Johor Bahru: Visiting Johor Bahru City Square

It was my first visit to JB and since I arrived late afternoon I didn’t feel like going out to explore the streets and other districts of the southern Malaysian city. My objective was clear from the beginning. I crossed the border to eat at KFC!

I didn’t have to walk far because there’s a 24/7 KFC at JB Sentral, right as you exit from the immigration building (CIQ/Bangunan Sultan Iskandar). It’s right next to Starbucks. You can’t miss it unless the scent of freshly-baked roti nearby hypnotises you.

I ordered the Lunch Set for MYR 12.90 (equal to SGD 5.00). It had two pieces of chicken, a cup of coleslaw, a cup of mashed potatoes, and a loaf of bread. In Singapore, this would cost about 2 SGDs more and without bread.

What can I say? The chicken is tastier down to the bone. The coleslaw is ‘more refreshing’ with each scoop. The mashed potatoes with gravy has flavour, himala! I don’t understand why KFC Singapore fails at this, like almost intentionally!

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Okay okay… now, after wiping my fingers with tissue… how to return to Woodlands how to go to the mall…

Making your way to Johor Bahru City Square

CIQ COMPLEX (JB Immigration) –> JB SENTRAL –> JOHOR BAHRU CITY SQUARE

Take the pedestrian foot bridge via JB Sentral. Follow the signs that lead towards JB Sentral and keep walking until you see signs that point towards this mall. There were no big turns or anything. It’s really straightforward coming from JB Sentral. And take note, this is all by foot only.

There’s an access door that brings you straight into the mall.

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It felt like strolling into Market! Market! in Taguig, only with a mixture of shops you’d already see in most suburban malls in Singapore, except that the prices seem to be about 10-15% cheaper and the price tags are all in ringgit. Overall the impression I had was that things were not dramatically cheaper here in particular. Perhaps other malls much further into Johor Bahru offer cheaper goods. But still, I had fun looking around.

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One part called “Inner City” reminded me of Greenhills in Manila or the basement level of Far East Plaza in Singapore. They had a plethora of boutiques selling t-shirts, bags and shoes. There were electronic stores selling the quirkiest of cellphone accessories (like those oversized French fries looking-cellphone cases).

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Hair and nail salons could be found at every other corner. And, something you won’t find in Singapore… DVD vendors. You know, that kind of DVD vendor.

There were familiar logos all around. KFC, Famous Amos (it was the most decorated one I’ve seen so far, with gift baskets filled to the brim), Gong Cha and Kenny Rogers Roasters. Sadly, the brands or restaurants that are more unique to Malaysia were found on the fringes of the mall. I saw what I believe were authentic Malaysian food restaurant chains located in far corners.

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I also noticed people carrying around boxes of J.CO Donuts. Pasalubong ng Bayan?

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I spotted the Men’s Health booklet I’ve been looking for while in Singapore (I bet they have ’em at bookstores other than Popular). But when I saw the price being MYR 39.50 (SGD 15.00+)… i thought, damn, it could wait. It’s already half of my SGD 30.00 budget for this trip.

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Also familiar is the Cathay Cineplex on the top floor. Look at the promotional price on weekdays before 1pm (photo below)… MYR 7.00! That’s less than SGD 3.00 for a movie. The cheapest movie in Singapore is about SGD 7.00 if I’m not mistaken. An IMAX ticket at Shaw Lido can cost almost SGD 30.00.

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I spotted a Back to the Future poster in just the right size. I wanted to buy but it was over my budget. It’ll probably be something to look forward to buying when I come back. But lugging it across the Causeway? Hmm.

Oh, and a Ramadan Swiss Roll:

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While exploring the levels of the mall, I ran into this hall that had written dedications for the missing victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which vanished FOUR MONTHS AGO and hasn’t been found yet……… 😦

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There’s this one brightly-lit shop called F.O.S. which had quite a few good bargains for t-shirts. This was when I began to realize my age.

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I encountered what seemed like a Filipino store. But I was wrong! There’s not a single Filipino product inside. I was looking for Pancit Canton and other Pinoy products. Look at the store logo, looks Filipino to me. It even has the rising sun in the background. And it’s called KAPITAN. Huh.

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For dessert, I had Baskin Robbins (to my regret, I saw the Teochew Cendol Penang stall too late, which supports my theory about the Malaysian brands being located in areas with lesser foot traffic). The price for one scoop of my favourite Mint Chocolate Chip was MYR 8.00 or SGD 3.00. For some reason the scoop of ice cream looked bigger than the one I had in Novena.

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BECAUSE KFC AND BASKIN ROBBINS MERITS A TRIP ACROSS THE CAUSEWAY 🙂

(That, and I also went for a 45-minute Thai foot massage at Thai Odyssey.)

Read my other posts about Johor Bahru

Blogger’s Note: The Bekpacker was formerly known as ohgeorgyy.com.

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