Updated: Sep 29, 2019
Fancy a short one-day trip to Johor Bahru for some shopping and local eats? Or go over once or twice a month for groceries at the supermarkets? Check out this list of 8 shopping malls in terms of proximity from JB Sentral and/or popularity among Singapore visitors.
For me, it is the supermarkets, Daiso and Mr. DIY outlets that brought me over the Causeway once a month for groceries and household items. And also the local food.
1. City Square
City Square shopping mall is the closest to Singapore among all shopping complexes in Johor Bahru and sees the most visitors from Singapore. It features a large number of retailers, restaurants and a cinema. However, the mall has no supermarket for day-shoppers as the one in the basement closed more than a year ago. Being the closest to Singapore, its target customers are mainly visitors from Singapore and prices of goods tend to be on the high side.
After exiting from JB CIQ (1st Link), cut through JB Sentral and cross the overhead bridge. To the left is City Square and to the right will be KOMTAR JBCC.
Apart from a number of restaurants in the mall, there are more local eating places outside City Square, located along Jalan Wong Ah Fook.
Catch a movie. It's so much cheaper than watching a show in Singapore. Just make sure to pick a show in the correct language and/or subtitles.
2. KOMTAR JBCC
The several-year-old KOMTAR JBCC is located right beside City Square and gets its fair share of Singapore visitors. Apart from the usual retail shops and restaurants, it housed a Daiso outlet, a small supermarket and Angry Birds Activity Park on the 4th floor (denoted as Level 3 in Malaysia as ground floor is not level 1).
The money changers in KOMTAR JBCC offers better exchange rates than other outlets in the vicinity.
3. KSL City Mall
Aside from City Square and KOMTAR JBCC, KSL City Mall is probably the next most visited shopping mall by Singapore visitors who are willing to travel a little further. It is serviced directly by a shuttle bus from JB Sentral. It also has a cinema, a Daiso outlet, a Mr. DIY outlet and Tesco supermarket for day-trippers.
Although there are a number of restaurants and food outlets in KSL City, the cheaper and local tastes are located just outside the mall, along the rows of shop houses. See: What to eat around KSL City.
4. Pelangi Leisure Mall
Tucked away in one corner of Pelangi is Leisure Mall, which looks like an abandoned warehouse if not for the signs of Mr. DIY, Marrybrown and Giant hanging on the outer wall. With few retail shops and just a couple of eating outlets, the mall offers a bowling alley, a fitness centre and also a large Mr. DIY outlet. The ground floor is occupied by Giant Hypermarket and is probably the largest supermarket in nearby Johor Bahru.
Being further away from the main road and all local bus services, Pelangi Leisure Mall is more convenient to visitors who drive. The mall has a large carpark that is seldom fully occupied even on weekends.
For non-driving visitors who do not mind walking and the hot sun, it will be just 15 minutes' walk from the main road. See: How to Get to Pelangi, Dai Mah & Sentosa (in Taman Sri Tebrau)
There are numerous eating places in Taman Sri Tebrau, especially near the Dai Mah Garden and around Pelangi. See: What to eat in Taman Sri Tebrau
Get cheap local products and groceries at Giant Hypermarket. Start saving on your monthly grocery expenses.
5. Plaza Pelangi
Plaza Pelangi has been around for many years and had recently gotten a major facelift. It looks like a new shopping complex to the uninformed. However, its popularity among Singapore visitors is rather low as compared to other shopping complexes in Johor Bahru. The plaza is just one bus stop away from JB Sentral, yet it gets fewer visits than nearby KSL City Mall.
Plaza Pelangi is the only shopping complex in Johor Bahru that has a Cold Storage, where prices are relatively higher than other supermarkets but it boasts of fresher produces.
The same S1 Causeway Link bus service to KSL City Mall is supposed to service serveral shopping malls, including Plaza Pelangi, Danga Mall, Holiday Plaza and KSL City Mall. However, as 99% of Singapore visitors go to KSL City Mall, the bus service hardly stops at other shopping malls. Taking local buses to Plaza Pelangi will be easier. See: How to Get to Pelangi, Dai Mah & Sentosa in JB
6. Plaza Sentosa
Plaza Sentosa used to be the largest shopping centre that was popular with Singapore visitors, it is now almost-forgotten and considered to be less accessible as compared to KSL City Mall less than a kilometre away. Most of the shops in the plaza are closed even on weekends.
However, Plaza Sentosa housed the largest Mr. DIY outlet in Johor Bahru. With wider range of products than any other outlets, the Sentosa outlet is one of the reasons why well-informed Singapore visitors are still going to the plaza. There are also several hardware stores in the shop houses outside the plaza. This is the place to hunt for cheap household goods.
7. Aeon Bukit Indah Shopping Centre
Bukit Indah is in the western suburb of Johor Bahru and is easier and faster to get there via Tuas (2nd Link) than via the usually-congested Woodlands Causeway. Apart from the many retail shops, massage services and restaurants, Aeon itself offers a large supermarket.
Board bus service CW3/CW4 from Jurong East Bus Interchange to Johor customs via the 2nd Link (Tuas) and then CW3 to Bukit Indah. To come back, board CW3 at the same bus stop.
Note: Unlike bus stops in Singapore, bus stops in Malaysia do not display the bus services that are supposed to be stopping at each stops. So, always ask around!
8. Tebrau City & IKEA Tebrau
Apart from Tesco Extra and (another) Aeon Shopping Centre with its own supermarket in another shopping cluster, called Tebrau City, some 20 minutes' drive from JB Sentral, the new kid on the block is none other than IKEA Tebrau. The JB outlet is the largest (in Southeast Asia) and somewhat-cheaper alternative to the IKEA outlets in Singapore.
For Singapore visitors, getting bulky furniture from IKEA Tebrau may not necessary be cheaper, after taking into considerations the 7% GST and transport cost, and also the trouble to transport them back home. Nevertheless, the outlet is still popular among Singapore visitors to get smaller items that are cheap and easy to carry back.
Recommended. Eat there:
If eating at IKEA in Singapore is considered expensive, then don't miss the chance to feast at IKEA Tebrau at half the price. See: On a Bargain Hunt to IKEA Tebrau
Check the best time to go over: