Although I am a frequent Johor Bahru (JB) visitor, I have never stepped into the Permas Jaya district prior to our staycation at Renaissance Johor Bahru. So in a way, this is the 1st foreign place I visit in 2017. (Hehe my annual travel resolution is to visit at least a place I’ve never been to before mah…)
Heard from friend that the area around the hotel is more of a place for foodies. True enough, when I googled for information prior to the stay, the results were mainly on food too. I couldn’t really find a lot of information online though, which is probably good to a certain extent, since it likely means it’s off the tourist radar. 😉 As we were only to be there for a night, I thought it’d be better to just be there & decide what to do on the spot.
Following instructions from the friendly hotel reception, we turned right as we left the hotel to explore the area. From our room, we could already see rows of shophouses filled with eateries from afar. Indeed, when we were out on the streets, we could see many coffee shops and eateries, serving local delights such as bak kut teh, duck noodles etc. Several Korean BBQ restaurants were found here as well, in addition to a few cafes such as La Strada Coffee and Spider Bistro & Cafe. In short, this is a foodie’s haven offering all kinds of cuisine, including Western cuisines like Gianni’s Trattoria (Italian fare). Alas, guess Renaissance fed us too well for the afternoon tea, such that we couldn’t stomach anymore food. So we decided to hunt down a massage parlour or nail salon to have some cheap indulgence. 😉
Compared to food places, there were not many masseurs around. In fact, I think we could finish counting them with one hand. We accidentally stumbled upon a sleazy massage parlour, a Vietnam spa that had dark opaque glass door, & customers had to press the door bell first. A skinny man opened the door for us & immediately told us in broken English “boys only”. Through the slightly ajar door, I could see a few scantily dressed Vietnamese women inside. :X
Nail salons were even more scarce, and the few we went in to check prices and availability, were either one-man show or manned by 2 manicurists only. 😦 At 1st, we thought we would be left to rot because the earliest slot for a massage was about 2 hours later in the evening. Fortunately, as we headed back towards the hotel, we decided to try our luck to check with Bangkok Family Spa again. Woohoo!~ They had immediate slots available for 3 of us to do a 60-min traditional Thai massage (53 MYR, S$17.10)!
We were ushered to the massage area on the upper floor (via lift) by the receptionist, then 3 Thai lady masseurs brought us to a “room” to change into the massage robes. Technically it wasn’t a real room, as the “walls” were more of huge curtains that could be drawn down. The “room” could hold up to 6 pax but there was no one else other than us. 😛 It was an enjoyable 1 hour massage where we did various “stunts” with the help of the skilful masseurs. 1 of my sisters claimed it was very painful for her, but I guess that means her body was really “malfunctioning” haha.
Too bad I forgot to take photo of the laid-back wooden decor, typical of a Thai massage parlour. You can refer to its official website for more information. Quite a nice family-friendly spa to enjoy authentic Thai massage by professionally trained masseurs in a clean environment. Actually they have nail spa service too, but too bad only 2 manicurists on duty, so we gave up the idea of doing our nails. If you want to try out their spa service on weekends, be sure to book appointment in advance to avoid disappointment. We realised that they provide free shuttle service to JB City Square/ JB Sentral for their customers too, wonderful service for the economical charges. They stay true to their slogan “平民式收费，帝皇式享受” (enjoy service fit for the royalty at affordable prices). 🙂
Following, we went to the only nearby shopping mall – Aeon Permas Jaya, about 10 to 15-min walk away from the hotel, just across the bridge outside Alliance Bank. This is quite an old shopping mall, only single storey, but it has the Tesco supermarket, food outlets such as KFC & Pizza Hut, and some shops. It is similar to our neighbourhood malls in Singapore. Don’t expect to shop till you drop here. Nonetheless, we managed to grab some bargains at Bata (I bought a decent pair of North Star sneakers at just 30 MYR/ $9.70!), some clothes & casual bag from local retail shops. 😉
It was 7+pm in the evening & by then, it was a lively scene at the Sunday night market around Renaissance Johor Bahru. Just nice that we were done with massage & shopping to start hunting for yummy street food. 🙂 I shall write more about the weekly night market in detail in another post soon. Ending this post with a view of the stretch of night market stalls from the overhead bridge in front of Aeon Permas Jaya carpark. Till my next post… 😉