JB exploration and Sky Habitat stay

On our last JB exploration, we visited two new malls. Both R&F Mall and Midvalley Southkey are relatively new in Johor scene.

First, let us share more about our cosy Airbnb apartment.


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Staycation at Sky Habitat (Artsy Guesthouse)

Apartment was spacious and well equipped. Comfortable beds and functioning kitchen.

Our apartment is managed by host Andrew, his response is prompt and friendly. You may visit more curated Airbnb units under Placefu.com .

The primary reason for choosing “Artsy Guesthouse” (GPS 1.462067, 103.769407) is due to the close proximity to CIQ, and we wanted to visit new corners in Johor.

R&F mall is just 5 min away, and CIQ (customs) 10 min on sheltered bridge. Refer Google Map link below. (Hiap Joo Bakery is the famous banana cake)

Our unit feels like an art gallery, so many paintings and posters. You can even scan the QR codes to discover the story behind the paintings!

Yup, paintings can be purchased too, some are 3D like and abstract. Andrew happens to be an artist 🙂

Our family always choose apartments, as hotels require us to book two rooms due to our family size.

Our Airbnb unit comes with gym and pool. We got to enjoy all these facilities for under $50 per night.

Playground and Pool on level 9 is always windy (and cold).

View from the other side of condominium.

We can see Senoko Energy’s chimneys across the Straits.

Do go up to Skypark 33rd floor for more panoramic views, and splendid sunsets. We can spot the cars crawling over the causeway towards JB custom too.

JB exploration
JB exploration

Sky Habitat (the white one) is just 5min across from R&F Mall.  Do take note this “shortcut” might not be safe for young families as cars can be fast especially at night.

Strollers or PMD users need to walk another 5 min to reach this traffic junction (Google Map here). There is an overhead bridge too.

For everywhere and anything else, we just Grab to our destination. Our trips seldom exceed RM11 (6 seater), 4 seater will cost RM5 or RM6 only.

We travel light for this trip, no luggage. Just pack and go.

R&F Mall (GPS 1.459579, 103.768219)

R&F mall is pretty new, we noticed a lot of shops are still under renovating.not open for business.

R&F Mall
R&F Mall

D SHANGHAI (大上海点心) for dim sum breakfast. Not bad, lesser crowd compared to KSL branch.

We caught a show at the new Emperor Cinema too. This is a new cinema chain in Johor, offering more atas (aka superior) experience (with luxurious seats).

A pity “Angel has Fallen” is PG18, so we chose the fireman show “The Bravest”.

R&F Mall Emperor Cinema
R&F Mall Emperor Cinema
R&F Food options
R&F Food options

Delicious 士林炸雞排 anyone?

R&F dinner and supper options are still limited as most F&B closed by 10pm.

We had our supper at 24-hours At-Taqwa restaurant (GPS 1.460753, 103.768225). Prata is good, Nasi Goreng and Bee Hoon are nice too, but a bit spicy.

We would have love to visit Food Truck corner just downstairs of Sky Habitat. It should be chill to dine among the trucks and under the tree illumination.

For breakfast, we recommend Bak Ku Teh at Hwa Mei (GPS 1.460933, 103.767541), just 5 min walk away. Read our previous BKT blog post.

Yummy 🙂

Bak Ku teh Johor
Bak Ku teh Johor

Mid Valley SouthKey (GPS 1.501529, 103.777172)

MidValley is slightly smaller than Paradigm but less crowded. We can spend the whole day here, eating and shopping.

Half the mall is occupied by SOGO. We will be back soon.

Midvalley Southkey mall
Midvalley Southkey mall

Sushi King for lunch. Kids love the food variety.

Tired after all the walking, we went back to our favourite massage joint at Sabye Sabye (Taman Sentosa). Five pax (90min and 60min) came up to RM245 only.

Johor Massage
Johor Massage

Hungry after massage, our JB exploration Grab us to Pelangi area for our favourite cheesecake. (Cheelicious GPS 1.477584, 103.767890).

Hint : Neighbour Warakuya Japanese is very popular too

Original or Oreo cheesecake, all are delicious. (Below right) The pan-fried chicken is surprisingly good.

Bubble tea and deserts at 茶社 Chatto (GPS 1.478306, 103.766924).

“Chatto – Handcrafted Tea Bar”has some house brand, example 灰灰的又怎样, a grey oolong tea. We still prefer the unhealthy brown sugar tea :p

(bottom right) The 鲷鱼烧 (Croissant Taiyaki) fish-like snack is sweet and delicious, very addictive. Crispy with sugar coating on the outside, but the ingredients (can be chocolate or ham/cheese) simply melts in our mouth.

Time to head back. Our train is waiting for us.
Estimated 10min walk or 650m from R&F Mall back to CIQ.

We are sheltered from rain and sun.

Just follow the bridge and walk back to CIQ. Surprisingly, this path is not yet mapped on Google Map. I wonder why?

Just walk towards the Green building.

As you walk along the bridge, some sights look familiar. (Below-left) The low-rise blocks house Hwa Mei Bak Ku Teh.

(Below-right) Those driving or taking buses will identify with the “merging” lane for cars and buses on the overhead highway.

If you have time to spare, City Square has more food and shop options.

We caught the 1630 train, easy and fuss-free, no jams. We can see R&F mall out of the train window.

