For how easy and accessible so much of Asia is to Singy, none is easier than Malaysia – Johor Bahru, specifically.
Johor Bahru is the capital of the Malaysian state of Johor and shares the closest border with Singapore.
JB might be best known for the hours and hours that people spend in the traffic jams “aka The Jam” getting to/from Johor Bahru.
It is not uncommon for people to spend 4-8 hours in standstill traffic due to a large influx of day trippers coming from SG merged with the many Malaysians traveling home for the weekend or back and forth from work.
BUT THERE’S ANOTHER WAY!!!
There is a train – a rickety old thing that is extremely old and run down – that was set up in 2015 to try and help ease the traffic issues. It takes 7 minutes to shuttle you across from Singy to JB, sells out months in advance, and for some odd reason was unknown to any of either of our coworkers.
But regardless, it is the way to go. Why anyone would routinely spend 5 hours in a traffic jam is beyond me but alas, here we are.
There is a strict no photos policy at the train station which is, as an international border, a strict immigration checkpoint so no pics for ya. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
Arriving in JB as an interesting experience. Despite its close proximity to Singapore, the difference between the two countries is like night and day.
Where SG is clean and developed, JB is dirty and kinda crumbling. Where SG is safe, JB can kind of give you the heeby jeebies in some corners. Where SG is hot, well…JB is definitely still hot. Who am I kidding. I’ve confined myself to the realization that I will be hot for the rest of my days as long as I live on this continent.
We spent the day snaking through alleyways, checking out local grub, and hiding from the intermittent downpour.
Stopping for fish head curry that bubbled and frothed and was an intense creamy orange curry flavor.
and into an “American Diner” for chicken chop! Fried chicken in a black pepper sauce – a well known favorite in JB.
It rained and rained and rained but the clouds made for great lighting and the rain allowed us to duck into cafes for a rest and some free wifi!
A lot of people go to Johor Bahru to shop. It is notoriously cheap and has an absolutely massive mall right in the city center next to the train station. We spent a few hours wandering around the mall and bought lots of goodies!! Most exciting was all of the Korean beauty projects that I can’t wait to try.
After meandering around the mall, we headed back out to check out the local night market.
where we picked up a few snacks but most notably, A COCKROACH CRAWLED UP MY LEG
THAT COCKROACH WAS ON MY LEG!!!!!!! Oh. My. God. guys I literally could not handle it I jumped out of my chair and a local man stepped on it and told me it was ok but it was NOT OKAY. I tried to keep my feet raised the whole rest of the meal and was pretty relieved to depart.
The second part of the night market was a winding, twisting, endless sea of tiny shop stalls selling fake everything. It was packed! It was really the place to be on a Saturday night.
Johor Bahru is an interesting place. One thing I will say is, I definitely felt extremely pinpointed and out of place as a woman. There was a lot of staring and catcalling. I didn’t feel unsafe but I did feel uncomfortable at times. It’s a nice quick cheap trip to go explore and buy tons of things at half the price but I probably won’t go back….unless I want more cheap things…which let’s be real, I probably will.
And with that, I leave you. Till the next post, fanz!!!!