Photo: ST

Two new attractions have opened in Johor Baru recently.

One is Paradigm Mall Johor Bahru, billed as the largest shopping mall in the state of Johor. It boasts several "firsts", such as the first ice-skating rink in Johor Baru as well as the first HomePro outlet - selling bathroom, home accessories, furniture, electrical appliances and renovation items - and the first Camp5 indoor climbing gym in Johor.

The second attraction is Ikea Tebrau, the biggest Ikea store in South-east Asia.

With 54 room sets and about 8,000 products - some of which are cheaper than their counterparts in Singapore - a trip up north is well worth the effort.

Later in the year, you can also look forward to one of the largest indoor theme parks in the world opening its doors. It is expected to start operations later this year at the Capital City integrated property project.

Professor of marketing Jochen Wirtz from the National University of Singapore feels these new attractions in Johor Baru will likely be popular among Singaporeans.

He says: "Johor Baru is already a very popular weekend destination for many Singaporeans, as many services - such as haircuts and getting your car fixed - are cheaper there.

"Rents, construction costs and staff costs also tend to be much cheaper in Johor Baru compared with Singapore and this usually trickles down to the consumer in the form of lower prices."