Northern Sarawak’s main town, Miri is a handy base for numerous day-trips like a drive to the Gunung Mulu and Lambir Hills National Parks. 

The main town in northern Sarawak is a great jumping-off point for the spectacular natural attractions that surrounds it. Tourists tend to spend only a night here before or after a trip to the deservedly famous Gunung Mulu National Park. However, Miri is actually a handy base for numerous other day-trips.

A short drive away to the Lambir Hills National Park reveals rainforests rich in plant and animal species, six waterfalls and numerous trails of all grades. The forest trails at the Niah National Park are also worth exploring although it is its limestone caves that draw visitors to archaeological and geological treasures. Meanwhile, the many dive sites off Miri – including wrecks – are worth exploring for their coral and marine life.

Miri itself is small and laid-back. Its few attractions are related to local markets and handicrafts and the oil and gas industry on which it was built and depends. That industry continues to draw an international community, which has translated into good infrastructure and cosmopolitan supermarkets and restaurants. Meanwhile, the city's proximity to Brunei keeps fuelling the growth of shopping malls and hotels.


When to go

Miri is hot and sunny all year round. October-December are traditionally the wettest months. July-September is the peak tourism season.

Visa requirements

Passports must be valid for at least six months at the time of entry. Generally, no visas are required for citizens of Commonwealth countries for stays of up to three months, and for citizens of ASEAN countries for stays of up to one month. Check the Immigration Department website (www.imi.gov.my) for details.


The Malaysian ringgit (RM) is divided into 100 sen. Bank notes come in units of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100. Coins are 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen. The largest number of banks and money changers are in Miri. Credit cards are widely accepted. For ATM withdrawals, banking networks include MEPS, Maestro, Cirrus and Bankcard.


The Miri Airport is about 1.5km (1 mile) from town. Take a taxi (buy a coupon at the airport) and it will transport you directly to your hotel. Taxis are the best way to get around town. Although taxis and buses do serve the surrounding attractions and car hire is available, the best way to see attractions is on a tour, as they include park fees, lunch and side attractions. Companies are also happy to tailor-make itineraries.

Health and safety tips

Miri has good health standards, public and private hospitals, clinics and pharmacies. However, be sure to buy medical insurance and get hepatitis and tetanus shots. Visitors suffering from respiratory illnesses should avoid visiting during the haze period in August-September. If you are staying overnight in forested areas, check well in advance with your doctor about appropriate anti-malaria precautions; always use insect repellant. Make sure the water you drink is boiled or bottled. Keep valuables in hotel safes and avoid carrying too much cash around.

Emergency details

Singapore Embassy :

The nearest embassy is in Kuala Lumpur at 209 Jalan Tun Razak (tel: (603) 2161 6277, www.mfa.gov.sg/kl).

Police :

Police/Ambulance/Fire brigade: 999 (112 from a mobile phone)

Basic greetings
English Malay
Hello Helo
How are you? Apa khabar?
Fine, thanks Khabar baik
Goodbye Selamat tinggal
Excuse-me! (to get attention) Maafkan Saya!
Thank you Terima kasih
Yes Ya
No Tidak
OK Baik
What's your name? Apakah nama anda?
My name is… Nama saya ialah…
Pleased to meet you Gembira berjumpa anda
Are you on Facebook/Twitter? Awak ada Facebook/Twitter?
Where’s an internet café? Di manakah kafe internet?
Where can I get a taxi? Di manakah saya boleh mendapatkan teksi?
Where is the bus/train station? Di manakah stesen bas/keretapi?
A one-way/return ticket to… Tiket sehala/ulang-alik ke…
Do you have a room for one/two? Ada bilik untuk seorang/dua orang?
When's check out? Bilakah untuk mendaftar keluar?
Can you recommend a good restaurant/bar? Bolehkah anda mencadangkan sebuah restoran/bar?
A table for two, please Sila berikan meja untuk dua orang
A menu, please Sila berikan menu
The bill, please Sila berikan bil
Where's the toilet? Di manakah bilik air?
Help! Tolong!

