MIRI – is the second biggest city in Sarawak with a population of around 270,000.
Miri is a waterfront cosmopolitan City around 800 kilometres north of Kuching – an 11 hour journey by car, or a 1 hour or so flight from Kuching Airport. This is an Oil Town, so many ex-pat oil workers are located here, with big investment in the City happening and there is the Patch Coral Reefs offshore in the Miri-Sibuti National Marine Park and a number of other National Parks as listed below.
There are many hotels and places to stay, good shopping, department stores, waterfront bars, restaurants, markets, parks, golf courses, University, schools and activities making Miri a popular destination for travellers and business people.
Oil was first discovered here in 1910 and developed from here, with timber, fishing and other industries also developing the City too.
THINGS TO SEE –
- In Miri – look for Dewan Suarah – a park area in the centre of the City with an amphitheatre and themed garden areas including a Botanical Garden including a large statue of a Sea Horse, the symbol of Miri; Central Market and Tamu Muhibbah for fruits, handicrafts and other goods; Tua Pek Kong Temple; Miri Handicraft Centre; Miri Petroleum Science Museum at Canada Hill – where the first timber derrick is located.
- Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs National Marine Park - there are 37 dive sites located within the marine park – with some just 15 minutes off the coast and others up to an hour away. Here you will find amazing corals, Clown and Angel Fish, Giant Groupers, sea fans and there are also a few ship wrecks too and the remains of an old oil platform, a haven for coral and fish to swim in and around. The underwater world is special, and here are some of the best dive sites in Sarawak.
- Lambir Hills National Park – is located just 30 minutes from Miri in sandstone hills covering an area of almost 7000 hectares. There are a number of walks here, both short and long, as well as dozens of jungle waterfalls and pools to swim in. 237 different species of birds have been identified here and you will also possibly see squirrels, different deer, gibbons, wild pigs and different monkeys too. Being so close to Miri means it is an easy day-trek.
- Niah National Park – about 100 kilometres from Miri is where a skull was date coded to find it was 40,000 year's old. This remarkable find was made in 1958, and since then further discoveries have uncovered modern graves from 1400AD, and death ship Coffins some dating back to 1AD and others to 780AD along with cave drawings and other artefacts - most of which are now in the Sarawak Museum in Kuching. The Park itself has two big caves – the Painted Cave and the Great Cave with its 60 metre high entrance and 250 metres width across. Millions of bats have made it their home, and here in the Park there are also the rainforest to see and hear the sound of animals and birds.
- Loagan Bunut National Park –120 kilometres from Miri (3 hour's drive) is where there is a large lake most times, though in the dry times, it empties into a river leaving a vast expanse of cracked mud. When it is filled with water there are the fish, but as it dries up thousands of birds descend on the lake to feed on the fish, followed by a period when the insects lay eggs in the mud and droppings from the birds bring help grasses and weeds to grow for the fish to flourish as the water in the lake returns. Fisherman here have also developed special nets to catch fish as they enter the river, and then they keep the fish in submerged Bamboo cages before carrying them to market. Berewan local guides take you on Longboats or walking to explain this whole cycle of drought and flood, and if you are lucky you might see the Selambau scoop nets used by the fishermen. Also here in the Park you will be able to see the world's 3rd tallest tree – the 'Tapang' and also the 'Belian' Ironwood Tree – one of the hardest timbers in the world. It is also possible to stay in the Mutiara Hostel – but pre-book with the National Parks Booking Office in Miri.
- Gunung Mulu National Park – is a 25 minute flight away from Miri covering an area of 544 square kilometres. This Park is UNESCO World Heritage Listed, which tells you how special this Park is. Take a look at www.mulupark.com to see some of the pictures and information about the Park – and see the amazing Pinnacles pointing to the sky from the rainforest, the huge caves, Canopy Skywalk suspension bridge over the top of the rainforest and beautiful 'Garden of Eden'. You can get here by air from either Kuching or Miri, and you need to book both the flight, accommodation and also a guide too.