26 October, 2016

[TRAVEL] 3D2N Itinerary in Desaru, Johor: 5 Must-Visit Places That You Shouldn't Miss

Desaru, as I remember vividly from my last trip few years ago, is a small coastal town, famous for beaches and water activities. After a couple of years of development, this place now prospers with various tourist attractions ranging from the eco-tourism sites such as fruit farm and ostrich farm, to modern fun parks including golf course and water theme park.

While accommodation is still pretty affordable in this region, it is an ideal destination for family vacation or weekend getaway especially for those residing in Johor and Singapore.

For a short weekend getaway, spending 3 days 2 nights here is sufficient to cover most of the recommended tourist spots. Just sharing with you guys the itinerary below:

Morning: Arrival at Desaru (5 hours drive from KL to Desaru)
Afternoon: Lunch, spa, water theme park at Lotus Desaru Resort
Evening: Beach strolling and seafood dinner by the beach at Lotus Desaru Resort

Morning: Golfing time at The Els Golf Course
Afternoon: Desaru fruit farm visit including a healthy fruity lunch
Evening: Dinner downtown and explore the town's commercial area

Morning: Ostrich Farm visit (Must try the Ostrich Egg Omelette!)
Afternoon: Lunch at Sengat Seafood Restaurant, followed by Crocodile Farm visit
Evening: Depart home

How To Go To Desaru:

❤ Drive from Kuala Lumpur (4 hours 30 minutes) via North-South Highway
❤ Drive from Singapore (1 hour 30 minutes) via the Causeway
❤ Drive from Johor Bahru (1 hour 15 minutes) via the Senai-Desaru Expressway
❤ Public buses from Johor Bahru, Kota Tinggi and Tanjung Belungkor to Desaru

❤ 30 minutes ferry ride from Changi Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Belungkor Ferry Terminal,
followed by 30 minutes scenic drive to Desaru

❤ Flight to Senai International Airport followed by 45 minutes drive (80km) to Desaru

1. Lotus Desaru Beach Resort & Spa
Lot 1854, Jalan Desaru,
Bandar Penawar,
81930 Kota Tinggi,
Johor, Malaysia.
Contact: +607-8842800
Email: rsvp@lotusdesaru.com

No doubt alot of places in Desaru are family-friendly, and suitable for large group visits. Even if you're not staying in Lotus Desaru Beach Resort & Spa, this resort is worth a visit. It is famous for its sandy beach overlooking the pristine blue sea fringed with rhu and palm trees-- It is one of the best beaches on the Johor mainland!

But little do we know that Lotus Desaru also spices up y our activity-filled holiday with a "Splashtacular" Water Theme Park. The young ones will be overjoyed playing at this wonderland.

After hours of swim and water activities, we have a Thai-Chinese style seafood dinner at Rhu Seafood Restaurant and Beach Hut in the resort. This beachside restaurant is an ideal spot to relax and unwind alongside the breezy wind and great acoustic music while tucking into the scrumptious platter of fresh seafood caught from the sea.

2. The Els Golf Course
No.4, Jalan Danau,
Desaru Coast,
81930 Desaru,
Johor, Malaysia.
Contact: +607-8780000
Email: reservations@elsclubmalaysia.com

Welcome to the Golfing Paradise! We depart to the golf course early in the morning and can easily spend the whole morning there practising the golfing skills. The golf course, an Ernie Els design, is a 27-hole championship course that plays to three 9-hole loops. The best part? The scenic hole is overlooking the South China Sea! It's my first time playing golf amidst such beautiful beach view.

Desaru Coast is a developing premium integrated destination spanning over 3,900 acres along a pristine 17km beachfront. Coming up at this area is a cluster of prominent hotels such as The Westin, Hard Rock, Anantara, Aman Resort & Villas and more.

While the development is ongoing, The Els Club has opened its doors to welcome the golf connoisseurs for an enjoyable challenge for all skill levels.

We also manage to check out the locker room and totally surprised that there is a Jacuzzi in it! If you are feeling peckish after the games, the clubhouse offers two al fresco style dining restaurants and private wine bar to complete your memorable experience here.  

Training courses are also provided by The Els Performance Golf Academy. 

3. Desaru Fruit Farm
No.1, Hentian Penawar
Sungai Chemaran, Desaru,
81900 Bandar Penawar,
Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia.
Contact: +607-8308017 / +602-65358686 / +6012-7327128
Email: sales@desaruff.com / steve@desaruff.com
Website: www.desaruff.com

Here you can choose from various types of tour packages, priced from RM21.60 onwards. The package we choose is the most comprehensive one, whereby it covers a guided tour, lunch, fruits and go kart ride. Educational packages for school children are available too.

Fruit Farm Tour + Tropical Fruit Fiesta + Lunch (7 Dishes) + Go Kart Ride
@ RM72.10 per adult / RM63.60 per child

We arrive just at the perfect time for lunch, and we are treated with a wholesome Fruit-themed Lunch Set -- every dish is infused with fruits and I am surprised that the taste is awesome! 

