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9 Road Trip Destinations In Johor Under 4 Hours From Singapore For A Cross-Border Adventure 

Road trips from Singapore to Malaysia


Beyond our neighbouring city, there are plenty of road trip destinations in Johor you can drive to for a weekend getaway. Hikes in the rainforest, historical architecture, and delicious local food are just a few of the things to look forward to.

All you really need is your passport and a car. So pack your bag, get in the car, switch on your Google Maps and head to these Johor destinations.

P.S. For comparison, we’ve included Woodlands Checkpoint as the starting point. However, the time it takes may vary depending on traffic conditions. 


What you should know before taking a road trip from Singapore to Malaysia


First off, read our Guide To Driving From Singapore To JB or Guide To Driving From Singapore To KL, which covers essentials like how to get a Vehicle Entry Permit and using the Touch ‘n Go system.

Apart from that, you’ll also want to take note that Singapore-registered cars must have at least ¾ of a tank full of petrol before entering Malaysia. You may be asked to U-turn back to Singapore or pay a $500 fine if you’re caught with anything less. If you do need to fill up your tank, make sure you’re not pumping RON95 at Petronas Stations. This is subsidised fuel meant for Malaysians and Malaysian-registered cars only.

If you’re planning on exploring further destinations like Kedah and Terengganu, your vehicle is allowed to be parked in Malaysia for a maximum of 3 months from the date you enter. You, on the other hand, must exit Malaysia within 30 days if you don’t have a visa.

Good news for those who got their driver’s licence in Singapore, traffic rules are about the same in Malaysia. Just be cautious as you drive and you’ll be fine. The navigation system of choice to use in Malaysia is Waze, which is able to inform drivers on jams and even changes in speed limits as you drive.

Even if you don’t have a car in Singapore, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on any road tripping fun. There are car rentals in JB where you can pick up your vehicle at your convenience, such as JB Sentral and at CIQ.

As for the best time to go to JB, our research shows that before 5am is ideal on weekdays and weekends, if you want to beat the jam on the causeway. Alternatively, you could leave from 12pm-3pm, which has significantly less traffic than peak hours. Since all of our road trip destinations are less than 4 hours away, there’s still plenty of time for you to explore these areas.


Travel distance from Singapore to destinations in Johor


Here’s a quick rundown of where you can take a road trip to in Johor and how long it’ll take:

Place Best Feature Travel Time from Woodlands Checkpoint
Desaru Adventure waterpark & ostrich farm 1 hour 13 minutes
Kota Tinggi Cascading waterfalls, fireflies & cycling tracks 1 hour 21 minutes
Tanjung Sedili Seaside dome glamping under the stars 1 hour 48 minutes
Kukup Offshore national park & mangrove forest 1 hour 48 minutes
Kluang Kopi factory and cafe at a railway station 2 hours
Pengerang WWII battery & a cafe that looks like Santorini 2 hours 8 minutes
Batu Pahat Artistic town with colourful bridge & street murals 2 hours 20 minutes
Mersing Beach destination for island hopping & hiking 2 hours 30 minutes
Muar Mythical mountain with a 4-hour hike up 3 hours 6 minutes

1. Desaru


Adventure waterpark & ostrich farm


road trip destinations jb - Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark
Image credit: @al_fadil1 via Instagram

An easy road trip destination in Malaysia is Desaru, slightly more than an hour away from immigration. Since the pandemic, it’s seen a revival with a bunch of new resorts and exciting activities to do.

The kids will love spending the day at Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, a massive theme park with 5 different zones with wet and dry rides. Get an adrenaline rush at Kranken’s Revenge, a roller coaster and splashing flume ride packed into one, or float on buoys in a looping lazy river at Penawar River.

road trip destinations jb - Desaru Ostrich Farm
Image credit: Desaru Ostrich Farm

There’s plenty to do like Desaru Fruit Farm, which has more than 120 species of tropical fruits. You can also join an educational tour at Desaru Ostrich Farm, where you can get close to the world’s largest birds and even try an ostrich egg omelette.

If you’re staying the night at Desaru, check into 2 of the seaside resorts that have opened up over the past 2 years. Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast is well known amongst music lovers for its rock and roll lifestyle; or treat bae to a luxurious stay at The Westin Desaru Coast.

Check out more things to do at Desaru and other Desaru resorts to stay at.

