Our stop in Johor Bahru was meant for one activity and one activity only Legoland!
We have held it as a mirage on the horizon for the kids – but this mirage wasn’t a fantasy – but more about that in our Legoland Post.
We travelled to JB from Langkawi, via Singapore.
This was somewhere we wish we had the opportunity to explore but unfortunately the extension of our overall trip has left Dexter’s passport just 6 months and 1 day away from renewal.
So on the day we landed at Changi Airport, we had to head straight back into Malaysia; or not enter at all.
The simplest route across the border (from a quick Google search at the airport) seemed to be by bus, so we jumped on the soonest one not really knowing the next steps.
As said we have found travel to be so easy in Malaysia, most of which is down to the fluency of everyone’s English – unfortunately our bus driver broke the mould and couldn’t give us any explanation of how the border crossing would work.
On reaching the Singapore customs we we’re gestured to grab our bags and head off the bus.
We were quickly funneled along with other passengers to the usual security barriers and passport control, and out the other side.
The procedure had taken no time at all but obviously longer than it should, as when the bus driver clocked us coming down the escalator on the other side he proceeded to honk his horn at us continually until we were safely on board again.
Our bus then took us through the next 10 minutes of no-mans-land until we reached Malaysia’s side and the JB CIQ (customs immigration and quarantine)
A 20 minute grab ride took us to a part of JB called Medini, where Legoland is located and where we were staying.
Our ridiculously cheap Airbnb for the next 3 weeks was housed in a newly built luxury appartment block, with infinity pool, jacuzzis, saunas, gym, legoroom, bbq area and park.
We came to realise very quickly that we were staying in one of the very few appartments in the resort that had been sold; with every door around ours, still wrapped in plastic.
Our condo itself had no used appliances; we had to peel the plasic wrap off before we used anything.
Apparently this is due to a property purchase boom in JB by Singaporeans and Malaysian’s working in Singapore. The purchase and rental being far more attractive than in Singapore.
However the tedious border crossing at rush hour has left less call for the newly built appartment blocks.
Ours lacked much else around it but with Legoland just 10 minutes walk away – it was perfect!
*View the Legoland Malaysia Blog post here.*
With great internet (WiFi and mobile signal was non-existent in Langkawi) we spent the days mainly in Legoland and the evenings working, we did however venture a little bit further than Medini.
We have found produce in Malaysia similarly priced wherever we shopped (as long as you are choosing local produce) and so the familiarity of shopping at Tesco’s is too inviting.
Alcohol however, due to it price has become only a special treat. Our only real tipple being amaretto we were over joyed to find Bols, but less so when we found the price to be double that of any other liqueur (we bought it anyway!)
Malaysia is all about the malls and JB doesn’t disappoint with City Square and Paradigm mall (and some smaller ones) offering a ridiculous amount of restaurants, salons, shops, memorobilia, cinemas, bowling, ice rinks, rock climbing and more.
Finding anything specific in these malls is like a needle in a haystack but they are fun to wonder around.
The cinema was the best we have visited anywhere in the world, with the best popcorn (extra sweet of course) and lounge sofas (not seating actual twin sofas) however the vetting of the trailers for the new Lego movie left allot to be desired as we found ourselves shielding the kids ears and eyes with different distraction techniques as the latest gory horror movies showcased.
The Lego Movie 2 was great though!
It was whilst wondering aimlessly in City Square that we came upon what we thought (naively) was a buffet restaurant called The Steamboat.
On paying our 30myr we were asked if we wanted soup – which we declined.
We got our table and drinks then ignoring the recess in the middle of the table marched happily up to the buffet, only to find (just as the kids were tucking in) an assortment of raw vegetable, fish, shellfish and meat in front of us, along with dry noodles and rice.
Never ones to back down from a challenge we ordered the soup (the only way to cook the noodle and rice) and attempted to use the in built grill on our table – with no sort of temperature control it when badly from the start, with a lovely burnt exterior and raw innards to almost everything.
It was then that we started watching the other, obviously seasoned, patrons using the soup as the main cooking utensil and the grill as the browner.
From there on in the meal became marginally safer but not all that better as we ended with some kind of mixed stew with anything and everything both us and the kids had picked up in a sloppy, thick kind of drink.
As notices all over the restaurant made it clear we would be charged for wastage it was left to Daddy to finish off the broth!
Part way through our stay in JB we were lucky enough to be invited to a gathering of Worldschoolers, at Legoland.
Further than the two days we spent socialising and playing together we were able to meet up afterwards, utilising our communal area at our complex for a dinner date with some new friends and attending a watercolour class by a local artist and homeschooler in JB.
We found a great deal less to explore in JB than our previous stops; it was great for Legoland and I’m sure if we could have – it would have been ideal for some day trips into Singpore.
After 3 weeks we decided it was time to move on – to the city , and UNESCO world Heritage site, of Melacca.