As the second-largest growing city in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru really is the up and coming place to visit in Southeast Asia! Full to the brim of historical and architectural wonders, as well as some beautiful tranquil spaces dotted around, there’s something here for everyone!
With a population of around half a million, Johor Bahru is just the right size to be bustling and exciting without being overwhelming. It’s the best place to visit in Malaysia to be able to both explore and relax!
With so much on offer, it can be quite overwhelming when trying to decide where to stay in Johor Bahru.
But with our easy, step-by-step guide, you’ll find the best areas to stay in Johor Bahru to meet your interests and budget!
Without further ado, here’s our guide to where to stay in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Quick Tips: Where to Stay in Johor Bahru
- Where to stay in Johor Bahru for your first time: Bandar Johor Bahru
- Where to stay in Johor Bahru on a budget: Taman Setia Indah
- Where to stay in Johor Bahru for nightlife: Kampung Stulang Laut
- Coolest place to stay in Johor Bahru: Taman Abad
- Where to stay in Johor Bahru for families: Danga Bay
- If you’re interested in exploring some authentic Malaysian artwork, look no further than Galeri Seni Johor.
- The Sultan Ibrahim Building is a beautiful piece of British colonial architecture and used to be the tallest building in Malaysia!
- Celebrate the contributions of Chinese settlers to Johor Bahru’s heritage by heading to the Chinese Heritage Museum!
Table of Contents
- Where to Stay in Johor Bahru
- Johor Bahru Neighborhood Guide
- 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Johor Bahru
- #1 Bandar Johor Bahru – Where to Stay in Johor Bahru for Your First Time
- #2 Taman Setia Indah – Where to Stay in Johor Bahru on a Budget
- #3 Kampung Stulang Laut – Where to Stay in Johor Bahru for Nightlife
- #4 Taman Abad – Coolest Place to Stay in Johor Bahru
- #5 Danga Bay – Where to Stay in Johor Bahru for Families
Looking for a specific stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Johor Bahru…
Best Hostel in Johor Bahru: ZZZ Sleep Mode Capsule
If you’re looking for a truly unique experience when staying in Johor Bahru, then this is the perfect hostel for you! You’ll be staying in a capsule, which is cosy and provides the perfect amount of privacy.
But don’t worry, with a shared lounge and free Wi-Fi, you can stay connected and meet other travellers too!View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Johor Bahru: Kobe Suite by RantRadise
This Airbnb really is a one in a million find! It’s a condominium unit with a sky view swimming pool, a gym and a playground!
Within walking distance of all of Johor Bahru’s top tourist attractions, everything you need is at your fingertips! Stylishly decorated, plenty of space and some amazing features- what more could you want?View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Johor Bahru: Amari Johor Bahru
Right at the heart of the city is this fantastic luxury hotel. There’s so much this place to offer to make your stay exciting as well as stress-free.
This is a 5-star hotel, offering a kids pool for the little ones and a full-sized pool for the adults! Every room is spacious and contemporary, with a flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi. You may never want to leave this hotel!View on Booking.com
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Johor Bahru
Bandar Johor Bahru
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Taman Setia Indah
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Kampung Stulang Laut
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With so much history, culture and scenery to enjoy, Johor Bahru is one the best places to visit in Malaysia!
5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Johor Bahru
Johor Bahru is the capital of the state of Johor in the southern Malaysia area! Overlooking the Johor Straits, the city boasts fantastic access to the coast, as well as some stunning surrounding mountains!
The city itself has a population of just under half a million, but the wider area has over one and a half million residents, so its conurbations and surrounding neighbourhoods are still jam-packed with loads to do!
Over the centuries, the sultans of Johor have reigned over the amazing region, and the area has expanded and grown in significance. It has been occupied by the British, the Japanese and even has some Chinese influences, making its heritage fascinating and eclectic.
The best areas to stay in if you really want to get to know the city’s fantastic history are Bandor Johor Bahru, where there are loads of museums and galleries! Also, Taman Abad is full to the brim of heritage in the slightly less touristy area of the city, where you’ll find the hidden treasures of the city’s mysterious past!
If you’re more interested in having a relaxing time away, look no further than Taman Setia Indah. It’s a little further out of the city towards the north.
It’s part of the gorgeous hilly areas surrounding the city, where there’s plenty of green spaces for you unwind in, as well as some temples where you can try to find your zen!
This city isn’t just for the history-lovers and zen-finders. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, Johor Bahru is the best place to visit! There’s loads of waterparks and sports venues around the city.
