Gunung Arong

If you have visited the 6 scenic spots near Johor Bahru’s city centre, you may also not want to miss out on these scenic places in Johor.

Yep! It’s time to ditch the hustle and bustle of city life and head north now!

1. Desaru

If you’re looking for a break from the city, Desaru is the perfect spot. Situated along Johor’s east coast, it’s just a short trip from Singapore, making it ideal for a weekend escape.

Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast
Photo: Instagram/adventurewaterpark

To reach Desaru:

  • By Ferry: Take a ferry from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal—Thursday to Sunday, taking around 1.5 hours.
  • By Car: If driving from Johor Bahru, it’s just an hour away, perfect for a quick getaway.
  • Private Car Charter: Traveling with a group? Book a private car for a hassle-free journey.

Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast

Have a blast at one of the world’s biggest wave pools. With exciting rides like Swing Ship and Kraken’s Revenge, there’s fun for everyone.

Adventure Waterpark is open:

  • Thursday to Sunday: 10am to 6pm (last entry at 5pm)
  • Closed on Mondays to Wednesdays, except during Malaysian school and public holidays.
  • Location: 82200 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia

Prices differ for Johorean residents and visitors:

Desaru Fruit Farm

Explore lush fruit orchards and learn about beekeeping. Then, enjoy a delicious lunch and taste fresh fruits. Location: 92, 82200 Kota Tinggi Johor, Malaysia.

Desaru Farm Fresh Fruits
Photo: Instagram/chyxc_eats

Plus, enjoy some ATV riding adventure!

Desaru Farm ATV
Photo: Instagram/dffdesaru

Golf at Els Club Desaru Coast

Golf lovers can tee off with breathtaking views of the South China Sea or lush forests. Lessons are also available for golf beginners.

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People playing golf at Els Club Desaru Coast
Photo: Facebook/Dino Alham’d

Ocean Course Location: Darul Ta’zim, 4, Jalan Danau, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia

Valley Course Location: No. 2, Jalan Pantai 2 Desaru Coast, Desaru, 81930 Coast, Johor, Malaysia

2. Kota Tinggi

Kota Tinggi offers an array of attractions to delight both the young and old alike and is a great place to escape into nature.

Firefly River Cruise Tour

Experience the magic of nature as you cruise along the Johor River and witness thousands of sparkling fireflies illuminating the night. Perfect for families or couples looking for an enchanting activity that promises a memorable bonding experience.

Kota Tinggi Firefly Park
Photo: Facebook/Kota Tinggi Firefly Park

Remember to bring warm clothes as temperatures may drop along the river.

Location: Jalan Kota Tinggi, 81900 Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia

Tanjung Balau Fishing Village

Escape the tourist crowd and experience the tranquillity of Tanjung Balau Fishing Village.

Watch fishermen in action, stroll along the rocky shore, enjoy a mesmerising sunset, and explore local attractions like the Fishermen Museum and art galleries.

Tanjung Balau Fishing Village
Photo: cityseeker/emrank

Location: Lembaga Bandaran Johor Tenggara, Jalan Dato’ Haji Hassan Yunus, Bandar Penawar, Johor, 81900 Kota Tinggi, Malaysia.

3. Pulau Tioman

Pulau Tioman is a hidden gem boasting beautiful beaches, clear waters, and charming villages. Once praised by TIME magazine, it’s famous for its stunning scenery and captivating legends.


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To reach this island paradise, hop on a ferry from Mersing or Tanjung Gemok jetty.

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Go diving! Dive enthusiasts can explore Pulau Tioman’s beaches to discover the WWII shipwreck, although there are speculations that the wreckage has disappeared underwater.

Hiking enthusiasts can also conquer Gunung Kajang, the island’s highest peak.

Pulau Tioman, Gunung Kajang
Photo: YouTube/Screengrab from Fantasy Adventure

Visit Asah Waterfalls, too! It is nestled in an abandoned village and once served as a backdrop for the movie “South Pacific” (1958).

Pulau Tioman, Asah Waterfall

Ideal for team-building activities, Pulau Tioman also offers duty-free shopping and mesmerising sunsets.

Whether you prefer the bustling Kampung Air Batang (ABC) or the peaceful Juara, Pulau Tioman offers diverse accommodations and activities, such as snorkelling, hiking, and more.

4. Tanjung Piai

Situated in Johor Bahru, Tanjung Piai National Park is a haven of tropical rainforest beauty, just a 90-kilometre drive from the city centre.


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Renowned for its sprawling mangrove forests and inter-tidal mudflats, this park supports diverse wildlife and protects against erosion.

Spanning 526 hectares, the park features winding mangrove trails and 400 hectares of inter-tidal mudflats, essential for the ecosystem’s balance.

From Senai International Airport, it’s a scenic 72-minute drive by car. Alternatively, it takes just 75 minutes from Singapore’s Tuas Checkpoint.

A towering monument reflects the park’s muddy flatlands and mangroves with indigenous ferns.

Visitors can also explore the park’s 526 hectares of twisting mangrove trails and 400 hectares of mudflats via an elevated wooden boardwalk.

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In addition, a viewing tower offers a panoramic view of the forest canopy, plus some bird-watching opportunities.

Viewing Tower in Tanjung Piai National Park
Photo: WordPress/POKOK KELAPA

Also, a campsite within the park allows up to 120 guests to immerse themselves in nature.

5. Gunung Arong

Near the coastal town of Mersing in Johor, Gunung Arong offers a short and safe hiking experience. It is named after Harun, also known as Arong, who was the first person to climb it.

Gunung Arong
Photo: Instagram/pttoutdoor

Despite being only 240 metres high, it offers beautiful views and is the highest peak of Tanjung Resang.

Gunung Arong’s summit provides panoramic views, making it a must-visit for nature lovers.

With trails ranging from easy to slightly moderate difficulty, it welcomes beginners and seasoned hikers to explore its scenic beauty and rich biodiversity.

To reach Gunung Arong, visitors can choose between two entrances.

The first entrance is within the Gunung Arong Recreational Forest, accessible via a 17-minute drive from Mersing Jetty or a 19-minute drive from Endau.

Alternatively, the second entrance involves parking at Teluk Gorek campsite and traversing beaches, mangrove trees, and rock terrains for about two kilometres before reaching the trailhead.

Each entrance offers a unique hiking experience, catering to both beginners and experienced hikers.

If you want to take a break from city life, now you know where to go…

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