Driving into JB (Money Changers, Coffeeshops & Street Vendors)

Everytime I enter Malaysia I immediately feel the people are so much nicer, starting with the customs officer who has a genuine friendly smile. I feel very close emotionally to Malaysia as some of the best holidays I’ve had were with my dad in Malaysia. He drove us all the way from Singapore to Penang as we stopped along the way in cheap motels that cost 6 Rinngit a night. It was so much fun. I wish I could feel that safe in Malaysia again, but these days there are so many negative reports in our press about the crime there.

Can anyone confirm with me what their experiences in Malaysia is like. It would be even better if you’re a Malaysian living in JB. I’d love to hear from you. Is it really unsafe or is it just exaggerated isolated incidents that happen late at night?

If you don’t have Malaysian currency (Ringgit), there are money changers along the way as well. The current rate is 242 Rinngit for 100 Singapore dollars. But don’t take that rate if you’re changing at least S$100. You can bargain and B did and got a rate of 244.80 Rinngit.

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

For me the best part about JB is the places outside the mall like the old style coffee shops. We were fully and more like overstuffed on just S$10 for 2 people.

photo by bookjunkie

B ordered too much for me. This huge bowl of wan tan mee was just 5 Ringgit. I could have gone with the 3 Ringgit bowl. The noodles in Malaysia tend to be very skinny and the sauce is a bit dryer. Very unique Malaysian style. They were out of wan tan today so we just had dumplings.

photo by bookjunkie

Huge bowl of delicious soup. I am quite sure its filled with MSG though because it was so good.

photo by bookjunkie

It just felt so nice and laid back here and with no one in business suits or in a rush.

photo by bookjunkie

Being greedy, we went to the next door coffee shop to have pao (steamed bun). The chicken pao was yummier than the red bean pao. The coffee was a bit too acidic and bitter for me. The tea was good, so I’ll go with that next time. B had a Lor Mai Kai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken) as well that he really liked. It’s rare to see wooden chopsticks rather than plastic ones. Another nice, old fashioned touch.

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

I like looking at the little details. Like the transparent sticker indicating I was drinking from a heat resistant glass from Indonesia.

photo by bookjunkie

Another lovely thing about Malaysia are the street vendors selling fruit or food. Saw a lady selling durians out of the boot of her car, very near the coffeeshop where we had lunch.

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore helps me survive the mid-life crisis
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9 Responses to Driving into JB (Money Changers, Coffeeshops & Street Vendors)

  1. says:

    I absolutely love that you share the details with us. I wonder why they wouldn’t have taken off the sticker? Hmm. To remind themselves it can go in the dishwasher and microwave? Funny, huh? Thanks for sharing.
    Julie

  2. whatsaysyou says:

    Awesome post. Did you have a great time in Johor Bahru? Here is an interesting tidbit to share about Johor related stuff, Scottish actor Alan Cummings was in BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are where he went to a town in Johor to get closure about his late grandfather and it was a very interesting episode.

  3. Pingback: I am Singaporean because I love going to Malaysia — Singapore Actually

  4. miss ene says:

    I had a personal encounter with a snatch thief but thankfully, he didn’t get away with anything. That put me off visiting JB for a long long time (I actually love going in there!). I’ve sent you details via Twitter Message 🙂

    • bookjunkie says:

      I saw a snatch theft (thief on motocycle) grab a woman’s handbag in KL so after that we were all clutching our bags tight. Thanks for letting me know. Will check my twitter 🙂

  5. bittersweet says:

    My cousin lives in JB and she got robbed of her phone and jewellery just outside her house while walking back from a playground a few hundred meters away. =/ Another cousin got robbed while she was unconscious after being in a car accident. >< So yea, I don't think M'sia is safe at all. As much as possible try not to dress extravagantly and always park your car in a mall with security or don't leave it out of your sight.

  6. RS says:

    hi. I’m a Malaysian from KL living in singapore. i go to JB often. Yes its true that the crime rate in malaysia is high compared to singpore. however, what singaporeans have to understand is that the crime rate anywhere is high compared to singapore. ask anyone from europe, america or australia and they’ll tell you that JB is just as dangerous if not safer than places like New York and London. Ofcourse, you musnt be too flashy. But i would say mostly, do not be arrogant. Sadly, I see many Singaporeans acting arrogantly in Malaysia. Yes our systems are slow and our work ethic is rather lacklustet. But complaining will get you nowhere. by no means am I saying be a pushover, just don’t expect japan style efficiency. You seem like a really nice person. Please do not cave in to the negative press that the Singapore media gives Malaysia. For every 1 bad story that you read, there are 5-10 good ones that you dont. I hope I don’t sound biased or rude, I fully acknowledge the flaws of my country abd tge fact the crime rate is higher now,but at the same time know its merits too. I would also like to add that most snatch theft like crimes are done by foreigners (many illegal immigrants) and the gangs in JB by my understanding are mixed singaporean and malaysian.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I am quite ashamed about the arrogance of some of my fellow citizens….it really irks me. I much prefer the relaxed humble and much kinder attitude in Malaysia. I heard about the theft by illegal immigrants and it’s sad that Malaysians are bearing the brunt of it 🙁 I have loved travelling to Malaysia since I was very little and my heart belongs there. Always think of Malaysia as our closest and friendliest neighbour. We are so similar since Singapore was part of Malaya.

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