Johor Story 6: A Day Trip to Kluang (居銮) for More Eats & Buys (Part 2)
It was barely two months since my last trip to Kluang, Johor, to visit the coffee factory, buy Shanghai mooncakes, find street arts and eat. I had listed a number of eating places and cafes to visit in Kluang and knew that I would need few trips to complete the list. So, I made this trip again to continue what I set out to do.
As usual, I started the day at 5am on a weekday and reached Kranji MRT Station at 6:50am. Instead of waiting for SBS Transit Service 170X next to the station, I crossed the road to the opposite bus stop for Services 160/170/170X.
6:55 - Boarded Service 160
7:03 - Reached Woodlands Checkpoint
7:07 - Re-boarded bus to JB CIQ
7:15 - Cleared Malaysia Immigration
7:19 - Boarded Service 170 to Larkin Sentral
7:32 - Reached Larkin Sentral
I was earlier than usual and decided to try getting my bus ticket from the automated kiosks of the Centralised Ticketing System in Larkin Sentral. The machine was easy to use, just entered "From" (JB-Larkin) and "To" (Kluang), selected the desired bus service provider at the next departure time and chose a seat, then entered my name, passport number (foreign passport acceptable), mobile number and made payment (cash only).
The fare was RM14.40 (including RM1 facility charge and RM0.40 insurance). But the machine rejected my RM50 note several times until I used another note to make it happy. The whole process took about 5 minutes — still faster than queueing at the manned counters.
At 8:03am, the KKKL Express 27-seater bus departed from Larkin Sentral for Kluang. The journey was expected to be 1.5 hours. As usual, I was not able to catch a wink and began feeling hungry 30 minutes into the journey — I felt like I could eat a cow.
At 9:36am, the long-distance bus arrived at Kluang Bus Terminal.
On the last trip, I took the KTMB train at 5:50pm back to Johor Bahru Sentral, but I intended to stay a little longer this time and to return after dinner. So, I went to the second level of the bus terminal and bought a return bus ticket at 7:30pm from KKKL Express counter. The fare was RM13 only.
The next thing was to fill my stomach. I made my way to Tangkak Beef (东甲牛腩面). At 9:50am on a weekday, the shop was not crowded with just two tables occupied. I took a seat at an empty table and ordered their Original Traditional Beef Noodle and kopi-O.
The beef noodle comprised of tender beef briskets, lean beef and tripes in a clear soup with chopped pickled vegetable and spring onions. It made a filling and delicious meal for late breakfast.
After a meal, the next best thing to do would be to take a walk. The best spot to kill some time in the bat town would be the alleys with streets arts named — none other than — "Kluang Street Arts". I was here on the last trip also but did not complete exploring all the alleys due to a heavy rain that trapped me inside Old Alley (老胡同), a dessert shop. I checked out all the murals this time.
At 11am, I made my way to Tong Huat Traditional Confectionery (东发传统饼家), which was not very far from Kluang Street Arts. It was a last-minute decision to visit the confectionery. If I had planned ahead, I would have headed straight to Tong Huat after breakfast instead of looking for murals — Tong Huat's tau sa peah (mung bean paste biscuits) is very popular and sold out fast.
I was in luck, both sweet and salty tau sa peah were still available, but not a lot left. I bought one roll of the sweet version and two rolls of the salty ones at RM5.50 per roll.
Next stop was to Kluang Coffee Powder Factory again to get some coffee powder. The walking distance was only 1.3Km from Tong Huat and the sun was behind some clouds, so I decided to take a hike. Less than 15 minutes later, I arrived at the factory.
In the products department, I bought two packs of coffee powder that were blends of Arabica, Robusta and Liberica beans that I had not tasted before. Then, I went for coffee at the adjacent cafe again. The cafe had been renamed to "The Kopi Factory". It was called "Brew 1966" on my last visit.
I ordered a traditional coffee set for RM4.50 that came with a croissant. I also tried some cream crackers with the kopi-O — the traditional way. Not that it was particularly delicious, but older folks liked this way of having coffee.