Johor Bahru is well known for its paintball parks and motorsports, so if you’re keen on any of those, be sure to check when events are happening in the city!
Getting to Johor Bahru couldn’t be any easier. Southeast Asia’s famous bus service will serve you well if you’re backpacking Malaysia on a budget. You can also utilise the incredible railway service- which even connects you to places like Singapore!
The nearest airport is Senai International Airport, which is in the neighbouring town. Boat services are also available if you need to cross over from Indonesia!
The city has an equatorial climate – so make sure you avoid the rainy season if you can because when it rains here, it RAINS!
If you want to learn all you can about this fascinating place, the best place to stay is Bandar Johor Bahru! There’s so much to explore here- whether it’s the amazing museums, the incredible architecture or the splendid Grand Palace!
Whether you’re coming in a large group or solo, there’s so much for you to sink your teeth into in this area at the heart of the city!
Things to See and Do in Bandar Johor Bahru:
– If you’re interested in exploring some authentic Malaysian artwork, look no further than Galeri Seni Johor. It’s also in a beautiful early 20th-century building!
– The Sultan Ibrahim Building is a beautiful piece of British colonial architecture and used to be the tallest building in Malaysia! You can enjoy its architecture from the outside for now, but there are plans to convert it into a museum – so watch this space!
– Why not visit the oldest church in the city? The Church of the Immaculate Conception is an exquisite building right in the heart of the city!
– Celebrate the contributions of Chinese settlers to Johor Bahru’s heritage by heading to the Chinese Heritage Museum!
– You simply cannot visit Johor Bahru without heading to the Grand Palace of Johor! Otherwise known as Istana Besar, it is the royal palace of the Sultan of Johor. It has a royal museum and it overlooks the Straits of Johor!
Best Hostel in Bandor Johor Bahru: Memory Guesthouse JB
This is a delightful hostel right at the heart of Johor Bahru! The staff are determined to make you feel at home and are perfectly willing to help you plan your trip around this amazing city.
With comfortable and simple accommodation and some excellent shared facilities, this is the perfect place to stay to meet some new friends!View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Bandor Johor Nahru: Breeze Cozy Getaway
This Scandi-Boho inspired retreat is the best place to relax after a day of exploring around Johor Bahru!
It’s super convenient, as it’s within walking distance of loads of great attractions and eateries to grab a bite to eat! Shopping malls are nearby to stock up on supplies and you’re super close to the coast if you want a blast of sea air!View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Bandor Johor Bahru: Doubletree by Hilton
This well-known hotel franchise never fails to disappoint! For something of a home away from home, this is the best place to stay in Bandor Johor Bahru where you’ll be sure to have all of your needs met!
With a beautiful outdoor area with a pool and sun loungers, as well as a terrace where you can enjoy exotic dishes from the restaurant, look no further for your luxurious stay!View on Booking.com
Towards the north of Johor Bahru, into the mountainous areas is Taman Setia Indah. This is the best place to stay in Johor Bahru if you want to unwind and relax.
There are so many green spaces to get some fresh air away from the bustle of the city centre. However, if you do fancy a bit of adrenaline, there’s plenty of parks and sports activities to get involved in too!
Things to See and Do in Taman Setia Indah:
– For a bit of chilled time away from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Setia Indah Park! A relaxed area for a chance to unwind!
– If you’re into your sport, head to Austin Heights Golf Course for a round of 18!
– Want to be a kid for the afternoon? Why not head to Austin Heights Water & Adventure Park? It might be exhausting but it’d a great place to have fun!
– If you want to find your zen, head to Wat Traimitr Withayaram Johor! It’s a beautifully ornate Buddhist temple – the best place to visit in Johor Bahru to relax and find some tranquillity!
– For some serenity, head to Seri Autin Lake, where you can walk around the perimeter of a gorgeous mirror-like lake!
– There are so many green spaces to explore in Taman Setia Indah, but one of the best has to be Adda Heights Town Park. There’s a lake, a beautiful promenade and some gorgeous woodland to lose yourself in!
Best Airbnb in Taman Setia Indah: Home Sweet Home 33
This Airbnb really is what it says on the tin- a home away from home! If you stay here, you’ll have the chance to stay in an authentic Malaysian townhouse, with gorgeous period features with a stylish, contemporary twist!
