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. From natural beauty to cultural heritage, there is always something new for you to explore when you come by.
Canada Hill, or also known as Miri Hill, towers behind the city centre with a height of 150 meters (492 feet). It is fairly easy to get here, as there are taxis or Grab cars at your service. If you love watching sunrises or sunsets, this hill is a great spot for that, besides providing a panoramic view of the small city and the South China Sea in the distance. 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. Of course, the monument may just be a 30-metered replica, but it is still significant as it offers a window into the importance of the oil industry that played a part in Malaysia’s revolution, such as the development of Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers. It is a nice thing to look at, in addition to the astounding view after hiking up Canada Hill.
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 certainly a must-see for anyone looking to gain an understanding of how wealth has been created and distributed throughout history and how Miri went from being 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, as well as oil extraction methods that were 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 9am to 4.45pm on weekdays, and 10am to 4pm on weekends.
Known as Miri’s most extravagant temple, this temple is said to be 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. You can go there by car, or take Bus 44 instead. 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, it is no wonder that 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 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 rich and vibrant culture. Be sure to note that it is open daily from 9am to 6pm!
Miri City Fan Recreational Park is a 26-acre park opened in the 1990s that currently spans ten thematic zones. The name of this park originated from its shape as a traditional handheld fan from above. The centrepiece of this beautiful space is the amphitheatre that has seen its fair share of concerts. The place also consists of Islamic and Botanical gardens perfect for strolling, jogging, or just chilling out. Check out the koi pond, too, while you are there. 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 Mirilibrary where there’s plenty going on inside, from readings events to live performances by musicians, though be sure to come early as it gets full quickly. The best thing, the library is air-conditioned.
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 largest cave passage in Deer Cave that has been explored by scientists for over 50 years since its discovery in 1958. If you’re looking for an adventure-packed holiday destination, then this place should be on your bucket list! Resembling a scene from sci-fi movies, the most distinctive features of this park are the razor-sharp limestone pinnacles and soaring mountains.
There is a wide range of activities you can do here, such as cave exploring, boat riding, or mountain climbing. You can choose to stay inside or outside the National Park! Inside, the choices of accommodation 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 8am to 5pm daily, with an entrance fee of RM10. Unfortunately, there are no buses, highways and certainly no taxis to Mulu. Hence, the most practical way to reach Gunung Mulu is to take a direct flight from Miri to Mulu.
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. There are a variety of geological wonders like patterns in stalactites and stalagmites, limestone caverns and even ancient cave paintings from Palaeolithic and Neolithic times!
The park has a visitor centre and good accommodation, with easy access thanks to the extensive network of plank walks. A flashlight is essential, as well as proper walking shoes since caves are unlit and can be really slippery from the constant dripping of bat guano from the ceiling. It’s also recommended that you wear something on your head, so it does not obstruct vision when exploring these amazing locations! Open from 8am to 1pm every day, including public holidays, this spot is certainly a must-see attraction that caters to any individual of any interest.
A highlight of the city, locals know it as Tanjung Lobang. It is fondly associated with a beach with two characteristic piers that stretches along the South China Sea and is famous for its warm, gentle waters where families play in the sand while swimming close to shore or fishing off-shore. At sunset time, mirages fill up distant skies, turning them orange, purple-red, sometimes looking like an endless carpet spread across the earth. If you get hungry from all the fun, there is a food centre called Taman Selera that offers fresh seafood that you can enjoy while watching the sunset and feeling the sea breeze. It is fairly accessible via taxi or bus, but you can choose to stay nearby in hotels like Parkcity Everly Hotel and Miri Marriot Hotel, or any other nearby homestay.
Besides Brighton Beach, Tusan has its own fair share to offer to locals and tourists! Come 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 night time, you could be lucky enough to witness the ‘Blue Tears’ phenomenon, caused by microorganisms called dinoflagellates, that generate light under certain conditions. When this happens, Tusan Beach is certainly a sight to behold, but of course, it is quite rare and only happens on some days.
It is safe to say that Miri certainly doesn’t lack as a travel destination. With a captivating landscape, incredible biodiversity and history of hospitality, you’ll certainly have a memorable experience.