We are overwhelmed with 8 dishes, 1 soup, 2 desserts and unlimited servings of non-seasonal tropical fruits on the table. Some of the noteworthy dishes that you must try are:

❤ Assam Pedas Stingray with Passion Fruit Juice
❤ Deep-fried Squid with Red Dragonfruit Sauce 
❤ Sliced Banana Cooked in Coconut Milk and Local Spices
❤ Shredded Papaya with Seafood
❤ Sweet and Sour Prawns with Assorted Fruits
❤ Fried Jackfruit Fritters 

After lunch, we are all ready for a fruit farm tour! 

Spanning across 100 acres of land area, you can basically find all tropical fruits here (Well, except for watermelon and honeydew). Non-seasonal fruits such as Roseapple (Jambu), Guava, Passion Fruit, Jackfruit, Pineapple, Mango, Soursop, Tousand Fingers Banana and Brazilian Longan are grown throughout the year.

But if you love seasonal fruits such as Durian, Rambutan, Pulasan and Mangosteen, then the months from June to August are the best time to visit.

I am amused by the 120 species of fruit plants here!
No doubt it is a famous agrotourism spot for adults and school children. 

Quench your thirst with the freshly squeezed juice from the farm before continuing with the tour!
And you can also purchase some fresh fruits, local products and souvenirs from the mini mart.

Little farm animals are kept there too.

Are you ready to get dirty? We are at Desaru Fruit Farm Adventure Park where we enjoy our Dirt Kart ride.
Each person can go up to 5 laps, and the faster you go, the more fun it is!

4. Desaru Ostrich Farm
EMR 15, Teluk Ramunia, 
81620 Kota Tinggi, 
Johor, Malaysia. 
Contact: +607-826 5846
Fax: +607-826 5846
Business Hours: 10am - 6pm (Daily) 
Admission Fee: RM12 (Adult) / RM8 (Child)

It is my first time getting so close and personal with the huge ostriches! Imagine hundreds of fluffy birds running around you and naughtily peck on your clothes, isn't that fun and thrilling?

You can ride on an ostrich with an extra fee!

The caretaker is our personal tour guide during the 2-hour visit, telling us interesting facts of these cute ostriches. A 1-month-old weighs 10kg, and gains 2kg every week after that. An 1-year-old will reach its maximum maturity age and weighs 100kg! Imagine how strong they are, as compared to human. 

The egg shell is so hard that it requires a drill to open it!

Fertile eggs will be sent into incubators at 36 degree Celsius with rotation motion for embryo development. Non-fertile ones (like the one above) is consumed for its nutritious egg yolk.

There are many varieties of crafts and products selling in the farm as souvenirs
such as decorative lamp shades, dried ostrich tendon, ostrich eggs and more.
If you have extra time to kill, Funnel Genie is a great way to pass time in a productive way!

Ostrich-themed food is aplenty here, from the classic omelette and burger, to the extraordinary Ostrich Bak Kut Teh! The Ostrich Egg Omelette (RM10) and Ostrich Teppanyaki (RM25) are must-try items here, so tender and juicier than any chicken meat.

5. Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm
Lot 1289 and 1290, Jalan Sembilan,
Kampung Belading, Teluk Sengat,
81940 Kota Tinggi, 
Johor, Malaysia. 
Contact: +607-895 5220
Fax: +607-895 5137
Business Hours: 9am - 6pm (Daily) 
Admission Fee: RM8 (Adult) / RM4 (Child)

I totally didn't expect this crocodile farm to be SO huge! Housing more than 1,000 crocodiles in this farm, here you can see different sizes and types of crocodiles ranging from new-borns to the toothless 130-year-old crocodiles passed on from the owner's grandfather. 

Before you enter, there are fresh chickens (3 for RM20) for sale where you can use to feed the crocodiles in the farm. After the tour, perhaps some exotic delicacies such as Crocodile Herbal Soup (RM30) and Fresh Crocodile Meat may interest you? 

As we walk deeper into the farm with the tourguide, we notice that the crocodiles are getting bigger. Here you can watch how the crocodiles get excited over food while some "handicapped" crocodiles are enjoying sunbathing in each isolated cubicle. 

Similar to human, crocodiles can have disability too. Tailless crocodile can still survive well like the rest.

Baby crocodiles are fun to play with! This 2-month-old cutie pie is totally friendly to us, and we can touch, kiss and hug him without fear. Well, then I realise this "cold-blooded" animal does not feel exactly cold after all. The body feels smooth and "leathery" at normal room temperature. 

Well, I leave the rest of the crocodiles' fun facts for you to discover yourselves, and you'd be amused! 

Just a stone throw away from the crocodile farm is the Sengat Seafood Restaurant, operated by the same owner of the farm. Usually tourists will go for the crocodile tour then enjoy seafood lunch there, or vice versa. 

Overall, Desaru is a hidden gem worth exploring, especially with world-class hotels and tourist attractions coming up in the next few years. Hope to be back again for more excitements to come! 

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