Hooked on cafe ‘behind bars’

Hooked on cafe ‘behind bars’

KOTA TINGGI: An old two-storey police station building that has been around for more than 100 years has been given a new lease of life.

But instead of holding detainees, it is now drawing tourists into the district.

The old police station, located at Jalan Omar in Taman Sri Lalang, is now the Kota Tinggi tourism information centre.

But the building still retains some of its features from when it was a police station, including four jail cells.

According to Kota Tinggi tourism information centre general manager Rafeah Mohd Noah, the building was a police station since the 1920s and the Kota Tinggi police traffic headquarters in the early 2000s.

“However, when a devastating flood hit the district some 17 years ago, the building was submerged as it is located right along Sungai Johor.

“Due to the damage, it was abandoned before the state government took it over and set up the tourism information centre in 2017,” she said in an interview.

Rafeah, who is also Kota Tinggi Tourism Association honorary secretary, said since April last year, the building has been under the care of Tourism Johor and her association.

She said they have made several upgrades to the building, so it now houses two cafes on each floor, as well as a food truck operating alongside.

“There are seminar and meeting rooms. We also promote local products, handicrafts and traditional games in which visitors can also take part,” she added.

Rafeah said one cafe on the first floor serves a variety of local and western dishes including lempeng with sambal tumis, while the other sells premium coffee and drinks.

“The cafe is a bit different as people can enjoy their drinks and meal inside the ‘lockups’ which now have tables and chairs as well as open windows for their comfort.

“The lockups have received positive feedback from both local and foreign tourists,” she added.

Rafeah said the building plays an important role in boosting the district tourism industry, adding that there were six tourism packages on offer: nature, heritage, history, food, stay, and adventure.

“This is a one-stop centre for all tourists to get information about tourism products in Kota Tinggi.

“This centre will also help us to collect data such as arrivals of local and foreign tourists here,” she said, adding that the centre is open between 10am and 11pm except on Tuesdays.

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