Thursday, October 25, 2012

1st Sleepover In Johor Bahru


This is not my first time visiting Johor but definitely my first sleepover in this city. The town is spread out all over so getting around may be a little difficult without a car.


It turns out to be easier and cheaper if you have a car. I manage to get a good deal from Groupon. A Proton Saga with insurance for RM79.20 instead of the usual of RM219.10


It was also my first time using Groupon. You have to read the fine print before you make your purchase. I didn’t know that you will only get the voucher after the deal was over so for awhile there I thought I would lose my reservation because the car rental requires 7 days advance booking. Then later Groupon gave me another scare by sending me an email that says my purchase was invalid. Later it turns out to be a system glitch in Groupon and my purchase was fine. Phew.


Another fact to note is that the car rental would require holding back RM500 deposit for over a month on your credit card. If you already got a pile of debts on your card then better take the bus to avoid getting charged interest by the bank.

I have to note here how disappointed I was with Airasia this time. We were put on 18D and 18E by their automated seat allocate system. That turns to out to be the worst place to be seated. Both arm rest are broken. I have posted my annoyance about their poor housekeeping on their FB page.  Why sell this type of services to customers? They should just ban those two seats until proper repairs are done on it. I think AA is getting more and more profit generating mode than customer service mode. Fernandez should get his butt kicked!


Since this trip is partly to celebrate our 2nd Wedding Anniversary, we decided to splash a little bit and stayed in MutiaraJohor Bahru Hotel. I booked online from their website so got a Superior King room at RM197.20 Later I called up their online reservation to ask about their free airport shuttle and got a rather unfriendly respond. The lady said it is subject to availability and they are unable to provide an answer now. She told me to call back when the date gets closer. I find it rather annoying to declare on the website that you have airport shuttle when you cannot really provide them. I also asked for a room away from the rail tracks and a king size bed.

Nevertheless, in the end Mutiara Hotel did buck up and provide us with the shuttle both ways. One point for Mutiara! Two point for the complimentary fruits!

The room is huge and very nice. It also comes with a bath tub. 3 points and counting. The big king size bed with large plush pillows. 4 points! And they also gave me a robe. 5 points!


Of course the added surprise put in by hubby makes the first hotel impression even better. Maybe that is the reason why the free shuttle was finally provided because hubby was paying more for the cake, chocolate and flowers. Could it be? We will never know the truth but I definitely enjoyed being pampered. Hubby is the greatest!


As for location, this hotel is definitely a good bet. It is right next door to Holiday Plaza and about 5 minutes walk away from KSL Mall. Holiday Plaza is an older mall so we did not expect the same ambience as you find in KSL Mall. KSL is the newest Mall in Johor Bahru so it is still posh, lush and full of people. There is also a MBO cinema in this mall which I feel cannot beat the quality of GCS cinemas.
I did a comprehensive research on food so as not to waste time with our short stay in Johor Bahru. We only had 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches to fill up. I wrote out a list of MUST visit resto but as usual when the time came, there was nothing in the plan that we followed.

There were two points regarding food in Johor that I must share with you. The first is this snack food shop in KSL Mall on the 2nd Floor that specialized in Taiwan Snack Food. It is called Shilin Taiwanese Food. Please order the sweet potato fries. They will cook only after you order them so it will take a 5 minutes wait. What makes it really tasty is the mixture of sweetness from the potatoes with the tangy salty batter. It is absolutely to die for. I have no photograph of the fries because I forgot to take a picture of it before it was all eaten up.

The other restaurant also originated from Taiwan called Taiwanese Porridge House (Gu Zha Lang Restoran) just along Jalan Harimau at Century Garden. It is a corner shop. You cannot miss it if you are walking (or driving) from Holiday Plaze into Jalan Harimau. All the food we ordered was tasty and reasonably priced. Take note most of the dishes comes in very small portion. If you have a big group it is better to order more or ask the captain to make the portion larger. They also served free desert which is a soya bean milk boiled with barley and yam.


Another interesting stop that we made was at the Johor’s Duty Free Zon Mall. This mall is famous for its duty free shops. I bought my two bars of favourite chocolate and a bottle of Advocaat Bols. Not all the items sold here are cheap. I find the Ritter Sport Chocolate cheaper back home.


It was also challenging to look for a decent place to eat in this mall because there were not many businesses opened. Maybe years ago it must have been one of the places to be but not today. We found Oto Mee Restaurant located on the first floor serving local noodles.


I think I will visit Johor Bahru again. My next visit I would like to dropby Legoland and Hello Kitty. Both are the latest theme park attraction in this city. 

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