We’re more than halfway into 2021 and still…we’re unable to travel to our neighbour Malaysia like we usually do. I still remember a few years ago, my annual post-National Day ritual would be to take 1 more day off from work to go to Johor Bahru (JB) with my friends, without the mad rush of crowds on the actual public holiday.Sadly, we haven’t been able to do that since last year when COVID-19 struck—my heart goes out to those who haven’t been able to see their family in Malaysia. Hopefully, we’ll be able to go back to visit friends and family in Malaysia soon.
Anyway, I remember my usual day trip to JB just like it was yesterday—I miss it so much! There’s just such an authentic, relaxed vibe that the people have going on. Not like the constant hustle and bustle in Singapore where I sometimes feel guilty even trying to relax. So it’s often a treat to be able to head into JB and just chill.
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When I go to JB in the morning, my first stop is usually the famous banana cake from Hiap Joo Bakery & Biscuit Factory. The smell that emanates from the tiny shop is heavenly! (If you’ve gone there before, you’ll know what I’m talking about.) The queue can get quite long, but the staff processes orders super quickly so the waiting time isn’t too bad actually.
After getting my hands on a few boxes for myself and some relatives back in Singapore, I’ll head over to my staple café called The Replacement Lodge & Kitchen located nearby.
Their Breakfast Platter may seem like any ol’ big breakfast in SG’s cafes, but the magic is in their homemade mixed beans, which have a smoky flavour unlike any other baked beans I’ve had before. Moreover, it’s only RM30.90, which means it’s only S$10 or so. Normally this quality would cost at least S$20 in Singapore’s cafes!
My only gripe would be that the waiting time can be quite long; I once waited almost 40 minutes in the hot sun as my group comprised of almost 10 people.
After a fulfilling brunch, it’s usually time for my favourite part: shopping!
Shopping in JB is awesome because of the currency conversion rate it offers – things can cost up to 3 times LOWER in JB compared to Singapore.
My first stop is often Sephora. This popular retailer carries dozens of brands such as MAC Cosmetics, Origins, Benefit, Tarte, Urban Decay, Tom Ford, among many more. Not all items are cheaper than in SG, but generally things in the Malaysia store costs the same or less than SG’s.
For example, the new MAC “Wander Lust Harajuku Powder Kiss Matte Lipstick” (in the shade Marrakesh Mere) costs S$36 on the Singapore website. On Malaysia’s Sephora site, it’s RM92, which converts to around S$30!
If you are planning to buy a bunch of stuff from this cosmetics giant, it makes more sense to shop on the Malaysian website, hit a minimum of RM110 for free shipping (trust me, it’s way too easy to hit this number!), and arrange for a third-party warehouse to ship it over to your SG address, like vPost. You can save quite a bit if you’re buying multiple items!
Some other wildly raved items I like to get from Sephora:
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup SPF 10 Foundation – RM199 (~S$66 vs S$71)
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush – RM126 (~S$42 vs S$48)
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer – RM115 (~S$38 vs S$46)
Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator Moisturiser – RM186 (~S$62 vs S$77)
Besides makeup and skincare, I also love to get a mani-pedi as it’s cheaper in JB for sure. The sheer number of nail salons in City Square Mall alone is incredible! If you take a cab down to KSL City Mall, there are even more varieties and some of the nail salons are so huge and nicely decorated that you’ll feel like a queen!
Sadly, we can’t travel there right now for the ultimate pampering session, so why not get yourself some trendy nail wraps as a treat instead?
This Malaysian brand called Dainty offers gorgeous nail wrap designs like this Earthy Terrazzo and this floral fantasy called Spring Vibes.
There’s also this other Malaysian brand called Nails Gone Wild which stocks elegant press-on gel nails, such as this pretty nude marble set. You can even choose the nail shape you want, like squoval, square, round, etc. The amazing thing is that they’re even reusable up to 8 times – they’re THAT sticky
After a relaxing break, I love heading over to Tesco for groceries, especially since the Tesco items in Singapore are so limited. (Do note that Tesco has been renamed to Lotus recently!) It’s about a 15-minute drive from City Square Mall, but now we can shop online in the comfort of our loungewear at home.
You’ll love this Tesco Super Berry Granola that comes in a hefty 500g bag that costs only about S$5; I always buy a few packets to share with friends whenever I’m here. Tesco pantry staples like beans, Italian chopped tomatoes (great for pasta!), and this delicious Ridge Cut BBQ Potato Chips that costs only SGD 66 cents (pro tip: you should buy many many packs of this)!
Sometimes I also stock up on some things that can be found in SG, but at a more affordable price. Like this Yogood Yoghurt-Coated Wildberry Muesli Bars that cost S$6.25 in SG, but only ~S$5 on the JB Tesco/Lotus website. Your savings could add up substantially when shopping for dry groceries from Malaysia! Just remember not to add any perishables like fresh meat or liquid items to your cart.
There’s so much to do in JB that honestly, a day trip would scarcely be enough! But for now, the awesome thing is that we can still buy things online without restrictions—using vPost is a such a safe and convenient way to fulfil our JB shopping fix. Everything you order will be sent directly to your doorstep!
While I can’t wait for the COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted so that we can all go to JB for a well-deserved respite, vPost makes my hectic work life a little more tolerable as I get to still “visit” my favourite places in JB virtually. Try it for yourself now by clicking here! You’ll love the hassle-free process.
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Note: Discounts are accurate at time of publication and may change with fluctuations in currency or promotion deals.
Click here to find out more about the vPost shipping rates from Malaysia.
IMPORTANT: Click here to find out more about items that vPost does not ship from Malaysia to Singapore.