Besides shopping, getting our hair, nails and massages done, most of us head over to Johor Bahru (JB) for its good food.
While there are the usual streetside hawkers offering delectable local cruisine, the low conversion rate and wallet-friendly prices allow us to splurge on fancy cafes when we're in JB without feeling the pinch.
The cafe scene in JB has grown over the years, and they are aesthetically designed to attract millennials and offer them an escape from the hustle and bustle of life — some will even make you feel like you're transported overseas with its themed interiors and dishes.
If you can only travel to JB this holiday season, why not plan a cafe-hopping trip instead to trick your mind into thinking you're having vacation elsewhere.
CHEOTNUN KOREAN DESSERT CAFE (JP PERDANA)
Have a taste of Korea's cafe scene at Cheotnun Korean Dessert Cafe in JP Perdana. It's a 25-minute drive from the customs to the cafe.
The industrial-themed cafe offers up to 10 different bingsu flavours, thick toasts, fried chicken and a large variety of mains to choose from. Most of its ingredients are imported from Korea, so you'll be getting authentic Korean grub here.
Where: 8, Jln Jaya Putra 1 Taman Setia Indah, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia, Monday to Friday 2pm to 11pm, Saturday and Sunday 12noon to 11pm
LET'S GET CEREAL
Always wanted to try out the Cereal Killer Cafe in London? Now you don't have to travel 13 hours to London when there's a cafe in JB with a similar concept.
Let's Get Cereal boasts a shelf of cereal flavours, of which some aren't commonly seen in Singapore, such as Reese Puffs, Kellogg's Apple Jacks, Cinnabon and more.
You'll get to select from a menu of six pre-mixed cereal bowls or customise one to your preference complete with toppings and choice of milk.
Besides cereal bowls, the cafe offers cakes and cereal milkshakes to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Where: Lot S03, Level 2, Aeon Tebrau City, 1, Jalan Desa Tebrau, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia, Sunday to Thursday 10am to 10pm, Friday and Saturday 10am to 11pm
Get transported to Hong Kong at SYST, which is reminiscent of Mido Cafe, one of Hong Kong's oldest cha chaan tengs.
The interior is very IG-worthy with neon signboards, typical Hong Kong wooden tables and chairs and an '80s old school vibe.
Have your favourite tong shui (desserts), pineapple buns, egg tarts and French toasts at its first outlet, which opens till 2am, so you know where to go for supper for all you night owls coming into JB late.
The newest outlet at Mid Valley Southkey has a more comprehensive menu comprising of macaroni with ham, Swiss chicken rice and other classic Hong Kong dishes, but it closes earlier than the Holiday Villa outlet.
- Holiday Villa, 1st Floor Shop 25, 260, Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Taman Abad, 80250 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia, 3pm to 2am
- T-043, Level 3 Midvalley, Jalan Bakar Batu, Southkey, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia, 10am to 10pm
ROUTINE BY SOON
Routine by Soon is founded by the same people behind the famous People & Places cafe in JB.
The new cafe is located in R&F Mall and sees a warmer pinkish hue throughout the cafe, littered with plants in every corner.
Routine By Soon serves up Melbourne-inspired dishes and desserts that are both visually-pleasing and equally appetising, but they do come with a price tag that is similar, if not just slightly cheaper, to that of Singapore cafes.
Where: R&F Mall, Lot G-025, G-026, Mercu 1, Jalan Tanjung Puteri 1 R & F, Tanjung Puteri, 80300 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia, 10am to 10pm
It seems like Singaporeans can't get enough of container cafes and markets — from Artbox in Thailand to Common Ground Korea.
If you love the concept of dining in a container, Coffee Signature in JB will be right up your alley.
The cafe serves Sweet Rain, a novelty coffee drink with suspended cotton candy melting into the cup from the steam of the freshly brewed coffee, which was once a trend in Singapore's food scene. Here, you can get it for a fraction of the price at $5.60 per cup.
It also serves western-fusion mains, brunch and desserts.
Where: 53, Jalan SerampangTaman Sri Tebrau, 80050 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia, Monday to Friday 12noon to 930pm, Saturday to Sunday 12noon to 1130pm, closed on Wednesdays
LITTLE PRINCE CAFE
Fans of the popular novel will be thrilled to spend an afternoon at the Little Prince Cafe.
Designed to be a cafe and a study room, you can pick out books from the floor-to-ceiling bookshelf and order desserts and coffee while you're at it.
When you're feeling hungry, the cafe also serves mains, such as claypot seafood soup, fried noodles and rice.
Where: 46, Jln Eko Botani 3/3, Taman Eko Botani, 79100 Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia, 10am to 10pm