“Seek and you shall find”. Hidden gems often lie just around the corner, waiting to be claimed by its seeker. The same can be said for underrated destinations, and in the case of weekenders from Singapore, there is a place that you do not want to miss: Kluang in central Johor, Malaysia. Located a mere two hours’ from Singapore, a weekend trip in Kluang promises fun in the form of outdoor adventures, eco-tourism and delicious food! Looking for an affordable weekend trip with loved ones?
Here are 7 fun things to do in Kluang, Malaysia:
1. Hop on the train to Kluang for a nostalgic ride
Begin your weekend adventure with a nostalgic rail journey from JB Sentral station, located right next to the Johor Bahru Immigration Office. While one can take a bus to reach Kluang, nothing beats the rail experience and green scenery that lies beyond the train window.
Admire palm plantations, and the odd kampong (village) houses and literally feel like you are being transported back to simpler times. Do not expect luxury or much amenities though, the KTM train does not serve food although the basics such as toilets and power sockets are in place. It is recommended to pre-book your tickets online prior to departure date.
2. Enjoy a local food experience at Kluang Rail Coffee
Established in 1938, this rustic cafe is a pit-stop for visitors and locals since its commencement some 70 years ago. Taste the flavours of yesteryears in the form of Kluang aromatic coffee, kaya toasts and buns (charcoal-grilled bread with coconut jam and melting butter), nasi lemak (fragrant rice with chili wrapped in banana leaf), etc.
There are other branches in the town center with a greater menu, but nothing beats the experience of lounging here because of its atmospheric old-school environment. Listen to the whistles that signal the coming and going of the train while you sip your preferred beverage.
Note: popular items such as mee siam (flavorful rice noodles) and curry puff tend to be sold out by noon. Visit early to avoid disappointment.
Kluang Rail Coffee
Address: Stesen Keretapi 86000 Kluang, Johor.
Website: Kluang Rail Coffee
3. Visit the Kluang Coffee Powder Factory
In case you are a coffee lover like this author, then you must not miss a visit to Kluang Coffee Powder Factory. Beyond their quality coffee powder and friendly service, the story of the founder that went through lengths to pursue and realise his dreams is heartwarming and a great reason to visit and show support for local establishments. Mr. Goh Tong Tor did not come from a well-to-do family and he went through much hardship to set up Kluang Coffee Powder Factory in 1966. His insistence on using only the best quality ingredients and business ethics led him to become one of the top coffee wholesalers in Kluang!
You can enjoy a short tour around the coffee factory and taste the different types of coffee; black or white coffee. The former is roasted with sugar and vegetable oil while the latter is a pure roast that comprises of three types of beans, namely arabica (from Brazil), robusta (from Indonesia) and liberica (harvested locally in Johor). This is one food souvenir that you can consider!
Kluang Coffee Powder Factory
Address: 76, Jalan Besar, Kampung Yap Tau Sah, 86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia
Website: Kluang Coffee Powder Factory
4. Seek greener pastures (literally!) at the UK farm!
There are several farms in Kluang, boosting this quaint district as a worthy eco-tourism destination! It can be a tough choice trying to decide which farm to visit; would you like to learn more about animals or try your hand at farming? How about enjoying an organic lunch with the freshest vegetables from ground to table? Allocate at least four hours for each of the farm visit and know that overnight stays or full day programs can be arranged.
Among the options are Zenxin, UK Farm Agro Resort and Kahang Organic Rice Farm. The closest farm to Kluang town center is UK Farm - Malaysia’s largest goat and sheep farm - and it is approximately 30 minutes drive away. Here, one can feed goats, ducks and deers, etc. as well as catch a cultural show, making it the perfect nature retreat for city bumpkins.
Address: Projek Pertanian Moden Kluang,, KM13 Jalan Batu Pahat, Kluang, 8, 86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia
Website: UK Farm
5. Appreciate the Kluang street art or take a photowalk in the downtown
For those who cannot get enough of street art, a previously old and gritty alley in downtown Kluang showcases 24 murals painted by local artists! Spanning about 100m, each artwork tells a story of Kluang. It is said that a wall mural could take up to 8 hours (or more!) to complete. Take a stroll along Jalan Dato Teoh Siew Khor, 86000, to pay homage to local art or embark on a photo walk of downtown Kluang from here!
Kluang Street Art
Address: Jalan Dato Teoh Siew Khor, 86000, Kluang, Johor, Malaysia
6. Take a stroll through the Kluang night market
In almost every Malaysian town, one can expect a pasar malam (street market) that usually occurs once a week at night. While pasar malam used to be popular in Singapore, it is a dying trade now and has evolved over the years and somewhat lose its authentic flavours. Thankfully, those seeking a nostalgic pasar malam experience can still relive your memories at places like Kluang.
If you are lucky to visit during the month of Ramadan, the night market presents more traditional food options than ever! Besides food, there is merchandise such as clothes, shoes, scarves, toys, etc. Check with your hotel for information on the nearest night market.
7. Trek up Mount Lambak Recreational Forest
Easily the highlight of Kluang, Mount Lambak (commonly known as Gunung Lambak) is a small mountain with a summit of 510m above sea level. There are two stages to the mountain; the initial part is easy to trek with proper path. At the 2nd part, one may sometimes require to hoist yourself up steep slopes using the ropes. To reach the summit, one will need at least 2 hours unless you are a seasoned trekker. It is best to visit during the early morning when the sun is not so vicious.
Do not expect a magnificent scenery though, the pleasure is all in the process where Mount Lambak is concerned. Breathe in the sweet scents of the forest and watch where you tread as nature abounds - you don’t want to squash that millipede.
Getting around Kluang, Johor, Malaysia
A weekend trip in Kluang, Johor, makes for a refreshing retreat from the bustling city of Singapore. The laidback town presents an opportunity to slow down, enjoy nature and the finer flavours of life.
In case you are planning a trip to Kluang, note that you can easily travel by car, bus or train from JB Sentral / Singapore. If you do not drive and are not planning to book a taxi service, you can consider using GrabCar to get around Kluang.
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