Tag Archives: Johor Bahru

Empty Johor Bahru on Chinese New Year Day

Today is the Chinese New Year holiday (the first day of 2 weeks of celebrations). At Midnight (this morning) the sky was ablaze with fireworks. There are fireworks with huge visual displays that are all over the city. There are several huge “official” fireworks but there are dozen more with very large visual explosions that I could see from my balcony.

For lunch today I went to Sweetwater Mediterranean Restaurant and enjoyed an excellent lunch. I walked around downtown after that and it was like walking in a nearly abandoned city. Over 90% of the retail stores were closed along with most restaurants. The foot traffic was minuscule and there were hardly any cars on the road.

photo of spiral stairways in alley

Spiral stairways in alley between houses. This is an old photo of the area I walked in (Tamen Pelangi), I didn’t bring a camera today.

It reminded me of walking outside on Christmas when I was a kid. The roads were abandoned like no other day. Now the traffic is a bit lighter on Christmas but it is nothing like the otherworldly experience it used to be. Today in JB was like that, it wasn’t far from turning into a ghost town. It was actually interesting walking around like that.

The first day of the Chinese New Year is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth, officially beginning at midnight. It is a traditional practice to light fireworks, burn bamboo sticks and firecrackers and to make as much of a din as possible to chase off the evil spirits. You can read much more about it on Wikipedia.

The Chingay Parade will take place on February 20th in Johor Bahru this year.

Related: Basketball Courts in Downtown JBBig Lizards in Johor Bahru CBDArulmigu Sri Raja Kallamman Indian Hindu Glass Temple in Johor Bahru

Carabao Thai Restaurant

Carabao Thai Restaurant is located in Johor Bahru’s CBD, next to the New York Hotel.

photo of the exterior of Carabao Thai Restaurant

The restaurant has only outdoor seating. They spray mists of water and use shade and fans to help keep things relatively cool. I think the setting is the best reason to chose Carabao, as the food is only decent as is the service.

photo of the interior of the Carabao Thai Restaurant

Even though it is downtown they do a nice job of situating the restaurant on the back of the lot with some shade trees so you do get a bit of a feel of escaping the city. They also have a large parking lot.

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Ajisai Japanese Restaurant

Ajisai Japanese Restaurant is near Plaza Pelangi (in the same strip of shops as Furusato Japanese Restaurant, Rosmarino and Clinic Australia).

photo of sushi lunch special

My favorite sushi special

I really like the sushi special in the photo, it includes everything you see except the fried lotus root for I think 18 MYR (super deal ~ US$6). This special might only be available at lunch. I usually get one small item with it and they have some great choices (fried quail eggs, pumpkin tempura?, sushi items etc. – the fried lotus root was actually my least favorite so far).

photo of Interior view of Ajisai Japanese Restaurant

It is my favorite Japanese restaurant with great sushi and good prices and good service. There are really several quite good sushi restaurants, in my opinion, this is my favorite but the others are very close to the same quality and service.

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Shahrzad Restaurant

Shahrzad Restaurant is located between KSL Mall and the New York Hotel in downtown Johor Bahru.

photo of humus and pita

Excellent humus and pita

As you would expect the humus was excellent. The restaurant offers very good Middle Eastern food. I recommend it.

photo of the entrance to the restaurant

Shahrzad Restaurant with New York Hotel in the background. All photos by John.

There is a nice patio with tables and trees and tables inside also.

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10th Annual JB Arts Festival, 6 September to 5 October

The 10th Annual JB Arts Festival kicks off September 6th and has events through October 5th.

Performances this year include:

AkashA

photo of Angels of the Hill dancers
Angels on the Hill – Angel Art and Dance Studio is an integrated art school equipped with innovative ethnic dancing skills, combining creativity with spirit and dancing principles. Established in April 2001, the school specialises and promotes traditional and cultural dance in Johor Bahru. They will be presenting 12 different dances, featuring 120 students ranging from the age of 3 to 21.

ASWARA – traditional and contemporary dances Malaysian dance company

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Tera Thai Restaurant

photo of Tera Thai restaurant building

Tera Thai restaurant is in an old house.

Tera Thai restaurant is near downtown Johor Bahru. Still some taxi drivers have a problem finding it – even with an address. It really shouldn’t be hard it is about 2 km away from the Thistle hotel but it in a quiet area with not much else around (it is near Sri Mulia Condominium and to get to Pangsapuri Adamai Condo, you have to pass the restaurant).

photo of beef dish

This was a great beef dish at Tera Thai, but I can’t remember what it is called.

It is a very nice restaurant with a great atmosphere and good service. The food is very good.

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Qi Bakery, Permas Jaya, Johor Bahru

photo of Qi Bakery exterior

This is my favorite bakery in JB (I like quite a few bakeries here actually). It is located in Permas Jaya, right next store to my favorite book store: Treasures n Books. Straits View condos are visible in the left background of this photo and the Renaissance hotel is a block away.

photo of buns at Qi Bakery

I really like these buns (shaped like a ball) that were not available the day I took the photo (I think they are some sort of Korean bun). The chiffon is also very good – blueberry especially.