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Lambir Hills National Park

Jalan Miri-Bintulu

A network of easy to tough trails lets visitors enjoy Lambir Hills National Park, one of the most diverse rainforest ecosystems in the world. A highlight of the higher slopes is the rare heath forest and its wonderful orchids. The park's rugged, hilly terrain also includes numerous waterfalls and natural pools in which to bathe. Note that the easy Latak Waterfall Trail, which leads to a 25-metre (82ft) waterfall, gets busy on weekends.

Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park

Miri Marina Bay jetty (jump-off)

Scuba-divers will enjoy the colourful, healthy reefs at Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park. From the Marina Bay jetty, the nearest dive site is 10 minutes away by boat, but the drop-offs and slopes are almost an hour away. The reefs are shallow, with the deepest being 30 metres (98ft) and visibility 10–30 metres 

Niah National Park

Batu Niah

The key attractions at Niah National Park are the caves of Niah, an important prehistoric site of cave-dwellers. Besides archaeological artefacts, they harbour ancient rock art and beautiful limestone formations. During the controlled harvesting season, collectors with nerves of steel climb scaffolding up to the high cave ceilings to harvest birds' nests, a Chinese delicacy. Those with time should explore the forest trails too.

Canada Hill


Canada Hill is the location of the country's first oil well, the most visited tourist site in Miri. The well is called The Grand Old Lady and is surrounded by murals, mining equipment and a landscaped park. There is also a small petroleum museum documenting the history of oil exploration and the city. Visitors can get a bird's-eye view of Miri and its surroundings from here.

Gunung Mulu National Park


The spectacular limestone caves and pristine rainforest of Gunung Mulu National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site, are the main reasons visitors come to this part of the world. Set aside a minimum of two days to explore the amazing formations of the show caves, see massive bat colonies, walk through limestone and mixed Dipterocarp forests and travel by longboat.


Boulevard Shopping Mall

Boulevard Commercial Centre, Jalan Miri-Pujut

Boulevard Shopping Mall's 80 retail outlets include a hypermarket, the Parkson department store, and a section dedicated to computers and IT accessories. It also has a large food court and above that, an expansive children’s play area. Other facilities include a post office, a bank and a money-changer. Activities and promotions are held regularly at this lively mall that becomes packed on weekends.

Budget $$$

Imperial Mall

Jalan Pos

Part of the Imperial Hotel & Suites complex, Imperial Mall is Miri’s largest mall with 120 shop and restaurant outlets. The usual high-street labels can be found here as well as local boutiques. Family-targeted outlets include fast-food restaurants, a cinema, bowling centre and children's playground. The food court has a variety of local food available.

Budget $$$

Miri Handicraft Centre

Jalan Brooke

Miri Handicraft Centre is where all visitors go to buy handicrafts. The centre offers hand- and machine-made products drawn from indigenous traditions throughout Borneo. These include mats, baskets, musical instruments, jewellery, purses and textiles. T-shirts, fridge magnets, keychains and other contemporary souvenirs are plentiful too, as are local snacks and the famous Sarawak pepper.

Budget $$

Saberkas Weekend Market

Saberkas Commercial Centre, Jalan Pujut-Lutong

Held from Friday evening to Sunday morning, Saberkas Weekend Market is fun to visit at night. Vendors sell everything from household items to jungle produce and potted plants. Look through the several handicraft shops and stalls for hand-made items such as woven and beaded products. Meanwhile, the food stalls are great for their variety of local food such as the Sarawakian kuih lapis (layer cake), nasi lemak (steamed rice with spices) and grilled fish.

Budget $

Tamu Muhibbah

Jalan Padang

Housed in two buildings, the more interesting stalls at Tamu Muhibbah are in the one selling fresh produce. Spread out on the ground are freshly harvested vegetables, fruits and jungle fare, as well as the Bario hill rice for which this part of Sarawak is famous, including organic varieties. There are also local snacks and dried seafood. A stall or two hawk woven products; these are utilitarian rather than tourist-targeted.

