It is not uncommon for Singaporeans to travel to JB on weekends to eat and shop as it is so near that JB is literally walkable distance from the customs. On 19 May(Vesak Day), I joined the flock of Singaporeans and entered JB for my one day trip!
I left house at around 7.30 am and took the CW2 bus from Queen Street to JB. The journey to the custom was much shorter than I thought and by around 9am I was already nearing the Woodlands Checkpoint. Even though there was a bit of jam, I thought it could have been worse considering it was the long weekend. But the Malaysia custom, oh dear, it was a nightmare. Just look at this:
The hall was packed with people which never seem to lessen. I noticed that the queue on my right was much faster and honestly it really sucked to see the person who previously stood next to me pass the custom while I was stuck halfway in the snaking queue. It took me close to two hours to get out of that place.
Once I got past the custom I bought a HotLink sim card for data. I’m not sure if it would have been cheaper to get it elsewhere but I just wanted to get it fast. Then I went to walk around in City Square Mall. Honestly it looks and feels a lot like the malls that I usually see in Singapore and as far as international brands go, there isn’t much difference in their prices. But it was the nearest mall to JB Sentral and I was simply trying to kill time before it’s time for lunch. At 1 pm I booked a Grab to Kedai Bak Kut Teh Hin Hock for my lunch. The Grab drive, to my surprise didn’t know how to speak English. He called me through the Grab app as he couldn’t find me and I tried to tell him that I couldn’t speak Malay. He probably figured that out since I wasn’t replying in Malay but he continued talking rather loudly in Malay. In desperation I passed my phone to the security officer who was directing traffic at the pick up point. He told me the driver would not be driving into the pick up point and would be waiting along the road instead. It took me some time to find his car but eventually we managed to locate him and so it’s all good. He drove rather quickly and we reached our destination in no time.
At the restaurant, it was really crowded and I was confused about their system. Apparently over there we were not supposed to look for seats first. Instead we should queue and order our food first, and the workers would help to find seats for us after our order has been confirmed. I ordered their bak kut teh(well, it is a bak kut teh restaurant) as well as a plate of vegetable (cus balanced diet and all). The bak kut teh came really quick. The restaurant allows you to add other toppings aside the original broth and pork ribs. I ordered a few of the sides and overall did enjoyed my meal. However, I actually prefer the herbal style of Bak Kut Teh so was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to find one in Malaysia. They are very rare in Singapore and much more common in Malaysia. Most of Singapore’s Bak Kut Teh are peppery in their taste, following the Teochoew Style of Bak Kut Teh.
After lunch I went to walk around KSL Mall, which was just opposite Kedai Bak Kut Teh Hin Hock ( a big part of the reason why I chose to eat there). I noticed that there were a lot of nail salons which provided cheap manicure and pedicure services as well as many hair salons. But that is not why I came to JB.
I shopped around a while in the mall before heading to my most anticipated part of the trip: massage!
From KSL Mall, I walked around 15-20 min to Plaza Sentosa(with the help of Google Map, of course) and went to Plaza Sentosa where got 1.5 hours of Thai Massage at Sabye Sabye. I have been here before and had really enjoyed their reasonably-priced and fuss-free service. But I must have got it mixed up because the massage was different from what I got the previous time. I guess I went for the oil massage previously. While the Thai massage was fine too, I preferred the oil massage as it was much more relaxing. The masseurs were chatting across the curtains in Thai and while it was a little distracting, I couldn’t possibly expect them to work god-knows how many hours they work a day doing massaging and not saying a word to each other. I tried my best to not fidget or whine when it was ticklish or painful because I wanted the full experience of the massage.
Following the massage, I took a Grab to AEON Mall Bandar Dato’ Onn. Before alighting, the driver asked if I got to know this place through the internet because not many come here. Most would go to AEON Tebrau City. That was when I realised that I went to the wrong mall. I had totally intended to go to AEON Tebrau City but because both have AEON in it, I didn’t realised that they were different mall. (Note: There is a third AEON Mall Bukit Indah). But I just decided to made do and enjoyed two scoops of Baskin Robbins ice cream. To be honest, they weren’t that great and I considered not buying from them but I tried so many of their flavours that it didn’t seem nice to not buy any. After that I just continued to stroll around the Mall. As the Grab driver mentioned, this was a relatively quiet mall and was really spacious. In terms of the cleanliness and variety of product it offer, I would say it is somewhere between City Square Mall and KSL. I’m actually not that big on shopping so I didn’t stay for long.
The last stop of my JB trip is Ong Shun Seafood restaurant. They serve pretty good food but the wait is often quite long. There’s young boy and even younger girl running around to take orders and generally helping out. I saw them when I was here a few months ago and they have grown a little. I believe they are the children of the restaurant owners. I ordered some seafood and dug into the freshest seafood I had in a while. It was oh-so-sinful but also delicious!
After dinner, it was time to go back to Singapore. I took a Grab to the custom and took a bus from there back to Singapore Custom. From there I bought another ticket for the CW2 bus which brought me back to Queen Street. From there, I took the train home.
All in all, it had been a great day in JB and I look forward to going back to JB again for another day trip!