Time from Woodlands Checkpoint: 1 hour 13 minutes


2. Kota Tinggi


Cascading waterfalls, fireflies & cycling tracks


Those who love the outdoors should drive down to Kota Tinggi, located slightly more than an hour away from Singapore. Avid cyclists will find that there are various nature trails they can conquer here, especially near the famous Kota Tinggi waterfalls.

road trip destinations jb - Kota Tinggi Waterfalls
Kota Tinggi Waterfalls is actually made up of 2 waterfalls – with the bigger one standing 36m tall.
Image credit: @amirulmuhaiminn via Instagram

You can take a dip in both pools, but be careful not to dive into the water as it’s said that the bottom of the waterfall is quite rocky.

The source of the waterfall is Gunung Muntahak, a hill that stands at 634m. While there used to be a hiking trail that passes through an old tin mining land, it’s currently not accessible to the public.

road trip destinations jb - Gunung Panti
The tough hike up will be worth it once you reach the summit at Gunung Panti.
Image credit: @koksinchia via Instagram

There is, however, another hike you can do: Gunung Panti. It’s a 531m-tall mountain with an elevation of 1,684ft where you’ll traverse through small creeks, gradual inclines, fallen tree trunks and even a challenging 90-degree rock wall to the peak – which requires you to hoist yourself up with a rope. This is best saved for experienced hikers.

road trip destinations jb - Firefly Valley Leisure Park
Embark on a boat ride and see the fireflies in their natural habitat.
Image credit: @story.of.ace via Instagram

At night, head to Firefly Valley Leisure Park, where you can get on a 20-minute boat ride to the mangroves to see fireflies in their natural habitat. Tickets cost RM18 (~S$5.16)/adult and RM12 (~S$3.44)/child.

Book a Firefly River Cruise Experience.

Time from Woodlands Checkpoint: 1 hour 21 minutes


3. Tanjung Sedili


Seaside dome glamping under the stars


road trip destinations jb - Tanjung Sedili
Image credit: @pangeranfies via Instagra,

Not far from Kota Tinggi is Tanjung Sedili, a coastal town which embraces a slower pace of life. It’s a fishing village, the perfect destination to drive to if you’ve been missing the kampung lifestyle. Rent a boat and embark on a fishing trip or simply join the locals at the numerous fishing spots along the bank of Sungai Sedili Besar.

road trip destinations jb - Sungai Sedili Besar
Image credit: @album_aidil_abdul_manap via Instagram

If you’ve ever romanticised sleeping under the stars but cannot tahan spending the night outdoors, go dome glamping at Sea Horizon Resort. The resort offers various room types, but its Stargazer Dome is the most popular amongst tourists.

road trip destinations jb - Sea Horizon Resort
Image credit: Sea Horizon Resort 

You can get a unique glamping experience complete with views of the sea from RM830/night (~S$238). The dome also comes with an en-suite bathroom, so you don’t have to worry about running outside in the dead of the night to use the loo. There are only 2 of the glamping suites in the entire resort, so make sure to book early.

Also, check out more resorts in Johor with farm stays and Bali vibes.

Sea Horizon Resort (formerly Tanjung Sutera Resort)
Google Reviews
3.9
(534)
Address
Lot 901, Kuala Sedili Besar, 81900 Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours:
Wednesday 09:00 AM - 07:00 PM Show More Timings
Contact Information

Time from Woodlands Checkpoint: 1 hour 48 minutes


4. Kukup


Offshore national park & mangrove forest


road trip destinations jb - Pulau Kukup National Park
Image credit: @agneschew23 via Instagram

Another seaside destination you can drive to from Singapore is Kukup in Pontian. It is home to one of the biggest mangrove forests in Malaysia, Pulau Kukup National Park. To get to the national park, you’ll have to take a boat from the ferry terminal at Kukup town, which costs about RM10/pax (~S$2.87).

Bird-watching enthusiasts should consider a visit from September to April. This is because the park is a stopover site for migratory waterbirds. At all times of the year, you’ll get to spot wildlife such as monkeys, crabs, and mudskippers – and if you’re lucky, endangered wildlife such as the flat-headed cat and the bearded pig.

Check out more activities and packages at Pulau Kukup National Park.

