Tanjung Piai

Mention Johor and what do you think of?

Shopping malls, Legoland and erm, Iskandar?

Well, even though Johor’s not exactly known for its sightseeing options, there are a couple of sights which are worth your time.

Like Tanjung Piai, which is at the southernmost tip of Peninsular Malaysia.

Standing at the southernmost tip of Mainland Asia in Tanjung Piai

Wait a minute, Tanjung what?

If you haven’t heard of it, you’re not alone.

I’ve not heard of the place myself until I was invited there a few years back.

Heck, even my friend who lives in Johor hasn’t heard of the place.

Tanjung Piai

But it’s actually quite a good getaway from Singapore.

The journey there from Johor Bahru takes about an hour and a half, but it’s a world away from the bustling city centre.

Tanjung Piai is actually a massive mangrove forest.

And it’s said to be a hot spot for birdwatchers.

Mangrove flats at Tanjung Piai

But even if you can’t tell a crow apart from a pigeon, you can have fun trying to spot the various inhabitants of the mudflats, like the mudskipper, hermit crabs and mischievous monkeys.

And because there’s hardly anyone around, you’ll get to enjoy the peace and solitude.

If you stay over at the nearby resort which is built on stilts, you’ll also get a chance to see some amazing sunrise and sunsets.

Be warned though that there’s nothing much else to do, so I wouldn’t recommend going alone.

Sunrise at Tanjung Piai

Back in the city centre, you can visit the Istana Besar or Grand Palace.

It’s only a short walk away from City Square Mall, but it seems like not many have heard of it.

Istana Besar

The palace itself is not breathtakingly beautiful, but it does have some interesting exhibits such as stuffed animals and elephant tusks.

And the opulent Throne Hall and rooms does offer you an insight into the lifestyle of the royal family of Johor.

Istana Besar

Istana Besar

Istana Besar

For something a little bit more active, you might want to head to the waterfalls at Kota Tinggi.

Yes, it’s an attraction that seems to be past its prime, but I think it still makes for a pleasant day trip.

And best of all, it’s only about an hour away from the Johor Bahru city centre.

Kota Tinggi Waterfalls

The waterfall cascades down from a height of 34 metres or about 10 stories into three natural swimming pools.

And it’s perfect for whiling away time and soaking in the sun on a hot afternoon.

Kota Tinggi Waterfalls

So the next time you’re in Johor, and you’re bored of the shopping malls, why not head down to these attractions?

You may be pleasantly surprised.

Or you may decide that the shopping malls are better after all. :p

But hey, you won’t know till you find out.

Johor Bahru