Whether you are heading down from the north of Malaysia, or crossing over into Johor for a shopping trip, you need to be aware of customs. They are pretty relaxed on the Malaysian side, but Singapore customs are thorough, strict and have rules that are not the same as other customs agencies around the world. Of particular note are the taxes on petrol, cigarettes and alcohol - there is no duty free on these items. The Malaysian border is particular prone to smuggling of these items, so here they are particularly stringent. If you don't declare even two cans of beer and they find them, you will be fined.
Johor Bahru has a bad reputation, but it didn't feel that bad, and better than Kuala Lumpur. I even managed to flag down a taxi that used the meter without having to be asked. That's a first for me in Malaysia. The people were friendly and helpful, but it felt like some of the streets were best avoided, especially at night. I wouldn't say I felt relaxed, but I didn't feel in danger at any time. Certainly during the day it felt fine.
I lived in Jb for a few years, and you really do have to watch your step!! We lived in an apartment block on the 15th floor, and one night I forgot to close a living room window,(well being 15 floors up I didnt think too much about it!) The next day I awoke to find that thieves had been in the apartment and robbed us, they had climbed up 15 balconies, and then standing on the ledge, reached across 2 foot out to climb through the window to the left!!
One wrong foot and they would have plummetted to their deaths, and all for the sake of my loose change and a few personal effects! This occurred in a complex with security!
Also, police like to jump out in the middle of the road on highways and acuse you of speeding, its purely their word against yours and they will 'let you pay the fine' there and then, the 'fine' depending on what they can see in your wallet. And as you drive off, after a few minutes you may well get stopped again for 'speeding'.
Finally, beware of taxi's, they like to swiftly throw a handy rag over the meter as you get in the car, either tell them to take it off or get out and use another taxi.
I was outside City Square Mall, holding my DSLR taking some shots of the traffic. Approached by a local man in mid 40s.
He offered to bring me around the historical places in JB to shoot pictures..
We got into a cab, went to 5 locations in 3 hours:
1st sch in JB, Kukup, Sultan's palace, etc etc
then in the end drop me at Larkin interchange, told me the taxi driver say the charge is RM190, so I have must pay him RM380 for 2 way!!
I told him I only have RM80 but he saw my nets card, so escoted me to the ATM to withdraw money!!
I alighted from the taxi, ran straight to bus back to custom, then to Spore.
Realli feel safe the moment I step back to homeland..
RM380 equates to S$167 which I was conned by him. How can a taxi be so expensive in JB for only 3hrs?
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Pasir Gudang Highway is the only main highway connecting Johor Bahru to the industrial city of Pasir Gudang. This stretch of highway built in 1980s is also one of the deadliest in the country. The highway is narrow (for its traffic) with cars, motorcyles, trucks and tankers jostling for limited space but at high deadly speeds especially in the middle of the night.
I've witnessed countless accidents on this short stretch of highway, many of them deadly especially when a motorcylist is involved. And to compound the problem, some weird folks choose to cross this highway on foot despite the fast oncoming traffic. Not to mention potholes and water locks during rain.
Just make sure you drive cautiously here and obey the speed limit. They are there for a purpose!
Local people of Johor calls the city also Cowboy Town. Be smart and stay out of Johor. Frequently we hear in Singapore that Singaporean people has been attacked with weapons during daylight time at petrol stations. Malls and banks are constantly protected by heavy armed security guards.
If you wanna fill up your gastank in Johor, petrol is half price then in Singapore, close your door of your car, ask the personal to fill up and open only the window to pay your bill. If somebody ask you something and is not from the petrol station, say always NO NO NO NO NO! Even when they ask or you can help with something important. One boy of Singapore did & they hit with a weapon on his head... now he needs surgery in the hospital to recover his skull...
If you like to visit the Wild West, go then to Johor... if not, there are many more nice places in Malaysia...
FYI- I was turned down by banks and money changers. Check your $100 bills, to make sure they are dated after 2003, apparently if they are older than that, then unacceptable...Also a lot of money changers do NOT take travellers checks....
Something to know before you go.
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Don't fall for the 'beggars' around JB. If you look properly, there's really nothing wrong with them. I believe they 'work' for a syndicate.
They tend to flock along the road entering Singapore where cars are queuing at the Immigration counters. Please refrain from giving them money. Giving them money will encourage them to continue their act.
These beggars give a very negative impression on JB, help us to eradicate them!
