Going on a Miri trip and want to know all the best things to do in Miri, Malaysia? We have you covered! Our guide below will ensure you find the best attraction in Miri along with everything else you need to know so you can plan the ultimate trip.
Sitting at the northwest coastline of Borneo, bordering Brunei, Miri is the second largest city of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, with a population of over 230,000.
Once a tiny fishing village, the discovery in 1910 of an oil field quickly turned Miri into one of Malaysia’s most important cities. Visiting the petroleum industry-related sites such as the Grand Old Lady and the Petroleum Museum are among some of the best Miri Malaysia things to do for visitors to understand the distinguished history of this city.
Tourism in the region blossomed soon after Mulu National Park was named as a UNESCO Heritage Site. This celebrated its immerse richness of bio and geodiversity. It’s my absolute favourite part in Malaysia. It’s just so awesome.
Niah National Park, home to some large caves, is of enormous archaeological value, with the discovery of human remains dating back approximately 40,000 years.
Incredible attractions such as these have developed Miri into one of the world’s most sought after ecotourism destinations.
However, many people simply fly through here on there way to and from Mulu National Park, but there are plenty of things to do here to occupy you for a couple of days, especially visiting Niah and Lambir National Parks.
Below, you will find our Miri place to visit blog post with everything you need to know about the most interesting places in Miri – Sarawak, exactly what to do in Miri, Malaysia as well as the best Miri tourist attraction for your ultimate holiday in Miri.
There is also a handy map of the best places to visit in Miri Sarawak which will make it easy to plan your itinerary.
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Top 16 Things To Do In Miri, Malaysia
Here are the best things to do in Miri, Sarawak. Read through and select the ones that fit your interests and timeframe.
See A Replica Of Malaysia’s First Oil Well: The Grand Old Lady
Being Malaysia’s most significant oil town, the country’s first oil well in Miri carries the glorious history of the development of the petroleum industry. This iconic structure was built in 1910 by Royal Dutch Shell and was originally simply called ‘Well No.1’.
This wooden well was the only one that survived WWII and continued operating through until 1972, earning the nickname The Grand Old Lady. Standing 30 metres tall and supported with steel, The Grand Old Lady was officially declared a historic site in 1973.
Today, the site serves as a state monument to honour the birthplace of Malaysia’s petroleum industry, making this one of the most iconic places to visit in Miri Malaysia.
Address: Canada Hill, 98000 Miri, Sarawak
Enjoy Scenic Views From Canada Hill
The Grand Old Lady stands on Canada Hill, which legend says was named after a Canadian resident, yet the locals refer to the site as Bukit Minyak (Oil Hill). The summit of this limestone ridge sits at 150 metres and offers the best birds eye view across Miri Town and out over the South China Sea.
If you enjoy trekking or hiking this is definitely for you. You’ll find a well-designed loop trail that passes through lush green jungle that’s often filled with beautiful wildflowers – definitely worth exploring!
Aim to take a trek in the afternoon and catch a magnificent sunset from the highest point of the city This is one of the best Miri things to do.
Address: 98000 Miri, Sarawak
Learn More Of Miri’s History And Transformation In Petroleum Museum
Miri was once a small fishing village with people living simple lives. The discovery of oil drastically changed the region, bringing job opportunities and associated wealth that turned Miri into a vibrant city. Drop by the Petroleum Museum on Canada Hill, adjacent to the Grand Old Lady, to discover more about the oil history of Miri.
Petroleum industry-related artefacts, an interesting oil rig model and oil formation exhibitions can all be studied here. One of the most popular exhibits is probably the earthquake simulator, where you can experience the strength of a quake!
At Canada Hill, amongst all the things to do, Miri Petroleum Museum is one that should not be missed. Entry is free, and it’s open daily apart from some public holidays.
Address: Jabatan Muzium Sarawak, Canada Hill, Jln Oil Well No. 1, 98000 Miri, Sarawak
Explore San Ching Tian Temple
One of Southeast Asia’s largest Taoist temples, San Ching Tian Temple was majestically constructed in 2000 and covers over 1.5 acres. Just 4 kilometres from the centre of Miri Town, visitors are greeted by a pair of dragon carvings, etched along the entrance. It’s quite a sight!
