Johor Bahru Walking Tour Guide: 9 Best Sights in the City

Johor Bahru Walking Tour: 9 Best Attractions to Immerse in Its Culture

Explore JB’s many sights on foot!

Johor Bahru, colloquially known as JB, is arguably the most popular weekend getaway destination for Singaporeans! Once you’ve overcome the causeway jam from Singapore to Malaysia, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choices. While most Singaporeans travel to Johor Bahru for affordable food and many shopping options, you’d be remiss if you didn’t immerse in the rich culture and history of the city. From temples to museums, there are plenty of famous heritage sites in Johor Bahru.

Thanks to the density of the city’s attractions, most of these heritage attractions are accessible by foot. If you’re finding yourself in a decision dilemma, fear not! We’ve specially curated a walking tour to explore the history and heritage of the city. Without further ado, here are the best sights on your Johor Bahru walking tour.

Also read: Top 9 Shopping Malls in Johor Bahru for Your Retail Therapy

What to see on your Johor Bahru walking tour

1. Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple

sightseeing in johor bahru

Image credit: mike

Kicking off our list is this beautiful Hindu temple situated in close proximity to JB Town amidst Indian stores selling garlands and incense sticks. Inducted in the Malaysia Book of Records, the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple is the world’s first and only Hindu glass temple. Yes, you read that right! This extraordinary sanctuary is mostly made of glass in kaleidoscopic hues.

The inside of the temple features a mosaic made of hundreds of thousands of glass pieces. Even the colourful gopura over the entrance is covered in glass! Definitely check this unique attraction out on your next trip.

2. Jalan Tan Hiok Nee

vintage shophouses and buildings

Image credit: Chongkian

Those who frequent the city will surely recognise Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, a charming heritage street that is one of the best places for sightseeing in Johor Bahru. If you’re feeling hungry on your walking tour, you’ll want to drop by this spot. While many shophouses and buildings were refurbished to commemorate the heritage of the Straits Chinese and Malays, other parts of the street remained untouched! The result is a sense of authenticity that depicts the rich history of Johor Bahru.

The streets feature a blend of old famous food stalls and newly opened chic cafes. You’ve probably heard of Hiap Joo Bakery and its famous banana cake! Enjoy these delectable treats the replenish energy on your Johor Bahru walking tour.

Also read: 10 Things to Eat in Johor Bahru as Recommended by Locals

3. Royal Abu Bakar Museum

sightseeing in johor bahru

Image credit: Caitriana Nicholson

Located a 25-minute walk from JB Sentral is one of the oldest buildings in Johor Bahru — the Royal Abu Bakar Museum. Built in 1866, the Grand Palace was once a residence of the Johor Sultan. On 11 May 1990, the palace was converted into a public museum that features the royal family’s belongings. 

Immerse in the history of Malaysia in this iconic Johor Bahru tourist attraction. Rare artefacts, including traditional weapons of Malaysia, provide a wealth of information on the interests and daily lives of the Johor Sultanate. Today, the Grand Palace is even being used for state and royal ceremonies!  

4. Chinese Heritage Museum

The next place to check out on your Johor Bahru walking tour is one for the history buffs. The historic Chinese Heritage Museum is hidden among the many shophouses along Johor Bahru’s Chinatown. While it might be a challenge to locate it, we feel it’s well worth the effort! 

For a small entrance fee (RM6), you’ll learn about the history of Chinese settlement in Johor Bahru. The first two floors are dedicated to these Chinese communities, detailing their heritage and contribution to society. The top floor is a special exhibit that focuses on gambier, a crop responsible for JB’s wealth and prosperity.

Although the museum is relatively small, it’s full of information that will teach you about Chinese history in the city. Undoubtedly, this is one of the must-visit Johor Bahru tourist attractions!

5. Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque

grand mosque

Image credit: RAVINDRAN JOHN SMITH via Canva Pro

The state mosque of Johor, the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque, is one of the most beautiful structures in JB. Named after Sultan Abu Bakar, who also ordered its construction, the mosque sits atop a prominent hill overlooking the Straits of Johor. Its architect, Tuan Haji Mohamed Arif bin Punak, aimed to recreate colonial Victorian architecture, bearing close resemblance to British clocktowers. However, the mosque also features influences from Moorish architecture as well as hints of Malay architecture.

Feast your eyes on a stunning display of architectural craftsmanship! This famous landmark in Malaysia definitely deserves its place on our curated list of sights to see on your next Johor Bahru walking tour.

6. Johor Bahru High Court

sightseeing in johor bahru

Image credit: Chongkian

Continuing the theme of British architecture, Johor Bahru High Court signifies a time when Malaysia was still under colonial rule. The building was initially built during the British colonial administration on Jalan Ayer Molek. In 1928, the High Court was moved to Jalan Dato’Onn where it remains to this day. 

The building is reminiscent of Italian Renaissance architecture, featuring a serene fountain and a monument bearing Johor’s coat of arms. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for British letter boxes nearby!

7. Johor Ancient Temple

johor bahru ancient chinese temple

Image credit: Stefan Fussan

At the centre of JB Town is a humble place of worship known simply as Johor Ancient Temple. While the temple may not possess the same grandeur as other places on this list, it does not fall short in cultural significance. Build by the Chinese chieftain, Tan Hiok Nee, alongside other Chinese leaders in 1875, the temple is a symbol of peace and unity between the clans.

Today, Johor Ancient Temple is the heart of Johor Bahru’s Chinese community, with a steady stream of visitors coming to pray to the five deities housed within. Undoubtedly, this underrated gem is definitely worth sightseeing in Johor Bahru!

8. Galeri Seni Johor

johor bahru art gallery

Image credit: Chongkian

If you’re up for a longer adventure on your Johor Bahru walking tour, the Galeri Seni Johor shouldn’t be missed. A one-hour walk from JB Sentral, this art gallery used to be the residence of the Chief Minister of Johor. To preserve the unique architecture of the building, the government decided to turn it into an art gallery!

Uncover Johor Bahru’s culture and history through the various artworks in this space. From paintings and sculptures to ceramics and traditional weapons, these masterpieces feature many important aspects of Malay culture and reflect Johor’s place in Malaysia.

9. Mahmoodiah Royal Mausoleum

famous mausoleum

Image credit: Graystravels

No trip to JB is complete without a visit to one of the most popular Johor Bahru tourist attractions, the Mahmoodiah Royal Mausoleum. The site contains the tomb of many important figures in the country’s history. Some of them include, Sultan Abu Bakar, often considered the founder of Johor, and Dato’ Onn Jaafar, the founder of the United Malays National Organization. 

johor bahru tourist attractions

Image credit: Chongkian

Surrounding the mausoleum is a Muslim cemetery with thousands of headstones. As it is an active graveyard, make sure you’re respectful when walking through! This peaceful location is one you should definitely consider the next time you explore Johor Bahru.

Also read: 5 Things That Are Cheaper in Johor Bahru Than in Singapore

And that concludes our list of the best sights on your Johor Bahru walking tour. With so many iconic attractions highlighting its rich history and culture, a walking tour is certainly a perfect way to slow down to soak up the destination’s atmosphere!

About Author

Chow Cheng Yang
Chow Cheng Yang

Cheng Yang can often be found in his natural habitat — in his bed with a cup of coffee and a science-fiction novel. With his undying love for jazz music and old movies, he likes to think of himself as a bit of a hippie. When he's not busy with work or school, he spends his free time playing the guitar or practising calligraphy.