Upon reaching the Malaysian side, I cleared my entry to Johor Bahru at the Malaysia Customs and Immigration Office. Once past, I found myself along Jalan Tun Abdul Razak. Here, a fenced historical marker with a plaque tells the story of the town.
Johor Bahru has a rich history that dates as early as the 16th century but its urbanization began in 1855. Sultan Abu Bakar (1862-1895), the 21st Sultan of Johor, transformed Johor Bahru from a fishing village into a thriving city.
Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and the adjoining Jalan Trus has a number of shophouses, mostly built in the 1920’s,with great heritage value. Here, traders from Arab, India and China used to come to trade spices and tobacco. Also along Jalan Tun Abdul Razak is the Johor Bahru Railway Station.
On October 10, 2010, the spanking new JB Sentral railway station, along Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and Jalan Jim Quee, was opened. The old train station, located just 200 m. south of JB Sentral, has been decommissioned, its platform 2 and its tracks dismantled. Only one track and platform remain. There are plans for it to be preserved for a future Mini Railway Museum for the Southern Region.
The relatively old Plaza Kotaraya shopping center, along Jalan Trus, is only 5 minutes walk from the Malaysia Customs and Immigration Office. Across the street is the Arulmigu Sri Raja Mariamman Devasthanam Hindu Temple. Built in 1922, it is one of the town’s oldest Hindu temples and has an impressive gopuram (entrance tower).
The Arulmigu Sri Raja Mariamman Devasthanam Hindu Temple was rebuilt and was officially reopened in 1996. In 2009, the temple was embellished with an impressive mosaic of 300,000 pieces of red, blue, yellow, green, purple and white glass (completed in October 2009) and, on May 12, 2010, the temple was listed in the Malaysian Book of Records as the first and only glass temple in the nation.
After this relatively short walking tour of Johor Bahru, I retraced my steps back to the Malaysia Customs and Immigration Office to clear my departure and, this time, took a bus back to the Queen Street Bus Terminal in Singapore.
Arulmigu Sri Raja Mariamman Devasthanam Hindu Temple: 22 Lorong 1, Jalan Tebrau, Johor Bahru, Malaysia.