Inside, you’ll be captivated by enormous golden pillars, massive religious idols, wall paintings and exquisite carvings.
A perfect place to learn about Taoism culture, the Temple is set in a tranquil setting with soul-piercing sounds of wind chimes bringing a sense of peacefulness.
In our opinion, one of the most remarkable places of interest in Miri Sarawak.
Address: Jln Chong Poh, 98000 Miri, Sarawak
Visit Miri’s Oldest Temple: Tua Pek Kong
In contrast to the grand and relatively new San Ching Tian Temple, Tua Pek Kong temple dates back to 1913 and is the oldest temple in Miri. It is believed that the local Chinese community built the Temple as gratitude to a deity for helping them end an epidemic that caused a significant number of casualties in the early 1900s.
Tua Pek Kong is modest in size but aesthetically loud. The entire structure is strikingly colourful, with vivid dragon carvings on the entrance pillars. Also, spend time admiring the amazing paintings that cover the walls and ceiling, depicting Chinese folklore stories.
Address:Jalan Bendahara, 98000 Miri, Sarawak
Grab Some Handmade Products At Miri Handicraft Centre
Miri Handicraft Centre has been selling authentic Sarawakian ethnic products since the 1990s. However, the Centre was recently rebuilt into a two-storey modern, air-conditioned shopping centre that is now home to more than a dozen stores.
Over 90% of the products sold are handmade by local ethnic groups, such as the Penan and Dayak people. Traditional weaved mats and handbags are some of the most popular items, whilst Batik Sarongs are also well-loved by travellers as they come in especially handy for beachgoers.
You will also find hand-carved souvenirs and jewellery, perfect gifts for your loved ones back home. Definitely, the best place in Miri Sarawak to shop!
Address: Jalan Brooke, Miri Handicraft Centre, 98000 Miri, Sarawak
Enjoy Sunset Cocktails At A Rooftop Bar
Located on the 17th Floor of Meritz Hotel, Sky Garden offers a panoramic view of Miri City. Open daily from 4pm, the outdoor seating keeps you cool with the almost ever-present sea breezes. Here is the perfect spot to admire the calm but radiant sunset as it paints the entire city orange before eventually setting over the horizon.
The photo at the top of this article was taken here.
Sky Garden serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and also comes with an extensive food menu. I had an asbolutely delicious beef burger here. Probably the best one I have had in Malaysia.
To access this, you need to enter the hotel, take the elevator to level 17 and then walk through the restaurant that’s in front of you.
There’s no better way to end a busy day of sightseeing.
Address: 17 Floor Outdoor Meritz Hotel, 1657, Jalan Miri Pujut, Bintang Jaya, 98000 Miri, Sarawak,
Watch The Musical Fountain At Miri City Fan Recreation Park
Miri City Fan Recreation Park is a huge multipurpose park in the middle of the city. Beautifully landscaped and well paved with plenty of shade, local people come throughout the day for jogging and exercising.
You’ll find various ethnic gardens such as the Islamic Garden and Chinese Garden, and a two-storey public library which is an excellent place to learn about Sarawak’s diverse culture.
Some of the most iconic features of the park include a fan-shaped amphitheatre and a beautiful musical fountain. Bring a picnic or just visit to wind down at the end of a busy touring day!
Address: Jalan Kipas, 98000 Miri, Sarawak
Visit Miri’s Big Seahorse And Enjoy The Riverfront Area
Miri has a pretty riverfront area near where the Baong River meets the sea. There’s a boardwalk here, a big seahorse and the Miri sign you see in the picture above.
There are also many seafood restaurants around this spot.
Taste Street Food At Saberkas Weekend Market
Four kilometres away from the centre of Miri is the Saberkas Commercial Centre. This comes to life every Thursday to Sunday evening. With over 170 stalls from local vendors, you’ll find a myriad of produce for sale, such as finger-licking street food including satay, grilled fish, barbeque wings and more!
