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Homestay Kampung Tanjung Piai Explorer
Johor is the southern tip, not only of Peninsula Malaysia, but also of the Asian continental mainland. Today, it is one of the most developed states in Malaysia, yet amidst all the build-up of infrastructure is a continuing preservation of its natural reserve.
In this journey to the southernmost state in Peninsular Malaysia—Johor, the Abode of Dignity—we braced ourselves knowing the miles we need to drive, the strangers we’re bound to meet, and the stories we’re about to hear.
We began our trip from 1. Danga Leaf, a multi-purpose area found in the waterfront city of 2) Danga Bay, situated in the south-central portion of Iskandar. You would know you are there upon seeing the green and red petals on poles surrounding the space.
Formerly known as Pantai Lido, Danga Bay is said to be the first, the largest, and the most far-out residential-commercial development within the city. It spans a 25km picturesque sea front facing the Straits of Johor, coming near the likes of Darling Harbour and Gold Coast in Australia and Toronto’s waterfront.
Entering the Marina Club which sits by the harbour front, we were overwhelmed by the splendid view of the bay crowded with yachts, along with the whiff of the seafood dishes coming from the seafood market. Evolving into a world-class city of the future, Danga Bay has become a hub to exclusive local and international food and beverage outlets and first-class retail shops. Even big and upscale events take place here! What is more, we were told that by night, Danga Cruise offers a tour around the bay for sightseeing. But if you would rather spend your time having fun activities with family and friends, there is also Danga World, a theme park packed with rides and games you can try. At the end of a fun-filled day, there are nearby hotels which can accommodate you.
Through our excursion around the place, we realized that Danga Bay is a promising work-in-progress the world has yet to see. At the moment, the government is doing a great job in commercializing the area to attract more tourists and to let them see the real beauty of Danga Bay. Easily accessible via main roads, it will only take you 10 minutes from here to reach the main railway terminal in Johor.
From Jalan Pantai Lido, we travelled 20 km to 3. Puteri Harbour, also known as the Jewel of Nusajaya which is one of Southeast Asia’s largest integrated urban development covering 24,000 acres. It has a public yacht berthing called Puteri Marina and another exclusive private marina for those living in waterfront residences. For yachts that are over 90m long, the Bahtera Mega-yacht marina is open for docking.
Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park
Staying overnight will not be a problem because Traders Hotel, the first international hotel brand in Nusajaya, is located in the same precinct. Close by is the 4. Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park where you will find the first Sanrio Hello Kitty Town outside of Japan, The Little Big Club where children’s favourites like Thomas & Friends, Barney, Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, and Pingu are, and LAT’s Place which is a themed restaurant where Lat the Kampung Boy and his LAToon friends come alive through live animation. This, indeed, is an ultimate way of enjoying the world in one city.
After feeling like we were back to the spoiled days of our childhood again, we rode 3km to 5. Kota Iskandar, Johor’s administrative capital. Combining Islamic design philosophy in its structure with Johor’s heritage and culture, it is beyond doubt the pride of the state. Kota Iskandar may be the center of politics, but like an open book, is the destination where you can discover the history of Johor and why it is called a State of Firsts. Well, one of the firsts can be traced back to 1885, as it is the first state to have its own military formation.
Reaching the central plaza called 6. Dataran Mahkota, where the ceremonial grounds, welcoming mounds, and the amphitheatre are, we immediately caught sight of the water fountain, as well as the combination of lawns and tiles that form a shape of a star and a half moon at the center. We kept on strolling leisurely and found the 7. Heritage Wall that details Johor’s rich olden days.
Bangunan Sultan Ismail
Bangunan Dato’ Jaafar Muhammad
Then there’s the Central Precinct which has taken us aback with its eccentric style that fuses Moorish-Andalusian with local Johor-Malay influences, well-shown in the design concept of 8. Bangunan Sultan Ismail, home of the state parliament and 9. Bangunan Dato’ Jaafar Muhammad, the Office of Chief Minister and State Secretariat.
Everything was a feast for the eyes, but the trip was not over yet.
Mall of Medini
After riding a distance of 5km, we reached the 10. Mall of Medini that serves as the main entrance to 11. LEGOLAND Malaysia, the first resort of its kind in Asia. With more than 40 thrilling rides, it will bring fun and excitement to the young and the young-at-heart. Its centrepiece, one of its seven themed areas of attractions, called Miniland is where you’ll find Asian landmarks which have been remodelled using over 30 million LEGO bricks.
Anjung Neighbourhood Centre
Because we didn’t like to go on an empty stomach, we stopped by 12. Anjung Neighbourhood Centre for lunch before heading to 13. Pekan Nanas (Pineapple Town) where Malaysia’s largest pineapple production base can be found.
14. Muzium Nanas (Pineapple Museum) taught us the early beginnings of the pineapple industry in the country. Not only did it tell us the history and biology of this tropical plant, but also it gave us further knowledge about planting, control and maintenance.
Still in the same district, our next stop was the 15. Bugis Museum, a culture museum founded in 1982 by Abdullah Ahmad. It exhibits artefacts, such as sacred objects, traditional clothes, and an array of household items used by the Bugis community which is one of the Malay sub-groups who came here in the late 18th century all the way from Celebes in Sulawesi. We even chanced upon the owner and caretaker, a Bugis descendant himself, who eagerly shared with us fascinating Bugis tales.
So far, the tour has already filled us with stories that transported us to different times and places, but there is one more yet, and it is the place that is the southernmost tip of Mainland Asia – 16. Tanjung Piai.
Tanjung Piai Johor National Park is a 926-hectare sanctuary of flora and fauna whereby 526ha of it is comprised of coastal mangroves that shelter unique species such as mangrove crabs, beady-eyed mudskippers, and crab-eating macaques.
As we entered the park, we crossed the bridge and reached the Visitor’s Complex where entry tickets can be purchased. For Malaysians, adults pay RM5, while children below 18 and elders above 50 pay RM3. For non-Malaysians, adults pay RM20, while children below 18 and elders above 50 pay RM10. There is no charge for kids below 6 years of age.
Campsites on platforms with varying heights under the mangrove trees are also found here. Walking along the 17. Stilted pathway, we caught sight of different species of 18. Mangrove plants. The mud where the mangroves sit is a swamp when the seawater rises.
Pictures and facts are everywhere, so if you want to know more, just look around and learn. We also passed by Balai Seri Tanjung which is the dining area for VIPs and other special guests. Finally reaching the end of the path, we stumbled upon a direction sign with a 19. Wind vane that has arrows pointing to different locations in different countries and the distance from where it stands. From there, we were seeing the Strait of Melaka and Indonesia. Thinking that it was all, we were wrong.
Southernmost tip of Mainland Asia
We walked back and straight to the direction where the arrow sign indicating 534m led us to. After striding past a wooden path where pig-tailed macaques were dangling from tree to tree above us, even stopping to look closely at the tallest stilt root of Bakau Minyak (Rhizophora Apiculata) that has a height of 4.27m from the ground and, lo and behold, we reached the ‘globe’, finding ourselves standing at the 20. Southernmost tip of Mainland Asia. Mission accomplished!
Cycling Route - Homestay Kampung Tanjung Piai Explorer
This cycling tour package is provided by: Executive Travel & Tours (M) Sdn Bhd (KPL 0511)
Lot 10A, Ground Floor, Anjung Neighbourhood Centre, 79250 Nusajaya Johor. Tel: +60 (7) 510-2821