12+ Natural Attractions in Johor That Will Whisk You Away From City Life

12+ Natural Attractions in Johor That Will Whisk You Away From City Life

Johor isn't just glitzy malls and food spots!

When one mentions Johor to would-be travellers, the first thought that comes to mind is, unsurprisingly, Legoland Malaysia. After all, it is Johor’s most famous attraction. Along with the many mouthwatering eateries and glitzy malls in cities like Johor Bahru, Muar, and more, Johor is often known as an urban explorer’s paradise. 

However, did you know that, away from the familiar confines of the city, Johor is home to plenty of natural hidden gems that will reconnect you with Mother Nature? Check out these 12 natural attractions in Johor that will offer you an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city! 

Also read: Beyond Johor Bahru: 10 Underrated Attractions in Johor to Check Out

1. Gunung Ledang

Image credit: Katangais

Out of all the natural attractions in Johor, Gunung Ledang is arguably the most famous one among locals. After all, this popular hiking trail, nestled in the midst of Tangkak, Johor, is steeped in local legends and folklore surrounding the Gunung Ledang Princess (Puteri Gunung Ledang).  

Thanks to it being the tallest mountain in Johor, hiking Gunung Ledang is arguably one of the toughest experiences in Johor. The entire trail is 22.9km long (out-and-back) and can take up to 13 hours to complete. 

You will also need a permit to access the hiking trail. On the bright side, the long trail boasts incredible views of thick rainforests teeming with wildlife. Along the way, you’ll pass by a few waterfalls and the view at the top is breathtaking. 

2. Gunung Belumut

Image credit: Faizal Jalal

Gunung Belumut is one of those hidden nature escapes in Johor that usually only avid hikers know about. Located in the district of Kluang, Gunung Belumut is the fourth tallest mountain in Johor, standing majestically at 1,010m tall.

Hiking to the peak of Gunung Belumut is no mean feat. The 11.7km out-and-back trail takes an average of five and a half hours to complete and requires a guide and a permit to access. However, for those who are willing to face the challenging hike, what awaits is a beautiful trail through thick, forested areas teeming with flora and fauna, and a beautiful view at the peak. 

Don’t miss the enigmatic Batu Mahkota (translated as “Crown Rock”), a whimsical rock formation that looks like a giant crown. 

Tip: There are four check points along the trail to the peak. If you wish to reach the top, you need to reach check point 3 by 12:30 pm or you will have to turn back. Access to the mountain is closed on Mondays. 

3. Gunung Pulai

johor natural attractions

Image credit: Kai Gan 

While Gunung Pulai isn’t the tallest mountain in Johor — at 654m, it’s one of the shorter mountains in the country, it remains one of the most popular hiking spots for both locals and tourists. 

Located in the district of Kulai, Mount Pulai is one of the most accessible natural attractions in Johor from JB. There are two trails that lead to the summit: a tarmac road and a jungle trail. You do not need a permit if you use the tarred road but you need to apply for one from the Pulai Forest Department if you want to take the forested trail. 

Overall, the hike to the peak at Gunung Pulai takes slightly less time (about six to seven hours) but is no less challenging. However, as you make your way through the track, you’ll stumble upon several waterfalls and plenty of wildlife. The mountain is especially popular among avid birdwatchers. At the top, you’ll be treated to yet more fantastic mountain views. 

Tip: There is a car park at the trail head but be warned that it can get extra crowded during the weekends. 

4. Gunung Arong Recreational Forest

Image credit: Mohd Nasir Mat Noor

Standing less than 300m tall, some would say that Gunung Arong is technically more like a hill. Regardless of whether it’s called gunung (mount) or bukit (hill), what is for sure is that this little natural haven between Mersing and Endau offers an idyllic escape from city life. 

Nestled within an alluring forest filled with shady trees, sparkling streams, and incredible natural beauty, the Gunung Arong Recreational Forest is the epitome of relaxing the senses in nature. Apart from hiking uphill and admiring various colourful flora along the way, visitors can also look forward to having serene picnics by the riverside, capturing photos at ambient photo spots, and exploring pristine jungle trails. 

