11 Things to Do in Mersing, Johor on Your Next Trip

11 Things to Do in Mersing on Your Next Trip

It’s always fun o’clock in Mersing!

In the northeastern state of Johor lies a tranquil neighbourhood: Mersing, known for its fisheries and coastal havens. Though the district might not be as well known amongst the younger ones living outside Johor, the veterans would instantly remember a 1960s film called Sri Mersing, believed to be the reason behind the town’s fame back in the day. 

Travellers coming to this district will surely appreciate the pristine beaches, gorgeous islands, fresh seafood, and bewildering vistas the fisherman town has to offer. What’s more, there are tons of fun things to do in Mersing (which some, even the locals, might not know yet)! So, read on to learn more about these exciting activities that’ll make you instantly fall for this charming destination.

Also read: 15 Best Airbnbs in Johor for Your Next Weekend Getaway

Best things to do in Mersing, Johor

1. Have a wonderful picnic time

things to do mersing picnic in pantai air papan

Pantai Air Papan | Image credit (L-R): MY Mersing Official Facebook Page; Husna Haron

Among the top things to do in Mersing is having a picnic by its coastlines. Most beaches here are less touristy, and you can easily find a good spot for you and your loved ones, whether under the shady rhu trees or near the beachside. Some prefer to camp out here, so you’ll find pops of colourful tents being set up along the beach. 

One of the popular locations loved by locals and tourists is Pantai Air Papan, a 20-minute drive from the town centre. Think white sand, soft breeze, and calming waves — perfect for a good swim. Another alternative is to head to Taman Rekreasi Mersing, where you can lay your mat near its paved walkway and still be able to enjoy the lovely scenery from afar.

Psst, keep your eyes on the patches of islands dotting the horizon’s end, and you might spot a cup-shaped island called Pulau Batu Cawan!

Fun fact: Pulau translates to “island” in Malay, while pantai stands for “beach.” 

2. Go on an exciting island-hopping tour

island hopping things to do mersing

Island hopping in Mersing | Image credit: Ayuha Village Official Facebook Page

What’s a visit to Mersing without setting foot on its stunning islands? And you can do that by joining a fun-filled island-hopping tour in Mersing! Some of the popular destinations include Pulau Hujung, Pulau Tengah, Pulau Harimau, and a top Mersing tourist attraction, Pulau Besar. The departure point is on Mersing Jetty, and the day trip will usually last between six to eight hours, depending on the package you choose.

Riding a boat and taking selfies are not the only activities you can do on this tour. In fact, you will get to soak in some fun as you snorkel the aqua-blue waters of Mersing’s islands and greet the marine residents there. If that’s not thrilling enough, try cliff jumping instead! There’s nothing more refreshing than plunging into the crystal-clear waters surrounded by breathtaking views and the cheers and laughter of your loved ones!

3. Hike a scenic mountain

things to do mersing hike mount arong

Gunung Arong | Image credit (L-R): syahirahstargazer ; Syafiqah Abu Talip

Ask any local here; most would agree that hiking Gunung Arong is one of the best things to do in Mersing. Located west of the town centre (17km away by car), this mountain is easily among Malaysia’s shortest and safest trails. You can reach this peak by climbing the trail from the first entrance at Gunung Arong Recreational Park

If traversing the beaches, mangrove trees, and rock terrains is your thing, you can take the other entrance, where the starting point will be at the Teluk Gorek campsite, a 27-minute drive from Mersing Jetty. The view at the peak is simply unbeatable: the crescent-shaped Tanjung Resang, the calm South China Sea, and the mysterious neighbouring islands, all in one landscape. You might even spot Pulau Tioman from the summit on a clear day!

Note: Gunung in English is “mountain,” while teluk and tanjung refers to “bay” and “cape,” respectively.

4. Hunt for fresh seafood at lower prices!

things to do mersing pasar nelayan teluk buih

Pasar Nelayan Teluk Buih | Image credit: MY Mersing Official Facebook Page

BBQ and grill is not just for meat and poultry. It’s good to get a hearty munch on fresh fish and crustaceans once in a while, and finding them won’t be a problem at all in Mersing. Bring yourself to Pasar Nelayan Teluk Buih, and you’ll find a wide variety of fresh fish at lower prices! Some of the top choices here include kerapu, gelama, kunyit, jenahak, pelaling, and stingray. If you’re into exotic food, the horseshoe crabs will do the trick!

