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Johor Bharu to Malacca


The west coast road from Johor Bharu to Malacca is certainly not the most exciting area of Malaysia. That said, there is of course the fantastic city of Malacca itself. It's pleasant cycling in this part of Malaysia for the most.

City center of Johor Bharu
City center of Johor Bharu

You can start your journey in Singapore but personally I don't like cycling in cities like Singapore.

When you cross the Singapore border into Johor Bharu there seems to be little differences. Like Singapore, Johor Bharu is a modern city with big motorways crossing the city.

Should you come by boat from Batam (Indonesia), the change is much more dramatic.

Johor Bharu is certainly not equipped for cyclists. Road directions all seem to lead to motorways and although you are allowed to cycle on them, it is not fun and certainly feels unsafe.

View on Singapore

I had arrived from Batam in April 2010. After passing the customs, I walked with my bicycle out, ready to cycle right through Johor Bharu to a more quiet area. The jetty of Johor is located just a few km from the city center near The Zon Regency Hotel.

As I didn't have a detailed map of Johor but knew I was at the south east part of town, I hoped to find my way into the city by following the waterline. Soon there were directions to Kuala Lumpur but that lead me straight to the motorway. After some queries around, a motor policeman directed me into the city.

View from The Zon jetty to Johor Bharu (right) and Singapore
View from The Zon jetty to Johor Bharu (right) and Singapore (other side of the water)

I cycled right through the heart of Johor north. The map I was using was almost 20 years old. It didn't show that many of the incoming roads were over the years transformed into 4 to 6 lanes big highways.

The beach of Pontian
The beach of Pontian

My goal was Pontian Kecil, a little town west of Johor Bharu. To get there, I assumed, I could follow directions to Kuala Lumpur out of the city and then go west. I was on the J1, the main exit/entry road of Johor.

Luckily I found soon a reference to Pontian. But it kept with this one only. However, when the situation came, I choose to go west. This was not a local road but still a major highway (not mentioned on my 20 years old map).

However, it did lead me to the end of the highway and within a few kilometers through plantations to Pekan Nanas. Phew. Pontian was not far now.

The road to Muar
The road to Muar

Apparently Pontian Kechil was a kind of beach resort for local Johor people. There were some hotels and a beach. However, most of the beach was either mud or just boulevard. The town had little to offer although it was pleasant enough for a night.

The next day I went further north, using the old trunk road #5. Just before Batu Pahat I got flat. It had been so far a pleasant though quite uninteresting ride passing small kampongs and mostly palm oil plantations. I fixed my flat and had a good lunch in Batu Pahat.

Soon after the lunch it started raining. I expected it would maybe take 15-20 minutes so I should be able to continue soon. It did stop for about 10 minutes, enough for me to reach the city border. Unfortunately the weather gods decided different. I shelter at a bus stop while the rain came pouring down. And it didn't stop.

On the way to Muar

Soon I realized I would not be able to reach Muar without cycling through the rain. Now I don't mind cycling in the rain but this was flooding. There was hardly any sight too which made it dangerous. Thus, I cycled through the rain back in town and found a little hotel.

Muar, however was not far, 53 km, but I decided it would be nicer to go directly to Malacca. So far, from Pontian on road #5, the trunk road had been 2 lanes and quiet though not very interesting. After Muar, the 2 lane road turned into a big 4 lanes motorway although there was hardly traffic. I was also close to the seaside although there were only a very few places I could get a glimpse of the sea. At many places I could see many fishing boats which indicated the sea could not be far.

And just before Malacca, when the traffic increased I took a turn into the city center.

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