Right next to Taman Setia Indah park, it is nice and large so can accommodate a big party of family or friends!View on Airbnb
Best Budget Hotel in Taman Setia Indah: Beacon Inn Johor Bahru
With a range of simple, yet comfortable rooms on offer, this is the best place to stay in Taman Setia Indah if you’re trying to save money travelling Malaysia!
The staff are super friendly and willing to help you with anything! Recently refurbished, this hotel is fully prepared to deal with all your needs and has great access to all of the beautiful attractions the area has to offer!View on Booking.com
Best Hotel in Taman Setia Indah: The Ardens Hotel
With beautifully styled rooms on offer, most of which having en suites, this is the best place to stay in Taman Setia Indah if you want a little bit more luxury! But don’t worry- you won’t be breaking the bank!
Just a half an hour drive away from Senai Airport, this is so easy to access, and other local attractions are easily accessible by car! You’ll be set up nicely for your adventures every day too – apparently, the breakfast is to die for!View on Booking.com
A stay at Kampung Stulang Laut means you’ll be right beside the coast and right in the action! There are some amazing temples for you to visit and find some inner peace!
There are shopping centres, massage clinics and most importantly, the best places to have a drink, a boogie, and the chance to meet other travellers!
Things to See and Do in Kampung Stulang Laut:
– If you want to get a souvenir from your travels, head to Johor Bahru City Square – a huge shopping centre where you’ll sure to find whatever you’re looking for!
– Learn all about the Chinese settlers in Johor Bahru at the Kwong Siew Heritage Gallery. You’ll find out about how the Chinese went from labourers to settlers in this fascinating museum!
– Before your night on the town, why not head to the Lotus Five Star Broadway Theatre? They put on some great productions and show some amazing films!
– If you want some relaxation after a night on the town, then head to King Spa & Massage!
– Kampung Stulang Laut is the best place to stay in Johor Bahru if you’re a bit of party animal! So, the best places for a drink and a boogie in the city include the Salivate Dance Club, Freedom Ultimate Club and De Paradise! They’re all right next to the ferry port, so you can enjoy your cocktails overlooking the beautiful Johor Straits!
– Take a romantic stroll along Stulang Beach – the best way to cure a hangover!
Best Hostel in Kampung Stulang Laut: Homestay Gateway Malaysia
This hostel is a little out of the city towards the west, but it’s so comfortable and accommodating it really won’t matter! It’s 10 minutes from the ferry terminal and there’s easy access to Singapore and Senai Airport!
There’s self-check-in and the option to be picked up and dropped off at the airport by the staff if you need it!View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Kampung Stulang Laut: My Neighbour Totoro – Sea View
Isn’t a sea view just the best thing to wake up to if you’re feeling a little worse for wear after a night out on the town? Well, you’ll get it with this marvellous studio flat!
With quirky décor and newly renovated kitchen, there’s something for everyone here! There’s even a balcony for you to enjoy a morning coffee or early evening cocktail on before you set out on your explorations!View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Kampung Stulang Laut: Grand Bello Hotel Jbcc
With a 24-hour reception and laundry service, this hotel is super convenient especially if you’ve been out on the town and want a friendly face to return to!
With stylish and comfortable décor, as well as a lovely restaurant or bar, this is the perfect base for you when you come back from your adventures at the end of the day (or night!).View on Booking.com
Taman Abad is the area right in the heart of the city, and is the perfect place to uncover some of Johor Bahru’s best kept secrets!
If you choose to stay in this area Johor Bahru, you’ll be met with some amazing historical landmarks, bustling local streets and some gorgeously ornate temples!
Things to See and Do in Taman Abad:
– Flanked by modern skyscrapers, is a beautiful old Chinese temple! It’s one of the oldest structures in the city and is definitely worth a visit!
– If you want to get wet and wild then head to Kolam Rekreasi Air Hutan Bandar! It’s a waterpark where you can splash about and be a kid for a few hours!
– Dating back from British Malaya is the Figure Museum. It used to be the residence of the first Chief Minister of Johor and contains history all about the city and its leaders!
– If you want to see a beautiful spectacle then head to Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple. It’s the only one of its kind in the whole of Malaysia!
– To grab your perfect souvenir from this amazing trip, head to Danga City Mall, where you’re sure to find all manner of weird and wonderful things!
– If you want a little bit of peace and quiet, head to Taman Merdeka Park! It’s a beautiful green space, but it doesn’t stay quiet for long – there’s a musical fountain!
