8 Folk Myths about Johor that You Probably Haven’t Heard Of Yet


Legends, although not really proven, play a vital role in giving identity and significance to the past and origin of a place. The mystery and magic of these stories are fun to learn and to share with others! Have you ever heard of the legends of Johor Bahru? Here are some of the interesting folk tales of Johor that you should know!


1. Gunung Ledang – The Legend of the Princess of Jinshan


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One famous legend among Malay folks is the story of Princess Jinshan. According to the tale, Princess Jinshan is a mysterious princess who never showed her face to anyone. After the death of Malacca’s sultan’s wife, the Sultan decided to have another wife. Hence, he ordered his men to go to Gunung Ledang to propose his plan to the legendary Princess Jinshan. The journey was not an easy one for the men, but they finally succeeded to climb to the top. There, they met a hunchback old woman who conveyed to them the challenging conditions set by the princess. These conditions are: constructing a golden and silver bridge connecting The Golden Mountain and Malacca, presenting the hearts of seven mosquitoes, presenting seven plates of baby worms, presenting a bottle of virgin tears, presenting a bowl of Sudanese blood, and a bowl of blood from the Sultan’s son, Raja Ahmad. Once she finished speaking, the old woman disappeared magically. The team then went back to the Sultan and passed to him the message proposed by the Princess in exchange for the marriage he wants. However, the sultan was not able to fulfill the conditions that lead to the fall down of the marriage. It is said that the Princess Jinshan then hid in the mountains and settled in an unknown cave. No one ever saw her since then but some believe that the old hunchback woman the men saw was an incarnation of the mysterious Princess Jinshan. 


2. Tioman Island – Legend of the Dragon Princess


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If you’re wondering about the origin of the island’s name, then drop that thought because the name Tioman has nothing to do with the legend itself. The story that has been circulating for a long time now is about a dragon princess who lives in the Dragon Palace. One day, the princess traveled thousands of miles across the South China Sea in order to marry a prince living in Singapore. However, because it was a long journey, the dragon princess got exhausted and decided to rest on an island for a while before continuing her journey. After she saw how beautiful the island was, she was deeply attracted to it and decided to give up the marriage and settle down on the island instead, which is now called Tioman Island.


3. The Big Island (Pulau Besar) – The Legend of the Mermaid


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Besar is a beautiful island with many different legends, and one of those is the legend of the mermaid. A long time ago, there was a beautiful Malay girl who is getting married. She was not allowed to get wet by water, but her relatives accidentally sprinkled water unto her during her wedding. She immediately transformed into a mermaid. Every night since then, it is said that fishermen often see a long-haired mermaid swimming near the shore, waiting for her husband. Although this legend can not be proven, the love story leaves a remarkable mystery on the island.


4. Pulau Pemanggil – The Call of the Island Guardian


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Pulau Pemanggil is not a tourist attraction but in fact, a hidden island that is only for divers and fishermen. Underwater, one would be amazed by the excellent view, but it hides a mysterious tale that also explains the origin of its name. It is said that at the center of the island is a big stone called Batu Buau, which the local villagers fear. The guardian of the island is said to live here. One day, a group of fishermen sailed in the waters near the island. The mysterious island guardian entered their dreams and called them to settle on the island. That makes them the first villagers there and the ancestors of the people in what is now called the Calling Island.


5. Pontian Banana Island – The Tales about Ignoring Parents

Image Credit: climbforhope.files.wordpress.com

Image Credit: climbforhope.files.wordpress.com
Image Credit: climbforhope.files.wordpress.com

Banana Island is a small island belonging to Pontian County. It consists of four islands which, according to the tale, were originated and named after a tragic story. As the tale goes, there is a villager named Shi Dingyuan who went far away to become rich. He achieved his goals and went back with his wife to the old village to show off, but he rejected his parents and even drove them away. The old couple got very sad and hurt that they prayed in the sky for justice. Unexpectedly, the sea blew waves and sank the ship and turned into a big island, which is now called the Pulau Besar. Likewise, the anchor turned into Pulau Sauh, the rudder turned into Pulau Kemadi, and the boat turned into Pulau Tunda. This tragic story is still circulating throughout the Malay generation. 


6. Tanjung Puteri – The Love Story of the Sultan of Johor and the Princess

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Do you know what name people call Johor Bahru before? It’s Tanjung Puteri, and it came from a Malay love story that has been passed on to many generations by word of mouth. A long time ago, the Sultan of this place had a strange dream of  meeting a beautiful princess where the weight of the water was particularly “sinking.” o he sailed to the seam had a long journey, until he came to the Princess of the Dream called Puteri Mayang Selida. They got married, settled in the east area of now Johor Bahru, went to the Cape Zone (known as Tanjung) which were later called as Tanjung Puteri.


7. Batu Pahat – Legend of Ishii

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Located in Minyak Beku, Ishii is a legendary well in Malay folk. It is believed that there were elves in Ishii who helped the residents who lack cups or plates or do not have money to buy one. They only need to burn Ganwen smoke and pray for the scriptures, the cups will then emerge from the Ishii well, with a very strict condition of returning it back. When someone did not return the cup, the elves became very angry and people could no longer get help from them. 


8. Story between Kota Tinggi and Indonesia’s Bintan Island – The Curse of the Sultan of the Early Old Johor Dynasty


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A somehow disturbing story is circulating for many generations about the past between Kota Tinggi and Bintan Island, Indonesia. It is said that the last sultan of the dynasty before, Mamasha II, was assassinated by the prime minister and the Navy Admiral of Bintan. Before he breathed his final breath, he uttered a curse against the residents of Bintan Island. He said that anyone from that island would vomit blood once they come to Kota Tinggi ever again. Since then, no one from Bintan Island has dared to set foot in Kota Tinggi, believing the curse of the Sultan. 

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