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Miri is a city in Sarawak, Malaysia, located in the Borneo island and is very close to Brunei Darussalam as well as Indonesia. The lively city is dubbed as the second largest city in Sarawak and even earns a reputation as the most cosmopolitan city.
Miri is home to Malaysian petroleum industry, dating back its first oil well and production in 1910. For that, the city is also labeled as the "Oil Town of Malaysia". This city enjoys prosperous economy due to the thriving oil and gas industry in the city. This stable economic condition has shaped Miri into a modern and busy city populated by many luxurious hotels and shopping malls these days. Besides its long history, Miri is also a culturally-rich city inhabited by 19 of 27 ethnic groups in Sarawak alongside the Chinese and expatriates. Nowadays, Miri houses several giant companies with considerable number of expatriates living with local Miri citizens, adding to 300,000 people of the city’s population.
Despite having modern ambiance and way of living, Miri is greatly attractive for tourists, especially for the diving spots off the coast. Eco-tourism lovers can visit Gunung Mulu National Park and Sarawak Chamber, Loagan Bunut National Park (Sarawak’s largest natural lake), Lambir National Park (ranked 12 as a site with biggest biodiversity in the world), and the beautiful caves and waterfalls in Niah National Park. These places are all easily reached from Miri. However, you can also find several notable attractions inside the city such as oil museum and temples.
Miri International Airport (MYY) is a main destination for frequent flights from Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru by AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines. Several other flights to Miri are operated from Penang, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, and the international flight from Singapore. MASWings also operate direct flights to Gunung Mulu National Park, also other destinations including Limbang, Lawas, and Labuan.
Miri are linked by buses to Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Bintulu, and Sibu. Local buses serving city area, Bakam, airport, and Brunei depart from local bus station located at Melayu Road (beside Tamu Muhibbah and Visitor’s Information Centre). Meanwhile, long-distance buses to Lambir Hills National Park, Niah National Park, Bintulu, Sibu, Kuching, and Pontianak (Indonesia) depart from the bus station located close to Pujut Corner.
From Brunei Darussalam: Bandar Seri Begawan buses to Miri costs 18.00 BND (Brunei Dollar), leaves at 07:00 AM and 01:00 PM in approximately 45 minutes ride.
Atop Canada Hill erects Miri’s founding icon called The Grand Old Lady, which is Shell’s first oil well and, at the same time, is the first well in Miri. Started in 1910, the oil well has produced around 660,000 barrels but dried up and was finally shut down in 1972. As the first resource that elevated development in Miri as well as Sarawak, it then earned its name as the Grand Old Lady and is now one of the national monuments in Malaysia.
Just next to the museum is Miri Petroleum Science Museum where the history of the oil digging was elaborated. The museum serves as a major highlight to local histories and offers vast knowledge about the exploration, production, refining, and distribution science and technicalities.
The museum is open every day from 09:00 AM to 04:30 PM except Monday. No admission fee is required.
San Ching Tian Temple, built in 2000, is Southeast Asia’s largest Taoist temple that occupies about 1.5 acres land. Its elegant architectures are paired with grand door arch, decorated with two dragons upon entering the temple. Not only a great place to wonder in awe, its tranquil atmosphere makes San Ching Tian Temple a relaxing place in contrast to the busy city.
The temple is located on Jalan Krokop and can be reached by bus no. 44.
An urban park complex of a 10.4-hectare park, Miri City Fan is a great stroll site to enjoy idly, featuring theme gardens and ponds dubbed as Malaysia’s best-landscaped city park. Within its fan-shaped park, there are Miri Civic Centre to view the park and Miri city line; Civic Promenade, which features carvings depicting Malaysia’s history and culture; Musical Fountain; Garden of Vision, an amphitheatre; Health Garden, with its circling reflexology path; Chinese Garden, located by a small lake and Miri’s symbol, seahorse on the middle of the lake, Formal Garden and a fountain as the central point of the garden; Miri Library, surrounded by tall white stone pillars; Botanical Ethnic Garden; Islamic Garden, displaying a considerable gazebo with dome-style roof; and lastly, a public swimming pool with an admission fee of 1.00 MYR. This popular area is also where concerts and festive celebrations (Eid-Al-Fitr and Chinese New Year) are held in the amphitheatre.
The park is accessible from Jalan Merpati or Jalan Kipas. The public swimming pool is open Tuesday or Sunday, 09:00 AM - 09:00 PM.
Taman Selera Beach is located around 3 kilometers from city center. Offering a fairly vast golden sandy area to roam around, it has much more to view and enjoy. One of the picturesque sights is Tanjong Lobang, a cliff with a cave at the bottom, running from Tanjung Lobang to Pujut. Local legend says that it was inhabited by two atrocious tigers whose anger can only be appeased by young girl sacrifices from time to time.
There is also a hawker center in Taman Selera Beach. While the open-air dining experience is accompanied by the sea breeze, great spot to enjoy sunset and sounds of waves.
The beach can be reached by bus No. 11 and 13.
As one of the world’s best diving spots, Miri Sibuti Coral Reef National Park is a haven for divers with its pristine coral reefs and abundant varieties of marine lives accompanied by average visibility of 10 to 30 meters visibility. Within 7 to 10 meters depth, you can explore varieties of diving sites from natural ones such as Eve’s Garden, Santak Point, Tukau Drop Off, Siwa Reefs, and Kenyalang Rig. Several sunken vessels are also amongst the awe-inviting spots, such as Atago Maru and Sri Gadang. The recently discovered diving spots are comparable even to Maldives and Papua Nugini.
The national park can be reached from Miri Bay Marina jetty within ten minutes to the nearest site. For the best diving season, aim to go within end of March to November.