February 08, 2018



Recently, 'The ASEAN Tourism Awards 2018' had chosen Muar as the cleanest town in ASEAN. The selection was made in conjunction with the 21st ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting from 22 - 26 January 2018, in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Congratulations to Muar Town folks for the prestigious recognition, especially to local authority, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, corporate companies and residents involved in making Muar a clean, cheerful and comfortable city to live. The award is very meaningful as Muar is only a small town in Malaysia.

Two other cities in Malaysia receiving the same recognition in The ASEAN Tourism Awards 2018 are Putrajaya and Penang.


Perhaps many of you have never been to Bandar Muar (the people of Johor call 'Bando Muo'). Even if ever, it may be very long ago. Below, I have a few stories to share with you on the history of Muar.

The history of Muar began in 1884 when Sultan Abu Bakar Johor declared Muar as the 'Maharani Town'. Since then, Muar became the second most important administrative center, after Johor Bahru City.

Railway Services

Muar has a lot of history. We may not realize that Muar is the only city in the country with its own railway system during the British colonial era managed by the Muar State Railways (MSR). It was built in 1889, connecting Jalan Sulaiman in Bandar Muar to Sungai Pulai by 22.5 km.

A locomotive displayed at Tanjung Emas which proved the existence of Muar State Railways (MSR) during the British era
The historical importance of Muar State Railways (MSR) is also due to the fact that the MSR was the second railway system network built within the country after the construction of the first railway line from Taiping to Port Weld in 1885 by the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (Source: National Archives).

The railway service was discontinued in 1918 when a road system was built which connected Bandar Maharani and Parit Jawa in that year.

Muar Ferry Services

We may not even know that since 1884 until the 1960s Muar was connected with states in the northern part of the peninsula through a ferry service to cross the Muar River, from Pengkalan Tanjung Agas to Pengkalan Tangga Batu. The ferry service was operated by Syarikat Penambang Muar/Batu Pahat.

Muar Ferry Service which had been operating before the construction of the Sultan Ismail Bridge (Photo: National Archives)

The 83-year-old Muar Ferry Service was terminated after the completion of the Sultan Ismail Bridge in 1967. Another 632-meter long bridge across the Muar River was built near Muar Bypass in 2004 to reduce traffic congestion at the Sultan Ismail Bridge.

The Sultan Ismail Bridge completed in 1967 replaces the Muar Ferry service which operates for 83 years

Muar Town or the synonym of 'Bandar Maharani', has changed a lot. If you've been to Muar Town 5 years ago and coming back now, you will see the rapid changes taking place in the city

Monument opposite the Sultan Ismail Bridge, welcomes tourist arrivals (Foto: Lite)
The city's rapid development was particularly evident when Bandar Maharani was proclaimed as 'Royal City' by the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar on November 24, 2012, in conjunction with his Birthday Anniversary Celebration.

The landmark symbolizes the 'Royal Town' located in the heart of Muar Town
Following the declaration as 'Royal Town', the cleanliness and cheeriness aspect is strongly emphasized by local authorities to create a clean, peaceful and harmonious environment of Muar Town.

The scenery from an angle showcasing the cleanliness and cheerfulness of Muar Town (Foto: skyscraperCity)

Among the uniqueness of Muar Town is a row of buildings built before the Second World War still in the city's architecture. The buildings are well-preserved and still used to house business outlets along Jalan Abdullah, Jalan Maharani and Jalan Sulaiman.

A row of old buildings in Jalan Sulaiman which is still used to house business outlets
The heritage buildings that are still used until today include Sultan Abu Bakar Building which was completed in 1929 and the Customs building built in 1909. These buildings are a very valuable heritage that depicts the history of Muar's prosperity in the past.

The building of Sultan Abu Bakar built in 1929 is still used by the District Administration of Muar until now

Mee Bandung Muar

Muar is famous for its 'Mee Bandung Muar'. You may be able to get 'Mee Bandung Muar' in other places, even in other states in Malaysia. But that's not the real and original Mee Bandung Muar's taste, it's not the same. If you want to enjoy the real taste of Mee Bandung Muar, you can visit 'Restaurant Selera Bandung Muar' located at Jalan Abdullah

'Restaurant Selera Bandung Muar' located at Jalan Abdullah.
Sate & Mee Rebus

Muar is also known as one of the places where satay is served as breakfast with other foods, such as mee rebus. You can have a delightful breakfast with satay at restaurants located at Jalan Majidi, near Muar Police Station.

Asam Pedas

If you would like to have a delightful Asam Pedas (hot and sour gravy), either fish heads or fish roe, you can visit the food court in Tanjung Emas. The Crews of TV3 had once eaten here and put a commendation note on one of the asam pedas outlets. The delicious rojak petis (rojak buah) is also available here.

'Food court' sells Asam Pedas at Tanjung Emas
'Coffee Cap 434'

For coffee lovers, you definitely do not want to miss the chance to enjoy the very popular homemade coffee flavor in Muar Town. 'Coffee Cap 434' was introduced since 1953 and until now remains a favorite brew among coffee lovers. You can stop at this coffee shop located on the main road after the Sultan Ismail Bridge, opposite Bentayan bus station. In front of the yellow coffee shop there was an elephant signboard and number 434.

Recreation centre

Usually when you go on vacation, you will bring your family along. If your kids ask, "Where can we play and have funs, Dad ..?" You can immediately say, "We're going to Tanjung Emas".

Tanjung Emas is a recreation area located at Muar River estuary, where Muar River meets the South China Sea.

While watching the scenery of the small waves when the river and seawater meet, you can walk around and make use the recreational facilities with your family, available here. Among them are playgrounds, river cruises, 'food courts' and golf course.

Muar River Cruise

If you are going to Tanjung Emas (local people call it 'Tanjung Muo'), do not miss the chance to ride the 'Muar River Cruise' that will take you down the river from Tanjung Emas to the Second Muar River Bridge. You will be thrilled with the charming scenery along the cruise. The return journey takes about 40 minutes and tickets RM10 for adults and RM5 for children.

Watching the sunset

If you like to witness how the day turns into night, you can go to the viewing place of sunset at dawn, also located at Tanjung Emas.

Do you like golfing?

There is a 9-hole golf course near Tanjung Emas Recreational Park. After clogging golf balls in all the 9 holes, you can drive your car to the nearby food court to enjoy delicious rojak petis and teh tarik.


After getting recognition, what's next?

We congratulate the various parties involved in the realization of Muar in recognition of the 'Cleanest Cities in ASEAN'. We hope Muar will keep up this prestigious title as cleanliness, cheerfulness and beautification are among the main attractions of the tourists who will surely open their eyes and visit the town.

However, as we are aware that tourists come not only to see the cleanliness of Muar Town. They want more than that, in particular the ‘tourism products' that they can get from their visit. The question is, whether the tourism products available in Muar Town and surrounding areas are enough to meet their expectations?

These are the next steps that need to be taken into account, planned and implemented by local authorities and agencies to make Bandar Muar an attractive tourist destination in Malaysia.