Forest City is only 40 mins drive from Singapore, located in Johor Galang Patah, if you are entering from Tuas Highway, it is more convenient. In case you are wondering what is Forest City, it is made up of reclaimed land, a project partnership between the Chinese real estate huge organization, Country Garden Pacific View and (CGPV) and the Johor royal family. The project includes residential and commercial properties on the reclaimed island and the project completion spans over a period of 30 years. It was only started a few years ago in 2015 and I can see there are already residents living in this city and most of them are from mainland China.
Let’s check out the shopping street in Forest City. I love how the shopping street is adopting the open-air concept, it is not really an air-conditional mall because only the individual shop has the air-conditioning. Hence it is energy saving.
Just like the natural island Langkawi, Labuan & Tioman, the artificial island of Forest City has been granted duty-free status which means visitors are allowed to purchase tax-free goods. One of the favorite items for visitors is alcohol.
The price is almost half in the duty-free shop here. For example, a can of Carlsberg cost RM 4.00 (USD 1.00 or SGD 1.30). No wonder I see so many people queuing to purchase in bulk, cartons per cartons.
I think there is a limit per person for duty-free goods. Also, there is a security check at the entrance to Forest city but when we left the following day, the security did not check on our car. I guess the crowd is still not very much so the check is linear but when the crowds get bigger, they might tighten the check on the duty-free goods on your way out.
Besides beers, there is also all type of western spirit, whiskey, brandy, and the Chinese Mao Tai, distilled Chinese liquor. In case, you don’t know what is Maotai, it is known as “the national liquor” in China. The ingredients are grains called red sorghum 粱 from Guizhou province which has the perfect weather for Maotai. If you received Maotai as a gift from your Chinese friends, it means you are treated with high respect!
Forest City Drinking Area
In Malaysia, you can only drink alcoholic beverages in licensed or private premises.
The good news is there is a drinking corner in the shopping street. The drinking area has equipped with chairs and tables for people to chill and drink. So, it is super convenient, all you have to do is go to the duty free shop and buy the alcohol and drink it in the drinking area with no extra cost.
I was quite surprised the drinking corner was full of people during day time.
Forest City Commercial Buildings
This is one of the icons for Forest City, it is built as a commercial building and almost ready.
Forest City Eatery Street
The eatery street is located outside of the shopping street mall. There are less than 20 stalls and most the stalls sell Chinese cuisines from different provinces of China, such as Hunan, Guizhou, Shanghai and Shaanxi Biang Biang Mian Noodle. Of course, there are local cuisines, Malaysia Chinese cuisine from Ipoh & a Malay Indian Mamak stall.
The Eatery street is also the “Transport Hub” for Forest city, buses usually stop here and visitors can walk over to the Sales Office within a minute walk.
Bubble Tea Shop
Glyken birdnest museum
A museum dedicated to birdnest history and the making, I have been to one in the Farm Resort in Singapore.
There is a supermarket bigger than the usual groceries stores in the shopping street in Forest City. It has almost everything from food and the kitchenware.
The supermarket is clean and neat and stocks up with mostly frozen food and limited fresh veggies.
Herbal Medicine – Tongkak Ali
Tongkat Ali is an herbal medicinal plant originating in Malaysia. The herbal is in the root form packed nicely in a box with Chinese words printed instead of English, which means the target audience are mainland Chinese.
I spoke with the supermarket cashier in the Forest City Shopping Street, the majority of the shoppers are from mainland China. I also notice the majority of the residents here are from mainland China (retired grandparents with very young kids) and most of the shops are catering to them. This would make them feel at home I guess.
There are only 80% of the shops open when I was here in September 2019 and they are more to open, the pharmacist from the drugs store told me their business was just opened 4 days ago and they were quite shocked at how good the business is.