Batu Pahat and Muar are two cities in the Johor state of Malaysia that are known for their rich heritage, delicious food and friendly locals. With only two days to explore both cities, visitors can experience the best of what each city has to offer with a short Batu Pahat and Muar itinerary. If you don’t have enough time to spare for an overnight trip, you can also use this itinerary for a Batu Pahat day trip or Muar day trip.
In Batu Pahat, visitors can go cafe-hopping and check out the local museum. Moving on to Muar, visitors can take a stroll along the river and admire the stunning views of the city’s short but distinctive skyline. They can also visit the parks for picnics and outdoor activities or go for a cultural walk. Finally, visitors to Muar should not miss out on the famous Muar Otak-Otak, a delicious local delicacy made from fish paste.
Batu Pahat and Muar are both accessible by car. From Kuala Lumpur, it takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours to reach Batu Pahat and 2 to 2.5 hours to reach Muar. The North-South Expressway (PLUS) is the main highway that connects Kuala Lumpur to both towns.
Travelling by bus is a convenient and affordable option for those who do not have access to a car. There are several bus companies that operate daily trips between Kuala Lumpur and Batu Pahat or Muar. The journey takes approximately 3 to 4 hours, depending on traffic conditions. Some popular bus companies include Transnasional, KKKL Express, and S&S International. From Singapore, there are direct buses to Muar and to Batu Pahat. The journey to Muar takes approximately 3 to 4 hours while Batu Pahat is about 2 to 2.5 hours from Singapore.
Day 1: Batu Pahat
Batu Pahat is a charming town located in the southern part of Malaysia and is a great place to start the 2-day itinerary. Batu Pahat is a university town so don’t be surprised by the hipster cafes that you see here which seem to be disproportionate to the small population of the town. In the morning, visitors can explore the town’s rich history by visiting the Galeri Dato Onn Batu Pahat. The museum showcases the life and times of a former head of government of Johor. Visitors can also learn about the town’s role in the country’s struggle for independence.
After the museum, visitors can take a stroll through the Batu Pahat Old Street (Old Street Commercial Centre), which is lined with trendy shops and cafes. Cafes to check out here include 1970 Cafe which has pretty good traditional kopi and nasi lemak. Don’t miss the murals near the parking lot that depict how life used to be in Batu Pahat.
For lunch, visitors can head to Chop See Kee, which is popular for wanton noodles. Alternatively, head to Hai Kee Hawker Centre by the river and take your pick among the many food stalls there. Those looking for halal options can check out Nasi Beriani Mohd Shahi. The place doles out cheap, generous-sized and most importantly, delicious portions of lamb biryani!
After lunch, you can cool off and take shelter in a cafe. One unique cafe to check out is Niqiu Space. It’s a treasure trove of a space filled with vintage items and a small garden in the middle of the cafe. The second floor space is sometimes used to host independent artists selling their wares. You will find the unassuming entrance to this cafe a few doors down from Chop See Kee. Ask for directions from the friendly shopkeeper out front if you’re lost!
If you have your own car, you can also explore Minyak Beku Beach located to the southwest of town. There are benches and shaded pavilions by the beach which makes it a popular hangout spot among locals. There is also a historical marker for the Batu Pahat Well near the beach. While the well itself looks unassuming, the name of the town was said to originate from it and there are speculations on how the well came to be, with a Tourism Malaysia signboard giving a short explanation beside the site.
After finishing the sights in Batu Pahat, start to travel to Muar by taking a 45-minute drive via Jalan Muar. Before reaching Muar itself, make a short stop at Parit Jawa.
Parit Jawa is a fishing village at the outskirts of Muar. It is famous for its seafood and the area by the sea has a lot of seafood eateries to choose from. You can choose to have an early dinner here in the area called Pantai Leka – the fishing port – before making your way to Muar town.
While in Parit Jawa, you have to check out this whimsical / picturesque house behind Daily Happy Otak Otak (Jalan Jabbar). It’s done up by the owners of the store and aims to recreate olden times, complete with vintage signage and decor.
Proceed directly to Muar for the evening and stay the night.
Day 2: Muar
One of the most popular places to start your day in Muar is at Kopi 434 Muar. Coffee lovers will be dazzled by their drinks menu, which contains more than a dozen types of coffee. Their kopi is placed in traditional porcelain cups but customers who order the more expensive coffee variations will get their coffee in a fancy western-style cup. While here, don’t miss out on their otak-otak bun which is a must-order. Do note that it can get very crowded when you come during the peak hours of 9AM to 10AM during weekends.
