Located at the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia, the state of Johor and its capital Johor Bahru has quickly risen to rival its more famous neighbour Singapore – located just across a channel – and still has lots of potential for growth.

With the second largest urban area in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur, it is today a hub for tourism and business, with a little bit of everything for everyone. An influx of foreign investment in recent years has given rise to numerous mega development projects. It is a rapidly developing location, but not without its own collection of pre-war and colonial buildings such as mosques, temples and shophouses.

Alongside those are soaring office towers and luxury condominiums. Thanks to abundant land, property prices are slightly more affordable than Kuala Lumpur. Much of the boom is centred around areas like the Danga Bay waterfront, as well as Iskandar Malaysia – a metropolis in the making. In the latter are attractions like the world-famous Legoland Malaysia and Hello Kitty Resort which draw visitors from across the region. There is also EduCity, a pioneering education hub that is home to several foreign branch campuses of prestigious universities and schools.

Shopping is another of Johor main draws. Thanks to cheaper prices due to currency conversion rates, many Singaporeans make the quick hop over the causeway to get their share of designer brands and local products, plus some entertainment while they are at it.

While the state does not have the culinary reputation of places like Penang, you will still be able to find lots of delicious flavours from all over the world, alongside the local cuisine that has been heavily influenced by the peoples of the archipelago. Johorean food is certainly distinct from that of other Malaysian states. The cafe scene is also growing, with many new outlets popping up in recent times.

So too the nightlife here, which offers a lively mix of nightclubs, bars and pubs around the city. Due to its proximity to Singapore, crowds can be rather cosmopolitan. In fact, the island neighbour is so close that many Johoreans work there, commuting back and forth on a daily basis.

Venture a little further out of the city, and you would also find some nature attractions. Johor is a big state, offering one no shortage of things to do, but with slightly less bustle.


Area Total 19,166 km2 (7,400 sq mi)
Population (2017) Total 3,700,000
Density 174/km2 (450/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Johorean / Johorian
Demographics (2010) Ethnic composition
  • Malay: 52%
  • Chinese: 30%
  • Indian: 6.0%
  • Other Bumiputera: 1.0%
  • Non-Malaysian citizen: 8.0%
  • Johor-Riau Malay
  • Mandarin
  • Tamil
  • Other ethnic minority languages
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