Mersing is the biggest town on the east coast of Johor. The town has a population of 21,670. Mersing is also the district capital of Mersing District, which is 2,838 square kilometers in size. The town of Mersing is located at the mouth of the Mersing River facing the South China Sea.
If you do not wish to leave the mainland, you can also enjoy a lovely beach at Pantai Penyabong, which is in Endau, north of Mersing. If you are the quintessential city folk, this is a good place for you to view kampung houses, villages and traditional fishing boats.
The town of Mersing was originally known as Rantau Panjang. Its history goes back to the 16th century. Following the fall of the Malacca Sultanate to the Portuguese in 1511, Malay noblemen led by the Datuk Bendahara (a title equivalent to present-day prime minister) were retreating from the advancing Portuguese forces. They arrived at a river in northern Johor. Stopping to rest, the Datuk Bendahara quenched his thirst on the clear river water, which he pronounced to be "Segar Amat!" meaning "exceedingly fresh". The words "segar amat" became corrupted to "Mersing", and it was the name given to the river.
Until the end of the 19th century, Mersing was one of the four sub-districts, or mukim, under Muar District, along with the sub-districts of Parit Jawa, Chohong and Lenga. Mersing District was formed in 1933 following a major realignment of district boundaries by the state government of Johor, which split the four Johor districts of Muar, Batu Pahat, Johor Bahru and Sedili into eight districts namely Muar, Batu Pahat, Johor Bahru, Pontian, Kota Tinggi, Mersing and Mersing. Another realignment in 2008 created Ledang and Kulaijaya districts.
If you are coming from Johor Bahru or Singapore, use Route 3 to Mersing, passing through Kota Tinggi. If you're from the northern and central part of the west coast, such as Kuala Lumpur, then exit the North South Expressway at the Air Hitam Interchange (Exit 244), then take Route 50 east all the way to Mersing. If you're heading south from Kelantan, Terengganu or Pahang, then take Route 3 and simply head south.
Places to stay
The following are hotels which you can contact directly.
Country Hotel 11 Jalan Sulaiman, 86800 Mersing, tel: 07 799 1799
Embassy Hotel 2 Jalan Ismail, 86800 Mersing, tel: 07 799 3545
Hotel Seri Malaysia Mersing Lot PTB 641, Jalan Ismail, 86800 Mersing, tel: 07 799 1876
Mersing Inn 38 Jalan Ismail, 86800 Mersing, tel: 07 799 1919