Sunday, October 31, 2010

Surrounding Area - Sutera

Our neighbour took us to Sutera for dinner and we went back today to explore the area more. Sutera is about 20 mins drive from East Ledang. It's a mini suburb with shopping mall and rows of shophouses which are mostly cafes/restaurants.

Here, you can find different types of eateries, ranging from Japanese, Korean to Local Cuisines (e.g. Penang food) and cafes. There are also quite a no of reflexology/spas in the area and a colourful boutique hotel.

We had breakfast at a new cakeshop called Moonlight Cake House. We ordered 2 drinks, omelettes, chicken porridge and a slice of blueberry cheesecake. Food was good and the total bill was RM30.91 (est. SGD13) - Cheap!!!.

A few minutes walk from the shophouses area, you'll arrive at Sutera Mall. It's another suburbian mall that caters to family shopping for neaby residents. We did our grocery shopping @ Carrefour and unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any significant price difference with Singapore Carrefour (except for a few items).

Overall, it's nice area and I'm sure we'll be visiting the area more often.

View Larger Map

Our 1st week in East Ledang

It's been a week since we moved to East Ledang. Time really flies. We're settling in fine so far. Good to also have some neighbours in the same complex. It turns out that there are quite a no of "living in Johor but working in SG" people, just like us. Our neighbours are quite diverse; there are Johorians, Malaysians Singapore PRs, Singaporeans, French Germans, German-Indonesian family and Russian couple. I heard that there would be more expats moving into this complex by Jan 2011. One of our neighbours moved from Germany to build the Legoland, a future neighbour is a professor for the upcoming Newcastle University and I heard that there's a South African chef moving soon too. It's quite exciting and people seem very nice.

For Halloween, the developer threw a Halloween party at the Clubhouse. Unfortunately, we arrived late (super late) so we didn't have the chance to meet more neighbours. I guess I'll continue making my rounds around the complex and talking to neighbours as I see them.

The Ledang clubhouse has all the facilities including swimming pools, restaurants, gym & Angsana Spa (opening in early 2011). I'm hoping that once the population of this area picks up, the Clubhouse will organise regular Yoga classes too. The clubhouse can also be used by non-residents. Every early Saturday mornings, a group of students from a local university attend a pool diving course at the clubhouse.

In our 1st week, we have done a bit of exploration in surrounding areas (courtesy of tips from neighbour), did lots of cleaning & handwashing of clothes, had meals with neighbours, took day trips to Singapore a few times, tried out reflexology at a local joint and visited quite a no of furniture shops. It's quite a nice change and it's quite exciting to explore new areas and find new eating places. Ow, and I'm still learning on how to park properly (backed into the house's front wall yesterday) :)

Overall, it's been an amazing week, super tiring, scary at times, but it's been a move with no regrets (so far). So change is good sometimes; perfectly summed up by this quote:
"If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Logistics of Moving to Johor

Update 9 Aug 2011:

I reengaged Tong Carriage to help us move from rental to our own house (within East Ledang). I was so disappointed by my 2nd experience with them. Based on my list of items (which include the same fridge, dining table and washing machine they've moved for us previously), I was given a quote and agreed to reengage them. On the day itself, the 2 men sent by Tong Carriage were too tired and had no energy to lift our fridge, dining table and washing machine. I received a call from Calista (from SG HQ) and she wanted to charge me extra fee for her to bring an additional person to complete the move. When everything else has gone wrong every day, I don't think anyone who's in my shoes would be too happy to hear such comment. Not only have we agreed to the items and quote, but I've also referred quite a no of clients to Tong Carriage through my blog and chat with many folks. Calista replied saying that there are not that many referrals anyway. Long story short, my husband & contractor ended up helping the Tong Carriage guys to move the items.

I am deeply disappointed by the attitude and lack of appreciation, so I would not encourage anyone to engage them moving forward. As such, I've deleted my previous post on this.

Update 21st Aug 2011:
Unfortunately, another one of our neighbours did not have good experience at all from Tong Carriage. Not only were some items damaged, but some items were lost and packaging was not done properly. I would recommend to NOT use Tong Carriage moving forward.

Update 9th October 2012: Here's information I found from my neighbours: 1). Interswift Moving and Storage P/L ( Service engaged in 2010, manager in charge at that time (Mr. Jeevan Leroy) who was so-so but he did get the documentation in order. The team of 6 packers were good and they were careful to pack all remaining items in an orderly fashion, categorized by where items should be placed in new home.
The move itself was smooth and very timely (perhaps there was no jam at that time) and the truck arrived about 5-6 hours after it had left SG. Nothing was lost or broken during the entire process. The cost for this exercise was approximately S$2300 for a single 40-footer covered truck. They did not unpack the boxes which was fine but they did remove the clear wrap on everything else.