Take your time strolling along the area, perhaps skipping dinner plans and instead enjoy tasting local delicacies. Finish the evening by trying some of the exotic fruits on offer and picking up souvenirs to take home. It’s all set to a background of loud live music! It might be a bit chaotic, but it’s definitely a whole lot of fun!
Address: Pasar malam seberkas, Saberkas Commercial Centre, 98000 Miri, Sarawak
Rest And Relax At Tusan Beach
Tusan Beach is just a 45 minute drive from Miri city centre and is quite a secret hidden-away gem of a beach.
Minimally developed, you’ll find a long stretch of white sand beach at the foot of a cliff. To access the beach, you need to hike along some steep rocks, but the pristine water and sugar like sand are well worth the hassle!
Until recently, the famous “Horse Head Drinking Water” cliff – just a short walk from Tusan Beach – was for many people the main aim of visiting this remote area. Sadly, this unique rock formation collapsed after a heavy downpour.
However, there’s still a very unique reason to visit Tusan Beach – to see the ‘Blue Tears’. This natural phenomenon is when the unpolluted seawater glows blue at night, brought about by the surfacing of bioluminescent plankton.
This phenomenon only occurs in specific weather, and during certain currents and seasons, so there’s no guarantee. But, if you happen to get lucky, the experience is amazing. On a clear night, your encounter with the Blue Tears will be accompanied by the magnificent milky way twinkling in the night sky.
Amongst all the things to do in Miri, Borneo, visiting Tusan Beach could be one memory that lasts a lifetime!
Many people visit Tusan Beach as part of a tour to Niah Caves as it’s about the midway point between the caves and Miri. This is a good way to do it. If you book a taxi to take you to Niah Caves, you can also ask that they stop here.
Address: Kampung Terahat, 98150 Bekenu, Sarawak
Tour And Admire The Network Of Caves At Niah National Park
It’s no exaggeration to say that Niah National Park houses one of the most important archaeological sites in the world!
The Great Cave, as the name suggests, is one of the largest natural cave entrances in the world – measuring 60 metres high, 250 metres wide and 2 kilometres long. This is where some of the world’s oldest human remains were found in southeast Asia tracing back over 40,000 years ago!
Visitors can explore the cave via a well arranged plank walkway. You’ll eventually reach a large chamber with rock formations beautifully displayed by the natural light coming from the cave roof. And as you exit the chamber – turn on your torch – you will enter the most adventurous and eerie part of the journey, the completely unlit ‘Moon Cave’.
While I found this somewhat terrifying as I walked along in the dark with big spiders and cockroaches to keep me company, it was quite an experience!
Another important site at Niah is The Painted Cave. This is connected by plank walkways from the Great Cave. Here, archaeologists found wall paintings of human figures and ‘death ships’ – boat-shaped coffins. The contents of the coffins have now been moved to the Sarawak Museum.
Niah National Park is one of the most spectacular Miri Malaysia attractions. When visiting, don’t forget a pair of good hiking shoes that deal well with slippery paths and perhaps a broad-brimmed hat as clouds of swiftlets and bats nest inside the caves, and they can be pretty unforgiving! You also need a torch.
All up, you’ll walk about 8 kilometres to visit these caves as well as Traders Cave.
This is a great day trip from Miri with plenty to see and explore for at least 3-4 hours once you get there. In fact, I’d say it’s the #1 attraction in the Miri area.
Address: Sungai Niah, Miri, Sarawak
Have A Jungle Adventure In Lambir Hills National Park
Given you’ve probably come to Sarawak for its natural attractions, you won’t want to miss this Miri attraction. Just 45 minutes from Miri’s City Centre is Lambir Hills National Park which is home to one of the world’s most diverse ecological systems.
There are over 1,200 species of trees in the park, forming the perfect jungle environment for over 150 types of birds, insects (over 1,200 species) and wild animal sightings that include gibbons, tarsiers and even the shy clouded leopard.
