Miri is a city that has been developed and transformed over the years. Being one of the major towns in Sarawak, Miri has never failed to please its visitors with various attractions and activities. There is always something new for you to explore, from natural beauty to cultural heritage, when you come by.
Canada Hill, also known as Miri Hill, towers behind the city centre with a height of 150 meters (492 feet). If you love watching sunrises or sunsets, this hill is an excellent spot for that, besides providing a panoramic view of the small city and the South China Sea in the distance. It is relatively easy to get here, as there are taxis or Grab cars at your service.
Furthermore, you can visit other notable tourist attractions like The Grand Old Lady and the Petroleum Museum on top, with a restaurant nearby. You can come any time as it operates on a 24-hour basis.
The Grand Old Lady is the first oil well in Malaysia, as it is the first place that Shell drilled oil in, in 1910. It is a nice thing to look at, in addition to the astounding view after hiking up Canada Hill. Of course, the monument may be a 30-metered replica. However, it is still significant as it offers a window into the oil industry’s importance that played a part in Malaysia’s revolution, such as the development of Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers.
The Petroleum Museum plays a crucial role in shedding light on Miri’s part in the oil industry and can be recognised from the oil derrick and ‘nodding donkey’ in front of the museum, forming a centrepiece of an outdoor display of the historical timeline of Sarawak’s oil industry. It is undoubtedly a must-see for anyone looking to understand how wealth was created and distributed throughout history and how Miri transformed from a small fishing village to a revolutionising machine. It is said to be due to the migration of many wealthy Chinese magnates from China decades ago, drastically transforming the demographics and development.
The Petroleum Museum features exhibits of different eras that have directly influenced modern-day Malaysia and oil extraction methods used a long time ago. Besides Mondays and the first day of Public Holidays, the museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, which it opens from 9 am to 4.45 pm on weekdays, and 10 am to 4 pm on weekends.
Known as Miri’s most extravagant temple, this temple is one of the largest Taoist temples in Southeast Asia after its opening in 2000 and has had a regular gathering of worshippers. The temple is a tranquil oasis within the bustling metropolis of Miri, offering its worshippers and visitors serenity amidst the chaos. It is convenient enough to get there, as it is only 3 kilometres northeast of downtown.
When you arrive at this temple, prepare to be blown away by the elegant entrance and two-tiered orange roof alongside the intricate dragons adorning the exterior. If you wish to purchase religious accessories, you can get them here, as they are sold inside.
When you walk along the Miri Handicraft Centre, you will realise how this small centre along Jalan Brooke has made a name for itself as a popular attraction for both locals and tourists alike. The traditional handmade products here truly highlight the craftsmanship of the “Dayak” people in Sarawak, particularly the textiles or handbags. You don’t have to worry about sweating here, as it is air-conditioned so that you can shop in comfort at your own pace. The Miri Handicraft Centre is truly the one-stop for anyone wishing to experience Sarawak’s vibrant culture.
The place also consists of Islamic and Botanical gardens perfect for strolling, jogging, or just chilling out. Furthermore, it is also home to Miri City Library and a public swimming pool. If you need some time out away from the heat, head over to Miri library, where plenty is going on inside, from readings events to live performances by musicians.
The Gunung Mulu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s easy to see why. The park consists of rainforest, caves, rivers, and many other natural wonders; besides being home to the world’s most significant cave passage in Deer Cave, scientists have explored for over 50 years since its discovery in 1958. Resembling a scene from sci-fi movies, the most distinctive features of this park are the razor-sharp limestone pinnacles and soaring mountains. If you’re looking for an adventure-packed holiday destination, then this place should be on your bucket list.
You can do a wide range of activities here, such as cave exploring, boat riding, or mountain climbing. You can choose to stay inside or outside the National Park. Inside, the accommodation choices are air-conditioned bungalows and shared hostel facilities, whereas, outside the park, you can stay in the luxurious Marriott Resort or any other homestay. The park is open daily, from 8 am to 5 pm daily, with an entrance fee of RM10.
Anyone would recognise the name “Gua Niah” after studying it frequently for Geography and History exams in school, right? Then it is no surprise that the Niah National Park has a reputation for its network of sprawling caves. Situated just 100 kilometres from Miri, it is certainly more accessible than Gunung Mulu National Park. On top of that, you will find a variety of geological wonders such as stalactites, stalagmites, and even ancient cave paintings here.
The park has a visitor centre and suitable accommodation, with easy access thanks to the extensive network of plank walks. Open from 8 am to 1 pm every day, including public holidays, this spot is undoubtedly a must-see attraction that caters to any individual of any interest. A flashlight is essential and proper walking shoes since caves are unlit and can be slippery from the constant dripping of bat guano from the ceiling.
A highlight of the city, locals know it as Tanjung Lobang. It is fondly associated with a beach with two characteristic piers that stretch along the South China Sea. It is famous for its warm, gentle waters, where families play in the sand while swimming close to shore or fishing off-shore. Mirages fill up distant skies at sunset, turning them orange, purple-red, sometimes looking like an endless carpet spread across the earth.
If you get hungry from all the fun, a food centre called Taman Selera offers fresh seafood that you can enjoy while watching the sunset and feeling the sea breeze. It is reasonably accessible via taxi or bus, but you can stay nearby in hotels like Parkcity Everly Hotel and Miri Marriot Hotel, or any other nearby homestay.
Besides Brighton Beach, Tusan Beach is also attractive to locals and tourists. Explore the empty beaches and rock formations here, all a mere 30-minute car ride away from Miri. As a drive-by destination, Tusan Beach has plenty of visitor amenities. The beach itself is long and sandy with gentle water that’s perfect for swimmers looking to cool down after an adventurous day exploring the rock formations or cliffs alongside it.
After a full day of exploring Tusan Beach, one can sit and enjoy the sunset stretching along the waters, transforming into the perfect natural backdrop for pictures. If you’re staying till nighttime, you could be lucky enough to witness the ‘Blue Tears’ phenomenon, caused by microorganisms called dinoflagellates, that generate light under certain conditions. Tusan Beach is undoubtedly a sight to behold when this happens, but of course, it is pretty rare and only happens on some days.
It is safe to say that Miri certainly doesn’t lack a travel destination. With a captivating landscape, incredible biodiversity and history of hospitality, you’ll undoubtedly have a memorable experience.