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Historical and modern landmarks in Johor Bahru

Historical and modern landmarks in Johor Bahru

  • Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque, sandwiched between Jalan Abu Bakar/Jalan Masjid Abu Bakar/Jalan Gertak Merah, 1.8km west of the Causeway. Located on top of a small hill and overlooking the Straits of Johor, this state mosque took eight years to construct (1892-1900). It has four minarets that resemble British clock towers. It was inaugurated by the then Sultan Ibrahim. It is made of white marble and is a combination of Moorish and Victorian architecture, it can accommodate 2000 worshipers. Visiting hours are between 10am and 6pm from Saturday to Thursday except during congregational prayers. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the mosque building. To get there from the city center, take any of the very frequent buses (one-way fare 1RM) that go to Bukit Indah/Kulai/Perling/Selesa Jaya/Skudai from opposite City Square (starting point) at Jalan Wong Ah Fook or from the bus stop in front of the old railway station at Jalan Tun Abdul Razak.
  • Masjid India, at the junction of Jalan Dhoby and Jalan Duke. This mosque with two different minarets located in the heart of the city was founded by the city's Indian Muslim community. It is a modern-looking mosque with white walls, blue-tinted glass cladding on both its minarets and a blue and silver dome.
  • Sultan Abu Bakar Royal Palace Museum is currently closed for renovation until February 2012. The information given herewith will be updated after it reopens. Located along Jalan Tun Doktor Ismail, 1.3km west of the Causeway. The official entrance to the palace museum grounds is through a gateway facing the High Court building on Jalan Air Molek. After passing through this gateway, you have to drive or walk along a paved asphalt road for about 400m before reaching the main (central) building (the one with a grand staircase) of the palace museum complex. You can also exit/enter the palace museum grounds by walking down/up the grassy slope to/from the main road - Jalan Tun Doktor Ismail. Definitely Johor Bahru's top attraction, this is the opulent former residence (Istana Besar or Grand Palace) of the Sultan of Johor. It is still used for royal and state ceremonies and functions. It is surrounded by a 53-hectare, beautifully tended garden (free admission); the Zaharah Botanical Garden (Kebun Bunga Zaharah in Malay) lies about 300m northwest of the palace museum complex centered about a roundabout. The palace complex was first completed in 1866 but has been extended and refurbished many times since. It was built in the neoclassical style by local artisans under the supervision of an European architect. The original furniture of the palace was made in England and ordered by Sultan Abu Bakar in 1866. Sultan Iskandar officially declared the museum open to the public on May 11, 1990. The museum is housed in two of the three white buildings (all with blue-tile pitched roofs) in the complex and consists of 4 parts: the Dewan (in the west building); the Throne Room, the Treasure Rooms and the Hunting Room (in the central building). The east building is not open to the public. The scale of the palace is suitably grandiose. In the Dewan, are displayed an array of items presented to Sultan Abu Bakar and his successors by dignitaries, such as swords, medals, glassware, etc. You can also find in this building detailed biographies of Sultan Abu Bakar and his successors, Sultan Abu Bakar's stone bust, the sultans' personal memorabilia, photographs of the sultans and their families, etc. In the Hunting Room, you can find exhibits like stuffed animals (tigers, crocodiles, rhinoceros, elephants),elephant ivory tusks, elephant's foot umbrella stands, antelope leg ashtrays, etc. In the central building on the second level (you have to remove your shoes), you can find the reception rooms, the royal bedrooms (note the four-poster teak beds), the royal dining room, the chamber of the Royal Council, the throne room (it has a pair of gilt thrones), the library, etc. The banqueting hall on the first level can be seen only from the second level. The furnishings inside these Rococo-style rooms include exquisite wooden furniture from various countries, crystal glass chairs and tables from France, Japanese ceramics, oil paintings of the royals, chandeliers, etc. On the first level of the central building, you can find exhibits such as gold/silverware, crystal ware, gold and silver jewelery, royal regalia, Malay hand weapons, a numismatic collection, etc. Open Sat-Thu 9 AM - 5 PM, closed when there are official functions and ceremonies. Entry US$7/3 (payable in ringgit at a poor exchange rate) for foreign adults/children, RM5 for Malaysian and Singaporeans , and only RM1 for Malaysian children. Last ticket sale is at 4 pm. Photography inside the museum is forbidden.
