Going cashless in Johor Bahru, and Malaysia in general, is simple and easy.
And no, I’m not talking about a credit card or a special multi-currency travel wallet.
Instead, I am referring to the NETS bank card.
Over 41,000 locations accepting NETS
Most of us probably own a NETS bank card and carry it in our wallets.
The good news is that this little card is accepted at over 41,000 NETS merchants in Malaysia. This includes Johor Bahru, of course, which is only a few minutes ride away.
Paying with NETS means you can skip the money changer and potentially never have to carry and sort through a thick wad of Malaysian ringgits again.
In addition, the conversion rate is comparable to that of traditional money changers.
Competitive exchange rate with no conversion and administration fees
Unlike conventional credit cards, there are no conversion, administration and hidden fees when you use NETS to pay at all the places mentioned above,
Plus, you can expect a competitive conversion rate comparable to what you’ll find at money changers when paying with NETS.
This rate will automatically reflect on your NETS receipt after making a payment, where you will be charged in Singapore dollars after conversion.
Now that you know what to expect, here are some pre-selected NETS merchants, ranging from food to shopping to groceries, to check out on your next visit across the border.
Food: the five
The Five is a friendly, health-focused restaurant that’s about a 30-minute drive from Second Link at Tuas.
Its Chinese name 五色餐 translates to a meal consisting of five colors, and as the name suggests, each plate comes in a plethora of colors.
In addition to being aesthetic for the eyes, the variety of foods in different colors is also nourishing for the body.
That’s because there’s a good mix of fruits, vegetables, and proteins on the plate, each of which is loaded with unique and essential vitamins and nutrients.
Prices start from RM9.90 for an egg sandwich and go up to RM30.90 for a salmon fried brown rice set.
The good news is that The Five has a promotion by December 31, 2022, where you can enjoy 10% off with a minimum spend of RM50 in one receipt when you pay with NETS.
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Address: 56 Jalan Eko Botani 3/6 Taman Eko Botani 79100 Gelang Patah, Johor, Malaysia
Food: Tasixi Hong Kong Dim Sum
As the name suggests, Tasixi Hong Kong Dim Sum serves dim sum.
It’s about a 30 minute drive from Second Link in Tuas, but you might want to get there earlier as it seems to be a popular brunch spot with locals.
Like all other dim sum restaurants, you can expect to see the usual suspects such as char siew bao, siew mai, chee cheong fun, har gao, and salty egg yolk buns at Tasixi Hong. Kong Dim Sum.
They also serve other sweet and savory Chinese snacks.
Although there is no menu online, a pork and egg congee is RM4, while a soup dumpling platter is RM9.80, based on a recent receipt uploaded to Facebook.
It’s similar to prices in Singapore, except it’s three times cheaper because it’s in ringgit.
Additionally, NETS users will enjoy a 10% discount with a minimum spend of RM80 in one receipt when paying with NETS at Tasixi Hong Kong Dim Sum by December 31, 2022.
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Address: 58, Jalan Eko Botani 3/2, 79100 Gelang Patah, Johor, Malaysia
Food: Manzanita Patisserie & Bakery
Manzanita Patisserie & Boulangerie is another brunch option near Eco Botanic City in Johor Bahru, which is about a 30-minute drive from Second Link in Tuas.
The bakery specializes in all sorts of western pastries and sweet treats, perfect for afternoon tea and the sweet tooth.
These can be enjoyed with freshly brewed coffee and tea, or juices, smoothies and other caffeine-free options.
They also have afternoon tea platter options, which includes a mix of small savory and sweet bites, but at a fraction of the price after converting the 1:3 exchange rate.
On top of that, Manzanita also serves main courses for those who prefer a larger meal.
Options include western dishes, such as breakfast, pizza, pasta, etc., as well as local dishes like nasi lemak, mee goreng, and chicken rice.
To make visiting Manzanita a little more enjoyable, pay with NETS to enjoy 10% off when you spend a minimum of RM80 in one receipt by December 31, 2022.
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Address: 1, Jalan Eko Botani 3/4, Taman Eko Botani, 79100 Iskandar Puteri, Johor Bahru.
