I wanted to make a trip to Johor Bahru just for the purpose of shopping and eating on a Sunday morning. But instead of the usual trip to Johor Bahru city itself, I took a different path by going to Sutera Mall which is at Taman Sutera Utama, Skudai. So I took a MRT to Jurong East interchange and locate the bus CW4 at the bus interchange and pay for my bus ticket which cost S$4 for a single trip. The CW4 bus is operated by Causeway Link and the bus is painted yellow in color. The trip from Jurong East interchange to the 2nd link custom checkpoint was fast and smooth. I think it only took 15 minutes to reach the Singapore CIQ and then followed by the Malaysian CIQ. Clearance was fast at both of the custom checkpoints and the bus sped on the highway; and then moved into the small town before stopping at a small interchange. Over there, the bus stop for 15 minutes, picking up passengers and the move on again. The entire journey took about 1 hour 30 minutes before I finally arrived at Sutera Mall.
After a long ride in the bus, I alight at the bus stop and walked towards the huge car park in front of the mall. The car park was very spacious indeed and I could see a lot of vehicles parking and moving along. Sutera Mall is very long in width but short in height. That is the typical design of many malls in Johor Bahru. It is relatively a new mall – only 2 years old and there is only 3 levels – the basement, the ground floor and the first floor. Though there were many people at that time, it does not feel congested at all as the mall is very spacious; with wide corridors and walking space. Just right outside the mall, I saw 3 rows of 3 storey shop houses; and there are many restaurants over there. Besides restaurants, there are 2 budget hotels – the Kingston Hotel and the J Hotel. The cheapest rate for a single night is about RM$90 which I think is very reasonable. Both the Kingston Hotel and J Hotel have family rooms too – the rate is from RM$130 – $180 without breakfast.
There are simply too many food outlets in Sutera Mall. I think the management of this mall should add more non food outlets to have a good merchandise and tenant mixed in this place. Anyway, I went to KFC and bought a meal set for lunch. The KFC outlet at this mall is very spacious but there was a long queue at the counter – perhaps they should get more staff to take orders. There is also Season restaurant – for those who love ice cream and western food. The anchor tenant for this mall is Carrefour which occupies the ground and first floor level. This hypermarket is always crowded with shoppers. I just wonder why do some people need buy so much food? There is also a small pharmacy shop on the first floor but it carries a limited range of merchandise due to its small size. I saw many vacant shop units at Sutera Mall and wonder why stores like Watsons, Guardian and MacDonald s are not setting up their business here?
I spend about 5 hours in Sutera Mall and also visited the rows of shops near the shopping mall. On the whole, I find this mall a very relaxing place as compared to City Square at Johor Bahru city. Besides this mall and the rows of shops, there is nothing much you can see here. There are no temples or places of interest to visit. I will try to visit this mall again and hopefully I can find the time to spend a night at the budget hotel over there. Most likely, I will then spend most of my time eating at the different restaurants here. To go back to Singapore, you need to walk to a exit door which is near to the KFC outlet and then you can see the car park. Just looked further ahead and walk further straight, you can see a small bus terminal with the Causeway Link yellow buses parked there. Ask the bus driver for the timing and the cost of the ticket is RM$6 for a single trip back to Jurong East Interchange in Singapore.