Best Hostel in Taman Abad: Double K Hostel Johor Bahru
This backpacker-friendly hostel is the best place to stay in Johor Bahru if you want a stress-free and interesting stay! This brightly-coloured hostel will keep you feeling perky even if you’re exhausted after a day of exploring!View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Taman Abad: Midori Concept Home Stay
This tranquil space is the best place to unwind amongst the bustling streets of Johor Bahru. There’s access to a communal play area, outdoor pool and sauna for you to really relax!
The delightful studio has an amazing view of the cityscape, so you can look out on the bright lights!View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Taman Abad: Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre
Complete with a sauna and outdoor pool, this hotel is the perfect luxurious spot in the heart of the city! The rooms are large and spacious, with contemporary features like TVs and stunning views across the city.
A large balcony is available for guests to enjoy a drink or for the kids to have a dip in the pool!View on Booking.com
Taking the kids on a break? Look no further than Danga Bay! It’s towards the west of Johor Bahru and is the best place to stay if you want to find fun for all the family.
Malaysia is pretty damn amazing to visit, and this location in Johor Bahru is perfect for the family vacationers. You’ll have the time of your life here, whether it’s exploring the famous zoo, relaxing in the botanical gardens or enjoying the bustle of the largest square in the city!
Things to See and Do in Danga Bay:
– For some calm and relaxation for all the family, why not head to the Zaharah Botanical Garden? You can look at some gorgeous plants, and according to locals, it’s a great place to try out some yoga or tai chi!
– The recreational park at Danga Bay is the best place to visit in Johor Bahru for a day of fun! There’s rides, stalls and games to keep you and the kids entertained all day!
– Are you a family of wildlife lovers? Well, look no further than Johor Zoo! Just round the coast towards the centre of the city is this fantastic park which was the first of its kind in the whole of Southeast Asia! There are more than 100 species to see and learn about!
– You can’t come to Johor Bahru without visiting Dataran Bandaraya, the main square which was built when it was officially made a city! There’s a lovely old clock tower and plenty of places to eat!
– For the chance to learn about the Muslim heritage in the city, head to the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque. It is a grand, historical building – perfect if you love architecture!
Best Airbnb in Danga Bay: Seaview by JANE
This is a delightful, bright and spacious apartment with plenty of room for all the family! There’s so many attractions waiting at your doorstep and there’s high-speed Wi-Fi so you can stay connected with home too!
With stunning views across the ocean, you’ll be able to enjoy a lazy morning looking out over the sea from your bed! Or, if you want to get up and out, the fully equipped kitchen will make sure you’re all fed before a big day of family fun!View on Airbnb
Best Budget Hotel in Danga Bay: Golden Leaf Boutique Hotel
With free Wi-Fi and an airport shuttle, you’ll be able to get here and get connected in no time! Each room is fully equipped with mod-cons and comforts to make sure all your needs are met.
The in-house restaurant is exquisite but the hotel will put on packed lunches for you and family if you’re going to venture out and explore!View on Booking.com
Best Hotel in Danga Bay: Zoom Inn Boutique Hotel
This quirky, cozy hotel has a range of rooms on offer, all equipped with a TV and most with en suite bathrooms! There’s complimentary Wi-Fi and on-site dining if you want to get a convenient bite to eat!
There’s plenty of family rooms available but if you want some luxury, superior rooms are available too!View on Booking.com
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Johor Bahru
Breath-taking scenery, an eclectic history and fabulous architecture – Johor Bahru has so much to offer to travellers of all types! It comes as no surprise that Johor Bahru is the perfect place to visit for all ages!
Bandor Johor Bahru is the best place to stay in Johor Bahru for your first time. You’ll be able to learn all about the city’s amazing history!
Johor Bahru’s most luxurious hotel is definitely the Amari Johor Bahru. Modern, luxurious and comfortable!
If you are travelling on a budget, then the best place to stay in Johor Bahru is ZZZ Sleep Mode Capsule! A unique stay without the cost!
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below! Otherwise, enjoy your travels!
While Malaysia is safe to visit, it’s super important to make sure you get travel insurance!
Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Option two, however, is to check out our comprehensive comparison guide to the best insurance for a trip to Malaysia. One way or another, don’t go to Malaysia without some damn insurance! That’d be silly.
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Writer and Editor, Ana Pereira is a California native, inspired by Earth exploration and introspection. Recently, she spent several months exploring Africa and South Asia. She spends most of her “down-time” out in the wilderness, climbing, hiking, and beyond, and is feverishly passionate about travel and health.