Food: Lee Cha
LeeCha is conveniently located close to the previous two spots if you’re looking for something refreshing to wash down all the food or finish your meal with a sweet but healthy drink.
The dessert and beverage shop concocts many of their drinks using healthy ingredients, such as fruits and vegetables, and is more than just a bubble tea shop.Other nutritious ingredients include soy milk, chia seeds, and pine nuts.
For those feeling a little more adventurous, they can try LeeCha’s fruit cafe, which is perhaps the most unique offering on their menu.
The store also serves milk tea, for those who prefer to stick to the classics, and a small selection of hot drinks, fruit beers and fruit-based dessert bowls.
For those feeling peckish, they even offer light bites ranging from standard fries for RM7.90 to something a bit more unique like chicken cutlet pizza for RM13.90.
Night owls should bookmark LeeCha as the store opens until 1am, making it an ideal gathering spot.
Prices start at an affordable price from RM9.90 and go up to a maximum of RM16.90, but NETS users get 10% off with a minimum spend of RM25 in one receipt when pay with NETS at LeeCha by December 31, 2022.
Address: 42 Jalan Eko Botani 3/3 Taman Eko Botani 79100 Gelang Patah, Johor, Malaysia
Business hours : 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Shopping: Johor Bahru Town Square
If you have been to Johor Bahru from Woodlands Checkpoint, Johor Bahru City Square needs no introduction.
Indeed, the shopping center is located just in front of the customs of the Sultan Iskandar building.
If you want to go to Johor Bahru but don’t want to travel far, the good news is that you can just spend the day at Johor Bahru City Square, which might have everything you might need.
The mall has seven levels of stores, ranging from food and beverage outlets to beauty and wellness services and fashion stores.
One place to visit is Jean Yip Hub, which is located on the fourth level of City Square.
Most Singaporeans should have heard of Jean Yip, which is a local hair salon brand.
With the 1:3 exchange rate, Jean Yip is likely to be relatively more accessible and affordable in Malaysia than in Singapore.
Those visiting Johor Bahru for a day trip should consider stopping at Jean Yip’s in City Square, or one of the other shops in the mall, many of which accept NETS payment.
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Address: 106 – 108, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor
Shopping: Paradigm Mall, Johor Bahru
Paradigm Mall is yet another hotspot for Singaporeans visiting Johor Bahru.
It’s easy to see why Johor Bahru’s largest mall attracts so many Singaporeans, as it has an extensive store directory with 500 stores.
That pretty much means it’s a one stop shop, where there’s something for everyone from young to old.
Unlike Johor Bahru City Square, some travel is required to get to Paradigm Mall, which is about a 30-minute drive from Woodlands Checkpoint.
But the trip is worth it as Paradigm Mall has a climbing gym, a high-end supermarket and an ice skating rink under its gigantic roof.
While at Paradigm Mall, you should definitely consider dropping by Daiso.
If you are not already aware, Daiso offers in Singapore are no longer 2 Singapore dollars. Fortunately, however, this is not the case at Daiso in Malaysia, where items still cost 2 Singapore dollars, or more precisely 1.90 Singapore dollars after conversion.
With NETS, you’ll never have to worry about running out of money again, so you can shop to your heart’s content at Daiso at Paradigm Mall.
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Address: Paradigm Mall Johor Bahru, Paradigm Mall, Lot 3FK-12J, Third Floor, Jalan Bertingkat Skudai, 81200, Johor, Malaysia
How to use NETS in Johor Bahru and Malaysia
If you want to use NETS on your next visit to Johor Bahru or Malaysia, all you have to do is watch the traders with the NETS sticker displayed on their storefront.
Note that there is no minimum spend for NETS payments in Malaysia, and it is not necessary to activate your NETS bank card for use abroad.
The PIN authentication process ensures that your NET funds and payments are safe and secure, allowing for a hassle-free shopping experience.
With NETS, you’ll never have to worry about running out of Malaysian ringgits to spend again while you’re in Malaysia again.
The author of this NETS sponsored article is looking forward to being able to pay cashless and pay with NETS in Johor Bahru.
Top image by 新山生活誌/JB City Guide from The Five 五色餐/Facebook, HorLeong Loh from Google Maps and Michelle Chew