After resting at the cafe for about an hour, it was time for lunch. But, the restaurant that I intended to visit was on the other side of town and would take me an hour to walk there. I decided to use Grab since I had mobile data roaming. It costs RM9 to Yean Kee (元记牛肉濑粉) in Taman Mumi. I arrived at the restaurant at 1:10pm.
I went for the signature beef noodle (dry version, RM9) — yes, my second beef noodle for the day. But Yean Kee's beef noodle was of a different style from Tangkak Beef's. Instead of yellow noodle, Yean Kee's beef noodle uses the short and thick lai fun (濑粉) in dark sauce with limey-spicy flavours (if opted for some spiciness). The chunky beef were tender and the tripes had retained some of its original taste — it's either you like it or not.
After lunch, I decided to walk back to the town centre, which was not very far away. The short walk took me through some residential estates with no pedestrian walkways on the sides of the road. 20 minutes later, I was inside Kluang Mall, where I loitered for about an hour to cool myself.
Without much to do for the rest of the afternoon until dinner time, I decided to find a cafe to idle time away. I made my way to Kafe Kaki Lima, a cafe along Jalan Laman Pesona, an alley, in "Kluang Street Arts". I had wanted to visit Kaki Lima on the last trip but was hindered by rain.
At 2:35pm, the art alley was ultra-quiet with just a couple of tourists. I seated myself to a table and ordered a cup of Americano and tiramisu, one of the cakes of the day. Sitting outside the little cafe along an artistic back alley was a unique experience. A great spot to relax and idle the afternoon away.
The coffee-flavoured tiramisu looked lovely, not too sweet and tasted great with black coffee.
At 3:30pm, just after I finished the cake and coffee, some rain droplets started falling on the wooden table. I studied the sky for a moment and felt that I needed to find a place that had things for me to do while waiting for the coming rain to stop. After checking on Google Maps, I paid for the food and headed to Plaza Kluang Parade with quickened pace.
Not long after I stepped into the shopping mall, it started pouring heavily. I spent the next 2 hours exploring the shopping mall and browsing through the shelves of Mr DIY. Plaza Kluang Parade was quite a large shopping mall with multiple sections but most of its shops had closed down or shifted to the main section, leaving other sections eerily empty — Mr DIY was located in one of those empty sections.
It was still raining at 5:50pm when I stepped out of Plaza Kluang Parade. I had intended to have dinner in Kluang before catching the bus at 7:30pm. And my dinner-place would be opening for business at 6pm. I broke out my umbrella and walked to Fendy's Burger, a road-side stall within about 100 metres from Kluang Bus Terminal.
I had seen some good reviews for Fendy's Burger online and wanted to try it even though it was "another" Ramly Burger franchise. When I reached their stall under the rain, they were getting ready to open the stall. I placed my order for Burger Daging Double + 2 Keping Telur (burger with two beef patties and two eggs, RM9) and waited for it under a shelter behind the stall.
Two beef noodles in the day and a beef burger to end the day — I did say I could eat a cow.
I got my burger 25 minutes later and needed a place where I could eat it. The only place that I could think of was none other than the bus terminal. The rain had dwindled to a drizzle when I made my way to the terminal, found an empty bench, sat down and unwrapped the beef burger.
The big-size burger was a little squashed and its content dislodged, but still tasted great despite its appearance. The taste of Ramly Burger was very familiar to me but this burger had lots of fresh crunchy veggies, nicely-cooked beef patties and generous amount of sauce that added many points. I had about an hour to munch on the burger slowly till 7:30pm.
At 7:30pm, I boarded the KKKL Express bus that was bounded for JB Larkin Sentral.
9:10 - Reached Larkin Sentral
9:20 - Boarded Service 170 to JB CIQ
9:40 - Cleared Malaysia customs
9:55 - Cleared Woodlands Checkpoint and on the way home.