Friday, February 23, 2007

Jusco Aeon Tebrau City

On Saturday, 10 February 2007, we went to Johor Bahru, specifically to visit the new Jusco Aeon Tebrau City shopping mall, a new upmarket shopping mall in Johor Bahru. This is actually the second time we visited the shopping mall, after our first visit last September 2006 when we dropped by on our way back from Genting and Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.

We drove through the Woodlands checkpoint, and to our amazement, there was no traffic jam at all. We passed through Singapore and Malaysia immigrations within 30 minutes since we left home, and we reached Tebrau City in 50 minutes! Thank God. It's quite unbelievable since it was Saturday morning, and the traffic is supposed to be heavy on weekends.

The Jusco Tebrau City shopping mall is located along Tebrau Highway, the main federal route 3 highway towards Kota Tinggi and Mersing. If you're driving from Singapore, it's faster to go through the Causeway instead of the Second Link. After passing Malaysia immigration, make a U-turn and go towards the busy Jalan Wong Ah Fook, passing the Johor Bahru City Square. At the end of the road, keep right and follow the signs to Kota Tinggi and Jalan Tebrau. Ensure that you pass Plaza Pelangi on your right.

After about 15 minutes drive (if traffic is not heavy), you will pass an on-going flyover construction work at the junction of Tebrau Highway and Pasir Gudang Highway. You can use the flyover to go through the junction (only one side of the flyover has been built at the time of writing), and the Jusco Aeon Tebrau City shopping mall is located on the left side just after the junction.

I would say that this is currently the most upmarket shopping mall in Johor Bahru, more high-class compared to Plaza Pelangi, and more luxurious than the crowded Johor Bahru City Square. The Jusco department store is the anchor tenant, spanning over three floors. On the first floor, there's Jusco supermarket where you can buy all your daily needs. On the top floor, there's a food court serving the normal Malaysian fare, and next to it, there's a children playground where your kids can play and have fun.

We didn't have our lunch at the food court, instead we had lunch at The Chicken Rice Shop. This is a famous halal chicken rice restaurant chain, which has branches all over Malaysia, including in Kuala Lumpur's Mid Valley Mega Mall and Malacca's Mahkota Parade shopping mall. They also have opened a branch at VivoCity, Singapore. The chicken rice is very nice, and the kids loved it.

The shopping mall also houses Bread Talk, which is halal in Malaysia, unlike in Singapore. My favourite bread would be the spicy chicken floss one. There's also a Dunkin Donuts counter just opposite the supermarket, and also Baskin Robbins ice cream counter. You cannot find both counters here in Singapore. There's also a bookstore called Harris, and some other stores as well.

More pictures can be found here.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Sentosa is one of our favourite places we usually visit quite often. Not only because we have the Family Islander card which gives the whole family free unlimited entries into Sentosa for the whole year, but there's also quite a lot of things we can do there.


One of our favourite methods of outing-cum-exercising is cycling. Sentosa is full of cycling tracks, and cycling around the island is quite fun. Our favourite cycling track in Sentosa is the one between the Ferry Terminal and the Underwater World area. The track is flat so it's quite easy for the kids, and it's going past the seaside along the north coast of the island. It's also passing by one of Sentosa's seldom-visited attractions, the Lost Civilisation and Ruined City.

Another favourite track of ours is the one along the beaches on the southern coast of the island, from Siloso Beach to Palawan Beach, up to Tanjong Beach. There are some interesting attractions along the path, including the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia, which is located near Palawan Beach. The small islet is connected to the main Sentosa island through a suspension bridge over the narrow strait.

Other than that, Sentosa also have some other cycling tracks. Some of them are passing through the middle of the island, but the track is mountainous and it's passing some thick jungles, it's great for those who are more adventurous. If it's quite difficult for you to bring in your own bicycles, you can rent them from any of the bicycles kiosks located there. There's one bicycles kiosk located just next to the ferry terminal, and another one near the Siloso beach.

Sentosa Express

Getting into Sentosa is now much easier with the new Sentosa Express. Being a Sentosa family islander, we can ride the monorail for free. Otherwise, one only need to pay $3 (including the $2 Sentosa admission), which is the same amount you need to pay if you come by bus. We board the train at the new VivoCity shopping mall. The station is located on the 3rd floor, near the lift lobby L, just on top of The Coffee Bean cafe and Best Denki, next to the Food Republic food court.

You need to purchase the tickets at the ticket counter there. For Islander members, you just need to show your Islander card to get your free tickets. You can then tap the ticket cards on the gate there, and walk through it, similar to MRT gates where you need to tap your EZ-Link cards. Unfortunately, you cannot use your EZ-Link cards here. Once you have passed the gate, you just need to wait for boarding the next train to Sentosa.

The journey from VivoCity to Sentosa will only take several minutes. There are two stations within Sentosa itself: Imbiah Station (near the Merlion and close to all other attractions around Imbiah Lookout) and Beach Station (located between Palawan and Siloso beaches, where you can catch the beach tram to the two respective beaches). There's actually another station, Waterfront Station, which will only be opened on 2010 when the new integrated resorts there are open.

Imbiah Lookout and Sentosa Luge

From the Imbiah Station, just in front of the Merlion statue, we can take the escalators up to other attractions located in the Imbiah Lookout cluster. Some of the attractions include Images of Singapore, Carlsberg Sky Tower, Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom and Sentosa 4D Magix. Unfortunately, the ticket admissions to those attractions are quite expensive, since those are meant more for tourists. As an islander member, we can get some discounts to those attractions, but it's still consider quite expensive.

However, there's one attraction which we (especially the kids) like, and we don't mind going there again every time we visit Sentosa. Yes, you guessed it right, it's the Sentosa Luge, the gravity-powered go-cart-cum-toboggan down the track from Imbiah Lookout to Siloso Beach. Being an islander member, we only need to pay $5 (instead of the normal $8) per ride, inclusive of one Skyride/chairlift ride back. Kids who are riding pillion don't need to pay since they charge per cart and not per person, unless if they ride themselves individually. So far Inka and Irza have not tried riding the luge themselves.

The Skyride (previously known as chairlift) ride back is also quite an unforgettable experience. That is, of course, if you are not afraid of heights. :) The Skyride will bring you on top of those trees and greeneries. Ensure that you don't drop your sandals, otherwise it'll be a bit difficult for you to find them back. There's also camera on the second tower of the Skyride, which will take our photo taking the Skyride, with the Siloso beach and the sea as the background. The photo prints can be bought at $10 each (very expensive), while the lower resolution JPG file can be sent to your email address for $5. Same prices apply to Luge ride photos as well.

Sarpino's Pizzeria

This pizza restaurant is also located in Imbiah Lookout, just next to the Butterfly Park. They sell quite a wide range of halal pizzas with crispier crust compared to Pizza Hut pizzas, and the kids love it very much. Sarpino's Pizzeria actually has some other outlets throughout Singapore, including the one in East Point, Simei.

Just in front of the restaurant, which is at the heart of Imbiah Lookout, there's a water garden where the kids can just play with the water and have fun. Inka and Irza was really having a great time playing there. Similar water garden is also can be found at Palawan Beach, just next to the Koufu food court there. Kids can also spend hours having fun at the beach there. Just ensure that you bring some extra clothes for the kids, or even better, bring their swimming gears.

More pictures of some various moments we had in Sentosa can be found here.