Also read: Photo Trail: 12 Instaworthy Locations in Johor You’ll Surely Fall in Love With

5. Tanjung Piai National Park

To say that Tanjung Piai National Park is a special place is quite an understatement. After all, this natural attraction in Johor is where you can experience one of the most surreal moments one could ask for — standing at the very tip of mainland Asia! 

That’s right, Tanjung Piai National Park is the southernmost tip of Johor, Peninsula Malaysia, and the entire main continent of Asia as a whole. Here, you can even spot Singapore and Indonesia in the distance if weather conditions are ideal! 

Apart from its unique geographical location, Tanjung Piai National Park (the smallest national park in Johor spanning 325 hectares) is also popular for its mangrove forests and mudflats that line the cape. A day spent here allows you to take in the untouched natural beauty of the area, observe the diversity of wildlife, and take a leisurely stroll along the network of boardwalks. 

Note: There is an entrance fee of RM5 for Malaysians and RM20 (about S$6.10) for non-Malaysians. 

6. Pulau Kukup National Park

Speaking of mangrove forests and the importance of preserving them, another meaningful natural attraction in Johor that you should add to your bucket list is Pulau Kukup National Park, a RAMSAR site (wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention by UNESCO) in Johor. 

Established in 1997, this natural haven on Kukup Island in the Pontian district is one of the largest mangrove islands in the world! It spans over 600 hectares and is home to many unique plants and wildlife, some of which are rare endangered species. 

As you stroll along the park’s boardwalks, you’ll find viewing platforms from which you can observe the rustic beauty of the mangroves and mudflats. During low tide, you might even see migratory waterbirds stopping by to feed. 

Trivia: Pulau Kukup is just another one of Johor’s lovely locations that are steeped in folklore. Legend has it within the waters surrounding the island dwells a giant guardian snake! 

7. Hutan Lipur Sungai Bantang

Another serene natural attraction in Johor that makes for a fun day out with friends and family is Hutan Lipur Sungai Batang, a recreational forest in Bekok. While it certainly isn’t the biggest recreational forest in Johor, it still offers a chance to rejuvenate one’s mind and body in the comfort of Mother Nature. 

Here, you’ll find therapeutic rainforest trails filled with rustic natural beauty that you can hike (permit required) whilst admiring the rich biodiversity in the area. Once you’re tired, you can also have a picnic with your friends and family by the many natural ponds in the area. 

However, take note that a fee of RM10 (about S$3) is required for picnics, levied as a cleaning deposit which will be returned to you if you bring your trash back to the forest ranger before heading home. In addition, you can purchase plastic bags for RM1 (about S$0.30) each but it’s better to just bring your own. 

If you’d like an even more immersive experience, you can go camping in the area for RM5 (about S$1.70) per head. Those aged 12 and below are exempted from paying. Permits for access to Sungai Bantang go for RM30 (S$10) for non-Malaysians and RM10 (S$3) for locals. 

We recommend planning ahead if you want to visit because the location welcomed over 140 thousand visitors in 2022, with around 300 from Singapore! 

8. Firefly Valley Leisure Park

Imagine, as dusk turns to night, you hop aboard a boat and you sail across a wide river. Suddenly, you spot a flickering light, and then another, and another, until the entire area seems to be filled with them. Such is the whimsical sight that awaits at Firefly Valley Leisure Park in Kota Tinggi, Johor. 

As the name of the place suggests, this is one of the few places in Johor where you can experience being surrounded by dazzling colonies of fireflies lighting up the night sky. The park itself is located just 15 minutes away from Kota Tinggi city centre, nestled within a palm tree plantation. 

While there are other attractions, like a small playground, the main highlight of any trip here is the boat ride at night. The view as you pass through the pitch-black darkness illuminated by nothing but the flickering fireflies is simply alluring!

9. UK Farm Agro Resort

What if I told you that you can experience the vast pastures of New Zealand right here in Johor? Located within the Kluang district, UK Farm Agro Resort is arguably one of the most Insta-worthy natural attractions in Johor. It is the largest goat and sheep farm in Malaysia and offers swoon-worthy views throughout the area. 