Kukup Island Johor National Park
Google Reviews
4.1
(649)
Address
82300, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours:
Wednesday Open 24 Hours Show More Timings
Contact Information

road trip destinations jb - New Kukup Restaurant
Image adapted from: @jit.yan via Instagram

A trip to Kukup would be incomplete without dining in at one of the local seafood restaurants. New Kukup Restaurant is one of the oldest floating seafood restaurants in town – but still a go-to spot for both locals and tourists. Alternatively, go straight to the source and visit one of the floating fish farms in Kukup.

Book a Kukup Fishing Coastal Settlements Leisure Tour.

Time from Woodlands Checkpoint: 1 hour 48 minutes


5. Kluang


Kopi factory and cafe at a railway station


Kluang used to be the administrative capital of Johor, especially with the main railway line that passes through it. You’ll find that Kluang Railway Station still functions to this day. Right next to the railway track is the iconic Kluang Rail Coffee, a traditional coffee joint that’s been open since 1938, and it has retained its retro vibe.

road trip destinations jb - Kluang Rail Coffee
Image credit: @iam.suraya via Instagram

It’s a fuss-free eatery where you can order a kopi (RM2.60, ~S$0.74) and enjoy it with nasi lemak wrapped in banana leaf from RM1.50 (~S$0.43), the quintessential Malaysian breakfast.

Another stop for caffeine lovers is Kluang Coffee Powder Factory, which manufactures a popular Malaysian brand, ‘Television Brand’ coffee. Sultan Iskandar is even rumoured to have it delivered to the palace monthly.

The coffee is made using the traditional roasting method with a unique blend of 3 different coffee beans: Arabica, Liberica, and Robusta.

road trip destinations jb - Gunung Lambak trail
Image credit: @calvin_oky via Instagram

But coffee isn’t everything Kluang is known for. It’s also the gateway to Gunung Lambak, a hill you can hike up relatively easily. The Lambak Trail takes you up to the summit and back in just 4 hours – which is perfect if you’re just spending a weekend in town.

If you want to explore more of Kluang, check out our Guide to Kluang.

Time from Woodlands Checkpoint: 2 hours


6. Pengerang


WWII battery & a cafe that looks like Santorini


If you can’t make a trip to Bali just yet but craving for a short trip by the sea, hit up Pengerang. It’s an up-and-coming town with cafes such as Yard & Co, a cafe by the sea with chio aesthetics – a Santorini dupe if we’ve ever seen one.

road trip destinations jb - Pengerang
Image adapted from: @cloeeecloe via Instagram

But what’s Pengerang without seafood? Another pit stop for foodies is Salsabilas Cafe, an open-air eatery serving seafood dishes right by the water with views of – wait for it – Singapore. If you prefer chicken, the nasi lemak kukus with fried chicken is chef’s kiss according to Google Reviews.

After a 2-hour drive up from Singapore, it’s worth spending at least a night here. Golf lovers can check out Sebana Cove Resort, a resort with its own private marina and an 18-hole golf course.

Google Reviews
4.1
(298)
Address
Lot PTD 2940/2941, Mukim, 81600 Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours:
Wednesday Open 24 Hours Show More Timings
Contact Information
RECOMMENDED TICKETS AT S$58

road trip destinations jb - Lakeview Terrace Resort
Image credit: Lakeview Terrace Resort

For those who are always dreaming of staying in cabin-style rooms next to a lake, Lakeview Terrace Resort is a cosy retreat that is a great place to slow down amidst nature.

Lakeview Terrace Resort, Pengerang Johor
Google Reviews
3.8
(689)
Address
PTD 5025, Jalan Kota Tinggi - Pengerang,, Pengerang, 81620 Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours:
Wednesday Open 24 Hours Show More Timings
Contact Information

road trip destinations jb - Bukit Belungkor Kechil
Image credit: @aidaazmannn_ via Instagram

You know what they say, the early bird catches the worm. Get up for a sunrise hike at Bukit Belungkor Kechil, an easy 238m ascend. Else, history buffs will love the Pengerang British Coastal Battery, a WWII site hidden amidst shrubbery next to Tanjung Pengelih Jetty located a 36-minute drive away.

Time from Woodlands Checkpoint: 2 hours 8 minutes


7. Batu Pahat


Artistic town with colourful bridge & street murals


road trip destinations jb - Batu Pahat
Image credit: @mata_mudayow via Instagram

Batu Pahat may be a small town, but it deserves a spot on your road trip itinerary. Artsy souls will love wandering about the vibrant town which is peppered with colourful street murals and buildings that tell stories of the town’s past.