  • Istana Bukit Serene, sandwiched between Jalan Kolam Air and Jalan Straits View, 7km northwest of the Causeway. This green-roof, stone building is the official residence of the Sultan of Johor. The palace has a huge sprawling garden which is a common site for many royal gatherings and celebrations. It was built in 1933 in the Art Deco style. It can be seen from Jalan Skudai next to Danga Bay. The palace walls have fantastic and exquisite carvings. The main tower is 35 meters tall. The Istana is guarded by the personal military force of the Sultan of Johor. Neither the building nor its gardens are open to the general public.
  • Sultan Ibrahim Building. Built in 1940, this grey-bricked building is located on top of Bukit Timbalan. It houses the State Secretariat, the Menteri Besar's (Chief Minister) office, State Assembly Hall and the offices of the state government. The building is an architectural blend of British colonial, Malay and Saracenic elements. It has a distinctive, 64m-high Mughal-style tower. Visiting hours: Mon-Thu 8am to 1245pm, 2pm to 5pm; Fri 9am to 1215pm, 245pm to 5pm; closed on Sat, Sun and public holidays.
  • Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru, Jalan Datuk, 3 km west of the Causeway. Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru is the city square (not to be confused with the City Square shopping mall in the heart of downtown) that was constructed in conjunction with Johor Bahru being granted city status on January 1994. A yellow-colored building with a gigantic, yellow clock tower built stands on the north edge of the square. It is surrounded by two sports fields on the south side and three sports fields on the west side. Many outdoor events are held here. To get there from the city center, take any of the very frequent buses (one-way fare 1RM) that go to Bukit Indah/Kulai/Perling/Selesa Jaya/Skudai from opposite City Square (starting point) at Jalan Wong Ah Fook or from the bus stop in front of the old railway station at Jalan Tun Abdul Razak.
  • Johor Bahru Art Gallery (known as Galeri Seni Johor in Malay) official website in Malay only - , 144 Jalan Petrie (about 700m northeast of the Thistle Hotel, on the north edge of a major highway - the Inner Ring Road, also called Jalan Lingkaran Dalam). Housed in a 2-storey white building built in 1910, it displays mostly Malaysian modern paintings. Other exhibits include Islamic calligraphy, ceramics, ornate wooden window frames, traditional clothing, weapons, currency, etc. There is a cart with a thatched roof and a giant drum displayed outside the building. Free admission. Open daily except on public holidays 0900-1630.
  • Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, 9 Jln Gereja (700m northwest of the CIQ). This beige building with a single steeple (with spire) is one of the main Roman Catholic churches in Johor Bahru. Built in 1883 in the British colonial style, it is one of the oldest structures still standing in Johor Bahru. Try to get here for the Tamil feast of Pongal in mid-January, when an intriguingly colorful harvest festival service is held within the church
  • Johor Bahru Chinese Heritage Museum (Malay: Muzium Warisan Tiong-Hua Johor Bahru), 42 Jalan Ibrahim 80000 (200m south east of the main post office in downtown JB), tel: 07-2249633, fax: 07-2249635, e-mail: [email protected] Housed in a restored 4-storey building. Learn about the history and culture of the Chinese community in Johor Bahru. The displays are spread out over four storeys. There are numerous captioned photos on display, several TV screens showing video clips, objects/artifacts on display, mannequins dressed in traditional Chinese wedding clothes, a replica of the entrance door and sedan chair of the Roufo Chinese Taoist Temple in Jalan Trus, etc. Open Tue-Sun 0900-1700 (last admission 1600), closed on Mondays. Admission - adults 3 RM, children/senior citizens/students 1 RM
