When you think of exploring Malaysia. Mount Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur may be the first destinations that spring to mind.

One of the lesser known hotspots is Johor Bahru.  Fantastic for shopping, dining and as well as being home to Legoland Malaysia,  Johor has something for every intrepid explorer.

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Like most parts of west Malaysia, the climate is generally hot and humid with a mean temperature ranging from 27-30 degrees. Wet during the inter monsoon periods from April to October, during the rest of the year Johor is usually dry with occasional showers.

Accommodation is varied in style and expense but staying near the heart of the action isn’t difficult and there are many a budget hotel nearby Legoland Johor Bahru, The first 1st International Park in Malaysia, it opened in 2012.  Like its worldwide counterparts you are guaranteed a fun, if pricey, day out.

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An alternate is Danga Bay, the largest recreational park in Johor and location of choice during the festive season. Easily accessible through the network of main roads makes this place a frequently visited spot by the locals and tourists alike.

If the feel of the sands between your toes is calling the 22km long Pulai Desaru Beach is beautiful. Offering up a jaw-dropping view of the South China Sea with tropical rainforest backdrop. Sibu Islands also offer sun and fun with various activities including fishing trips and jungle trekking.

Shopping is a must in Johor with several malls on the have-to visit list. City Square Johor Bahru, Aeon Tebrau City, Holiday Plaza and Plaza Pelangi all offer various brands at affordable prices. Grab a bargain at  the Johor Premium Outlet, a haven for the designer brand buff.. Packed out a weekends it’s important to get there early.

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Food in  Johor s incredible with an enticing array of seafood that offers the fruits de la mer as fresh as they could be. The Grand Straits Garden Seafood Restaurant is one of the most reputable Chinese restaurants in Johor. The variety of seafood on offer here is amazing. If you can deal with Live seafood tanks offering you the option of choosing your dish from tank to tummy then it’s the restaurant of choice for the freshest seafood around. Dining costs a little more but it’s well worth it.

Locals also frequent the Ark Restaurant, an all-you-can-eat steamboat eatery. This place allows you to try a variety of foods for a set price, and a reasonable one at that. If you long for a taste of home, the place to go is the George & Dragon café. Hailing the best best steaks in town and the desserts are none too shabby either. You will always to pay more for Western food so try to be a little adventurous.

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Getting around is limited on public transport to buses and taxis, which can work out quite pricey so best to hire a car in order to get to all of the place of interest on offer.

So consider Johor and marvel at this jewel in Malaysia’s crown.

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