Get Going: JB Expat Journey Starts Here- Right Here.

It’s a classic norm to do it this way-  take advantage of the close distance to Johor Baru City and travel around; visiting places where expats hangs out. One rule stood out for us: The Fiance and I agreed that we are not allowed to compare our home country to Johor Baru City and we should take as much time as we simply can to explore. The idea is about whether living in this new city is going to be a rewarding experience and because when we decide so, we will spare no effort in aspiring making everything memorable.

The first secret is to take a map and a camera, then just keep walking and driving. Meander where our curiosity takes us. It was here that The Fiance abruptly stopped my philosophical speech and asked his first intelligent question with a quizzed look, “Where are the expats working in Singapore and living in Johor Baru, dear?” Wouldn’t it be great that I knew instantly.The first few words which I got out were, “Any decent living area which is of a 10 to 15 min drive from the Causeways, dear!” This is where we begin doing cartography- Study of Maps.

Two interesting spots were circled on our crumpled maps: Johor Baru City Centre and Nusajaya, the closest flagship zones of Iskandar Malaysia to Singapore.


My quest for small-step change geographically; the beginning of the cheap expat.


After the usual kerfuffles over with The Fiance over where we should stay and why, i got curious enough to dig in a bit about Johor Baru City. We have  good jobs in Singapore, and while life is not-to-bad in Singapore, who knows. The Fiance says that we are “humanoids” of the existing society and we totally resemble productions of Singapore: Kiasuism, Kapoh, Curious But Not Brave Enough etc.  He says he don’t think we can last more than a month relocating to Johor Baru. Anyway, The Fiance never said NO to my relocation challenge. After all, what is wrong with getting fresh experiences. We plan to get married soon and at the moment, we both live with our own mum and dad.The Mums and The Dads are keen for us to stay with them and I can see good reasons in doing so. But we are restless and we want Independence.

Renting in Singapore is not cheap, I wondered if maybe there are some ways that our salary could stretched further in getting a decent living standard. Maybe Iskandar Malaysia could be the place. The first thing we had to know was what Iskandar Malaysia is all about and whether it cuts as a place to suit our particular needs and interests.

The results are fascinating. It shows that it is going to be a PAIN staying in Iskandar Malaysia. We created many lists and rankings we could think up with. Will it be safe traveling, staying at night? Is traffic predictable? Can we afford the cost of daily commuting? Will we be successful in integrating with the local community? Will it be an extremely boring place? Will our workplace forgives us when we are late for work? Will our parents be pissed and embarrassed that their children are staying in Johor Baru City? The city does not seem to make the cut.

At first thought, we should turn away from Iskandar Malaysia as it is not an ideal city yet. But we wonder again, ” There must some other better ways to measure the livability of Johor Baru City besides mere discussions.” We need to rank base on experience and of people staying there, and I mean other expats. Why? Because we need to observe from an all-rounded perspective.  All plays a part in our ability to adapt to a new place which is among the biggest challenges when planning for a relocation. And according to many online posts, expat working in Singapore while living in Johor Baru does exists in Johor Baru.The Mums and The Dads should stay worrying now.