  • Johor Bahru Kwong Siew Heritage Gallery (Malay: Galeri Warisan Kwong Siew Johor Bahru), 24 Jalan Siu Nam, tel 607-223 3682. Museum opened on Oct 30, 2010. It occupies 2 units of adjoining 2-storey shophouses that were completed in 1907. They used to be the headquarters of the Kwong Siew Clan Association established in 1878 by Wong Ah Fook, a China-born, successful and influential entrepreneur who developed close links with the Johor Sultanate. The exhibits are all the second level (air-con). Here you can find the illustrated biographies of the 13 past and present presidents of the Kwong Siew Wai Kuan (Clan Association), of prominent Kwong Siew Wai Kuan figures, Wong Ah Fook and three of his sons. The history of Kampung Ah Fook, which was established by Wong Ah Fook and corresponds to the very heart of the city, is described here. Some of the exhibits in this museum are: Cantonese opera costumes, weapons used in Chinese martial arts, lion dance troupe equipment and costumes, old Chinese musical instruments, jewelery, opium pipes, Cantonese opera scripts, Chinese chess sets, Malayan/Malaysian banknotes and coins, old typewriters, kitchen utensils, cups/bowls/plates/teapots, traditional Chines medicine and fortune teller's reference books, rubber-tapping equipment, baskets and and a dummy of a female, Chinese laborer. Open 9am to 5pm Tue-Sun, closed on Mondays. Admission - adults 5 RM, children and students 2 RM. Photography is forbidden.
  • Roufo Old Chinese Temple (Roufo Gumiao in Mandarin Hanyu Pinyin), Jalan Trus, is a Chinese temple believed to be built in 1870 by a group of Chinese community leaders led by Tan Hiok Nee, a famous, local Teochew businessman. This is where five different Chinese dialect groups - Cantonese, Hainanese, Hakka, Hokkien and Teochew - worshipped their respective deities. The five deities are Gan Tian Da Di, Hong Xian Da Di, Hua Guang Da Di, Zhao Da Yuan Shuai and Yuan Tian Shang Di. Their effigies are all found inside the prayer hall - extreme left: Gan Tian Da Di; extreme right: Hong Xian Da Di; middle left to right: Zhao Da Yuan Shuai, Yuan Tian Shang Di, Hua Guang Da Di. Two more deities - the Goddess of Mercy and the Weather God - are also worshipped here; their effigies are found outside the prayer hall. The prayer hall is straight ahead as you enter the wooden gate entrance from Jalan Trus. As you stand in the courtyard with your back facing the wooden gate entrance, you will notice a wing on your left ('left wing') and a wing on your right ('right wing'). The Goddess of Mercy is in the left wing and the Weather God is in the right wing. There is a small museum located in the right wing and behind the prayer hall. In this museum you will find the following exhibits: five sedans for the five deities, four sculptures of deities, three wooden tablets with the names of three of the five deities, twelve oil lamps, a hand fan, a stone sculpture of a lion, eight big wooden tablets hanging on the wall, etc. There are also illustrated descriptions of the five deities and the history of the temple, as well as giant photos showing the Parade of Deities (see below). Photography is forbidden in the museum and captions are mostly in Chinese only. Admission to the museum is free. The temple organizes an annual 4-day Chingay parade known as the Parade of Deities. The climax of the parade occurs on the night of the 3rd day when the deities are paraded around the city center. Open daily 7.30am to 5.30pm.
  • Gurdwara Sahib Johor Bahru (Johor Bahru Sikh temple), 1B Jalan Trus 80000 Located across the road from Plaza Kotaraya in the heart of the city, this Sikh temple was built on the site of the smaller and older Sikh temple and was inaugurated on the 28th August 1992. This is a 2-storey white building with yellow window frames and an all-round, crenellated roof parapet. The Darbar Sahib is located on the second level. The Granthi quarters and two rooms for Sikh visitors are located at an annex on the second level. The Guru Ka Langgar hall, kitchen and office are located on the first level. There are about 250 Sikh families who participate in the religious activities in this Gurdwara Sahib. The normal weekly prayers are held on Sundays from 9.30a.m. to 11.30a.m.