Here, you’ll find picturesque pastures where roaming sheep graze on, a 20-acre fruit orchard, and a farm market where you can get your hands on some fresh goat milk and other dairy products. Visitors will also have a chance to interact with the fluffy farm animals, hop on a horse cart or minibus tour around the farm, and even stay overnight at the farm resort!

10. Kampung Sungai Melayu Ecotourism Village

When it comes to natural attractions in Johor, it doesn’t get as authentic as Kampung Sungai Melayu Ecotourism Village. Located in a secluded spot in the south of Johor, this hidden gem offers visitors an authentic experience of life in a traditional Malay fishing village.

Besides touring around the village and observing the life of locals, visitors can also hop on a boat tour through the dense mangrove forests surrounding the village. If you’re lucky, you might even spot migratory birds from Siberia between August and April! 

What’s more, with the village being popular for its fishing activities, visitors will have a chance to sample fresh seafood, visit a mussels farm, and even catch their own crabs. Regardless of what you prefer to fill your time with, the village has a package or activity that suits every type of traveller. 

11. Kota Tinggi Waterfall

Image credit: Nicolas Lannuzel

The Kota Tinggi Waterfall is arguably one of the most iconic natural attractions in Johor and is a popular day-trip destination from Johor Bahru. Even the trip to the Kota Tinggi Waterfall Resort where the waterfall is found — a scenic drive through the countryside from Kota Tinggi town — is a lovely experience in and of itself. 

Unsurprisingly, the cascading waterfall, surrounded by lush greenery, is the main attraction. During the weekends, you may find this spot overflowing (pun not intended) with tourists eager for a photo op. However, snapping your next Instagram photo isn’t the only thing you can do here. 

At this spot, you will also find a restaurant, a water slide, and some natural ponds that you can swim in. However, take note that visitors have to pay an entrance fee: RM10 for MyKad holders and RM15 (about S$3) for non-Malaysians. 

12. Rejuvenate your soul at a nature retreat

If you’re looking for the ultimate blissful nature escape in Johor, then one of the best things you can do iis book an overnight stay at one of the many nature retreats in the area. Whether it be spending the night in a lush rainforest or a rejuvenating stay along the beach, there are plenty of unique accommodation options available. 

For example, in Kulai, you can experience waking up to the sound of birds chirping in the lush rainforest. Rainforest Tree House, as its name suggests, is a unique retreat located right on the edge of the Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest. Here, guests can enjoy a therapeutic stay in a rustic tree house (but filled with modern amenities), embark on a jungle trekking experience, prepare meals over a wood fire, and more. 

On the other hand, Sea Horizon Resort in Kota Tinggi offers a glamping experience by the sea. Guests stay in tastefully designed dome tents that boast an immaculate view of the ocean in the morning. During the day, guests can go kayaking, paragliding, and even embark on an ATV adventure around the area. 

Bonus: The beautiful islands in Johor

johor islands

Image credit: Kit Kaneria vs Canva Pro

Perhaps one aspect of Johor that many tourists, including frequent visitors, tend to forget is that Malaysia’s southern state is home to plenty of pristine islands, many of which boast crystal clear waters and secluded beaches. 

Take, for example, the beautiful Pulau Rawa off the coast of Mersing. Thanks to its emerald waters, Pulau Rawa is sometimes compared to the Maldives! Here, the main attraction is the gigantic waterslide that is open to the public. What’s more, with only two resorts on the whole island, you can rest assured you’ll have plenty of privacy during your time there. 

In addition, other popular islands in Johor include Pulau Tioman, Pulau Tengah, and the underrated hidden gem, Pulau Sribuat, just to name a few. 

And there you have it: 12+ natural attractions in Johor that will whisk you away from the troubles of city life! I suppose the only question remaining now is, which one will you visit first? 

Brought to you by Johor Economic, Tourism & Cultural Office (JETCO).

About Author

Darren Yeoh
Darren Yeoh

Darren enjoys the finer things in life and loves exploring unfamiliar places on foot, guided with nothing but instinct and a good-old fashioned map. He enjoys cultural experiences and exciting adventures and is not a stranger to travelling alone. When he's not putting his travel experiences into words, he's probably sitting behind his laptop, planning his upcoming adventure.