There’s lots to explore in Johor Bahru, but many of us end up at the same old malls and cafes each time – either near the checkpoint or in the Mount Austin area. But if you’re looking for something new, try venturing into Danga Bay.
Just a 10-minute drive away from the checkpoint, this beachfront area that’s relatively unexplored by tourists has lots to offer, from scenic sunset views to seafood feasts.
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A day here isn’t complete without a relaxing stroll along the beach by the crashing waves. Danga Beach spans all the way from the theme park to Country Garden so that’s a long stretch of sandy shore for some beach bumming.
Image credit: @wenhui.52548
Dig your toes into the sand as you admire the sight of boats sailing across or the tall buildings on Singapore’s side. If the weather is good, you might be able to catch a nice sunset.
Watch the quiet night light up at Danga World Theme Park. It’s an old-school fun fair where you only pay for the rides you choose to take. The best part is you can easily go on crowd favourites like the carousel at a price of RM2 (~S$0.60), bumper car for RM8 (S$2.40), balloon ferris wheel for RM4 (~S$1.20) without any long wait. There’s also a pirate ship for those who like a bigger thrill.
Image credit: eRYAbySURIA Malaysia
These rides run from 3PM till midnight so that’s plenty of time to conquer the whole theme park. For a less intense evening, there are also game booths with darts and ring toss. A game might cost you 3 tokens and each token costs RM2 (~S$0.60) so that’ll total to around RM6 (~S$1.80).
Image credit: @kapturistic
Address: Danga Bay, 80200 Johor Bahru, Johor
Opening hours: 7pm-12am
Image credit: @Swindler2022
Just across the strand of restaurants on Danga Bay lies Laman Mahkota Istana Bukit Serene, or the Sultan of Johor’s royal grounds. It’s open to the public and it’s more common to see the locals hanging out here, but what us tourists have been missing out on is the light show in the evening and the landscape of flowers that line up along the paths.
Image credit: Qamarun Nisa
This area has been decorated with grand monuments and fountains that come to life once night falls. Flashes of light will illuminate every corner as the water jets are lit up in rainbow colours. Be sure to come slightly after 7PM to be ahead of the crowd and to be in time for the show.
Image credit: Desmond Tonga
Address: Jalan Kolam Air, Bukit Serene, 80200 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Image credit: Junaidah Ali Omar
There’s nothing better than having seafood by the beach and Danga Bay has just that but in many options along its stretch of sandy shore. One of the bigger restaurants is Seafood Market, and it offers the classic variety of seafood dishes like cereal prawn and salted egg crab.
Image credit: Ct Phua
Prices across the different restaurants here are relatively steep as compared to other parts of JB but it’s not without reason – you’ve got a stunning view of the sea, the natural beach breeze and tanks of live seafood waiting to be served.
Image credit: @cjw0205
If the crowd at Seafood Market puts you off, there are a few smaller restaurants down the same road such as Grand Bayview Seafood Restaurant and Danga Bistro. They all have similar menus so you won’t be losing out on anything.
Address: 29C, Jalan Bertingkat Skudai, Straits View, 80200 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Opening hours: 11.30am-12am, Daily
Image credit: 大侠许
Just a 6-minute drive away from Danga Bay is Taman Merdeka – a park that spans across 9 lawns. While each lawn serves to commemorate a different part of Malaysia’s history, the park as a whole offers scenic paths for visitors to unwind amidst nature.
Image credit: @tuttieaintfruittie
Take a breather at one of the many historical monuments that have been erected across the park. If you’re there early, you might be lucky enough to join a free Tai Chi or Zumba session for a quick morning refresher.
Once night falls, you can relax by the main lake and enjoy a light show at JB’s only musical fountain. It’ll be 30 minutes of an elaborate water performance synced to a mash-up of popular songs in English, Malay, Tamil and Chinese.
Address: Jalan Datin Halimah, 80200 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Opening hours: 7am-7pm, Daily
Image credit: x yc
Located along Danga Bay’s beach is a family-friendly recreational park with a playground and plenty of outdoor space. For a relaxing tour of the area, board a tram ride at just RM 4/person (~S$1.20).
If you prefer a light workout, there are also 2-man or 4-man bicycles for rent from RM30 (~S$9.01) for a 45-minute ride. These rides are usually only available after 5PM but last till midnight.