After a hearty breakfast, visitors can head to Tanjung Emas, a popular recreational park located along the Muar River. The park features a scenic view of the river and a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy, such as jogging, cycling, and boating. Here, you’ll also find the Masjid Jamek Sultan Ibrahim, one of the oldest mosques in Muar which combines Victorian and Moorish architectural styles.
Another attraction worth visiting in the morning is the Muar Cultural Walk, a pedestrian-friendly street that showcases the town’s rich cultural heritage. It is located on a side street off Jalan Meriam. The walk itself consists of a number of street art, with some being 3D. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the street to soak in the vibrant atmosphere of the town.
The whole town center of Muar can be considered a living, functioning tourist attraction. Here, one will find the largest ensemble of colonial shophouses in Malaysia outside of Penang, Melaka and Ipoh. Many of the streets house age-old businesses selling everything from confectionery, to hardware stores and small restaurants. The good news is that the streets are laid out in a grid so it’s easy to find your way and explore the city center area.
For lunch, visitors can head to the famous Glutton Street, located in the heart of Muar town in Jalan Haji Abu. The street is lined with a variety of food stalls and restaurants serving local delicacies such as otak-otak, mee bandung, and satay. Visitors can sample a variety of dishes and immerse themselves in the local food culture.
After lunch, visitors can visit the Muar Art Gallery, located outside of the town center. The gallery-cum-cafe features a collection of contemporary and traditional art pieces by local artists and visitors can participate in art workshops including some kids-friendly activities.
Another attraction worth visiting is the Muar River Cruise (MYR 20 (adult) / MYR 15 (child) / MYR 30 (foreigners), which offers a scenic view of the town while passing through some of the historical landmarks. The cruise duration is 30 minutes and there is an audio recording that explains the various buildings visitors get to see during the trip. Do note that unlike other river cruises in Malaysia, the Muar River Cruise is not a sunset cruise and they operate only until 5:30PM.
In the evening, visitors can head to the Muar Night Market, a bustling market that comes alive after sunset in Jalan Sisi. The market features a variety of stalls selling everything from local snacks to clothing. Visitors can sample the local delicacies and shop for souvenirs.
You can also choose to head back to Tanjung Emas in the evening as the park takes on a different look at night. You’ll find that much of the park is lit up with fairy lights, with the I Love Muar sign lit up as well. Families gather here with peddlers selling everything from snacks to toys for the little ones.
Where to Stay in Muar & Batu Pahat
When planning a two-day itinerary for Batu Pahat and Muar, finding the right accommodation is essential. Fortunately, both cities offer a range of options to suit different preferences and budgets.
In Batu Pahat, some of the most popular options include:
- The Katerina Hotel: A modern four-star hotel located in the heart of Batu Pahat. It offers comfortable rooms, a rooftop pool, and a fitness center. Family rooms are available.
- The Summit Signature Hotel: A budget-friendly option that offers clean and cozy rooms. It is located near The Summit Batu Pahat Mall and other attractions.
In Muar, some of the most popular options include:
- Muo Boutique Hotel: A modern hotel housed in a heritage building located in the heart of Muar. Rooms are on the smaller side but possess a slightly hip vibe. Book early as this hotel tends to get sold out.
- Remington Hotel: Located right next to the Wetex Parade Shopping Mall, this is an old hotel that has been recently renovated. Rooms are spacious.
Where to Eat in Muar & Batu Pahat
When it comes to food in Batu Pahat and Muar, visitors will be spoilt for choice. There are plenty of local eateries that offer delicious and authentic food at affordable prices. Here are some of the best places to eat in Batu Pahat and Muar:
- Han Kee Cake and Cafe: This is a popular spot for breakfast and for afternoon tea as they serve a variety of drinks and pastries. Make sure to try their Otah Bread while here.
- Asam Pedas Mak Limah: This is the place to go for Malay style sour/spicy dishes. Asam Pedas is the kind of gravy that goes very well with fish.
- Mee Bandung Abu Bakar Hanipah: This is a famous noodle shop that serves up spicy and tangy mee bandung. The shop is located at Jalan Abdullah.
- Cafe 1988: A beautiful standalone cafe in a residential area. Try their Japanese curry, croffles and molten lava cake.