Various interlinked and colour coded forest trails are outlined at the park (or find them here). You’ll find the most popular and accessible trail takes you to the Latak Waterfall which is only a 20 minute hike. This is a great spot to have a swim. It’s worth visiting Lambir Hills even if you only have time to do this.
For the more adventurous, there are longer trails, up to a full-on 7.05 kilometre trail (approx 3.5 hours there and a similar length of time back) to Bukit Lambir Summit. Standing at 456 metres, the hike gives you a chance to admire nature up close, with various waterfalls forming pools along the route that are pleasant places to bathe in.
This was one of the places I enjoyed most in Miri. But note that you have to leave the park by 3pm so make sure you go early.
Address: 1-76, Jalan Bintulu – Miri, 98000 Miri, Sarawak
Be Amazed By The Biodiversity At Gunung Mulu National Park
By far and away the best place to visit in this list isn’t actually in Miri, but a short flight away.
The 130,000 acres of Mulu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Area meeting all four criteria to be listed including because of its huge biodiversity. It’s home to some of the world’s oldest rainforest, sheltering a massive variety of vegetation and wildlife species.
Also, the abundance of rainfall combined with the steep Mulu mountains have, over many years, forged a perfect geological environment for the formation of one of the world’s longest cave systems.
One of the most famous sights in the area is the ‘bat exodus’, which can be observed near The Deer Cave. Visitors can watch this for free, however, we highly recommend joining a Show Caves guided tour organised by the park rangers.
Show Caves is the name given to the caves that people can enter with a guide without needing any specialist training or equipment. They are professionally lit with well maintained paths to preserve the integrity of these ancient chambers. You’ll also be given a chance to admire the incredible limestone passages, ancient riverbeds and much more.
I can’t recommend visiting the Show Caves enough.
Trekking and hiking in Mulu are hugely popular with anyone having even a mild interest in botany appreciating the Botanical Heritage Trail. This takes you past many tropical rainforest plants such as orchids, pitcher plants, etc. There are special accommodation places across the park to allow you to take multi-day hikes and climbs to really explore the park.
Check out the Garden of Eden, a hidden valley and waterfall enclosed by limestone cliffs, and admire the Pinnacles at Gunung Api – tall, jagged limestone formations with steep trails and rare orchids. There are so many Borneo rainforest Miri activities to enjoy at Mulu National Park.
This is actually my favourite place in all of Malaysia so fit it in if you can! The Show Caves are quite accessible and the rainforest easy to explore regardless of your fitness level. You won’t regret coming here!
See Crocodiles Up Close In Miri Crocodile Farm
The 22 acre Miri Crocodile Farm is home to over 1,000 crocodiles residing in a man-made sanctuary pond. There’s also a unique natural breeding enclosure which provides an opportunity for visitors to see these fearful creatures up close.
For anyone looking for a more intimate encounter with the crocs, opt-in for the crocodile feeding experience or a photo with baby crocs!
Other than crocodiles, there’s also a mini zoo bringing you close to some exotic animals such as sun bears, pythons, gibbons and porcupines.
Only 35 minutes drive from Miri, this is a must-do for all crocodile fans!
Address: Lot 164, 24Km Miri – Kuala Baram Road, 98000 Miri, Sarawak
Witness The Amazing Sunset At Brighton Beach
The coastline running south of Miri is mainly a long stretch of small beaches, each beautiful in its own way. Brighton Beach, also known as Tanjung Lobang, is the closest to the city centre and perhaps the most well known.
Take a stroll on either of the two jetties that extend out over the sea for unobstructed breathtaking views.
Most visitors come here to relax, jog or exercise. Unfortunately, swimming is not recommended due to the strong current along this coastline.
Address: Pantai Tanjung Lobang, 98000, Miri, Sarawak
Miri, Sarawak Attractions Map
The following map shows you where all the Miri attractions are on a map as well as the best places to stay in Miri.
Best Place To Stay In Miri
Thanks to the UNESCO Heritage Site at Mulu, Miri attracts plenty of tourists each year and a reasonably good range of hotels are available.
