Living in SG means fun is a little limited here at times. I admit, I’m not the most hardworking mummy who brings the kids to the parks to sweat, or wrap them up in winter wear to go to an indoor air conditioned playground.
But we have a fantastic neighbor just across the causeway!
Here is a low down on our recent adventures in Johor.
Location: Bukit Indah (near to Lego land, and Tuas checkpoint)
Hotels tried : Geobay and Princeton
Bukit Indah is about less than 30 minute drive from Tuas Checkpoint (on a day without any jams). Best time to enter Johor is in the afternoon around 3-4 and return to SG about that time too. This way, there is little jam. It is recommended for drive ins as parking is literally free in Bukit Indah and you can zip around in a breeze with the car. For safety, do get a wheel lock and put it on religiously.
It is a small but new establishment where most Malaysians who work in SG will stay at for its proximity to SG.
Johor is notorious for car theft, robbery, and what nots. So far, I think Bukit Indah seems to be safer than the area near to Woodlands. It is also much cleaner, prettier and more pleasant to visit compared to the older and crowded area near to woodlands – sorry i dont even know that area’s name cos i am never impressed by it.
Bukit Indah houses an excellent mix of YUMMY and CHEAP food, CHEAP shopping, CHEAP and NICE entertainment for the kids all at 1/3 of the price in SG due to our current favorable exchange rate. If you stay at the two hotels I listed, everything is within short WALKING distance. This means happy parents and happy kids!
Buses: From Larkin Bus Terminal – CW3 | From Second Link – CW3S
Geobay: Excellent new hotel! A spacious (2 king and 1 super single) room costs SGD80/night. A bit pricey if you consider Johor, but this is the average I think any Singaporean would expect. Superb TV reception from SG channels and other kids channels, and typical cable channels like movies (haha don’t laugh at me, but i especially miss SG TV when Im away, because…. I dont have time to watch in SG and this is like my catch up time. You know what i mean..), superb aircon, superb nice environment.
Princeton: I stayed here a few times, and finally gave up. The largest room is smaller than my master bedroom. I had bad nights at the last visit because the bed and pillows were just oh so uncomfortable, and there was a horrid musky smell from the insecticides or air fresheners the hotel used to mask some old mouldy smell. It costs only SGD60 per night, but trust me, unless you are the type who is going to be out the whole day, only returning for a night’s rest, please just pay $20 more for Geobay.
Lots and lots of food await you in rows and rows of shophouses, and in AEONmall.
Trust me, you will be spoilt for choices.
And did i mention the price? Excellent Zhi cha without fish (maybe 8-10 dishes) can cost less than SGD30 for 10 pax. Daily meals like fried bee hoon, wantan mee, etc go for only SGD2 for a big yummy serving.
Huge servings of western food at the most posh restaurant are like $7 per plate. The most expensive beef goes for only SGD12.
And before you start thinking cheap means subpar taste, don’t forget nearly all our zhi cha stalls in SG hire Malaysian cooks. The food is seriously good at any restaurant, cafe, or coffee shop you go to at Bukit Indah.
As long as you don’t expect Kidzania standard, this place with work for you.
Indoor arcade with LOTS of well maintained rides for kids aged 1-6, and games for the older ones aplenty inside the indoor arcade (located within the AEON mall and inside the AEON departmental store (3rd level) itself). Timezone costs $1.20-$2? per game in SG. Over here, its RM1 per game. Get it yet?? SGD0.30 per game!!! And you will be amazed at the range of kiddy rides. I mean, they are imported from Japan!!! Stuff you will never ever see or ride on in SG!
Oh my, this gets even better if you thought the indoor arcade already sounds enticing. For the price of SGD10, you can let your kids play inside this playgym for the whole day. And they do have workshop timings where the kids are taught craft, etc, included in the price!!! It is well maintained and has enough areas like ball pits, bouncy castle, gym obstacles. The hubby stayed inside to play his ipad while the kids went on for hours and hours on their own. And i got all the shopping time i wanted!
I didnt check this out, but i thought the cinema looked marvellous – impressive looking ticketing area, and looks new enough.
Nope, there arent any swimming pools in any of the hotels here (Except for Hotel Grenada which is expensive and doesnt have family rooms), but the bathroom in Geobay boasts of a large shower area with rain shower. There, you can leave the kids and supervise them from the comfort of your bed because of that very convenient huge glass window (which you will need to cover up with your towels, etc lol… if the adults are using the toilet).
I bet most SG peeps know what to do when i say shopping. Go AEON mall (supermarket at level 1) for groceries (a simple rule of thumb is to get the stuff that are low in stock at the shelves, it means its cheaper than SG lol) like snacks, condiments like curry sauce, yakult, fruit juices (bring an ice box in the car), toiletries like tooth brush, tooth paste, etc.
Go for apparels – kids clothes go for as low as SGD10 for 3 pieces. And they are fashionable and of good quality.
And though there isnt any swimming pool, AEON department stall boasts a HUGE collection of swimwear for kids and adults. At AEON department stall, make sure to buy only when they have sale – stuff will go on discounts like 30, 50, and up to 70% discounts.
There are lots of fun stuff to do in AEON. It’s everything you want in a huge and clean place, and parking is only RM1. Dunkin Donuts are my must buy to munch on while in the car ride back to SG. And its SGD5 for 6 donuts only. Shih Lin XXL Chicken plus a Tian Bu La costs SGD5. What more to say??