Image credit: Najihah
Because the park is located right by the beach, you can easily settle down with a picnic on the sandy shores for the best view of the sunset.
One of the more interesting 2-man “bicycles” you can rent – it’s motorised and you control it using a joystick.
Image credit: Dangabay bicycle rental centre
Dangabay bicycle rental centre
Address: Lot C & D Jalan Skudai, Danga Bay, 80200 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 5pm-2am, Daily
Contact: Dangabay bicycle rental centre Facebook
Image credit: Beletime Danga Bay
With over 30 retail and dining options, Beletime Danga Bay Mall is worth checking out after you’ve caught the sunset at the beach that’s just a 5-minute walk away.
You’ll find beloved brands like Miniso, Mr DIY, and Skechers. Of course, no Malaysian mall is complete without an AEON outlet. If you’re not up to shop, there’s even a cineplex and an indoor playground for kids.
Address: No. 01-01, Bay Point Persiaran Danga Perdana Country Garden, Danga Bay, 80200 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10am-10pm, Daily
Contact: 07-2910928 | Beletime Danga Bay Mall website
Image credit: @beletime_dangabay
For grown-up juice after shopping at Beletime Danga Bay Mall, walk right outside to Marine Beach Bar that is just by the beach. The bar is immediately noticeable for its fairy lights and grass-thatched huts that give off Tiki vibes.
Image credit: @chew731005
Sip on alcoholic drinks from RM15 (~S$4.49) or even a coconut as you lay back in the deck chairs that dot the beach, and it just might feel like you’re in Hawaii. There are also live musical performances to put you in a relaxed mood. Bar bites are available for the peckish, such as onion rings and chicken wings, with platters from RM48 (~S$14.38).
Address: Lot 22056, Danga Bay, 80200 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Opening hours: 12pm-12am, Daily
Contact: +60 10 660 0282 | Marine Beach Bar website
Food options are aplenty around Danga Bay, but if you’re looking for affordable Indian cuisine, make a beeline for 7 Spice. There are a variety of Indian dishes that include classics like fish head curry (RM70, ~S$21.01) and chicken masala (RM20, ~S$6).
Image credit: @7spicedangabay
One of its best sellers is the tandoori chicken, which is just RM13.90 (~S$4.16) per portion. You can even get a tandoori platter (RM60, ~S$18.05) that comes with chicken, lamb, fish, prawns, and squid.
Address: G-01, Block 5, Skudai Highway, Danga Bay, 80200 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Opening hours: 12am-10pm, Daily
Contact: +60 7235 6969 | 7 Spice Facebook
For the little ones who seem to have an endless amount of energy, bring them down to Loveyoyo Funworld for a day of fun. The indoor playground is equipped with a multitude of fun elements like slides, a massive ball pit, and even a craft station to get creative juices flowing.
Older kids and adults who may not want to dive into ball pits will be able to have fun at the attached arcade. Find arcade staples like air hockey, claw machines, and racing games that the whole family will be able to enjoy.
Child: RM49/pax, ~S$ 14.71 (inclusive of 1 accompanying adult)
Adult: RM19/pax, ~S5.71
Address: G90, Bay Point Persiaran Danga Perdana Country Garden, Danga Bay, 80200 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10am-10pm | Sun-Mon 10am-10.30pm
Contact: +60 1 7603 1915 | Loveyoyo Funworld website
If your sweet tooth is acting up, pop by Gelato Cafe & Co for dessert. This vibrant cafe is open till midnight and serves up scoops of gelato from RM8.90 (~S$2.66) in flavours such as milo and cookie crumble.
There are savoury dishes too for those who want something more substantial. Get pasta (RM18.90, ~S$5.68) such as carbonara and aglio olio for yourself. Then add on sides like cheesy mayo fries (RM10.90, ~S$3.28) and roasted chicken drumlets (RM12.90, ~S$3.88) for the table to share.
Address: Lot 22056, No. DV02-12, Bay Point Persiaran Danga Perdana Country Garden, Danga Bay, 80200 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Opening hours: Mon-Tue, Thu-Fri 4pm-12am | Wed 3pm-12am | Sat-Sun 2pm-12am
Contact: +60 19-603 8400 | Gelato Cafe & Co website
Many of us have hopped about JB checking out multiple new cafes or malls in a day trip. But consider spending a day at Danga Bay the next time you’re there. It’s a one-stop area for good food and night entertainment that’s suitable for all ages.
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