FYI, this fisherman market is super close to Pantai Air Papan, approximately a four-minute drive from the beach. While you’re here, you might want to check out the newly opened KampungStay, which features luxurious villas for visitors. Beside this ocean-themed stay is a gorgeous eatery called Kuntum Cafe overlooking Teluk Buih and a jetty lined with fishermen’s boats. Also, their curry prawn noodle is a must-try; take my word for it!

5. Hop on a tranquil river cruise

mersing river cruise things to do mersing

River cruise in Mersing | Image credit: Ayuha Village Official Facebook Page

As if the splashing good time going island hopping is not enough, the district offers a scenic river cruise for travellers looking to get the best of Mersing waterways. Here’s your chance to cruise along the idyllic Mersing River, accompanied by stunning vistas of the stilt houses, fishermen’s boats, and the lush greenery of the forest on both sides of the stream. 

The five-kilometre journey (back and forth) will take around 30 minutes to complete. I recommend you take the trip with Ayuha Village for the best experience. They allow a maximum of 12 persons per boat with only RM7.50 (~S$2.90) per head! Talk about one of the worthy things to do in Mersing that you shouldn’t miss out on!

6. Go fishing at a blissful kelong

things to do mersing fishing at kelong

Ah Fatt Kelong | Image credit: Ah Fatt Kelong Official Facebook Page

Mersing is hands down a haven for all anglers out there. That said, travellers trying to get their hands on fishing rods and baits should definitely visit Ah Fatt Kelong, a recommended Mersing attraction for fishing activities. If you didn’t know yet, kelong is a term used to describe an offshore platform built with wood. You may find this hidden gem in Penyabong, less than an hour’s drive from Mersing Harbour Centre.

The packages offered here range from 2D1N to 4D3N offshore stays, which include accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and supper. Feeling bored and in need of entertainment? You can go karaoke, watch TV, or play mahjong or snookers on the kelong! Those who want to go fishing on a boat can rent their offshore fishing boat starting from RM500 (~S$145.62) for half a day. 

7. Dine in the underrated eateries

mus warong kampong things to do mersing

Mus Warong Kampung | Image credit (L-R): Husna Haron; Mus Warong Kampung Official Facebook Page

Foodies coming to Mersing will surely be delighted knowing there are plenty of food spots with tasty local cuisines to choose from! And some of these eateries are a must-visit, for real. You can kick off your day with breakfast at Sri Mersing Cafe on Jalan Sulaiman at Mersing Kechil. Here’s where you can get authentic Chinese cuisine such as egg tarts and local delights like nasi lemak and mee hoon goreng.

For lunch, you can head to Cafe 805 for Western and Malay dishes. I personally recommend their Aglio Olio Beef and Spaghetti Bolognese. Do try out their special dishes, too: Nasi Ayam Hatyai and Lambshank Masak Merah! In need of something umami? Bring yourself to Celop2 D’Bukit nestled atop a hill of Kampung Telok Iskandar. The gearbox soup is to die for. 

If you prefer to dig in the best seafood for lunch, drive about half an hour from the town centre to a floating restaurant called Mus Warong Kampung in Endau. Here, you can eat all sorts of seafood dishes at an affordable price, and refilling your plate is free of charge! For the best dinner, check out Brother Joe Ikan Bakar and Seafood by the beach in Kampung Mersing Kanan.

8. Check out the Insta-worthy spots

mersing river esplanade and laman samudera

Mersing River Esplanade (left); Laman Samudera (right) | Image credit: Izzati Haron

You can visit the esplanade along the Mersing River, opposite the Pasaraya Kini (a supermarket), for some colourful backdrop to spice up your ’Gram. Walk along the pleasant paved walkway, and you’ll bump into the rainbow-filled pillars in rhombus. Beside the walkway is the serene Mersing River, lined with fishermen’s boats — a nice place to wind up, especially in the morning and evening. 

