Are you a fan of the Transformers franchise? Then you’ll definitely want to book a stay at PPT Muar Container Hotel, a colorful collection of containers converted into cosy rooms. Located on Jalan Bakri, the hotel is a mere 5-minute drive from the town center, so you’ll have no problem exploring the town.
As you approach the hotel’s entrance, you’ll be greeted by two familiar robot sentinels, which took me by surprise as they actually move their heads to scan their surroundings. I don’t know about you, but I certainly slept better knowing that Optimus Prime and Bumblebee were standing guard outside!
Malaysia has several container hotels, but PPT Muar Container Hotel is one of the largest, rising up to three storeys high. You might think that staying inside a shipping container would be a bit of a tight fit, but you’d be surprised at how spacious the rooms actually are.
The hotel’s decor is partly inspired by the Sultan of Johor’s love for Mack trucks, and hidden within the confines of the containers are lushly decorated rooms – the hotel’s compact design certainly doesn’t mean they skimp on comfort. Each room comes with an en suite bathroom with a shower, a flat-screen TV, a writing desk/vanity and complimentary tea and coffee, while the upper levels have a balcony.
The hotel’s grounds also offer hidden gems, such as a charming pond filled with koi fish and outdoor seating areas that are perfect for chilling out with friends. If you want to work up a sweat, there’s a well-equipped gym for your use, plus a sauna to relax in.
Top Things To Do in Muar
Fondly referred to as “Muo” by locals, the riverside town of Muar is considered the “Pearl of Johor”. Bestowed the title of Bandar Maharani – or City of the Empress – by Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, you’ll need more than a day to fully explore this underrated historical town.
Slurp up a bowl of Mee Bandung Muar
Originating from Muar, you might be able to find Mee Bandung elsewhere in Malaysia, but Muar is still the best place to get an authentic taste of the Johor specialty. The dish consists of yellow noodles drenched in a slightly sweet gravy made of eggs, shrimp paste and dried shrimp.
Our favorite place to get a Mee Bandung fix is at Mee Bandung Abu Bakar Hanipah, which is tucked inside Wah San Kopitiam on Jalan Abdullah.
Have your pick of street eats at Glutton Street
If you’re still feeling peckish, be sure to check out the street food on Jalan Haji Abu, otherwise known as Glutton Street. Along this 100-meter stretch, you’ll have your pick of Chinese street hawkers peddling snacks like satay and oyster omelette.
However, the star of the show is the Muar-style otak-otak – don’t let the bright orange-red color put you off, as the spicy and fragrant fish cakes are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It’s hard to find a place that serves it any fresher, as the otak-otak is placed inside attap leaves and grilled right in front of you.
Take a stroll down Muar Cultural Walk
Tucked in an alley just off Jalan Meriam is a cluster of street murals known as the Muar Cultural Walk. Depicting homey, everyday scenes of life in Muar, you’ll get a feel of the glory days of its past and the cultural diversity of its present.
If you’re up for a bit of street mural hunting, take up the challenge and see if you can find all of the large murals spread out across the town center. Many of the murals can be easily spotted from the street, but there are a few where you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled, as they’re hidden from plain sight.
Savor a cup of Muar’s homegrown coffee
Did you know that Muar is the birthplace of the famous local coffee brand, Sai Kee Coffee? Founded in 1953 in a humble double-story wooden house just behind Muar River, the brand has since grown to become a household name.
Drop by Cafe 434 on Jalan Maharani, where you can order a cup of their signature Elephant Bean coffee, made from coffee beans cultivated right in Muar. You can even buy sachets of coffee to bring home for yourself or as a gift to your coffee-loving family and friends.
Take a breezy cruise down Muar River
One of the things that made Muar such a successful town was its convenient location at the mouth of Muar River, which made it easy for merchants to ply their trade. You can retrace their route by boarding the Muar River Cruise from the jetty at Taman Tanjung Emas.
As you putter down the river, an audio recording will detail the history of various points of interest, such as Sultan Ibrahim Jamek Mosque and Sultan Ismail Bridge. On the way back, you can simply take in the sights and enjoy the cool breeze. The best time to go on the cruise is on the last boat out just before sunset, at 5.30pm. It costs RM12 per adult ticket and RM6 per child ticket.
With such a wide range of accommodation options across the country, it can be a challenge to pick the one that’s best for you. To be in the know when it comes to Malaysia’s stand-out stays, keep your eyes peeled for Traveloka’s ‘Super Stays’ posts, a bi-weekly hotel special featuring our top picks!