Culture vultures can also take a walk around Batu Pahat Town and hunt for hidden murals before stopping by Swee Kee Tonic Soup, a #health eatery famed for their black chicken and kampung ginseng soup.

road trip destinations jb - Pantai Minyak Beku
Head to Pantai Minyak Beku for your wanderlust shot.

Image credit: @sairanajib via Instagram

Lovers of history can check out an ancient well in Minyak Beku before stopping by Pantai Minyak Beku for your IG-worthy sunset shot.

road trip destinations jb - colourful lovers’ bridge
Image credit: @wenhui_yeoh via Instagram

Some other attractions visitors to Batu Pahat shouldn’t miss are the colourful lovers’ bridge. It is actually a jetty for fishing boats – but has become a romantic date spot by the sea.

Time from Woodlands Checkpoint: 2 hours 20 minutes


8. Mersing


Beach destination for island hopping & hiking


What some people tend to overlook is that Malaysia has some seriously beautiful tropical islands a la Phuket. They’re accessible from Singapore, too. All you have to do is drive up to Mersing, where you can get on a boat to islands like Tioman and Pulau Harimau.

road trip destinations jb - Tioman
The waters around Tioman are popular with divers.
Image credit: @tsuiyl via Instagram

After all, the area is home to an abundance of marine life such as reef sharks, turtles, rare fish species, and even elusive dugongs. Is it any wonder then, that Mersing and its neighbouring islands are popular destinations for those looking to dive and snorkel?

If you prefer to just lounge around on a hammock while gazing out at the sea, Alang’s Rawa is an off-the-beaten-track beach resort on Rawa Island, a private island. The clear turquoise waters and white sand beaches almost make you forget you’re still in the state of Johor.

road trip destinations jb - Alang’s Rawa
The rooms at Alang’s Rawa are located right on the beach.
Image credit: @miiistry via Instagram

Most rooms, like the Jungle Side Rooms and Beach House Rooms, take up to 5 people – so it’s a great resort to book if you want to gather a group of friends for the weekend.

road trip destinations jb - Gunung Arong
Image credit: @wilson_leng via Instagram

If you choose to stay on the mainland and want to soak up the views, hike up Gunung Arong, located 40 minutes away from Mersing town. It’s a leisurely hike suitable for beginners, and you’ll take about 2 hours to get to the peak.

Time from Woodlands Checkpoint: 2 hours 30 mins


9. Muar


Mythical mountain with a 4-hour hike up


Muar is often referred to as Johor state’s royal town. So if you’re heading there, mark out various sites like the Palace of Muar, home to the Johor Royal Family, and the historical Masjid Jamek Sultan Ibrahim Muar on Google Maps.

road trip destinations jb - Gunung Ledang National Park mount ophir
Image credit: @ssy.428 via Instagram

A famous legend has it that there was once a beautiful fairy princess staying at the peak of Gunung Ledang National Park, which also goes by the name of Mount Ophir. The name might be familiar to seasoned hikers. After all, it is the highest mountain in Johor, standing at 1276m high.

You’ll get sweeping views of palm oil plantations in the distance across 2 states, Johor and Malacca. But be warned, it’s a demanding 4-hour hike with steep climbs, and it’s mandatory to have a local guide.

road trip destinations jb - hs farmstay
You can ride a horse at HS Farmstay.
Image credit: HS Farmstay via Facebook

For a more family-friendly activity, round up the kids and stay overnight at HS Farmstay. The young ones will get their first authentic experience in nature – whether they’re petting sheep and raccoons at the mini zoo, going horse riding, or getting a catch at the fishing pond.

HS Farmstay
Google Reviews
3.5
(377)
Address
PTD 4116, Parit Pajar, Jalan Kesang, 84000 Muar, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours:
Wednesday 08:00 AM - 08:00 PM Show More Timings
Contact Information

Time from Woodlands Checkpoint: 3 hours 6 minutes


Plan a road trip to Johor


There’s so much to do for every type of traveller in Johor. The best part is you don’t even need to take a flight, perfect for those who are time-starved or trying to stick to a budget.

With these road trip destinations in Johor located less than 4 hours away, you can even squeeze in quick weekend trips with your family.

For more regional destinations:


Cover image adapted from: @miiistry, @cloeeecloe, @ssy.428 via Instagram
Originally published on 11th June 2022. Last updated by Raewyn Koh on 14th June 2024.