Johor is a highly progressive and developing state in Malaysia. Located on the most southern part of Peninsular Malaysia, Johor has many highlights to explore, be it its beautiful colonial buildings, its unique traditional culture, the diverse and beautiful flora and fauna, and its rich heritage and royal family. Johor’s capital city, Johor Bahru, is the third largest city in Malaysia and has grown from a fishing village in 1855 to a thriving metropolis, housing nearly 1.7 million people within her city borders. Though Johor is not as widely known like Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown (Penang), or even Kuching (Sarawak), the state’s booming economy, and its proximity to Singapore has made it a destination to watch out for.
Johor may not be known as a food Mecca like Penang or Ipoh, but it has its own unique food not found anywhere else in Malaysia. Its version of Laksa, Laksa Johor, is made using ground fish, coconut, dried shrimps, and spices to give it a sumptuous taste. Another staple Johor dish is Mee Bandung which is thick yellow noodles served in a sweet and sour thick curry sauce. Try and get a local to bring you you to all the local food places and experience the cuisine of Johor.
Johor is home to an exquisite number of flora and fauna. One of the best places to go if you are adventurous is the Gunung (Mount) Ledang National Park which has a myriad number of protected wildlife like the Malayan Tiger and Malayan Tapir, and also home to local plants like the Pitcher Plant and Slipper Orchid. Gunung Ledang, known as Mount Ophir in English, has a rich history and is famous for its mythological story of a princess with magical powers that reside on the mountain. Other nature sights to bask in are the beautiful Desaru Beach and Pulai Waterfalls.
Expat Living in Johor
Johor Bahru has a growing expatriate population, and with that many established international schools have been developed accordingly. British and American syllabus are the most common schooling systems and some of the more popular international schools are, Raffles American School, Marlborough College, and REAL International School. Private and homeschooling are also becoming very popular, especially with locals.
For shopping needs, do not worry as you can find high-end brands like DKNY, Coach and Burberry sold in shopping centres all over Johor Bahru. For a change in pace, you can also flock to any nearby night markets and mingle with locals looking for the best deals and food around.
If you are in need of healthcare, Johor have numerous, efficient private health centres with well-trained health personnel who speak fluent English. In general, Malaysia has good quality medical services and this is no different with a thriving metropolis like Johor Bahru. Kindly refer with your insurance for more information.
Johor is growing at an exponential rate especially with government-backed Iskandar Malaysia, the main southern development corridor. It is a special economic zone drawn out in 2005 to grow the southern part of Malaysia economically and socially. As of 2014, US$47 Billion has been secured through investments, the amount is 41% of its target which Iskandar Malaysia seeks to achieve by 2025.
International attractions like Legoland Malaysia Resort, and Sanrio Hello Kitty Town are but just two of the many projects completed currently, and that draws hundreds of people every day.
Yes, the sound of different languages speaking at the same time can be daunting but it explains the diverse community in Johor. In any market or street corner, you can hear people speaking Malay, Cantonese, Hokkien, and Tamil. English is well understood and spoken by locals, with Malay and English being the official languages of the state since 1914. In fact, the Queen of Johor is the patron of the Malaysian English Language Association. Johor has a concept called Bangsa Johor, which literally means the Johor People, in which the Sultan of Johor decrees that all Johoreans are treated fairly and without malice.
Johor may be the most southern state in Peninsular Malaysia, but being below does not mean it is subordinate to other states, but leads Malaysia in many ways. Come and experience Johor and let your senses be ignited by this beautiful state.