relaxing while watching the beautiful sunset. This is what the components of the island are made of.


How to get to Rawa Island? –  You can reach Rawa in 20 minutes by taking a speedboat/ ferry from Mersing, Johor. The beachfront resort has 77 rooms, blending in with the natural landscape and Modern furnishings.
Rawa Island is an ideal beach vacation destinations and you will you will not regret. It is Surreal. (More details can be found on their website).

TRANSPORTATION: Taxies usually cost between RM 3 to RM 6 for the first kilometer and increases by RM 1 per kilometer. Thus, it is very affordable. It is also very convenient as it is available easily. For a more budget-friendly option, busses have a good network and costs between RM 2 to RM 5

WEATHER FACT: The best time to travel Malaysia is from March – September. Start planning your next vacation already.
P.S: Check out AirAsia for best flight deals.

It was my first time and I absolutely loved Malaysia (Johor Bahru). With traveling being so easy with AirAsia, I can’t wait to book my 2nd round of trip to Johor Bahru from Kolkata. It indeed was one of the most thrilling and learned getaways I have had, as AirAsia and tourism Johor ensured I experience and cover the best of Johor Bahru.

Disclaimer: The above is based on personal experiences, in association with AirAsia and Johor Bahru and may differ with every individual.
Please leave your feedback or any further queries on Johor Bahru in the comment section.

P.S: All images are clicked on iPhone 7 & Google Pixel 2 #TeamPixel. 

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Written by Nikita Agarwal
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