- Johor Bahru - the largest city and capital, a popular gateway to Singapore
- Iskandar Puteri - the neighbouring administrative capital
- Batu Pahat
- Kota Tinggi
- Mersing - main port for ferries to Tioman and other islands
- Pasir Gudang
- Desaru — local beach resort on the east coast
- Endau Rompin National Park — hiking in ancient jungles
- Sibu Island — marine park island off the eastern coast, popular with divers
- Tanjung Resang
- Gunung Ledang
The Sultanate of Johor was founded in the early 16th century by the Alauddin Riayat Shah II, the son of Mahmud Shah, the last Sultan of Malacca who fled from the invading Portuguese. On its verge, the territory of Johor included not only the present-day state, but also Pahang, Singapore, the Riau Islands and part of Sumatra. In 1855, the British appointed Temenggong Daing Ibrahim as the de-factor ruler of Johor. His son, Temenggong Abu Bakar, became Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor and started a period of modernisation for the country. In 1948, Johor joined the Federation of Malaya, which became modern-day Malaysia in 1957. Today, Johor is unique among the states of Malaysia for being the only one that has its own state army (separate from the Malaysian army).
In the 2000s, Johor started an ambitious economic development program named Iskandar Malaysia, aimed at leveraging its proximity with Singapore to become a wealthy, bustling city and attracting foreign investment, similar to the way that the Chinese city of Shenzhen used its proximity to Hong Kong in order to develop. Nusajaya (current Iskandar Puteri) was conceived as a planned city set to become the new administrative capital of the state, and a period of massive construction has begun, specially in the areas nearer to Singapore including Johor Bahru, Iskandar Puteri, and Gelang Patah.
In comparison with other states of Malaysia, Johor does not have many natural wonders or historical attractions, with most of the state covered with rubber and oil palm plantations. With exception of residents of Singapore, most international visitors just pass through on their way between Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and the islands of the East Coast. People who live in Singapore, however, often go to nearby cities in Johor, in particular Johor Bahru, for cheaper shopping and dining, for the Legoland Malaysia theme park, or for outdoor activities such as golf, trekking or fishing.
Due to the Iskandar Malaysia project, in recent years a number of large man-made attractions have being built in the Johor Bahru metropolitan area, such as the Kota Iskandar administrative building complex, the Legoland Malaysia theme park, the Puteri Harbour leisure area, the Danga Bay leisure area and the Harbour Commercial Street. Although promising, most of these developments are still only partially operational.
Johor Bahru is on the Malaysian rail network and has an airport with good connections around Malaysia.
Virtually all transport in Johor radiates out from Johor Bahru.
- 1 Legoland Malaysia Resort, Winkfield Road, Nusajaya (Near Johor Bahru), ☎ , e-mail: info@LEGOLAND.my. 10AM-6PM. Strictly for the kids, this is a Lego brick themed amusement park, water park and hotel. 165-205MYR (adult); 133-165MYR (child).
Johor's culinary specialities include mee rebus, spicy noodles in sweet potato soup, and Johor laksa, an offbeat version of the ubiquitous noodle dish: in Johor's version, the usual rice noodles are replaced with yellow egg noodles (not spaghetti) and topped with a thick paste of fish, onion, peanuts, chili peppers and spices.
Mee Rebus Stulang, Kacang Pol Haji, Sayur kangkung Cincin Mas and others will surely bring up the mood plus with the nicely done ABC special, cendol and other varieties of hot drink to choose from.
Whilst crime rates are increasing, especially in state capital Johor Bahru, the region is no more dangerous than most other cities or countries in South East Asia (or, indeed, any other continent).
Take care of your personal belongings whilst strolling along the streets, particularly when alone. Do not dress inappropriately (primarily out of respect for local customs and cultures) and do not show expensive jewellery or count large amounts of money in public places. Take the same common-sense precautions you would elsewhere.