Budget $


Apollo Seafood Centre

4 Jalan South Yu Seng

The Apollo Seafood Centre is reputed to serve the best seafood in town. This Chinese restaurant displays tanks of live fish and other seafood which customers can select, before the cooks prepare it according to their preference. Popular dishes are butter prawns, claypot seafood, curry fish head and stewed pork leg. It also has a decent selection of vegetarian dishes.

Budget $$$

Café Miri

Taman Yakin Shopping Centre, Jalan Bulan

A few kilometres from the town centre, Café Miri is a relaxed café run by a local chef and his Australian wife. They serve well-cooked Western meals where the highlights are the steak, fish and chips and roasts. To accompany your meal, choose from a good selection of imported wines and beers. This is a popular place with the expatriate community. Note that it is closed on Tuesday.

Budget $$

Central Market

Jalan Brooke

Located next to the bus station, Central Market is a no-frills hawker centre that sits within the wet (produce) market. It has a good selection of Chinese dishes, including Hainanese chicken rice and the hand-made fishball noodles (the second generation of cooks has taken over now). The famous chicken rice porridge and chicken noodles are only available from 7pm; look for the stall with the queues. You can also buy beer to go with your food.

Budget $

Jing Wood Café

612 Pelita Commercial Centre, Jalan Miri-Pujut

Because of its proximity to watering holes, Jing Wood Café is a popular dinner option with pub-goers. Unsurprisingly, this night-time hawker centre is bustling on weekends. Locals also like it because it is real value for money. Dine alfresco on the Penang fried noodle dish char kway teow and Shanghainese fried pork dumplings, or localised Western dishes such as grilled meats and deep-fried chicken.

Budget $


Jalan Merpati

Good Malay food in a pleasant, clean setting is available at Madli's. Originally a restaurant specialising in satay (grilled meat on skewers), its menu has grown to include nasi lemak, steamed rice with spicy anchovies, and the spicy and sour asam pedas. The state's iconic hawker noodle dish, the Sarawak Laksa, is also good here. While non-alcoholic, the drinks menu is extensive and includes trendy health ingredients like wheatgrass.

Budget $$


Grand Palace Hotel

2KM, Jalan Miri-Pujut, Pelita Commercial Centre

The Grand Palace Hotel is a refurbished four-star hotel with comfortable beds and well-appointed bathrooms. The in-house dining is decent and the halal dim sum at the Chinese restaurant has a good reputation. In addition, there are numerous eateries in the neighbourhood. A supermarket next door is handy for water and snacks and the Tamu Muhibbah is round the corner. Note that the hotel is often full on weekends.

Budget $$$

Imperial Palace Hotel

Block 7, Jalan Sehati, MCLD

The rooms are new and large in the Imperial Palace Hotel. However, all standard rooms have their windows facing a corridor, so book a superior category to avoid that. Buffet breakfasts and service are generally good. There is a lap pool and a decent gym on the first floor. The hotel is located in the Pelita Commercial Centre, which is a major entertainment and business area.Imperial Palace Hotel

Budget $$

Mega Hotel

Lot 907, Jalan Merbau

A centrally located hotel, Mega Hotel is within walking distance of shopping malls, restaurants and shops. Its rooms are spacious and those on the upper floors have pleasant views of the ocean. The facilities are good and include a swimming pool and a business centre; its Lotus Court Chinese restaurant is popular with families.

Budget $$

Miri Marriot Resort and Spa

Jalan Temenggong Datuk Oyong Lawai

The Miri Marriot Resort and Spa is located right next to the beach and rooms with a seaview are worth getting for the marvellous sunsets. Rooms are well-appointed and very comfortable. The pool is famously large and great for children, and the full-service Mandara spa lives up to its reputation. Though located a little out of town, a free shuttle service goes in regularly enough for guests to sample great Miri food.

Budget $$$

Treetops Lodge

Lot 210, Kampong Siwak Jaya

Located 30 minutes south of town, Treetops Lodge is a homely budget hostel for visitors who want peace and quiet. Accommodation is longhouse-style or basic rooms in the main building. There are great views from the balconies attached to the first-floor rooms. Meals are cooked by a villager using fresh local ingredients. Evenings are great for strolls on the beach, which is just 10 minutes' walk away.

