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5 Reasons why Johor Bahru is the best holiday destination for families with children

Sharing my experiences of my all Last month I went on a FAM trip to Malaysia as part of a media team that was sponsored by Tourism Malaysia to outline the new thrust areas in tourism in Malaysia. This was my first visit to Malaysia after thirty years and has it changed! It has become unrecognisable. And it is not only the Petronas Towers but the entire country that has changed and with Tourism being the third largest money spinner, Malaysia has developed this sector to make it comparable to, indeed at times better, than most tourist destinations in the world. This is largely because Malaysia has something for everyone : the foodie, the culture vulture, the adventure seeker, the nature lover, the history buff, the inveterate shopper, the high end tourist and the beach bum. But while Kuala Lumpur has a charm of its own, I was captivated by the city of Johor Bahru the capital city of Johor a State in southern Malaysia. It has a lovely laid back feel to it, combined with the energy of a modern city.  Here I’d like to share 5 reasons why Johor Bahru is the best place for a family holiday

1. Easily Accessible: Just a hop, skip and a jump away  across the straits , Johor is  a km away by bridge from  Singapore so if your business takes you to Singapore, just hop across to Johor. A Malaysian visa is easily available on arrival . On the other hand, if you are already in Johor, it is equally easy to get a visa to visit Singapore , though it is not given on arrival as yet.

2. More for your money : Accommodation is relatively cheaper in Johor than in Singapore and for the cost of a two night stay in Singapore, you get to stay for five nights in Johor!

3. Easy to move :Johor is an easy city to go around in. Uber is available on your mobile and taxis are easily available at every hotel. There is even a Hop On Hop Off bus on the anvil.

4.  Fun for everyone:  Being a family friendly destination, Johor has developed theme parks that take into account children of all ages.

The Angry Bird Activity Park at the JBCC KOMTAR is a great place for children. Just a month old, it has already seen 300 footfalls a day even though it has a capacity of 1000 per session and has three sessions in a day. The Angry Bird Activity Centre has four areas – the first called South Beach is meant for toddlers who enjoy wobbling on the wobbly floor, jumping in the tent of balls and lifting up huge bricks to construct their own towers. The second area is the Classic Angry Bird which has a series of ladders and tunnels that are enjoyed by children and grownups alike. Jump off a height onto a mattress or test your skill in the maze of Lasers in the capsule of Laser Angry Birds( yes I did it in 12 s). Try your hand at the go Kart race track or play a game of STU( simulated Football. And for those who like skate boarding there is an Angry Birds ScooterBoard track. But the funnest part is the one where you can be like the hamster in the wheel, or jump on the trampoline, try your hand at tightrope walking or jumping into the pool of sponge bricks and then wading out ( believe me that can leave you winded)

This activity even has the parents hooked and  sometimes the children have to page them!

Tickets should be bought in advance ( available on line too) as entry is staggered for safety reasons.

With 7 theme parks to suit children of all ages,  Legoland with its onsite Legoland Hotel is a dream destination . The hotel has family suites and a welcome treasure hunt that sets the tone for a holiday where children can explore and enjoy the rides. A separate gate and entrance to the Water Park gives one the option of not visiting this part of the park if so inclined. Tickets can be booked on line and if bought 7+ days in advance, you can save upto 20% .

Did you know that there is a whole theme park dedicated to a cat without a mouth who is not really a cat and who is actually born in Britain? You will find this at Sanrio Hello Kitty Town , Nusajaya , just 20 minutes’ away from the airport, at  Puteri Harbour. Situated in The Little Red Cube you can also meet your other friends Barney the Dinosaur, Angelina the Ballerina, Pingi the Penguin, Bob the Builder and Thomas and Friends at the Little Big Club or find out what makes LAT, the indigenous character, tick at LAT”S House in the same complex.You can visit any of these places while staying in Puteri Harbour or in hotels nearby or……..you can even bring in your own yacht which you can dock at the Marina.

5. Shopaholics’ fix : And finally for the die-hard shopaholics, apart from the other shopping malls in Johor Bahru like

City Square Johor Bahru Shopping Mall, KSL City Mall or ZON, KOMTAR, AEON Tebrau City, The Holiday Plaza which has the longest shopping arcade, Lien Hoe Complex ( re-christened as Plaza Sentosa)

But what is more interesting is the Johor Premium Outlet which is cheaper than Orchard Road with  deep discounts on premium brands on fashions that are just ONE season old.

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