BACKGROUND Johor, the southern gateway, is the third largest state in Peninsular Malaysia. It has a population of about 2.1 million. Covering an area of 18,986 sq km at the southern part of the peninsular, the state is bounded by Pahang to the north, Malacca and NegeriSembilan to the west, and the Straits of Johor to the south. A causeway carrying a road and a railway line connects the state capital Johor Bahru to Singapore. Boat services also connect various points along the Johor River to Changi in Singapore.
HISTORY Johor was founded in the early 16th century by the son of Sultan Mahmud Shah, the last Sultan of Malacca after Malacca was captured by the Portuguese. At its peak, the Johor empire stretched to the Riau Archipelago. In the 18th century, the Bugis of Celebes and the Minangkabaus of Sumatra controlled the political powers in the Johor-Riau empire, but in the early 19th century, Malay and Bugis rivalry dominated the scene. In 1819, Stamford Raffles capitalised on the inter-faction rivalry to acquire Singapore for the British. As a result, the Johor-Riau empire was broken into mainland Johor controlled by the Temenggong, and the Sultanate of Riau-Lingga controlled by the Bugis. In 1886, Temenggong Abu Bakar elevated himself to Sultan. He was succeeded by his son Sultan Ibrahim. In 1914, the British appointed an Adviser to administer Johor until the Japanese Occupation in 1945. In 1957, Johor joined the Federation of Malaya.
GETTING THERE Johor Bahru is accessible via the North-South Highway from major towns on Peninsular Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur. Visitors from Singapore can enter Johor by road and rail via the causeway or through the Second Link from Tuas passing through Gelang Patah.
International visitors can fly in via Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kota Kinabalu or Kuching to Sultan Ismail Airport outside Johor Bahru.
Ferry services are available from Singapore to Tanjung Belungkor near Desaru, at the Stulang Duty Free Trade Zone Ferry Terminal near Johor Bahru city centre, or Kukup Ferry Terminal.