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With the seven-seater Volkswagen Caddy MPV at our disposal, we decided to head into Johor Bahru for a quick getaway and here are the five things we got up to.

03 May 2018


We're not the biggest fans of crossing the border for a short getaway; despite it being the easiest form of a holiday. However, when we were offered the Volkswagen Caddy MPV for a couple of days, we decided we might as well get off our couches and see what our neighbouring city has to offer.

After all, the Caddy MPV, as we've experienced bringing it up to Malacca on a Volkswagen driveaway two years ago, is a perfect cross-border companion. It packs seven seats, can hold up to 750 litres of baggage (or rather much more than we needed for this trip) and is comfortable to boot, whether you're creeping across the Causeway or mile-munching the Malaysian highways.

At the same time, it'll easily return fuel economy figures of 12km/L, making it an affordable companion for an affordable getaway. So where did it take us and what did we do? Check out the photos in the gallery and read on to find out!

IT Roo Cafe's claim of having 'The Best Chicken Chop in Town' is definitely justified
1. Winner winner chicken dinner at IT Roo Cafe

An eccentric cafe, a Scandinavian-styled bed and breakfast, and a unique cereal bar are some of the reasons why Jalan Dhoby in Johor Bahru is worth a visit. A historical street in Bandar Johor Bahru, Jalan Dhoby also boasts a century-old bakery and more importantly, Johor's most famous chicken chops.

Boasting a tagline of 'The Best Chicken Chop in Town' right at the entrance of the shop, chicken chop guru IT Roo Cafe serves grilled or deep-fried, halal-certified Hainanese chicken chops bathed in heavenly gravy for just about $5.

The cafe was even awarded the 'Best Chicken Chop in Malaysia' title in 2003.

Address: 17, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Crossover is recognised in Malaysia as the go-to place for emerging street wear labels.
2. Sneaker snooping at Crossover

What's better than a little retail therapy after lunch, especially when travelling with a bunch of sneaker heads? For that, we headed to Crossover, a household name amongst street wear fans that originally started off in 2005 as a small sneaker store in the heart of Johor Bahru.

Since then, it has expanded its operations to include five more outlets, three of which are located in Kuala Lumpur.

Backed by a man who is a self-proclaimed sneaker freak, and for years continued to share his passion and obsession with sneakers with anyone and everyone around him, Crossover continues to spoil shoe lovers with the large variety of street brands, especially during promotion periods when they're sold at 50 percent off.

Address: M4-11, City Square, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor

Asahikawa Izakaya is also known for its service and atmosphere, being right next to the dock
3. Enjoy sunset dinners and a stroll by the water's edge

Singapore has Marina at Keppel Bay and Johor Bahru has Senibong Cove, but is less expensive. Several high-quality establishments there offer a variety of local and international food, providing some of the area's best right on the marina's edge.

We headed for Asahikawa Izakaya, a modern Japanese lifestyle dining experience rivalling the best in Singapore.

Asahikawa Izakaya's pretty extensive menu is guaranteed to fulfil even the most demanding of stomachs. More importantly, the fresh seafood is accompanied by gentle breeze and ice-cold beers. And of course, while the designated driver has to forgo alcohol, he can still enjoy a refeshing cup of Japanese green tea.

Address: Persiaran Senibong, 81750 Masai, Johor, Malaysia

Converted into a container-style shopping district, the area was once an old battery factory
4. You don't have to travel to Thailand for cool container markets

Having stuffed ourselves full the night before, we needed to walk it off the next day and what better place to do so than a container market that's a mere 15-minute drive from the city centre?

Known as Kilang Bateri (battery factory) and for its vintage exterior, it is one of the most 'hipster' markets in Johor Bahru.

You will find a ton of cool cafes and restaurants there if you feel like pigging out a little more, but if you're itching for another pint or two, do note that Kilang Bateri is an alcohol-free zone. And as far as shopping goes, it can be a little underwhelming so don't expect too much.

Address: No, 83, Jalan Tampoi, Kawasan Perindustrian Tampoi, 81200 Johor Bahru, Malaysia

D'LUX not only offers a more bang-for-buck wash but also a rather cosy waiting area
5. Don't return home without a clean car

What's a trip into Johor Bahru without the customary car wash on your way out? It's no secret that the car wash services there are twice as good for half the cost.

Not wanting to cheap out at a dodgier shop, we headed to D'LUX, an owner-operated, professional auto-detailing studio with the vision to be the leader in the automotive detailing industry in Malaysia.

There, you can watch your car getting a good scrub down in the comfort of an air-conditioned waiting lounge. Best of all? It only costs about $6 for a wash, vacuum, interior wipe and tyre shine. Doing that in Singapore will easily set you back by $20.

Address: 77, Jalan Serampang, Taman Sri Tebrau, 80050 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
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