Johor! It has always seemed like a state to stop by to eat and refuel before heading down to Singapore. It never seemed to hold much interest for me, despite having a nice waterfront. I went on a trip to ISKANDAR MALAYSIA last week and was surprised to see that there’s a lot of interesting developments going on.
…like the first LEGOLAND in South East Asia!
Well, it’s not finished yet, ETA would be next year but here’s the spot where it’ll be at.
However, there’s an interactive showcase called Iskandar Malaysia Information Center (IMIC) at Danga Bay Convention Center where you can see what LEGOLAND and other ISKANDAR MALAYSIA developments would look like.
The place is deceptively fun!
You can discover your inner child (everyone has one) by playing with the LEGO bricks available there and build something interesting.
Play virtual golf.
Sit in a motion simulator.
Get some Wii Boxing!
See your mug on a variety of virtual backdrops. You can save it to a USB port attached to the kiosk or post it to your Facebook account. Nifty.
Kids won’t be left out too, with interactive learning touch screen programs.
There’s even a large rocking boat that will bring you to Tanjung Piai, Ramsar, one of the largest wetlands in the world…virtually, that is.
We were famished by the time we landed and the people at ISKANDAR MALAYSIA brought us to all the authentic Johor food places. We were whisked away as soon as we landed to one of the authentic stalls in JB for some lontong kering. This is at Warong Saga – it’s one of those places that you need a local to bring you to. You’ll be hard pressed to find it yourself. :)
We also had some really awesome mee rebus tulang gearbox for lunch. You just have to try this if you’re ever in Johor. They have the best tulang gearbox I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. You’re given a short straw to suck out all the bone marrow too!
ISKANDAR MALAYSIA is also changing the landscape of Johor in more practical ways. They’re building a lot of highways and roads to ease traffic congestion and ensure a more optimal route throughout the city. I’m quite impressed at the number of highways they are building in a such a short amount of time.
The marina is also another captivating place. We went there for a nice, cold glass of iced lemon tea to cool down and walked around the area.
The marina is meant to dock leisure yachts and ships and there’s also a place to get your very own sailing craft…if you have the cash that is.
The marina is set to be a hotbed of activity – there are plans to turn it into a vibrant community with lots of condominiums.
This is the showroom of IMPERIA Puteri Harbor by the marina, the highest condominium in Johor – it’s already sold out and the waiting list is 200+ people strong so there’s a looooong wait for an opening.
It’s a nice place though – every unit will have a balcony with a sea view and it seems like the perfect place for a holiday home.
There is also vast tracts of lands being turned into gated communities and high end houses in East Ledang. I’ve been to some of the show houses at Melody Park and it’s AMAZING.
Just look at this and tell me you don’t wish you live here.
There’s lot of different variations and themes too – modern, English, classic, whichever way you want you interior décor to be like, you’ll find it no trouble to get there.
EduCity @ ISKANDAR MALAYSIA is home to several renowned Ivy League universities which has set up their campuses there.
The beauty about this place is that the universities only have ONE faculty there – the best of the best e.g. Newcastle University has a medical faculty for all those interested in going into that field.
There’s also Marlborough College which Kate Middleton graduated from. Yes, that’s the Duchess of Cambridge’s alma mater. I’m so going if they manage to get her to come and officially open this college for them.
ISKANDAR MALAYSIA aims to turn Johor into a destination in its own right instead of just a transit point for people going to Singapore and I think they’ve done a really good job. There’s just something for everyone and one of the much anticipated openings is the Johor Premium Outlets (JPO) which is a HUGE retail space for designer labels.
The interesting bit about JPO is that they’re making plans to have sales at certain times e.g. Coach having 50% off at 3 pm on Thursday. I can imagine the amount of people queuing up or even camping way ahead of time for this!
ISKANDAR MALAYSIA is also doing a lot of CSR initiatives like their PRISMA housing areas – it’s for married couples earning below RM 3,000 and it doesn’t look like any of the low cost housing areas I’ve been too. These are comfortable apartments with great facilities. There are also 1,500 units for OKUs with specially designed living areas to cater to them. Yes, the photo above is an ACTUAL SHOT of the place.
It looks way better than my apartment…ISKANDAR MALAYSIA sure knows how to do things right. I mean, look at the picture above! Does that look like a low cost public housing unit to you? I’ll love to live in that place but I’m not eligible. :x
They also have a pilot project going for green buildings which aims to provide self sustaining units with solar power, water recycling and other technology.
Looking at what ISKANDAR MALAYSIA has done to Johor in just a few years, I have very high hopes for the state. Invest. Work. Live. Play. is their mantra. Education, health, entertainment, infrastructure, they’ve got it all covered.
Personally, I’m waiting for LEGOLAND to open so I can go for the awesome rides that’s going to be there. I’m a huge fan of amusement parks. :)