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4 secret spots off the beaten track in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

4 secret spots off the beaten track in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

For many day trippers to Johor Bahru, Johor Bahru is confined to either City Square Mall or KSL City Mall. Johor Bahru is perfect for that quick cheap massage, heavily discounted movie tickets compared to watching the same movie in Singapore or just a place for a family to dine in and do some shopping. But Johor Bahru can offer more than that. Here we cover 4 secrets spots in Johor Bahru that you can add to your itinerary.

Jalan Tan Hiok Nee

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Jalan Tan Hiok Nee and its surrounding area offers visitors a chance to explore the old streets of Johor Bahru. Let’s face it. Who wants to go all the way to Johor Bahru and spend all their time in the confines of a mall.

Situated near City Square Mall, it is accessible by foot (if nearby) or by Uber or Grab (if coming in from KSL City Mall). When combined with a visit to the surrounding area, this afternoon detour promises visitors visitors not only a chance to explore the back lanes of the city but also an awesome opportunity to laze around in some cafe

Suggested Route: Starting from Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, visit the nearby cafes and museums before making your way towards Jalan Wong Ah Fook:

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Tepian Tebrau

Tepian Tebrau, during my last visit, appears to still be off the tourist radar. It is a place specialising in barbecued street food: Barbecued stingray, barbecued sotong (squid), barbecued fish and the classic Otah. So if you are looking to feast at a seafood restaurant with all the bells and whistles, you may want to give this a miss.

Tepian Tebrau is actually a food court with small stalls selling barbecued food. While there are other stalls selling staples like fried rice or noodles, a majority of the stalls there focus just on barbecue.

My grab driver recommended that I try Ah Yong and I was glad that I did. The portions are generous and also affordable. The amount of food I ordered could feed two persons comfortably and only cost me MYR56 (USD13):

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Address: Jalan Mohd Amin

San Low Seafood Restaurant

San Low Restaurant is located in the suburbs of Johor Bahru amongst local private housing. It is a great location for day trippers who want to have seafood without having to travel out too far. More of a “Zi Char” Restaurant, it promises a no frills experience instead of a typical Chinese restaurant.

The price is affordable with a decent sized chilli crab, a vegetable stir fry, and a plate of their signature beehoon costing just around MYR100 or less.

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As the place is still close to the city area, the place gets packed on weekends. So if you want to have a hassle free dining experience, try to get there just before the dinner time crowd (i.e. 6pm to 6.30pm).

Address: Jalan Merah 1, Taman Pelangi, 80400 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Insider Tip: The restaurant offers a private car service that will get you to places nearby. Depending on the distance, the price may vary from MYR10-15. While slightly more expensive than a Grab or Uber, this is to help cover the empty ride back. So if you don’t want to feel ripped off, just call your own Grab or Uber.

Orang Asli Restaurant

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This is one place that promises an “authentic” seafood dining experience in Malaysia. Located by the sea, this restaurant is largely a self service place. My advice is to go in earlier around 6pm to 6.30pm or else you will be one of the poor souls waiting for a table.

Once you get there, go find yourself a table. Take a mental note of your table number (which should have painted on the wooden planked floor) before heading to the fish tanks/buckets by the side of the wooden platform. Unlike San Low, you can actually pick your own seafood here. Just grab yourself a pail and a wooden tongs before picking your own crabs from the huge blue plastic tubs. There will be different types of crabs and depending on the season, there might be even crabs filled with eggs. Once you are done with your pick, just join the queue with your pail and place your orders with one of the waiters there.

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Insider Tip: If you are aiming for crab roe, you should pick crabs with a “U” tip on the underside of the crab instead of a “V” tip. Those with a “U” are female and those with a “V” are male.

When you are done with your meal, you can try Grabbing or Ubering back but due to the isolated location, it may be difficult to get a ride back. If you have difficulties, try asking the waiters for help. They can help dial a cab for you. However, do expect the driver on insisting a fixed price instead of the meter on the dubious reason that he had to drive all the way in to get you.

Address: 1, Kg. Orang Asli, Telok Jawa, 81750 Masai, Johor, Malaysia

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