Johor Bahru (also Johor Baru or Johore Baharu, but universally called JB) is the state capital of Johor in southern peninsular Malaysia, just across the causeway from Singapore. A bustling city but one with little of interest for the casual tourist, it is a significant regional transport and manufacturing hub.
Declared a city only in 1994, Johor Bahru is a rapidly growing city. Latest census figures indicates that it is Malaysia's third largest city, with city center and metropolitan populations numbering 497,000 and 1.8 million respectively. Given its relatively large land space, the town is not as dense as other cities around Malaysia. Due to its proximity to Singapore, it unavoidably suffers from comparison with its neighbour. Recent clean-up initiatives like greening the city and covering the open sewers that until a few years ago ran through the center of the city have made it a more pleasant place to live. However, even up to now, there has been little efforts in maintaining buildings and public facilities and even the city center may seem run-down to some. Though appreciably less organised and much more messy compared to the glitz of Singapore, shopping and eating in the city can be a real adventure, with many shopping complexes and a wide variety of food establishments offering budget to fine dining.