This is our 3D2N itinerary around CIQ, we hope you will have Fun exploring more of JB too. If possible, book the train tickets in advance as they sold out fast (especially weekends).

-Read our previous blog on Train Tips (link)
-All our Johor adventures are here ->  https://sengkangbabies.com/tag/johor

Previous Johor adventures
Mount Austin
Johor Food trail with GPS (eg Banana cake)

Follow our Instagram tag #SengkangBabiesJohor for more JB exploration

ps.. Our Airbnb unit is sponsored.


Taking the Train to JB

Train to JB, why not 🙂
In this post, we share why Train might be the alternate (or best) option to travel to Johor.

We can order our train tickets online at https://online.ktmb.com.my . Infact, online order is preferred in case tickets are sold out over the counter (especially on weekends).

Do take note KTM system only allow for booking of one-direction ticket, no return ( ie, need to buy to and fro tickets separately). Yes, we are bewildered too.

KTM train ticket cost only Rm16 and Rm5, to and fro respectively. Train to JB is so cheap 🙂

Free seating. After booking your tickets, print out your tickets receipt. Return trip will need the QR code.

Taking the Train to JB
Taking the Train to JB

Head towards Woodlands Train Checkpoint, many folks would be taking a bus from Woodlands Interchange.

A) At the information counter (level 1), you will need to show your passport and printed ticket receipt to exchange for real tickets.  Sometimes, the counter staff will just stamp (acknowledge) your hardcopy receipts email (no tickets).

Train to JB
Train to JB

B) Queue for your train. Do arrive early (maybe 30minutes, expect bigger crowd over weekends). We need to queue for tickets collection, baggage scan etc

B1) At Singapore side, you will pass through both Singapore and Malaysia customs.  All baggages will be scanned.

Immigration checkin is relatively fast and efficient, minimum hassle.

C) Your Train to JB is only 10 minutes, one stop. (Cars might take up to 1 or 2 hours )

Arrive at JB sentral, and you can walk across bridge to City Square.
(no more custom checks, since we have scanned our details at Singapore side already)

The FUN Starts now! SGD and RM exchange rate is still 1:3 🙂

CIQ Johor is at City Square
CIQ Johor is at City Square

This is where you GRAB to your next stop. We should mention that Grab taxis are everywhere, and fares start from only Rm5 (for 10 minutes ride!)

Both City Square and KSL Mall are very popular with Singaporeans.

In case you need more assistance, Google will share nearest Restaurant, Cafe, Massage spots. Do read these posts :

Johor Good Food (and GPS)
Google Map Hacks
KSL Pasar Malam (if you are new to JB Pasar Malam, only on Mon)

Example, Google highlighted Massage joints (link ) are concentrated near KSL and Taman Sentosa areas.

Please read the reviews for the “real” massage joints. Some are sleazy, while others hard-sell to top up your package.

Attractions near KSL
Attractions near KSL

Massage was our first activity 🙂

We decided on either Sabye Sabye or Let’s Relax Spa (Different from the Bangkok franchise).  Both are side by side, popular and located at Plaza Sentosa. There are more tips from Vanessa’s blog or get SengkangBabies blog recommendations on our blog (2019).

Recommend Johor massage
Recommend Johor massage

We opted for Let’s Relax Spa (GPS 1.492031, 103.769116). Rm55 for 90 minutes, shoulder and leg and head. We recommend massage should be minimum 60 minutes, 30 minutes are only for warm up :p

We heard Thai massage are popular too. Our masseurs are from Thailand.

Soothing. Shoik. Rejuvenated.

.. and HUNGRY. We walk 5 min to some delicious paper wrapped chicken (Teck Sing).

Johor Paper wrapped chicken
Johor Paper wrapped chicken

Rm28 for a delicious tandalising chicken 🙂
Soft and tender, with a tinge of herbal goodness

Do order the bittergourd egg too.

More shopping for the Mrs, I was the porter. We also package some goodies for the hungry  kids.


While she shops, I detour to buy famous banana cake.  Hiap Joo is 7 min walk from City Square.

Mission achieved, if Darling happy, I am happy. 满载而归 🙂

On the return trip,  head back to JB Sentral for your return train. Again, do arrive early, as you do not want to miss you train.

In worse case, you may still purchase tickets over the counter. Photo below-right, use the “printed QR Code” to enter the transit area.

Your luggage (and souvenirs) will undergo one more round of security scans.


So why do we recommend Train to JB for you?

-Convenient, avoid the jams, and it is a cheap mode of transport.
-Some folks might hesitate to drive into Johor for security reasons.

Additional tips.

*No photo taking in immigration areas
-Toilet facilities are available in immigration sections
-If you are driving around Taman Sentosa (at night), do be careful as this area is notorious hot spot for car smash and theft (read some tips on car protection)

Take the train to avoid the jams 🙂

KTM train schedule
KTM train schedule

ps.. Follow our Instagram tag #SengkangBabiesJohor for more JB adventures

Johor Massage recommendations -> https://sengkangbabies.com/holiday/johor-massage-recommendations

*Can we bring our foldies to Kluang to cycle the hills?
(NST article from 2016)

ps.. updated 2019Oct – We can only use Malaysia Banks to book train tickets now. KTM will announce once Singapore Banks can be used