Farm-oriented Johor Tour: A Day with Crocodiles, Ostriches & Fireflies

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If you are planning a day trip from Singapore, why not do a self-drive Johor tour and visit the farms in Kota Tinggi-Desaru?

Just a short drive to nearby rural Malaysia and you find yourself in quite a different world...


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On this page:

[Things to See and Do]

[Farms & Fireflies on Johor Map]

[Self-drive Itinerary fr Singapore]

[If You Don't Want to Drive]

It's quite amazing what a short drive north of the border can do for you. Whether you are a city-weary Singaporean or a first-time traveller to Singapore, you'll love the refreshing feel of Johor's countryside.

One weekend in February 2008, I did a self-drive Johor tour, taking in the farms and nature spots on the Singapore-Kota Tinggi-Desaru loop. I was quite focused on the task: quickly snap some photos, collect information and move on.

I did not expect to be so disarmed by the easy charm of the folks in rural Johor. "Why are you in such a hurry?" they asked, and urged me to take it easy, join them for coffee by the riverside and enjoy the breeze.

Here, I found a community not too eager to get business over with. Here, I did not feel like a tourist. Here, I believe is the cure for the rush-and-dash lifestyle I've got so used to.

I must admit I found this change of pace quite seductive. And I vowed to go off the beaten path again, next time doing this very Johor tour more slowly so that I could take in the breeze...

So what can you do on this Johor tour?

Farm-oriented Johor Tour - aggressive crocodile waiting to pounce at Kota Tinggi Crocodile Farm.

How about feeding a 130-year-old crocodile as it stands on its hinds at Mr Ng's Crocodile Farm?

Farm-oriented Johor Tour - View of Bob's Homestay from jetty. Or fishing, monkey-spotting, and simply lazing in a hammock under a tree at Bob's Homestay?
Farm-oriented Johor Tour - A curious ostrich at the Desaru Ostrich Farm. Or watching an ostrich chick hatch at the Desaru Ostrich Farm?
Farm-oriented Johor Tour - Boat ride to see fireflies.

Or taking a boat down-river to see thousands of fireflies among the mangroves on a moonless night?

No Johor tour is complete without doing one of these...

Johor Farms & Fireflies on Map

These Johor tour spots are marked by the camera icons in the Johor map below. Click on any camera icon to see what it is. They are (from north to south):

  1. Kota Tinggi Fireflies Tour (jetty on the Johor River)
  2. Kota Tinggi Crocodile Farm + Bob's Homestay (green house icon)
  3. Desaru Fruit Farm
  4. Desaru Ostrich Farm

I've funnelled all my findings into a self-drive itinerary. You could do this Johor tour as a day trip from Singapore. But if time permits you, why not do it over two days and have more time to take in the breeze? So here goes...

A Self-drive Johor Tour Itinerary
(With Farms, Departing from Singapore)

Do it in a day or over the weekend...

Johor Tour Stops
Distance Covered
Stage 1
Singapore > Johor Bahru > Highway 3 (bypassing Kota Tinggi) > Highway 92 > Teluk Sengat Turn-off
68 km

Specific instructions:

Departing Singapore

  • The fastest way to get to Kota Tinggi-Desaru is by the Woodlands-JB Causeway. Plan to leave early and be at the customs preferably before 7am, if not by 8am. This will help you beat the the jams both at the Causeway as well as the trunk road leading to Kota Tinggi.

  • The Malaysian authorities has re-instated the use of the Immigration Card, commonly called the 'white card'. So try to get hold of these before you travel (read: pick them up when you pass by a travel agency). Or get hold of them at the booths which give them out, just when you reach the Malaysian end of the Causeway.

    To cut down on delays, fill up the Immigration Cards before you reach the immigration officer.

Leaving Johor Customs for Teluk Sengat Turn-off
(Driving distance: 68 km)

For those who have not used the Causeway for a while, do note that the Johor Bahru customs have been shifted to the new Customs Immigration and Quarantine Complex (aka Sultan Iskandar Complex) since December 2008.

