In my previous post, I’ve shared how my wife and I decided at the spur of a moment to take a train from Tanjong Pagar to Johor Bahru. Naturally, the train ride itself was an experience in itself. Upon reaching our nearest Northern neighbour, our mission was to explore its newest shopping malls, eat till we burst, indulge in some massage, and shop during the post-Christmas sale (especially for Chinese New Year clothes).
The trip was certainly an eye opener. It revealed how similar yet dissimilar JB is to Singapore. While the shopping malls were every bit as impressive as ours – give or take a couple of years in terms of fashion tastes and trends – what particularly charmed me were the old style kopitiams (coffee shops), hawker centres, and street scapes which can no longer be found in Singapore. Although the roads are more chaotic (and dirty) than the streets here, I love that sense of rusticity and nostalgia in JB.
We were also charmed by the hospitality, warmth and sincerity of the Malaysians working in the service industry there. Their earnestness, proactiveness, and friendly banter made all the difference in our shopping, massaging and eating experience.