Johor Bahru, the southernmost city in the Peninsular Malaysia, is a mere 1-hour flight away from Penang. It is also the 2nd largest city in Malaysia. With its strategic location and links to Singapore, the city is often busy. For foodies, Johor Bahru has a lot to offer- from the popular Johor Laksa, Muar Otak-Otak, Koay Teow Kia to Chicken Rice or Banana Cake. The place is best explored by car as some of the good eateries/restaurants are scattered around in the city.
We stayed in GBW Hotel for this trip as we needed to travel to Singapore for a short day trip. The stay was good and there's a link bridge right in front of the hotel which connects to the JB Sentral for Train to Woodlands CIQ (you need not hail a taxi to head there, it is just a short 5-min walk from the hotel). For folks traveling to Singapore but staying in JB, GBW Hotel is a good choice.