To get onto the Tebrau Highway which leads to Kota Tinggi/Desaru, do the following after clearing immigration at the Sultan Iskandar Complex:

  1. After getting onto the main road (a highway), look out for a Shell Petrol Station on the left side of the road.

  2. Keep to the left side of the road. Take the first exit after this petrol station. You'll come to a cross junction.

  3. Turn right at this junction onto Tebrau Highway (aka Jalan Tebrau). You should see signboards along the way, assuring you that you are heading towards Kota Tinggi.


Alternative Starting Point:

If you

  1. have been shopping at the city centre, OR
  2. are picking up your rental car at the city centre,

and you're are coming from Jalan Wong Ah Fook, following these instructions:

  • Drive along Jalan Wong Ah Fook and after 2 traffic lights, keep right and go under a vehicular-bridge. There's a sign under the bridge that says the right-most lane goes to Jalan Kota Tinggi. This lane takes you to Jalan Tebrau, which finally becomes Highway 3.

(Note: It's absolutely important you get this first part right - see map below. Thereafter, the road signs would do the job for you!)

Bottom blue balloon:
U-Turn to Jalan Wong Ah Fook

Top blue balloon:
Go under this vehicle bridge to get to Kota Tinggi

  • After about 37 km from Johor Bahru (on Highway 3), you'll see an exit to Kota Tinggi Town. Do NOT turn onto it. Continue onwards for (roughly) another 4 km until you come to a junction with Highway 92. There's a sign at this junction saying that a right turn will take you to Desaru. Make this right turn onto Highway 92.

  • Drive on for another 25 km and you will come to the Teluk Sengat Turn-off.

Stage 2

Teluk Sengat Turn-off > Teluk Sengat Village
- Visit Crocodile World
- Lunch at Sengat Seafood Restaurant (halal)

Teluk Sengat Village > Teluk Sengat Turn-off

8 km


8 km

Specific instructions:

  • Turn into Teluk Sengat. You will be driving through an oil palm area on a not-so-perfect sealed road. After about 6 km, you'll see a huge sign. It says that going straight would lead you to 'Taman Buaya' (Malay for Crocodile Farm/Park). Take this one. The village is a small place. It's easy to find the farm and the restaurant.

  • Kota Tinggi Crocodile Farm:
    • Address: Lot 1289 Jln Sembilan, Kampung Belading, Teluk Sengat, 81940 Kota Tinggi, Johor.
    • Fee: Adult RM 8, Child, RM 4.
    • Tel: +60 7 8955220, +60 16 7162727, +60 13 7775508. You need to call if the gate is locked. Mr Ng, the owner, will come to your attention.
    • Open daily 9am - 6pm.

  • Sengat Seafood Restaurant:
    • 58, Jalan Belanak, Teluk Sengat, 81940 Kota Tinggi, Johor.
    • Open daily 11.30am - 10pm.

Staying a Night: Finding Good Johor Tour Accommodation...

  1. If you intend to stay a night on this tour, I recommend the village-style accommodation at Bob's Homestay - it's really back-to-nature. It's in the same area as the Crocodile Farm.

  2. About 6 km after you turn into Teluk Sengat from Highway 92, you'll see a huge signboard indicating the direction to Bob's Homestay. Just follow the sign and you'll arrive at an area called Johor Lama (or Old Johor). Follow more 'Bob's Homestay' signs and you arrive at this quaint little pad of a Malaysian village. (I'd soon be doing a feature on the property. So watch this space)

  3. Bob's Homestay:
    • Address: 48, Lorong Bahtera, Kampung Johor Lama, 81900 Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia
    • Tel: +60 7 8955217 Siti / Bob

Stage 3
Teluk Sengat Turn-off > Highway 92 > Desaru Fruit Farm
16 km
  • Coming back to the Teluk Sengat Turn-off, turn right onto Highway 92 in the direction of Desaru / Pengerang.

