One Day Itinerary: Old School Delights, Nature and Thrift Shopping in Kulai Johor 

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Kulai day trip from Singapore

 

It’s been a few months since Singapore-Malaysia land borders opened and many of us have visited our north side neighbours. However, beyond the typical “things to do in JB 2022”, we thought there must be more than supper spots and massages in Johor! 

 

So venturing a little further after JB, we stumbled upon a wonderful small town — with not a Singaporean car in sight! Less than an hour’s drive from Woodlands Checkpoint, Kulai is filled with nostalgic food stalls, hidden cafes and so much nature. 

 

If you’re looking for a one-day getaway from the typical bustle of Singapore and JB, ditch the city with us try these 5 things you can do in one day in Kulai: 

 

1. Eat Along Kulai Old Street

Starting your day bright and early, avoid the Causeway jam and JB Sentral crowds and head straight to Kulai Old Street (directions below). Many stalls open and close earlier than in JB Sentral, so we recommend leaving Singapore around 7:30am for the smoothest pre-peak hour traffic. 

 

Our first stop is Yong Juan Hin Coffeeshop, a hidden gem just a 30 to 40-minute drive from Singapore. Don’t be fooled by its humble appearance — it makes the best Nanyang coffee I’ve ever had.

 

Paired with Kaya Toast and fresh, soft-boiled eggs, this traditional breakfast tasted extraordinary and kickstarted our engines for the day. 

 

Yong Juan Hin Coffeeshop

Address: 5C, Lorong Ismail, Taman Kulai, 81000 Kulai, Johor, Malaysia

Directions: Google maps | Waze 

Opening hours: 7am – 3pm (Closed on Monday).

Contact: +60 7-663 8806 | Facebook 

 

2. Hike A Mountain Or Walk Through A Bamboo Forest

Nature seekers, raise your hands! I’m the type of traveller (I know it’s just Johor but still) that die, die must have time for a nature respite. With a mountain and a bamboo forest within 30 minutes from the town centre, Kulai is the perfect place for this. 

 

Home to lush greenery and many waterfalls, Gunung Pulai mountain stands at 654m tall — almost 4 times taller than Bukit Timah Hill. Following the 5km tarmac road, you can hike up the mountain and down in about four hours, depending on your speed. But be warned, proper footwear is a must to withstand the steep inclinations. 

 

Alternatively, if you’re just looking to explore the area without the full hiking route, the nearest waterfall is only about 15 to 20 minutes by foot from the entrance. Easy to get to and clear of jostling tourists, it’s a great pop of nature (and photo spot). 

 

Things to take note of:

The mountain is free to enter, however there’s a 3RM fee for parking nearby.

At the entrance, you’ll have to write your name and number on a logbook. 

There’s no sign for opening hours but we know of people who’ve hiked at 6am. When we went, the gatekeepers told us that the gates close at 4:30pm.

The monkeys are ruthless and pounce at the sound of plastic crinkling. 

 

Gunung Pulai 

Address: 81000 Kulai, Johor, Malaysia

Directions: Google maps | Waze

Opening hours: 6am – 4:30pm.

 

Another area to explore is the tranquil Putuo Village. Unlike any typical Singaporean sight, this village is home to 43 acres of bamboo forest surrounding a Buddhist temple. Whether you’re Buddhist or otherwise, there’s no denying the serenity in every moment here. If you’re interested, there are information cards around the compound that guide visitors and share Buddhist practices and stories. 

 

From the side of the temple, a concrete pathway carved with chants led us to the bamboo forest. These tall, elegant trees overlap and form canopies that shade the walkways and make strolling in the tropical heat, comfortable. Pro-tip: take pictures, and spray lots of mosquito repellent.

 

Putuo Village  

Address: 1488, Jalan Kampung, Off, Jalan Kota Tinggi – Kluang, Felda Taib Andak, 81000 Kulai, Johor, Malaysia

Directions: Google maps | Waze

Opening hours: 9am – 6pm.