If you prefer a more artistic backdrop, drive to Laman Samudera on Jalan Abu Bakar, tucked in an alley of the bustling town centre. The lane is not crowded at all despite its aesthetic, so you can have the space all to yourself and snap as many pics as you want. Here is where you can find a lot of spectacular street art, most of which feature underwater-themed paintings that best represent the coastal district. 

kampung air papan paddy field

Kampung Air Papan paddy field | Image credit: Daily Johor Official Facebook Page

Another one of the Insta-worthy places to visit in Mersing is the paddy field in Kampung Air Papan, a quiet coastal village that’s a 10-minute drive from the town centre. This place is for those who prefer a nature-like and dreamy background, as if you’re in a Malay village-themed telemovie. It’s best to come here between 7am and 9am, or 5pm onwards for the perfect sun-kissed shot. 

9. Uncover the beauty of Mersing’s hidden gems

pantai mawar rhu trees

Pantai Mawar | Image credit: Husna Haron

Travellers looking for something off the beaten path in Mersing should come to Pantai Mawar in Penyabong. It is less touristy, and the view is just as astounding. If you come here when the tide is low, you will get to witness the bare roots of the majestic rhu trees. Some are big enough for you to sit on and take in the pristine beach views all to yourself.

heaven's gate of pulau mawar and cave

Heaven’s Gate of Pulau Mawar (right); Pulau Mawar Cave (left) | Image credit: Izzati Haron

Are you up for a bit of adventure? Try hiking up the serene Pulau Mawar, a new Mersing tourist attraction, which boasts unique rock formations that’ll leave you in awe. The Heaven’s Gate of Pulau Mawar is the most famous landmark here. Afterwards, walk along the rocky beachside path that’ll lead you to a small cave filled with colourful rocks in purple and gold hues. Another landmark you shouldn’t miss is the Batu Serigala, a huge rock shaped like a howling wolf not too far from Heaven’s Gate. 

10. Capture the captivating golden hour

sunset at pantai pasir lanun

Pantai Pasir Lanun | Image credit: Tourism Johor Official Facebook Page

What’s the point of going to a coastal district without catching the unparalleled golden hour its beaches offer? And you can add plenty of locations to your list of sunset and sunrise viewing spots. Some of them include Pantai Air Papan, Pantai Mawar, Teluk Buih, Penyabong Jetty, and Pantai Pasir Lanun.

pantai pasir lanun viral spot

Pantai Pasir Lanun hilltop | Image credit: Tourism Johor Official Facebook Page

If you do go to Pantai Pasir Lanun, aside from the usual beachside view, you can head to a social media-popular location atop its hill. You will need to go to Penyabong and continue your journey straight up a narrow, super-inclined road leading to this spot. The road there is pretty busy during the weekend, so try to go during weekdays for the best experience!

11. Catch the Milky Way from your lenses

milky way from pantai mawar heaven's gate

Milky Way view from Pulau Mawar | Image credit: My passion toward landscape photography via Canva Pro

Thanks to the non-existent tall buildings and skyscrapers along its pristine beaches, Mersing is a gold pot for avid photographers on the hunt for an unobstructed Milky Way shot! Some of the famous spots to view the dazzling galaxy are Pulau Mawar and Pantai Penyabong. 

If you don’t plan on catching the Milky Way, all the beaches in Mersing offer the best spots for stargazing. In fact, the twinkling stars and constellations can even be viewed across the villages in Endau come nightfall!

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

And that concludes our list of the fun things to do in Mersing for your next getaway. Have you found something you fancy yet? We’re pretty sure you have. So, pack your suitcase and visit mesmerising Mersing for an adventure you won’t soon forget!

Featured image credit: Moe Mvp | Unsplash

About Author

Izzati Haron
Izzati Haron

Izzati is an author to two poem anthologies, a slam poet wannabe, and a full-time nanny to her kitties. She loves dreaming about traveling the world just like most protagonists in the movies, but more often than not, her bank account only permits her to travel to her backyard.