Here, we have selected three hotels at different price points, all with excellent locations nearby Miri city centre to give you more strategic access to everything Miri has to offer.
If you are looking for a resort stay in Miri, this is the hotel to pick! Located ten minutes drive from Miri city centre, it’s not the most central hotel, but it is right by the water. This 5-star property has a full resort set up with a full-fledged gym and spa.
There’s also an outdoor free-form swimming pool – the largest in Sarawak – which faces the sea for breathtaking views and you won’t want to miss a visit to the pool bar.
The hotel’s four in-house restaurants and bars offer a wide range of food items from Asian delicacies to oven-baked pizza.
There are various room types to choose from, such as the ocean view room with a balcony that is truly gorgeous and highly recommended if your budget allows. There are king and double options with the doubles having two double beds making this a solid option for families too.
Another top choice if you want to stay closer to the action with great views is the Pullman Waterfront. Read my full review here.
MID-RANGE – Imperial Hotel Review
The Imperial Hotel is conveniently located above and near shopping malls, local restaurants and some of the city’s key landmarks. Boasting a podium rooftop pool on the 5th floor, a second pool, two in-house restaurants, two gyms and a sauna, this hotel provides a complete range of facilities at a very reasonable price tag.
The 23-storey building has many room types to offer which are all air-conditioned and fully equipped. While the hotel rooms are limited to king and twin options, there are also serviced apartments with one, two and three-bedroom options that are great for families.
Some rooms are older style and some are more modern in a more recently built wing. Pick the one right for you.
The hotel is an excellent choice for large groups travelling together.
BUDGET – OYO 985 Hotel Nur Review
Hotel Nur is in the heart of the city, with easy access to all the major attractions in Miri. For the price, you will be pleasantly surprised by the air-conditioned and adequately equipped rooms, all with ensuite bathrooms. Free Wifi is also offered to all guests.
Although there is no in-house restaurant, you’ll find plenty of local eateries around the vicinity.
Most of the hotel’s room types are ideal for couples. They also have triple rooms available, but they would be a tight fit for three adults. Some rooms don’t have windows, so make sure you book one that has a window if this is important to you.
How To Get To Miri
It’s easy to get to Miri by bus or plane.
Regular flights to Miri International Airport (MYY) are available via Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Firefly, MYAirline and MASWings coming from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Labuan, Kota Kinabalu and some other major destinations.
There are also many regional flights within Sarawak to bigger places such as Sibu and Kuching as well as regional airports such as Mulu and Bario. This airport is a hub for flights to hard to reach places in this part of Sarawak.
To see all the latest flights and prices, click here.
Buses run regularly from Sarawak cities (e.g. Kuching, Sibu and Bintulu) to Miri Express Bus Terminal.
If you need to take a bus, click here for the latest timetables and bus prices.
Travelling on to Brunei? Find our guide to how to get to Brunei from Miri here.
Miri With Kids
Wondering what to do in Miri Sarawak with kids? You won’t be stuck as Borneo’s reputation for amazing bio- and geo-diversity is graciously represented here.
Be it the vast option of activities available at the world-renowned Mulu National Park or the archaeological experiences at Niah Caves, there are so many fun yet educational activities are available for young travellers.
Adding to this you have the gorgeous coastline of Miri, with numerous long and white sandy beaches to choose from.
The single most important tip for family travellers to Miri is to ensure you are well packed. Sandflies and mosquitoes are sometimes a problem. Hiking shoes are needed for discovering the caves and don’t forget that Malaysian sun – be prepared to reapply sunscreen multiple times a day!
But, bottom line, your children will enjoy an amazing back-to-nature experience with an education thrown in for free!
Miri is an interesting city – from its glorious oil industry history to the numerous natural wonders on its doorstep. There is plenty you can do here beyond a trip to Mulu National Park.
It’s an easy place to spend a couple of days visiting national parks and other attractions before or after flying to Mulu or Bario. There’s a great range of accommodation and it’s easy to explore with some taxis or your own car.
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