  • Sri Raja Mariamman Hindu Temple, 4 Jalan Ungku Puan, right in the heart of downtown Johor Bahru. It underwent an 18-month renovation in 2010 and 2011. It was reopened to the public on 12 June 2011, with a consecration ceremony on the same day. Free admission for visitors. Everyone has to leave his or her shoes in the shoe racks beside the gate entrance.
  • Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Hindu Temple, No. 22, Susur 1, Jalan Tebrau, website: . It is located less than 50m west of Tebrau Highway and 400m north of Tropical Inn/Landmark Shopping Centre and beside the railway track. Inaugurated in 1996 and touted as "The First Glass Temple in the World". The inner surface of the walls and the columns inside the temple are cladded with imported glass, hence the name. The floor is paved with granite. The temple also has some special features like air-conditioning, canteen (it is at the back of the temple building and sells only Indian vegetarian food) and is very clean. This place has become one of the top tourist and pilgrimage attractions in this city and there are thousands of tourists and pilgrims coming here everyday. There are food and drink stalls lining both sides of the driveway in the front of the temple.Temple prayer hours 0730-1200 daily; Temple closure 1200-1300 Tue-Sun, 1200-1900 Mon; Temple visiting hours 1300-1800 daily except Mondays (closed to visitors). Admission 10/5 RM for adults/children (5-12 years old), still photography/video fee 3/5 RM, leaving shoes with the guardian 0.50 RM. Chitra Pournami Paal Kudam Festival held every Wednesday and Glass Chariot Procession held every Thursday at the temple.
  • War Memorial (Tugu Peperangan in Malay), Jalan Abu Bakar, about 2km west of the causeway. Located across the road from the brown-colored Jabatan Kehakiman Syariah Negeri Johor (Islamic court building of Johor state) and the white-colored Pusat Islam Iskandar Johor (Iskandar Islamic Center), these twin obelisks commemorate martyred servicemen of the First and Second World Wars, and the Emergency (the confrontation with Indonesia in 1962). It was completed in 1962 and unveiled by Colonel H.H. Sir Ismail, the then Sultan of Johor on July 1, 1962 the same year. It was erected by the the ex-servicemen association of Malaya Johor Branch, from donations by the government of Johor, ex-servicemen association of Malaya and members of the public. Seldom visited by more than a few persons at any one time, it is a clean, quiet spot with vantage views of the Straits of Johor.
  • Makam Diraja (Royal Mausoleum), located in a large Muslim cemetery enclosed by three roads - Jalan Mahmoodiah, Jalan Petri and Jalan Mariamah, about 2km northwest of the CIQ. This is a royal mausoleum of Johor state. It is a gray-colored building with two domes. The first sultan of Johor laid to rest here was Sultan Abu Bakar in 1895, as are the three sultans that reigned after him - Ibrahim, Ismail and Iskandar. Other persons interred here include: sultanahs (wives of the sultans) - Sultanah Fatimah, Sultanah Ungku Maimunah Ungku Abdul Aziz, Sultanah Rogaiyah, Sultanah Tun Aminah, Tunku Abdul Rahman, some other royal family members (e.g. Tunku Abdul Rahman), as well as notable politicians like Dato' Jaafar Muhammad, Dato' Onn Jaafar, Tan Sri Othman Saat and Dato' Muhamad Salleh bin Perang. The mausoleum is not open to the public.
  • Tanjung Kupang Memorial, Jalan Kebun Teh (4km north of the CIQ; its gate entrance is 30m north-east of the junction of this road and Jalan Serunai; the site is opposite Foon Yew 1 School). This memorial was erected by the Johor state government in memory of the 100 passengers and crew members killed when the Malaysia Airlines Flight 653 (MH653) Boeing 737 crashed at Tanjung Kupang (about 20km west of Johor Bahru) on the evening of 4 December 1977. The names and nationalities of all the 100 victims are inscribed on a less-than-two-meter high wall cladded with shiny, black stone.

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    Johor Bahru Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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