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Extremely Bad Haze in Johor Bahru and Singapore

The haze in Johor Bahru and Singapore has been extremely bad the last few days. It hit the worst reading since 2006 in Singapore a few days ago and today seems much worse. [June 20th update: the air pollution readings exceeded all time highs in both Singapore and JB. And Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the haze could “easily last for several weeks and quite possibly longer until the dry season ends (September or October) in Sumatra.”]

photo of the Haze over Johor Bahru

Updated photo (see the bottom of post for original photo). Haze over Johor Bahru, June 20th at 11AM.

photo of Johor Bahru on a clear day

Photo of the same scene without hazy conditions, buildings in Singapore are visible in the background.

The conditions are mainly due to Indonesian fires. It is hard to reconcile the eco-city push for the Iskandar marketing however with the continued open burning of trash in downtown Johor Bahru daily [update a day or two after the severe haze problems Malaysia seems to have banned open burning if I read press reports correctly].

Update: From the Department of Environment of Malaysia [link broken so it was removed] which publishes API* readings 3 times a day from 4 sites in Johor (as well as the rest of Malaysia). A reading above 100 is unhealthy, above 300 is hazardous. With readings of 300 and above: healthy people will experience reduced endurance in activities. There may be strong irritations and symptoms and may trigger other illnesses. Elders and the sick should remain indoors and avoid exercise. Healthy individuals should avoid out door activities. For readings of 200-250, healthy people will be noticeably affected. People with breathing or heart problems will experience reduced endurance in activities. These individuals and elders should remain indoors and restrict activities.

date
  
Location (Johor)
  
7AM**
  
11AM**
  
5PM**
Jun 18th Kota Tinggi 107 118 126
Larkin Lama 116 125 122
Muar 65 70 68
Pasir Gudang 142 153 148
Jun 19th Kota Tinggi 137 138 166
Larkin Lama 122 124 152
Muar 133 157 172
Pasir Gudang 148 149 168
Jun 20th Kota Tinggi 211 232 291
Larkin Lama 171 181 219
Muar 337 383 no report
Pasir Gudang 190 199 333
Singapore (psi**) 162 183 192
Singapore (PM2.5**) 223 247 275
Jun 21st Kota Tinggi 313 314 226
Larkin Lama 190 197 158
Muar 183 193 273
Pasir Gudang 310 323 189
Singapore (psi**) 184 206 198
Singapore (PM2.5**) 247 262 250

Subscribe to the RSS feed for the Living in Malaysia blog. You may also like, Circumhorizontal Arcs, Fire Rainbows, Cloud Rainbows in JB from a day when pollution wasn’t a problem and nature put on a show.

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Furusato Japanese Restaurant, Taman Pelangi, Johor Bahru

Photo of Furusato sushi maki

The sushi plate is quite good (30 MYR)

Furusato Japanese Restaurant is an excellent option (I guess it is my favorite Japanese restaurant in JB – though I like a couple) located in the strip of shop lots on Jalan Kuning, next to Plaza Pelangi Mall.

The California maki is quite good and large (18 MYR). The sashimi is quite excellent. They also have cooked food, I just normally get sushi and sashimi there when I go.

Inside view of Furusato restaurant

The interior of the restaurant is also quite nice.

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Big Bad Wolf Book Sale in JB, May 24th to June 2nd

The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale in JB, May 24th to June 2nd and Danga City Mall in Johor Bahru. They offer the most books I have ever seen at the periodic books sales that take place in JB. Probably 2 or 3 times the number of English titles I have every seen here before. This sale has only English language books.

The majority of books are novels of various sorts but also children’s books and books on business, history, photography, science… They are largely popular thrillers and the like but include a few classics and some science fiction (I wish there was more science fiction).

photo of 8 book covers from my Big Bag Wolf haul.

The photo shows 8 of the 21 books I got yesterday. Books include 2 travel books (China and Malaysia), Competition (a business/economics book), The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Homer and Langley by E. L. Doctorow, The Holcroft Covenant by Robert Ludlum, The Devil’s Elixir by Raymond Khoury and Our Friends from Frolix 8 by Philip Dick.

Philip Dick is the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (made into the film Blade Runner) and Minority Report (film of the same name) and many other science fiction books.

They are nearly all priced at 8 or 10 MYR (essentially $US 3) though there are some at 5 MYR and some fancy picture books and the like at 20 or 25 MYR. The Big Bad Wolf book sales are offered around Malaysia recently (KL, Penang…).

Does this count as a haul blog post?

Those interested in English language books in JB should definitely check this sale out. Also visit my favorite book store in JB: Treasures and Books Store (Permas Jaya). When you do try the bakery next sore it is great – I’ll add a post on it soon.

Related: Galleria Mall @ Kotayara – Johor Bahru CBDMee Bandung at JB Station KopitiamArulmigu Sri Raja Kallamman Indian Hindu Glass Temple which is nearby the Danga City Mall