2). CHL (
Quite ok, not superb nor are they bad. Overall can be considered value for money. 1 and half container cost SGD$2,600. They pack everything except for clothing, and at the other end they unpack only the major items eg. Bed, sofa, desks etc. One mirror was broken and one of the wheels of the fridge was damaged. But overall the experience was quite smooth.

Singapore - Johor Commute

Toll charges:

We usually take the Tuas 2nd link as it's closer to our house and it's less crowded than the Woodlands link.

A 2 ways trip via Tuas 2nd link will cost around:
- SGD 3.20 each way
- RM 7.50 each way

Travel Time:

Driving time is around 1 hour to get to Singapore CBD area, but this depends on the timing of your drive.

The causeway is normally packed on Saturdays afternoons & public holidays (Singapore to Johor direction), so we'll try to avoid those timings when commuting between the 2 cities.

I've driven from our house in Johor to Changi airport in 1 hour, departing 9 am from home, so it's not that bad.


Since we're Singaporean PRs, we have to use a Singapore registered vehicle so we purchased a 2nd hand car from Presto ( This is a company which caters to expatriates in Singapore for motoring services. The service so far has been very good and they have been very helpful even post sale, e.g. car servicing, etc. For car insurance, we purchased our insurance from Direct Asia ( who is the newest insurance player in Singapore market. Based on our experience, their prices are very competitive (if not cheaper) and customer service is very competent.


We used to fill the Malaysian immigration cards for every entrance, however, since getting the MACs (Malaysian Automated Clearance card), we are no longer required to fill in any immigration forms when entering Johor. This automated pass is available for 1st & 2nd link checkpoints entrance only and is available for investors/foreginers employed in the Iskandar project.

The required documents for our applications are:
- 2 copies of Sales Purchase Agreement of our property
- Passport photo for each applicant
- RM30 application fee per applicant
- Photocopy of passports (Details page & last immigation stamp page)
- Passport validity of min 2 years
- Application forms (obtained at the application centre)

We applied through the immigration office in Iskandar Investment Berhad office located at:
G-12 Block 8
Danga Bay, Jalan Skudai

It took less than 1 hour to have our applications approved and passes inserted into our passports.

For more information on MAC, you can visit:

About Our Place in Johor

Last year, we read newspaper article about Singaporeans buying houses in Johor as retirement/weekend homes. It was quite an interesting concept so one day we hired a car and drove through Tuas 2nd Link to look around. We've never really been to Johor except for on the way to KL or Mersing so we knew very little about the city. The only name we knew of about the housing development was Nusajaya and Bukit Indah.

On our first driving trip, we accidentally found the East Ledang development, which is more high end luxury spacious contemporary homes on overall 275 acres of land, developed by UEM Land. This is part of Nusajaya (which is residential area of the Iskandar project).

This development is located less than 10 mins drive from the 2nd link immigration checkpoint. For more information on this development, you can visit
1st phase was launched 2 years ago, fully sold and buyers received their keys this May (2010). We viewed the 2nd Phase showhouses and very much loved what we saw. It is not for everyone, esp those city dwellers, but it provided a different lifestyle to people like us who look for space, nature outdoor activities & are not so much into living in boxes of apartments.
We also later on looked at other developments such as Leisure Farm, Horizon Hills, Bukit Indah, Nusa Idaman but in the end, decided to buy a subsale twin villa house at East Ledang Phase I (picture on the right) as it's the closest to 2nd Link. We'll be getting our keys and starting interior decor in mid November (2010), so we are now in a short term rental linked duplex located in the same phase.

Streets of linked duplexes:

My block's street & garden area:

More pictures on East Ledang area:

Updates 5th Nov 2010 - pictures we took from the Phase II showhouses:

Twin villa (I think this is type A - can't remember):

Twin villa (I think this is type B)

Moving from Singapore to Johor

A bit about us: We're Singapore PRs who have been working in Singapore for quite a number of years. I personally have been in Singapore for a total of 11 years now.

After years of renting in Singapore and with the ever increasing rental costs, we finally decided to stop wasting money on rent and buy a property for us to live in while we work in Singapore for the next few years.

We looked at various apartments and some landed properties in Singapore. I'm not sure about you, but to us, the real estate prices in Singapore are quite ridiculous (e.g. SGD36M for a house in Sentosa Cove is just stupid). So we decided to purchase a house in Nusajaya (Johor) and Australia (coming up soon) instead.

We are now living in Johor and working in Singapore, which means commuting everyday to Singapore. This blog is about the journey of our new days in Johor and hopefully it also provides some personal learnings to those interested about making the leap to JB.