2 DAYS 1 NIGHT – from RM345/pax (min. 10pax)
Johor is the southern tip, not only of the Malay Peninsula, but also of the Asian continental mainland. Today, it’s one of the most developed states in Malaysia, but little did we know that amidst all the build-up of infrastructure is a continuing preservation of its natural reserve.
We began our trip from 1 Danga Leaf, a multi-purpose area found in the waterfront city of 2 Danga Bay, situated in the south-central portion of Iskandar. You would know you are there upon seeing the green and red petals on poles surrounding the space.
Formerly known as Pantai Lido, Danga Bay is said to be the first, the largest, and the most far-out residential-commercial development within the city. It spans a 25km picturesque sea front facing the Straits of Johor, coming near the likes of Darling Harbour and Gold Coast in Australia and Toronto’s waterfront.
Entering the Marina Club which sits by the harbour front, we were overwhelmed by the splendid view of the bay crowded with yachts, along with the whiff of the seafood dishes coming from the Seafood Market. Evolving into a world-class city of the future, Danga Bay has become a hub to exclusive local and international food and beverage outlets and first-class retail shops. Even big and upscale events take place here! What is more, we were told that by night, Danga Cruise offers a tour around the bay for sightseeing. But if you would rather spend your time having fun activities with family and friends, there is also Danga World, a theme park packed with rides and games you can try. At the end of a fun-filled day, there are nearby hotels which can accommodate you like the Tune Hotel which was awarded with a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence recently.
Through our excursion around the place, we realized that Danga Bay is a promising work-in-progress the world has yet to see. At the moment, the government is doing a great job in commercializing the area to attract more tourists and to let them see the real beauty of Danga Bay. Easily accessible via main roads, it will only take you 10 minutes from here to reach the main railway terminal in Johor.
From Jalan Pantai Lido, we travelled 20 km to 3 Puteri Harbour, also known as the Jewel of Nusajaya which is one of Southeast Asia’s largest integrated urban development covering 24,000 acres. It has a public yacht berthing called Puteri Marina and another exclusive private marina for those living in waterfront residences. For yachts that are over 90m long, the Bahtera Mega-yacht marina is open for docking.
Staying overnight will not be a problem because Traders Hotel, the first international hotel brand in Nusajaya, is located in the same precinct. Close by is the 4 Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park where you will find the first Sanrio Hello Kitty Town outside of Japan, The Little Big Club where children’s favourites like Thomas & Friends, Barney, Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, and Pingu are, and LAT’s Place which is a themed restaurant where Lat the Kampung Boy and his LAToon friends come alive through live animation. This, indeed, is an ultimate way of enjoying the world in one city.
After feeling like we were back to the spoiled days of our childhood again, we rode 3km to 5 Kota Iskandar, Johor’s administrative capital. Combining Islamic design philosophy in its structure with Johor’s heritage and culture, it is beyond doubt the pride of the state. Kota Iskandar may be the center of politics, but like an open book, it is the destination where you can discover the history of Johor and the reason it is called a State of Firsts. Well, one of the firsts can be traced back to 1885, as it is the first state to have its own military formation.
Reaching the central plaza called 6 Dataran Mahkota, where the ceremonial grounds, welcoming mounds, and the amphitheatre are, we immediately caught sight of the water fountain, as well as the combination of lawns and tiles that form a shape of a star and a half moon at the center. We kept on strolling leisurely and found the 7 Heritage Wall that details Johor’s rich olden days.