Let’s face it: Singapore is great for its many kid-friendly restaurants, tourist attractions, fab local beaches and activities for children, but the shopping can also be horridly expensive. Good news though – cheap grocery shopping, high-street bargains and designer label steals are only a causeway away. Read on for round-up of the best of bargain-shopping in Johor Bahru, from factory outlet stores and bazaars to shopping malls and hypermarts.
For affordable grocery shopping:
This British hypermart brought cries of hallelujah when it moved into the Bukit Indah neighbourhood. Besides its huge selection of fresh produce, seafood and poultry, it also stocks the brand’s much-loved in-house products including value-for-money cleaning supplies or gourmet food from its premium range, TESCO’s Finest.
TESCO Bukit Indah, 1, Jalan Indah 15, Taman Bukit Indah, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia; www.tesco.com.my
We mourned (and mourned… and mourned) when this French hypermart moved out of its colossal store in Suntec City and our lives for (what seemed like) forever. Fortunately though, all it takes is a short drive to get to its sibling in JB (although branches are now much-reduced in size since the brand’s recent takeover by Japanese giant, Aeon). We especially love the bread selection here, and range of absolutely everything you want – from electronics and home appliances to toys and seafood.
Carrefour, Lot 138, Jalan Kota Tinggi, Pandan, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia; aeonbig.com.my
While this grocery chain is found in Singers, its Malaysian counterpart is a heck of a lot cheaper. Prices are kept low here thanks to its homegrown roots and loyal clientele of bargain-hunting shoppers. Come here for the best fresh Malaysian produce, local products and loads of variety.
Giant hypermart, Southern City, 3, Jalan Suria 19, 81100 Johor Bahru, Malaysi; www.giant.com.my
For affordable high-street brands and chain stores:
AEON Terbrau City
It doesn’t matter that Singapore is bursting with shopping malls from every corner – the thought of scoring crazy deals on our favourite brands excites us senseless. Labels to look out for here include the usual suspects like Topshop and Mango, but at a discounted price thanks to the fab exchange rate.
Aeon Tebrau City Shopping Centre, 1, Jalan Desa Tebrau, 81100 Johor Bahru, Malaysia; aeonretail.com.my
City Square is a hit with mums thanks to its Dorothy Perkins boutique, Anakku kids clothing store and Grace Maternity Wear, and its close proximity to the causeway link at Woodlands makes it an extremely popular haunt for residents of northern Singapore. Dining here is cheap – go nuts and tuck into family-friendly meals at PappaRich and Nando’s for half price.
Johor Bahru City Square, 108, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia; www.citysqjb.com
This new mall next to City Square reminds us of Ion Orchard – it houses make-up giant Sephora, Bath & Body Works, Brit department store Marks & Spencer and loads of renowned fashion brands. What we love? The Famous Amos Café. We desperately need a sit-down area to stuff our faces with crunchy cookies and those oh-so-moist brownies.
Komtar JBCC, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia; www.komtarjbcc.com.my
For night bazaars with street food and dirt cheap buys:
We recommend this if you’re the more adventurous type. Pasar Karat is your ubiquitous night market but with better stalls and hidden gems – it’s got the crowds, the street food, and serious cheap shopping. For quirky dressers, check out the vintage stores here – we love treasure hunting for Japanese brands from the ’70s. We’ve seen a couple of (way) past season designer bags at a huge discount. Warning: know your workmanship as the authenticity might be questionable.
Pasar Karat, Jalan Segget, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia.
This indoor market/bazaar is where you’d find the famed ice cream rolls and second-hand vintage goods. Best to come with an empty and adventurous stomach; there are myriad food options to choose from, be it Indian, traditional Malay or Western.
Pandan City, Suite 01, Level 1, Kangkar Tebrau, Johor, 81100 Johor Bharu, Malaysia.
For name brands at a steal:
Johor Premium Outlets
Get a huge discount on your coveted (albeit past season) It bag or shoes of your dreams with any of the designer or name brands available at the Johor Premium Outlets. Labels available include Marc Jacobs, Burberry, Bally and Ferragamo while high-street shoppers can scope out drop-dead deals over at Gap, Victoria’s Secret or Cotton On.
Johor Premium Outlets, Jalan Premium Outlets, Indahpura, 81000 Kulaijaya, Johor Darul Takzim; www.premiumoutlets.com.my
This chain store available in plenty of malls across Malaysia carries well-known American labels like Abercrombie & Fitch, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hillfiger. The brand also has a range of F.O.S kids stores so your kids can be decked out in the coolest threads by brands like Baby Gap at a tiny fraction of the usual price.
F.O.S, Various locations in Johor Bahru; www.facebook.com/factoryoutletstore.