Miri is the second largest city in Sarawak, and is rapidly becoming Sarawak’s most popular tourist destination. It is the gateaway to Brunei, which is about two hours’ drive away. It is also the staging point for adventure treks into the interior of Borneo, or pleasant day trips into the green rainforest. Part of the city is surrounded by a ridge known as Canada Hill where Malaysia’s first oil well – the Grand Old Lady – successfully struck oil in August 1910.
Main entrance to the Niah Caves at sunset
As a resort city, Miri offers a wide range of accommodation from international class hotels, to budget inns, good beaches and dozens of lively restaurants. Miri boasts a diverse population, which consists of Chinese, Malay, Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau, Kelabit, Lun Bawang and many other ethnic groups.
Miri is the second largest city in Sarawak, and is rapidly becoming Sarawak’s most popular tourist destination. It is also the gateway to Brunei, which is about two hours’ drive away
Miri serves as a major transport hub, so if you’re travelling to/from Brunei, Sabah, the Kelabit Highlands or the national parks of Gunung Mulu, Niah or Lambir Hills, chances are you’ll pass this way.
The Niah National Park is located 131 km from Miri which is around two hours’ drive from Miri City. It is an area of major archaeological significance – the oldest human remains in Southeast Asia were discovered there – and is worth a visit. The caves are home to millions of bats and swiftlets, and witnessing the collection of guano as well as the hazardous task of harvesting birds’ nests is an absorbing experience.
The most convenient way to get to Niah National Park is by taxi which takes about one hour and 30 minutes to reach from Miri City.
The cost of a one-way fare is about RM150.00. If you prefer a cheaper alternative, you can take Bus No. 33A from the city centre to Pujut Corner Bus Terminal. From there, you can take any bus that goes to either Bintulu, Sibu or Kuching. Get off at the Niah Rest Stop. The bus fare is RM15.00 per person. From here, take a private taxi (about RM30 one-way) to reach Niah National Park Headquarters.
Gunung Mulu is Sarawak’s largest national park (544 sq km), and also Malaysia’s first World Heritage Area. It is most famous for its limestone cave systems, including the world’s largest natural chamber (the Sarawak Chamber), the world’s largest cave passage (Deer Cave) and the longest cave in Southeast Asia (Clearwater Cave). The park’s main attractions are the four show caves (Wind, Clearwater, Deer and Langs Caves), all readily accessible by wooden walkways and paths.
Limestone pinnacles of Mount Api, Gunung Mulu National Park
The easiest way to reach Mulu is by air. There are daily flights from Miri to Mulu and also connections from Kuching and Kota Kinabalu by MASWings. Alternatively, you can get there by boat. An express boat from Kuala Baram takes you up to the Baram River arriving in Marudi, before connecting to Long Terawan in a smaller boat to eventually reach the park. It is also possible to hike into Mulu via the “Head Hunter’s Trail” from Limbang by trekking down through Camp 5 and then onto Mulu Park headquarters.
HOW TO GET TO MIRI
By car: It is possible to drive into Miri, Sarawak from Brunei. The main border entry point is Sungai Tujuh in Kuala Belait and it is a two hours’ drive from Bandar Seri Begawan, depending on the traffic.
By bus: The Miri Belait Transportation Company runs buses between Kuala Belait in Brunei and Miri in Sarawak, Malaysia. The journey requires a bus change at the Sungai Tujuh border checkpoint.
Note: The border checkpoint opens at 6.00 AM and closes at 12.00 AM daily.
Copyright 2015 Borneo Bulletin Yearbook 2015 All rights reserved.