Kulai is a town in the southern state of Johor. It goes by the name of the ‘turtle town’ where it was established in 1890. The town was given the sub-urban status by the state government in 2004 where it has an estimated population of about 160,000 people. It is a town within the district of Kulaijaya where it one of the up and coming development areas of the state. Kulai is located about 30 km from the state capital, Johor Bahru while from Skudai, it is about 8 km away.
The town is under the management of the Kulai Municipal Council where the people here are mainly involved in the agriculture industries. The main produce in this sector here include rubber and oil palm while small businesses are also common here. It is home to the first oil plantation settlement of FELDA in the country which is the FELDA Tabi Andak launched by Tun Abdul Razak, the second prime minister of Malaysia. Apart from that, it is also one of the major exporters of fresh vegetables to southern neighbour Singapore everyday. Kulai, together with Senai have both undergone various improvements with the setting up of more factories in these areas recently.
People and Environment of Kulai
Kulai, one of the main towns of Johor is located along the old trunk road that connects the state capital Johor Bahru with the country’s capital Kuala Lumpur. The main area of Kulai is at the main road where there are many retail and small businesses serving the people here. As it is formerly a plantation settlement, it is still very much engulfed within oil palm and rubber estates here while there are also many housing and residential areas here.
The communities here are very much saturated in terms where the Chinese community are more concentrated around the town centers of Kulai and in around Senai. In the Felda settlements are where the Malay communities are housed. It was once an important stop over town when the trunk road was heavily used by those travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru particularly around the 1970s and 1980s but with the construction of the PLUS North-South Expressway, it has since been bypassed.
There is a small railway station that connect Kulai with other towns along the KTM railway service. This is where those who are travelling here toward the Gunung Pulai Nature Reserve stops while for those flying in would have to touch down at the Senai International Airport.
The Kulaijaya District has a land size of 753.45 km2 and has a population of around 250,000. It is home to Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, one of the few national public universities in Malaysia. Kulaijaya must not be confused with Kulai as the latter is considered to be part of the Kulaijaya which encompasses a bigger area that also include Senai.
It is a district within the state and covers the Kulai town as well. Apart from that, it also encompasses other towns like Ayer Bemban, Bukit Batu, Kangkar Pulai, Kelapa Sawit, Saleng, Sedenak, Seelong, Senai, and Sengkang.
Kulaijaya is connected via the Skudai Highway or otherwise known as the Federal Route 1 which also connects to the Senai Airport highway. Apart from that, it is also connected through Nusajaya towards Tuas in Singapore. Recently, the Senai-Desaru Expressway was built which connects people from Senai with DEesaru. In Kulaijaya, there are 3 railway stations namely Kulai, Senai and Sedenak.
As Senai is in within the Kulaijaya district, the Senai International Airport or Sultan Ismail International Airport plays an important role because it becomes the main transportation hub for visitors to the state by air as well by tourists who are flying to visit the attractions here.
Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest
The Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest is one of the major tourist attractions in the southern state of Johor. It is located about 45 km from the state capital Johor Bahru and is a protected forest area in the state. More importantly, it is also an important water catchment that serves both Johor as well as for southern neighbours Singapore.
This is where you will be able to experience one of the richest vegetations on the mountainous slopes in Malaysia. Getting into the park is free of charge where it is opened every day from 7am to 7pm. Here is where you can walk around the treks and just observe the wonders of nature. You can also try to spot the different types of birds and insects around while enjoying the company of the hundreds of flower species around.
Inside the forest is where you will find the Gunung Pulai which is a 700 meter iconic mountain here. If you can get to, then head out to the widely popular Gunung Pulai Waterfall. If you are lucky, you might also spot different types of monkeys and rare birds too while deers too are also spotted around here. To get here, you just need to come through the road from Kulai which is about 15 km away.
Premium Outlet Centre in Kulai
If you are wondering if there is actually any place to shop in around Kulai, then you should be happy to know that the first Premium Outlet Center which was built in Kulai was made to create thousands of new job opportunities while becoming a tourist attraction for the town. It was part of the government’s effort to promote and develop the town of Kulai which was once a popular stopover for travellers between Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru but has diminished in significance since the PLUS highway came about in 1994. With this development it would surely be soon when the people start coming into Kulai again.
The center was developed by Genting Group and Chelsea Malaysia that will offer a world class factory outlet warehouse style shopping experience. As Genting was involved in the project, hence it will be connected to its projects and development in Singapore. Located within Kulaijaya, the outlet centre meant that Genting would start offering integrated visits to its resorts and casinos in Singapore and then bringing them to Kulai for shopping. The outlet centre will be the first of its kind in the region and it differs from those in Bandung as it would be more convenient, efficient and comes with state of the art facilities.