When everyone knew I was headed to JB (Johor Bahru) on the weekend, one day before the CNY peak period – everyone told me I was crazy cos the jam was gonna be insanely packed heading there and on the way back!
In fact, I had a friend heading in the night before and she cautioned me that the jam was pretty bad and would probably last till early morning.
Nonetheless, we were awake and off that early morning (okay, not THAT early). This also marks my first time heading into JB with Bear, driving into JB and my first time there in 3 years or so!
Here’s a rundown of our 1 day pre-CNY itinerary at Johor!
First up – barely any jam at the Causeway around Woodlands checkpoint/customs but we did wait for abit.
Tip: Check the traffic app prior to choosing the customs to enter from (Woodlands vs Tuas).
Stop #1: Restoran Ya Wang
Touted to be the advisor to the famous Dian Xiao Er, the original herbal duck is a must try here at their restaurant with Bear and his family singing praises over the food.
I would have to admit the the duck is good, very tender and there’s plenty of meat. You can pair it with their normal rice or oil rice as well.
We also ordered their char siew and roasted pork to try. Very very fatty and sinful but good. If you prefer more meat to fats ratio – feel free to request in advance.
Bonus? Free red packets for our taking. Woohoo!
Stop #2: Hiap Joo Bakery
Ever since I had my first taste of the banana cake from Hiap Joo Bakery, I’ve been thinking of it non-stop all this while and finally, I was here all thanks to Bear and his dad. Thank you for bringing me here! 😢😭
Prices are as follows and there’s always a long queue (fast turnover!). This time round, I saw their freshly baked bread as well and grabbed a couple to try.
Ironically after tasting the banana cake, the taste didn’t really live up to what I remembered from back then – perhaps my tastebuds have evolved over the years.
On the other hand, their freshly baked bread (charcoal oven!) was what caught my attention and it was AMAZING! Recommended to purchase and best eaten on the spot itself! I ate mine the day after cos I was stuffed after Ya Wang but it still tasted so good!
Stop #3: Holiday Plaza
Holiday Plaza evokes alot of nostalgic memories for me because it used to be a place where my mom would bring me to regularly back when I was a kid. We would go on day trips to buy those VCDs/DVDs, do light shopping before taking the train back to Singapore.
For now, Holiday Plaza has not really changed much in terms of layout and old school factor.
We were here mainly to try to fix my Pixel 2 screen but its quite difficult to do so as they either don’t fix Google phones or they have to order the screen in specifically for you.
Price is around $200-300 MYR (approx S$100) which is still cheaper than a screen replacement in Singapore where I paid S$300 for mine! You can also get alot of cheap tempered glass and cases here (5 MYR for basic tempered, around S$3 vs a standard S$10 one from Singapore).
Also, if you have plans on becoming a hair stylist or pick up hair dressing skills, there are plenty of shops here that sell the tools of the trade!
Holiday Plaza has ALOT of cheap salons (hair and nail) which I hear is even cheaper than the ones at KSL.
Massage prices here are also much much cheaper, but the quality and facilities leave much to be desired la.
To round off my nostalgia factor, we managed to even locate the siew pao stall that my mom and I used to frequent back when I was a kid.
Taste = not the best, but it tasted of my childhood if you know what I mean. Best eaten pipping hot on the spot 🙂
Thanks to Bear also for hunting for my Pixel 2 screen replacement and this siew bao store ><
P.s Holiday Inn and KSL seems to be walking distance away from each other fyi.
Stop #4: KSL Mall
I think most Singaporeans would have frequented KSL Mall at least once in their lives (especially if you head to JB frequently!). For this suaku here aka me, this was my first time!
What we managed to do here to check out our now favourite, Mr DIY for cheap deals.
Shop for CNY clothes (okay, actually just me).
Stop #5: Durian Stall
Bear’s dad was busy recceing around the place while we were busy shopping and browsing at KSL Mall and he brought us to this random durian stall located outside.
It was here we tried out 3 fresh durians and ate them all on the spot.
- Red Apple
- MSW (Mao Shan Wang)
- Black Gold
Surprisingly the black gold was my favourite of the lot!
It’s also nice that they provide seating in the store with plenty of free water, gloves etc.
What a sinful treat and very honest durian seller! Abundance galore 🙂
Stop #6: Car Wash
Just located outside KSL Mall are a number of car wash places and we stopped by for a quick one just before CNY!
Stop #7: Paradigm Mall
And for our (almost) last stop in this whirlwind JB trip – we popped by the rather new Paradigm Mall which none of us ever visited before.
Compared to the older malls such as KSL, Holiday Plaza and City Square – Paradigm Mall is much cleaner, more upscale and just reminds you of a Typical Singaporean mall; except with more affordable prices especially if you’re looking for more branded wear.
Just sharing some snippets when we were doing some window shopping.
And yep, in the end I got the bag for Bear as an early Valentine’s Day present and the other work bag for myself.
Also picked up really affordably priced skincare/beauty stuff which are half priced /cheaper than Singapore.
Point to note as well that sanitary pads are also cheaper in Malaysia!
We alsp picked up cheap arrowhead chips for only MYR $9.80 (less than S$3.50!) which is a steal cos the cheapest you can get in SG is around $6-8!
Yep and for dinner – we decided to be lazy and settle for dinner in the mall at Taste of Georgetown (Penang Food).
For mall food, the food is actually pretty legit so we were impressed – some hokkein mee / White curry mee and Assam laksa. Not too shabby.
Stop #8: Petrol Kiosk
Final final stop – a visit to the petrol kiosk to top up our fuel at affordable prices and we were off to join the jam back at the Causeway to Singapore!
The jam wasn’t AS BAD but be prepared for a 35-45 min wait.
Nonetheless, we got home before 12am so that was pretty sweet considering we set off around 9.50am that morning?
What’s definitely for sure is that Bear and I will be back in JB again soon!
It was a great day trip all in all!~
Meanwhile, thanks always for reading and see ya tomorrow for the next part of my #weekendswithmitsueki series!
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