Contact: +60 7-213 3398

 

3. Lunch: Be Spoilt For Choice at Old Street

After all that walking, you definitely deserve a super shiok lunch. The rustic charm of Kulai Old Street will have you reminiscing about simpler times when food was made with love and so much thought.

 

We stopped by Yuan Lai Wantan Noodle stall that has been around for more than 40 years! To this day, the boss and his wife make everything by hand. At the back of the stall, you’ll find industrial-sized noodle-making machines lit by the sun streaming in from the skylight. 

 

If you enjoy QQ noodles, this is a must-try. With a mystery concoction of fragrant oil, ketchup and chilli sauce, these noodles are paired with thin but flavourful slices of char siew and tender pieces of handmade wontons.

 

Yuan Lai Wantan Noodle  

Address: 3A, Jalan Ismail, Taman Kulai, 81000 Kulai, Johor, Malaysia 

Directions: Google maps | Waze

Opening hours: 5am – 3pm (Closed on Tuesday).

 

Not feeling wonton noodles? Other must-try stalls include Hainanese Beef Noodles, Chicken Rice, Char Kway Teow and more (full article coming soon), check out what else we’ve tried along Lorong Ismail, Kulai here.

 

4. Discover a hidden cafe — JuFei

Now that you’re full and the heat is coming in full force, fight the food coma at this hidden sanctuary. 

 

Enter by an unassuming side gate, Cafe JuFei is located on the top floor of the shophouse next to Yuan Lai Wantan Noodle stall, serving up delectable, aromatic western-style coffee and homemade pastries. Simply enter by the unassuming side gate and you’ll be transported to a cosy cafe sheltered and surrounded by plants!

 

The cafe takes you back in time with its trinkets from 1980s; from vinyl records of Jacky Cheung (张学友) to tear-away coupon boards for soft drinks. And as the smell of coffee and freshly made bread fills the air, everything seems to slow down. Now, find a seat by the window and watch Kulai slowly drift by. 

 

Take your cafe-hopping to Kulai with an unmissable Treehouse Cafe, a Bamboo cafe and more, full article coming soon.

 

Cafe JuFei  

Address: 3D, Jalan Ismail, Taman Kulai, 81000 Kulai, Johor, Malaysia

Directions: Google maps | Waze

Opening hours: 11am – 6pm (Closed on Monday).

Contact: +60 10-668 4458 | Facebook | Instagram

 

5. Go Thrift Shopping For Kitchenware

Relaxed and recharged, our next recommendation is one for the true Meatmen fans. We always present our recipes in chio plates or cookware like this:

 

Now, you can too! Without spending a bomb, Tokyu Collection is a great place for new homeowners, aspiring private dining chefs or anyone who wants to own gorgeous and functional dinnerware. 

 

With endless rows of tableware and kitchenware that fill the warehouse-sized outlet, you’re sure to find something that fits your aesthetic and inspires you to plate up. For us, we found intricately designed Japanese ceramic bowls, full sets of dinner plates and teaware to add to our collection. There were also kitchen tools and utensils going as low as 2RM! 

 

Tokyu Collection  

Address: Lot 2.43-2.47 Kulai Hypermarket, Jalan Anggerik 8, Taman Kulai Utama, 81000, Johor, Malaysia

Directions: Google maps | Waze

Opening hours: 9:30am – 9pm.

Contact: +60 7-662 4498 | Facebook

 

Singapore To Kulai One Day Trip

From The Meatmen’s office, the travel time to Kulai is only 15 minutes more versus going to Orchard on a Friday night. Whether you take the highway or the smaller roads, the drive to Kulai is an easy one with straight and spacious roads. No car, no worries! There are many other ways to get to Kulai from Singapore

 

Kulai is a great town to visit, especially if you want a break from the usual sights of JB Sentral. From old-school eateries to vast landscapes of nature to quiet hidden coffee gems, ditch the city with us and 过来 (come over) to 古来 (Kulai). 

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More of what you might like: 

 

P.S. We’ve got recipes for all your Singaporean and Asian favourites on our Youtube channel. Subscribe and share with your friends!

 

P.P.S. Can’t find a recipe you like? Drop us a comment or ping us on our socials. 

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