Did you know that you don’t have to fly for hours just to experience a refreshing change of scene? Here are one influencer’s top picks for cafes to visit in Johor Bahru.
So the borders have opened, and you’re looking for somewhere nearby and affordable to kick back your heels. While 80 percent of Singaporeans are busy buying thermal underwear for that freezing trip to South Korea, might we suggest that you can enjoy a relaxing getaway just an hour (okay, maybe a few hours) just across the Causeway in JB. With the exchange rates in our favour, this is really the best time to go café-hopping next door. Here are my top five recommended JB cafes!
Address: 222, Jalan Sutera, Taman Sentosa, 80150 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 9am-6pm, Sun: 12-6pm (closed on Tuesdays)
This café is a dream come true for lovers of industrial and vintage interiors. Expect lots of uncovered cement surfaces, exposed beams, plants… and there’s my favourite feature of all—a skylight! The cafe is spacious and the mix of wooden and metal furniture gives the whole space a rustic, yet on-trend feel. When I was last there, I enjoyed the peace and quiet there because I reached early before anyone did, and I got to sip my coffee along with light bites. This café serves mainly coffee and tea, as well as a selection of pastries and cakes. The perfect spot for breakfast or coffee breaks.
Address: Unit SL009, Spring Lab, Lot A (GF, Jalan Ekoflora Utama, Taman Ekoflora, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun: 9am-7pm
You can absolutely pretend that you are in Korea when you visit Soil café. The café looks right out of a fairy tale—it’s beautifully covered with green leaves, and the interior, though not very big, feels cosy and homely. Make sure you grab a seat by the windows and look out to the wild lalang outside. It is so therapeutic to enjoy a coffee with such a view. There is also a good selection of pastries, and word has it that they serve pretty good matcha lattes. Take a walk outside and explore Eco Springs. It’s a quaint and colourful little area with other cafes and shops.
SENSO ART GALLERY CAFÉ
Address: 25A, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10am-6pm everyday, except on Tuesdays
Jalan Tan Hiok Nee has slowly become a hipster enclave over the years, with more and more cafes popping up. There are so many interesting and pretty cafes to choose from, but Senso Art Gallery Café stands out for its café-gallery-retail concept. The café area is just a small corner of the shop, but as you are waiting for your coffee to be served, you can check out all the interesting knick knacks in the shop. There are postcards, stickers, homewares, bags, etc. There is also a gallery on Level 2, where you can enjoy art classes with your family or friends, or just browse art pieces. The lady boss is friendly and chatty, and readily recommends interesting places to visit in other parts of JB as well. You’ll feel like you are having coffee at a friend’s home!
SUNDAY MORNING CAFÉ
Address: 124, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10am-6pm every day except Wednesdays.
This is a super cute Japanese-inspired café located on the second floor of a row of shophouses. On display around the space are vintage cameras as well as different coffee apparatus. The food menu is limited, but the udon is quite decent and comforting. You can also find Ramune, a Japanese carbonated soft drink—it’s not commonly found elsewhere in JB. There is a zen vibe in this place, enveloping you in quietness and peace as you sit by the window sipping your Japanese coffee or tea and people-watching.
FLOWERS IN THE WINDOW
Address: 9, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 9am-3pm every day except on Tuesdays.
This two-storey café is so pretty and interesting that you’ll find yourself spending time to explore every nook and corner. The café is divided into many different sections and sitting areas. Level 2 is especially interesting: once you climb up the stairs, you will see a metal cabinet on one side of the wall, but don’t be fooled! Open the cabinet doors and you will step into another huge sitting space that is beautifully decorated. It’s like something out of Harry Potter! The best thing about this café is that the coffee and food are great – almost every dish I’ve tried on my numerous visits has been good. I highly recommend that you plan for lunch here! Make sure you check out the balcony and back areas as well: there are plenty of plants and different areas to shoot photos and videos of for your Gram!