For kids and hipsters alike, Malaysia’s Johor Bahru is rising from transport hub to top tourist destination.
To Singaporeans, Johor Bahru in southern Malaysia is something of a weekend playground, thanks to its location right across the causeway. To many Thais, though, the last we heard about the capital city of Johor State was probably in geography class at high school. But trust us, JB will be firmly in the spotlight as a top tourist destination in the year to come, thanks to the new theme parks and edgy shops.
The Malaysian capital is changing so rapidly that, even if you’ve been before, you might want to extend your next stopover or business trip there to take it all in. In particular, the shopping and dining options have become markedly more varied and appealing.
Accommodation choices for backpackers and budget travellers have long been limited to dorm-style hostels and low-quality rooms down dodgy alleys. No longer. It’s 2011, and we have to thank all the young entrepreneurs who have pioneered much nicer options for flashpackers (aka upscale backpackers). Here are our favorites around the region.
Wherever you travel in Asia, cool rooms don’t have to cost the earth.
Heading to Malaysia for the Formula One? Here are four day trips for when you’re done with Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur might have plenty of appeal on a first visit, when the Grand Prix is on or during the sales, but return visitors may struggle to find enough to fill their time. Fear not. If you have some days to spare then, KL also makes a great base to enjoy some eclectic day trips, each offering a very different vibe.
Make your friends jealous with Kuala Lumpur shopping finds.
Bangkok has Ratchaprosong, Singapore has Orchard, Hong Kong has Nathan Street. Well, KL has Jalan Bukit Bintang, and at its epicenter is Bintang Walk,home to KL’s top shopping centers and department stores.
Alishan Forest to Taiwan
This spectacular three-and-a-half-hour “corkscrew” train journey winds its way up the side of a mountain, taking you through four climatic zones: tropical, subtropical, temperate and frigid. This is one of only three alpine railways left in the world so be sure to catch one of the two daily departures and get your camera ready for the dramatic views. The narrow gauge train leaves from Chiayi station and costs around B420. www.tbroc.gov.tw.