  • Desaru Fruit Farm Entrance Fee: Adult RM 20, Child RM 10. Minimum 4 persons for Guided Farm Tour to go ahead. So if your group is 3 or less, you may only browse the store and buy cut fruit.

Tip for Visitors:

July 2008 Update:

I was able to visit the Desaru Fruit Farm on 19 June 08. My guided tour was hosted by Ina, who was very knowledgeable and gave us a very good explanation about the the plants at the farm.

I found their prices for fruits to be reasonable too. For example, an unusual rose apple hybrid cost RM 6 per kilo here. Jaya Jusco at Tebrau City Shopping Centre was selling it at RM 6.50 per kilo.

An alternative for cheap fresh fruits is the road-side fruit stalls along Jalan Mawai in Kota Tinggi Town (see the map below). Here, the stalls are manned by very friendly Malay families out to make an honest living.

Their prices are often less than half of those in Singapore. And they do not differentiate between 'local price' and 'tourist price'. I bought 6 succulent honey mangoes for about 70 Singapore cents each. They would have cost me S$2 each in Singapore.

For that, these folks have my greatest respect. Please buy something from them if you go on this Johor tour.

Stage 4
Desaru Fruit Farm > Highway 92 > Highway 90 > Desaru Ostrich Farm
30 km
  • At the end of Highway 92, turn left onto Highway 90 to Desaru Ostrich Farm. There's a huge banner here - you can't miss it.

  • Desaru Ostrich Farm:
    • EMR 15, Teluk Ramunia, Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia.
    • Entrance Fee: Adult RM 12, Child RM 8.
    • Open daily 10am - 6pm

Stage 5

Desaru Ostrich Farm > Highway 90 > Highway 92 > Kota Tinggi Town
- Buy some fresh tropical fruits along Jalan Mawai

- Dinner at New Mui Tou Restaurant
- Fireflies Tour

72 km
  • Basically you back-track till the end of Highway 92 where you hit a T-junction. Turn left onto Jalan Tun Sri Lanang until you see Plaza Kota Tinggi (you can't miss it; it's the tallest building in Kota Tinggi). Just past the building, turn onto Jalan Niaga.

  • Follow the road for about 700m. You'll reach an area by the river, where you'll see the pinkish Seri Kota Hotel. Just walk towards the river and you'll see a little jetty. Fireflies Tour!

  • Fireflies Tour:
    • Depart 7pm, 8pm. Extra trips depending on demand.
    • Tour fare: Please contact the operator directly for the latest tour fare.
    • Tel: +60 13 7785999

  • Dinner:
    • New Mui Tou Restaurant (on Jalan Jaafar up the road)
    • Many other options around the area.

  • Cheap fruit stalls along Jalan Mawai in the direction of Mersing.

  • This Johor tour effectively ends after the fireflies boat ride. To return to Singapore, go onto Highway 3 (Jalan Johor), cross the bridge (see above) and you're on your way.

Stage 6
Kota Tinggi Town > Highway 3 > Johor Bahru > Singapore
43 km
245 km

If You Don't Drive or Don't Want to Drive

There are many Singapore travel agents who do this out-of-Singapore Johor tour, taking in some or all of the farms mentioned. Just go down to town (Chinatown / Orchard Road) and ask. I'm sure some agency will have the tour. One that I trust and regularly use is Luxury Tours & Travel (Level 2, Le Meridien Shopping Centre, Orchard Road, Tel: +65 67332808).

A trickier option is to take a bus over to Johor Bahru. Then approach a taxi driver and negotiate a price to take you to these agro-attractions. But if you want to do your Johor tour this way, be sure to bargain. Decide whether you can trust the fella to take you through the entire itinerary. I advise you take this option with extreme caution.

Photo Tours of Johor Farms

Check out the fireflies of this Johor tour. See also the crocodiles, ostriches and the curious-looking tropical fruits at Desaru Fruit Farm.

Johor Farm Tour FAQs

Check out these commonly asked questions about the Johor farms.

[Your may print this page for your self-drive Johor tour. However, do not put a copy on your website. Instead, use a link to this page.]

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