Budget $

Borneo Jazz Fest

9 - 10 May

Miri's largest arts event attracts good local and international musicians and groups. The range of jazz styles is broad and ranges from traditional to genre-crossing. For more information, go to http://jazzborneo.com

Gawai Dayak

1 June

This traditional harvest festival is celebrated through family reunion dinners and the visiting of graveyards. The official dinner usually involves traditional dances and a costume pageant. Some longhouses still practise rituals and welcome visitors.

Malaysia Craft Promotion

18-26 May

This traditional harvest festival is celebrated through family reunion dinners and the visiting of graveyards. The official dinner usually involves traditional dances and a costume pageant. Some longhouses still practise rituals and welcome visitors.

Malaysia Day Street Party

15 September

This traditional harvest festival is celebrated through family reunion dinners and the visiting of graveyards. The official dinner usually involves traditional dances and a costume pageant. Some longhouses still practise rituals and welcome visitors.

Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival

16 June - 2 September

This traditional harvest festival is celebrated through family reunion dinners and the visiting of graveyards. The official dinner usually involves traditional dances and a costume pageant. Some longhouses still practise rituals and welcome visitors.

Miri City Christmas Parade

Date varies in December

This traditional harvest festival is celebrated through family reunion dinners and the visiting of graveyards. The official dinner usually involves traditional dances and a costume pageant. Some longhouses still practise rituals and welcome visitors.


Start the day at the colourful local market, Tamu Muhibbah (literally Harmonious Market) on Jalan Padang. The array of fresh produce is a window into the kitchens and tables of the locals as well as the forests and farms in the surrounding areas. The vendors are typical of the traders – and in some cases, farmers themselves – in markets (tamu) all over Borneo. Native women dominate and items sold are not only for eating but also rituals.

To taste this produce, head down the road to 1246 Jalan Melayu for brunch at the Summit Café. The cooking is Kelabit, that of the indigenous people of the Bario highlands. The rice used is the fragrant variety that grows there, whilst dishes include stir-fried wild boar, chicken cooked in bamboo and tapioca shoots in Bario salt.

Get respite from the heat of the day back in your hotel or head south towards Tanjong Lobang. Enjoy a spa at the Miri Mariott Resort and Spa or have a drink in one of their cafés and bars.

Come evening, head back to the city and north towards Canada Hill. En route, shop for native handicrafts and souvenirs at the Miri Handicraft Centre, but ensure you reach Canada Hill in time for sunset. This is the location of The Grand Old Lady, Malaysia’s first inland oil well and one of Sarawak’s most important historical monuments. From here, visitors can see the city as well as the South China Sea. On clear days, the view extends to Gunung Mulu.

Places to visit:
Tamu Muhibbah, Summit Café, Miri Mariott Resort and Spa, Miri Handicraft Centre, The Grand Old Lady.


Pack a lunch and spend the first part of the day trekking through rainforest and bathing in waterfalls at the Lambir Hills National Park, a popular weekend getaway just 32km (20 miles) south of Miri. The park is also renowned for its bird-watching opportunities. On arrival, head to the park headquarters' information centre and learn more about which plants and creatures to look out for.

Of the trails, the most popular is only 20 minutes from the park headquarters and leads to the beautiful Latak waterfall which cascades into a pool. If it is too crowded here, head to the Pantu Trail, which climbs to a tree tower and the smaller Nibong Waterfall, or opt for the steeper Bukit Pantau for amazing views. Fitter visitors have many other options.

After lunch, continue south along the same road for around 60km (37 miles) to reach the Niah National Park. The Niah caves are an important Paleolithic-era archaeological site. Drive to the park headquarters or, for a more fun option, park at Batu Niah and take a longboat from there. Be equipped with a good torch and sturdy walking shoes.

Visit the information centre and museum before walking the 3.5km (2 miles) through lush forest to the Great Cave, whose massive entrance is stunning. The archaeological site underneath revealed hundreds of graves spanning 30,000 years. Take the loop trail or walk through this cave to the Painted Cave, which contains haematite paintings of humans, funerary boats and beasts.

Places to visit:
Lambir Hills National Park, Niah National Park.