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 help you find the best attraction in Miri and more 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, celebrating its immerse richness of bio and geodiversity. Niah National Park, home to one of the largest caves in the world – the Great Cave – is of enormous archaeological value, with the discovery of human remains dating back approx 40,000 years.
Incredible attractions such as these have developed Miri into one of the world’s most sought after ecotourism destinations.
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 Johor Bahru!! There is also a handy map of the best places to visit in Miri Sarawak, which will make it easy to plan your itinerary.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Top 15 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 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 meters 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 meters 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, 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 basic 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.
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 4km outside of Miri Town, visitors are greeted by a pair of dragon carvings, etched along the entrance. 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 a gratitude to a deity for helping them end an epidemic that caused a significant number of casualties in the early 1900s.
Located at the riverfront, 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 Center
Miri Handicraft Center has been selling authentic Sarawakian ethnic products since the 1990s. However, the Center 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 In Miri Sky Bar
Located at the 17th Floor of Meritz Hotel, Sky Garden offers a panoramic view of Miri City. Opening daily from 4 pm, 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.
Sky Garden serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and also comes with an extensive bar food menu. For a local dining experience try their “steamboat“, meat & vegetable cooked in a flavourful soup.
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
Taste Street Food At Saberkas Weekend Market
4km away from Miri is the Saberkas Commercial Centre, which 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. …and it’s all set to a background of loud live music! 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 short 30 minutes 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 recently 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, as 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!
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 60m high and 250m wide. And this is where some of the world’s oldest human remains were found, 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 – turning on your torch – you will enter the most adventurous and eerie part of the journey, the completely unlit ‘Moon Cave’.
Another important site at Niah is The Painted Cave, connected by plank walkways from Moon 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, but you can still view some empty death ships at the site.
Niah National Park is one of the most spectacular Miri Malaysia attractions. When visiting, don’t forget a pair of good hiking shoes and perhaps a broad-brimmed hat as clouds of swiftlets and bats nest inside the caves, and they can be pretty unforgiving!
Address: Sungai Niah, Miri, Sarawak
Have A Great Jungle Adventure In Lambir Hills National Park
Lambir Hills National Park is only 30 minutes away from Miri city centre but is home to one of the world’s most diverse ecological systems. There are over a thousand 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. You’ll find the most popular and most accessible trail takes you to the Latak Waterfall, at only 20 mins hike. For the more adventurous, there are longer trails, up to a full-on 6.3km trail (approx 4hrs there and back) to Bukit Lambir Summit. Standing at 456m, 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.
Address: 1-76, Jalan Bintulu – Miri, 98000 Miri, Sarawak
Be Amazed By The Nature Biodiversity At Gunung Mulu National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 85,000 acres of Mulu National Park are 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 Showcaves guided tour, organised by the park rangers. Showcaves are professionally lit and pathed 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.
Trekking and hiking in Mulu are hugely popular, with anyone having even a mild interest in botany appreciating the Botanical Heritage Trail, which takes you past many tropical rainforest plants such as orchids, pitcher plants, etc. Camping is also allowed and gives you time to explore the park thoroughly.
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!
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. And 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, whereas swimming is not recommended due to the strong current along this coastline.
Address: Pantai Tanjung Lobang, 98000, Miri, Sarawak
Miri, Sarawak Attractions Map
Best Place To Stay In Miri
Thanks to the UNESCO Heritage Site, Miri attracts plenty of tourists each year and a reasonably good range of hotels are available. For those that come to Miri purely for Mulu National Park, you might choose to stay around that vicinity, but 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.
Not to be confused with Mulu Marriott Resort, Miri Marriott is only 10 minutes drive from Miri City Center and is located right at the oceanfront. 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.
The hotel’s four in-house restaurants/delis 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. Note that all rooms will enable a maximum of 3 adults and 2 children, with double rooms coming with 2 king size beds.
MID-RANGE – Imperial Hotel Review
The Imperial Hotel is conveniently located near shopping malls, local restaurants and some of the city’s key landmarks. Boasting a podium rooftop pool on the 5th floor, two in-house restaurants, fitness centre and sauna, the 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. Whilst the hotel rooms are limited to a maximum of 2 adults and 1 child; there are also serviced apartments open for short rental which come with one, two and three-bedroom options.
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, whereas they also have triple rooms available but would be a tight fit for 3 adults.
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, and MASWings coming from Singapore, Brunei, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu and some other major destinations.
Buses run regularly from Sarawak cities (e.g. Kuching, Sibu and Bintulu), Brunei and Kota Kinabalu to Miri Express Bus Terminal.
If you need to take a bus, click here for the latest timetables and bus prices.
To see all the latest flights and prices, click 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 the Great Cave, 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. To ensure the area is a natural habitat, the majority of attractions are only lightly developed; so sandflies and mosquitoes are sometimes a problem. Hiking shoes are needed for discovering the caves and don’t forget that harsh 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. It offers a perfect demonstration of a balance between economic development and nature conservation, that is a lesson to the world.
You’ll be awed by so many unique sightings that, altogether, make this Malaysian city definitely one of the most impressive places to visit.