As the price of gasoline in JB is considerably lower than Singapore due to Malaysian government subsidy and currency exchange, there is a sign alerting all Singaporean registered cars at Singapore check point at the Causeway to JB, that their vehicle petrol tank must be of certain amount.
Similarly there are restriction on the quantity of certain products, eg cigarettes that Singaporeans and visitors can bring across the Causeway from JB to Singapore.
So ordinary tourists like us, not much worries but just to take note if someone request you to carry a large quantity of any items in either direction.
There has been damaging newspaper reports of high crime rate in JB in Singapore to discourage the Singaporeans who regularly flocked to JB for cheaper food and things to buy.
Even Singapore taxi drivers told me of murder, hands wearing Rolex watches being chopped and cars stolen.
There is an element of truth that crime rate of robbery, snatch thieves and stolen cars in JB is higher than most other Malaysian towns. The good news that there has been an increase in police and anti-crime actions to reduce the crime rates supposedly caused by mainly drug addicts and illegal immigrants.
In any event, it is better to be safe than sorry. Keep your belongings close to you and if use your common sense of where you go, park and whom you talk to.
I hope to relate an unfortunate
incident that happened to me in JB. I
went to JB City Square on 19 Jul 07
for a movie. After that at about 430
pm I went to Marybrown to have a meal.
I was sitting alone but there were
many people around me. A chinese man
in his 40s, wearing a dark green polo
tee sat beside me and asked me to help
him. He told me he just got released
from prison and needed some money.
When I told him I could not help, he
revealed and threatened me with a
needle like object. I had no choice
but to give him some cash, about RM70.
He took it and made a quick escape by
the exit beside Marybrown, apologizing
as he ran off.
I would consider myself lucky to come
out of this unhurt. However, I was
disappointed that none of Marybrown's
staff came over to assist me even
though I raised my voice during my
conversation with the robber. I WAS
ROBBED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT IN A SHOPPING
MALL AND EVERYTHING AROUND ME WENT ON
AS THOUGH NOTHING HAD HAPPENED! Still
in a state of shock, I headed straight
to the Woodlands checkpoint back to
I doubt the robber would be caught if
I reported to the local police. My
purpose of relating this incident is
mainly to let it off my chest and
hopefully to warn fellow Singaporeans
to think twice about going to JB.
DON'T THINK YOU ARE SAFE EVEN IF YOU
ARE IN CITY SQUARE ITSELF! Thank God I
only lost some money and wasn't hurt.
I can't imagine what would happen if
the man attacked me!
I hope those who read this can pass it
around, DO THINK TWICE ABOUT ENTERING
JB! IF YOU ARE THERE, BE REALLY CAREFUL!
Now I really appreciate the safe
environment that Singapore is. I NOW
WOULD RATHER SPEND MORE HERE THAN TO
RISK MY LIFE ACROSS THE CAUSEWAY!
It really depends on which parts of Malaysia or JB that you visit. Generally around resort areas, the resorts themselves would usually do their fumugation.
I was pretty badly bitten, however, when I visited the Tuluk Jawa seafood place. It's near the sea and I believe there are many areas of stagnant water. If you do not want to suffer my fate of having to endure the itch for three days or more, do bring along your insect repellant.
JB is not particularly a safe city to move about especially at night. Avoid dark and deserted places. Try moving in a group. As a rule, don't be nosey and it shall be alright. Be alert at all times. At night, avoid areas outside City Square. The area around Taman Sentosa are also said to be prone to crime. In the past year of so, snatch theft has also caused a few deaths in places like Taman Molek and Pasir Gudang.
I've been around for some years and have not encountered anything really nasty. So the rule is just be careful and avoid places that are lonely and dark.
Traffic Jams Do Not Only Occur In Singapore But Also In Johor Bahru Especially During Weekends Or School Holidays.
Beware Of Some Irresponsible And Impatient Drivers (Regardless Whether They Are Malaysian Or Singaporean) That Just Cut In Queues And May Causes Accidents.
Some Singaporean behave totally different in J.B…They are arrogant and drive as though they are the king of the road!
There Are Also Times When Beggars Just Stand In The Middle Of The Road During Traffic Jam (Between Cars) Asking For Money.
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We came here for a supposed 1 day visit, but it turned out we only stayed for a few minutes. The place was a total mess! Beware of toilets and wash room areas as hygiene is not the city's priority. You might want to consider going to pay CR, but no diference at all!