Exploring Arts & Culture in Muar, Royal Town of Johor

 

If you are in favour of arts and design, the furniture gallery in Muar is one to visit.

As you delve into its heritage buildings and explore its famous local foods and snacks  – mi bandungkopi 434, and mi siput – you will find Muar, one of the biggest cities in the southern state of Johor, has its personality in spades.

Located close to the historical state of Melaka, Muar, which is also known as Royal Town and Empress Town of Johor, has been declared as one of the cleanest cities for the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard Award 2022.

Bursting with its own character, Muar is a drive of around three hours from Kuala Lumpur. Did you know that Muar ranks first as a furniture exporting district in Malaysia, and rubberwood is the main raw material in Muar’s furniture manufacturing? Malaysia is indeed the top 12 furniture exporting country to 180 countries worldwide.

Not only is Muar the birthplace of ghazal and kuda kepang dance, but Muar Municipal Council is also the first local authority in Malaysia to showcase augmented reality murals and is recognised by the Malaysia Book of Records in 2019.

As you may also experience Muar by river cruise at Tanjung Emas Waterfront on the weekend or school holidays, read on to discover other off-the-beaten-track tourist attractions that we think you will love to venture out for arts and cultural escapades.

Muar Leather Craft

 

A splendid array of leather products on the wooden rack, available for purchase at Muar Leather Craft.

Head out to Muar Leather Craft to discover a business leather supplier to one of the global brands of men’s golf gloves produced with the highest quality materials since 1989. 

Muar Leather Craft was first established as a social responsibility initiative in 2018 to educate the public on leather before it gradually received students, industrial visits, and international tourists, especially from Singapore.

The space is dedicated to showcasing the best of Muar’s hand-made craftsmanship products, which are packed with prototypes of key chains, passport covers, RFID wallets, bags, sun hats, belts, and jackets made from sheepskin leather.

Some of the hand-made accessories available at Muar Leather Craft.

On a trip to this site, join a Do-It-YourSelf (DIY) craft workshop class or learn more on several types of currently available leathers used in the finished products such as pure aniline or semi-aniline, corrected grain and suede split. You can also place an order to buy stingray bags, belts or wallets!

Address: Muar Leather Craft, No 11, Jalan Siantan 1, Taman Sri Siantan, Jalan Dato’ Hj. Kosai, 84000, Muar, Johor, Malaysia.

Phone: +6016-3078847

Operating Hours: (Monday – Saturday) 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Sunday) Closed

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Songkok Masood Hussin Boutique

 

Great for the traditional Malay headgear, you can explore one of the best traditionally hand-made songkok at Songkok Masood Hussin at Jalan Majedi, Muar and find out how this fine quality product has caused a sensation with the latest trend of songkok lipat (foldable songkok) amongst the youngsters.

The premium collection of songkok kain kiswah costs RM3,000. There are also different varieties of custom-made songkok, including songkok bulan (also known as songkok Bugis), which resemble the Turkish Muslim Islamic hat skull cap.

Foldable songkok.

Songkok kain kiswah

Limited edition songkok of Johor’s Sultan by Songkok Masood Hussin.

Songkok Masood Hussin has attracted several dignitaries, including the former Malaysian Prime Minister, to wear its collection besides receiving special orders from the royal family of Johor for the coronation ceremonies of the Johor Sultanate as well as customers from Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia.

Just choose your colour preferences – navy blue, black or red. When it comes to a high quality of songkok tinggi (extra inches added compared to the standard-sized songkok), Songkok Masood Hussin is in a class of its own.

Address: Butik Songkok Masood Hussin, No. 24, Jalan Majedi, 84000, Muar, Johor, Malaysia.

Phone: +6016-7170884

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Muar Art Gallery

 

Great range of quality rattan furniture on display at Muar Art Gallery.

This gallery is a good base for further exploration of Muar as a cultural city and a hub for furniture industries. Started as corporate social responsibility by SJY Furniture company in 2016, eagle-eyed fans of the wicker will recognise different types of rattan used for exported furniture and showcased in the gallery, which is also ideal for making baskets or decorative rattan.

Learn about Manau rattan (Calamus Manan) which has a wide geographic distribution in Southeast Asia and is commercially important for its valuable large-diameter cane used in furniture and handicrafts. You will also have the chance to taste some of the locally-blended coffee or Muar signature foods at the café.

Alternatively, discover a DIY woodworking project for beginners at Art Space, or learn about the furniture-manufacturing process from logs to lumber. Wooden speakers, toys and chopping boards are just some of the few items available for purchase as a memento of your visit to Muar Art Gallery.

Starting to dabble in a woodworking class at Art Space can be a fun activity.

Address: Muar Art Gallery, Jalan Junid, 84000 Muar, Johor, Malaysia.

Phone: +606-9528789

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Muar Street Art

 

Soak up the atmosphere in the city centre and feast your eyes on several street arts hidden away in the narrow streets of Muar. Did you know The Loving Sisters, painted by Julia Volchkova, a Russian mural artist at Jalan Arab, was recognised as the largest street art portrait painting by the Malaysia Book of Records in 2016?

Symbolising the bond between two female siblings – Nur Najwa Alisyah, 7, and her sister, Nur Najiyah Amani, 3,  the mural connotates a sense of belonging towards the city while promoting racial unity through arts.

Street art mural in Muar.

The Loving Sister portrait mural at Jalan Arab, Muar.

Keraton Embah Anang

 

See the iconic site of Keraton Embah Anang in Kampung Parit Bugis, a traditional house that houses a remarkable Javanese sculpture. As you enter the place, you will see the hand-carved peacock design on the wooden doors, which connotes dignity and animal statues like a horse, lion and cow.

The awe-inspiring interior is laden with multiple windows in a row and exotic Javanese sculptural style furniture, with teak-carved animals and plants besides musical instruments for the Barongan dance.

Barongan and kuda kepang dance performance at Keraton Embah Anang.

Musical instruments on display at Keraton Embah Anang.

For the best cultural immersion, book a homestay package in Kampung Parit Bugis and get a taste of the local life and as you may learn on how to make roti canai, kuih ros as well as weaving ketupat (rice cake wrapped in coconut leaves) and have a wonderful batik colouring experience!

Address: Keraton Embah Anang, Homestay Kampung Parit Bugis, 83600 Semerah, Muar, Johor, Malaysia.

Phone: +6013-7744244

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