Cosy comfort in container hotel

I just ate a mee bandung and satay lunch served by one of Muar’s most renowned vendors, Abu Bakar Hanipah at Mee Bandung Muar (Special) Jalan Abdullah and my friend, Emily, and I are talking about how enthusiastic he is in showing off his brand of mee bandung in the photo taken with me.  

Facade of PPT Muar Hotel with the container hotel [Right]
When we arrived, she told me that satay is available for breakfast in Muar but I’m glad I had it for lunch.  We are exploring Muar in a walking tour and she promised me a coffee next so we head into the afternoon sun, making our way to Jalan Maharani to savour Muar’s famous 434 brand coffee, brewed from elephant beans.

Walking along Jalan Abdullah, I spot the New Straits Times office housed in a shop unit and I snap a photo to send it to a colleague in JB to make him guess where I am.  I laugh when he replied with the correct guess.  While I’m enjoying my hot brew of Muar coffee, I get a message from my editor asking me to resend the story I had submitted but she only received the photos without the story.  The internet signal is quite poor but I quickly resent it.

It’s after 2pm and Emily says it’s time to check-into the hotel so we backtrack to my car and follow her directions to Jalan Bakri where it is situated.  As we draw closer, my eyes are riveted to the sight of the attractive colours in the triple stack of containers used to create this container hotel.  After I park, Emily, who made the room reservation, volunteered to do the check-in while I take my time to look at the impressive façade of the hotel and take my fill of photos.

Cosy Containers

The exterior of the containers remain virtually unchanged as the original brand names have only undergone a subtle change, like EVERGREEN is reworded, EVERYDAY.  With the original colours retained and the containers neatly stacked, the façade looked colourful and cheerful.  Windows and balconies are cut into the walls probably to make the containers feel less claustrophobic inside.  The reception desk is on the ground floor of the adjacent PPT Muar Hotel and I see Emily emerging with a small pouch in her hand.

It’s a handy zip-up see-through pouch that contains the room key, air-conditioner remote control, our deposit receipt and the all-important password for wireless internet access.  To enter the lobby of the PPT Container Hotel, we tap our room key on the sensor at the main entrance.  I’m glad this security measure will limit entries to registered room guests only.

The lobby of the container hotel with the grand staircase
that leads up to a view of a mock sky!
The centerpiece in the lobby is a grand staircase that leads upwards and splits to the right and left to the first level, with a symmetrical set of stairs to the second floor.  I like the solid feel of the steps and when we glanced at the ceiling, we can’t help admiring their ingenuity in painting it into a canopy of mock sky as an illusion of spaciousness.  We find our room easily and I’m amused that the number is creatively engraved on a stainless steel plaque designed in the shape of a trailer and container!

The heat within our room that faces the afternoon sun is understandably quite oppressive until a window is thrown open to air out the space and allow the air-conditioning to take effect.  The décor in the compact space of our Deluxe Superior room feels like a comfortable hotel room and the only tell-tale sign that reminds us we are in a container are the ceiling and one bare wall.  I’ve stayed in tinier hotel rooms and by comparison, this container room is both cosy and comfortable.

In the en suite bathroom, I discover toiletries including toothbrushes and its frosted glass walls certainly help to make the tiny room appear more spacious.  A flat-screen TV is mounted on the wall while the coffee and tea making facility is in a tray on the dressing table.  Then I realise the vacuum flask is provided for us to help ourselves to the hot and cold water from a number of dispensers located at intervals on the landing outside.

PPT Hotel Group

My phone signals a message from my editor who confirms safe receipt of my resent story and I respond by sending her a photo of the PPT Container Hotel, with a message that I just checked into a first floor room here.  Her reply simply said: “That’s nice.  One story please.”  She knows that when I discover something interesting in Johor, I will not hesitate to share my experience!

Only the ceiling and one bare wall [Right] hints that we
are inside a container!
After a comfortable night’s rest, we take a slow walk to the adjacent PPT Muar Hotel where breakfast is served at Here Café & Bistro.  There is a choice of three breakfast sets that comes with Muar’s 434 brand of coffee and I pick the fried noodles while Emily has the kaya toast and half-boiled eggs set.  I pop by the Reception where I meet Manager, Amy Goh, who will arrange for me to have a chat with the Hotel Group’s CEO, Michin Lim, after breakfast.

In our chat, I learnt from Lim and Goh that the PPT Hotel Group opened their first hotel ten years ago, named PPT, short-form for Pasir Gudang Passenger Terminal Hotel in Pasir Gudang. This was followed by PPT Muar Hotel in Jan 2013 and the Inn Home Muar in June 2013.  The container hotel is the brainchild of Lim’s husband, Koh Tiew King, a building contractor who applied his experience to design the first hotel in Johor within three levels of containers.

The room rate includes a breakfast set
“Every container has a story – each has probably travelled somewhere in the world,” said Lim as she discussed her husband’s passion in recycling old containers and putting them to good use.  Lim, who worked closely with Goh in the interior design and décor of the container hotel, emphasized that cleanliness is a priority and how PPT Laundry was set up in Muar to meet the laundry needs of their hotels.  She said the container hotel was completed in three months and opened in Feb 2015, on time for the lunar new year season.

Goh said that the container hotel attracted curious visitors and some who stayed over just for the experience.  Some even bluntly asked, “Inside the room got toilet or not?”  She is aware that the container hotel is fast gaining popularity through the sharing of info in social media and from wedding photos of couples who had permission to take some shots at the hotel’s grand staircase and landscaped gardens.  I assure them that a lot more people will come to know about Muar’s Bed & Breakfast deal in PPT Container Hotel when I share my experience with them!


PPT Container Hotel
No. 41-3 Jalan Bakri
80400 Muar, Johor
Tel: 606 – 953 9999
Fax: 606 – 952 3377

Getting There

From Muar town, head to the roundabout for Jalan Bakri, Jalan Kesang and Jalan Arab, and take the route to Jalan Bakri;  The hotel is on your right.  If you are heading to Muar via Jalan Bakri, the hotel is on your left, just before reaching the town.


A total of 41 rooms, 14 of which are designed with balcony

Main Attraction

Hotel rooms in various configurations, creatively built into three stacks of containers

First Impression

Fun in recycled comfort

Overall Service

Friendly and attentive

F&B Outlets

Here Café & Bistro in the adjacent PPT Muar Hotel


Convenient parking, 24-hour security camera surveillance and reception, room keycard system, meeting room for 60 people and free high-speed wireless internet access

Places Within Walking Distance

Bentayan Food Court and A-Class Otak-Otak Products at Jalan Bentayan and Muar town via Jalan Arab

A version of this was published in The New Straits Times, Life & Times on 4 June 2015

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