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How well-equipped is this city for those raising infants/toddlers? Specifically, are there public places to change diapers, maintained playgrounds, etc?
Generally, public places are not suitable for changing baby diapers. Parents do stroll along the parks to change diapers, and deposit the used diapers in nearby bins. Or they simply change their babies’ diapers in their baby strollers. Most of the residential areas which are gated and guarded have well-maintained playgrounds.

Where can I get a list of reliable childcare providers/nannies?
There are currently no reliable sources. Most of the time people obtain information on child care providers / nannies via word of mouth and internet websites. We would also suggest getting referrals from the expat associations.

Discuss any safety issues for children in this city.
Lock the car door as soon as you get into the car with your children.

Avoid walking around the city alone with your child. Aim to do so in groups of preferably three or more, for safety reasons.

In the evening, only go to areas with good security such as malls and private clubs.

Using restrooms (especially with kids) in petrol kiosks after sunset is not advisable. In the event that you do get robbed you are advised to give up most, if not all, of your valuables to avoid putting your personal safety as well as your child's safety in jeopardy.

Tap water should be boiled before drinking. As a rule of thumb, the general hawker food scene in Johor Bahru is hygienic though certain areas are less so and it’s best to be vigilant. Take bottled water with you when you travel to rural areas.

What are the most popular kid-friendly attractions in the area?
Legoland Malaysia, which is the first in Asia and sixth in the world to open and has over 70 interactive rides, shows and attractions. It is located at Nusajaya, in the state of Johor, three and a half hour's drive from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur and one hour from Singapore.

Johor Bahru Zoo, across the street (Jalan Gertak Merah) from the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque. This is one of the oldest zoos in Malaysia. It was built by Sultan Ibrahim in 1928 and became the private menagerie of the royal family, opening to the public in 1962. There is a pond inside the zoo where you can rent boats, as well as a children's playground. To get there from the city center, take any of the frequent buses that go to Skudai and beyond from the bus stop in front of the old railway station at Jalan Tun Abdul Razak.

Saleng Zoo, Kulai (along the way from Jalan Skudai all the way past Senai town). A private zoo which has been reasonably well-maintained.

Sanrio Hello Kitty Town is a place for Hello Kitty fans to explore Hello Kitty’s home, watch live-on-stage performance, ride for fun and theme park. It is located at Puteri Harbour, Johor. 

What are the most popular activities for kids after school or on weekends?
They get involved in jogging, leisure walks or games of badminton at open area in the parks. They might play soccer with their friends in open fields or at their own school. Sometimes they cool down their weekends by participating in water activities at:

  • Danga Bay Renting a paddle boat to explore the area is a fun activity.
  • Stulang Laut: windsurfing activities

The more adventurous kids will enjoy checking out the following places either with their parents or on a school trip:-

  • Pulau Sibu PADI Dive Centre, The nearest PADI dive center to JB, located on the small island of Pulau Sibu within the Cabanas Resort; an excellent weekend island break for scuba divers. PADI scuba diving courses are also available.
  • Dan's Nasty Frogmen Dive Base at Sea Gypsy illage on Pulau Sibu There are boat dives and scuba dives daily, in the morning and in the afternoon. Scuba diving is taught from the age of eight years, starting with Scuba Rangers. There are also morning and afternoon snorkelling excursions to uninhabited islands. Sailing boats are available for hire, as are paddle skis, kayaks and boogie boards. Taxis to Tanjong Leman are easily available, depart at 7:00 a.m. for the 9:00 a.m. boat. You can depart Pulau Sibu at 5:30 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.; the resort will order a taxi to Johor Bahru for your return trip. Sea Gypsy Village operates a bus service from Johor Bahru daily at midday to connect with its 2:00 p.m. boat; guests are on the island by 2:30 p.m.
  • Desaru – a sleepy seaside resort town located on the eastern part of Johor, about two hours away by car
  • Endau Rompin National Park
  • Gunung Ledang – a 1,276 meters high mountain near the border of Johor and Malacca states, popular with trekkers, campers and students on field trips
  • Gunung Pulai
  • Kota Tinggi - Waterfall Park
  • Kukup - a seaside town along the western part of Johor, well known for its water village and its good and reasonably priced seafood
  • Mersing - in the north eastern part of Johor, about two and a half hours’ drive from Johor Bahru, and the gateway to the beautiful island of Tioman.


What's it like to be a teenager in this city? Are there any particular challenges I should be aware of as a parent?
It is usually seen as being fun, with a rising number of educational as well as recreational activities in the city for teenagers, and yearly academic/sports competitions among schools/colleges for students.

As a parent, you should be it’s advisable to stay aware of who your teens’ friends and acquaintances are, as crimes involving teenagers do occur from time to time.

Are there any organizations/social groups in the area that cater exclusively to young people ages 12-17?
There are specifically no such groups, as most youngsters know how to entertain themselves via the various kid-friendly areas listed above.

I want my child to get the most out of our stay in this country. Are there any specific opportunities to teach young people about the local culture?
The Johor Society for the Performing Arts (JSPA): a non-commercial Society, dedicated to the advancement, promotion and development of the performing arts in JB, is one place you might be interested in. Besides this, make sure you get involved in the state’s various festivities, like Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali and Thaipusam.
There will also be open houses during the major festivals of the country in various designated places in Johor. Everyone is invited to freely enjoy the local delicacies served at such open houses.
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