Borneo’s hidden gem, Miri, is nestled on the northwest coast of this mystical island. These days, it has quietly become a traveler’s paradise, where urban comforts coexist with untouched wilderness.
Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or just someone craving a break from the usual, Miri delivers. It has lush rainforests, stunning beaches, bustling markets, and historic sites, so it has a little something for everyone!
But with a ton of things to do and so little time, which activities should you prioritize? Well, read on! We’re listing down the ones you shouldn’t miss out on so you’ll surely have an unforgettable adventure in this remarkable coastal city!
Soak in the panoramic view from Canada Hill
Location: 98000 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
Canada Hill, or as the locals call it, Miri Hill, is this towering presence just behind the heart of the city. Picture this: a limestone giant soaring up to 150 meters (that’s 492 feet!) above ground.
What’s cool is there’s a network of easy trails snaking up to the summit, promising you the most mind-blowing views of the city.
But if you’re not feeling like a trek, don’t worry! There’s a fleet of taxis just waiting to whisk you to the top.
Once you’re up there, prepare to be dazzled. You’ll be looking down on the charming city below and gazing out over the South China Sea in the distance.
- Canada Hill is the ultimate spot for catching both the sunrise and sunset. Trust me, it’s a sight you won’t want to miss!
Explore the caves at Niah National Park
Location: 98200 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
Contact Details: +60 85-417 130
- Daily 8AM-5PM
|Senior Citizen (Malaysian)||RM5|
|Disabled Person (Malaysian)||RM5|
|Disabled Person (Non-Malaysian)||RM10|
What an incredible site the Niah National Park’s caves are! Note that getting there is an adventure on its own. You’ll have to go through a 3.1 km trek through the jungle and a cool plankwalk.
The most notable cave here is the Great Cave. It’s not just huge, it’s historically mind-blowing. Imagine a cave entrance that’s 60 meters high and 250 meters wide, and a whopping 10.5-hectare cave interior—it’s astonishing!
Once you’re inside, check out the massive chamber at the back, called the Padang. You’ll be mesmerized by how the natural light sneaks in through holes in the cave roof and paints these surreal patterns on the rocks!
And if you venture further, you’ll find the Moon Cave, or Gan Kira. This passage is very dark so you’ll need a bright flashlight to look around!
But the Great Cave isn’t just a pretty face; it’s got history too. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, it was the archaeological hotspot, with Tom Harrisson and his team from the Sarawak Museum going to town with their excavations.
The archaeological team dug up all sorts of treasures – earthenware, ornaments, bone tools, and even leftover food. They even stumbled upon a 40,000 year old human skull, one of the oldest discovered modern human fossils in 1958!
Now, there’s more to Niah than just the Great Cave. There’s this smaller cave called the Painted Cave. Here, archaeologists found burial sites and paintings of red human figures on the cave walls.
But what’s really intriguing are these boat-shaped coffins, often called ‘death ships.’ They tell a story that’s much more recent than what you find in the Great Cave.
- Bring a flashlight or headlamp. While some parts of the caves are well-lit, many areas can get quite dark!
Shop ‘til you drop at Bintang Megamall
Location: Lot 1264, Jalan Miri Pujut, Bintang Jaya, 98000 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
Contact Details: +60 85-438 877
- Daily 10AM-10PM
Bintang Megamall in Miri is where you want to be if you want to go on a shopping spree. Step into this retail paradise, which has been around since 1996, and boy, is it a shopping extravaganza!
Imagine five floors of pure shopping bliss, with everything from your favorite retail giants like H&M and Uniqlo to cozy bookshops for the literary-minded.
And let’s talk about food – because who doesn’t get hungry while shopping, right? Well, they’ve got that covered too. Bakeries and coffee shops are scattered around like little oasis spots where you can refuel before hitting the racks again.
Gaze at the ‘Blue Tears’ at Tusan Beach
Location: Exit Jalan Bekenu – Miri Coastal, 98150 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
Ah, Tusan Beach, that’s a place that feels straight out of a fairy tale! Located in Berkenu, it’s not exactly in Miri, but it’s only a 40-minute drive away, and totally worth the trip!
Now, this hidden gem didn’t really hit the tourist radar until around 2015 when it revealed its secret weapon: The “blue tears,” which are like something out of a sci-fi movie.
This phenomenon happens when tiny plankton in the water light up like neon bulbs when they come into contact with oxygen. The result? A mesmerizing blue glow that’ll leave you spellbound.
Getting down to the beach isn’t your typical walk in the park, though. You’ve got to navigate a bit of a rough path from the top of a cliff.
The reward? The pristine beach, which is a long stretch of soft, sandy goodness, perfect for picnics, kite flying, or just soaking up the sun.
As you stroll along the shore, keep your eyes peeled for cool stuff like the horse head rock and even some tiny caves hiding among the rocks – it’s like Mother Nature’s art gallery down there.
Here’s the thing, though: the water can be a bit rough, so swimming might not be on the menu.
But if you’re into collecting seashells, you’re in for a treat because they’re scattered all over the beach.
- You’ll find a fair share of sand flies hanging around here, so it’s a good idea to pack enough insect repellent to keep those pesky critters at bay.
Make sure to apply it both before and after you take a dip in the water to enjoy your time without any unwanted insect encounters.
Watch the sunset at Coco Cabana
Location: Lot 2260, Jln Bandaraya, 98000 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
- Monday – Friday 11AM-11PM
- Saturday, Sunday 8AM-11PM
Have a fantastic experience at Meritz Hotel’s SkyBar on the 17th floor! Step out onto this outdoor terrace and you’ll find tables scattered around.
If the weather’s on your side, it’s like an open-air paradise where you can just chill and soak in the sights of Miri and the stunning South China Sea.
Fancy a glass of imported wine or a fancy cocktail as you catch Borneo’s famous sunset? You’re in for a treat! And if you’re not in the mood for booze, they’ve got a selection of coffee, smoothies, and soft drinks to keep you refreshed.
But wait, there’s more! This place isn’t just a bar; it moonlights as a classy restaurant too.
The locals seem to dig their set-price steamboat. What’s that, you ask? It’s this cool way of cooking your meal where you dunk stuff like meat, tofu, and veggies into a delicious boiling soup.
And if you’re a deal hunter like me, be sure to check out their website for regular drink promotions. So, whether you’re into sunset views, steamboat dinners, or just a casual drink with pals, this place has you covered. Cheers to that!
- Arriving in the late afternoon or early evening allows you to enjoy your meal or drinks with the backdrop of the sun setting over the South China Sea.
It’s a magical experience that will make your visit to Coco Cabana truly memorable. So, grab a seat with a view and prepare to be mesmerized by nature’s beauty.
Stroll around at Miri City Fan
Location: Jalan Kipas, 98000 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
- Daily, 24 hours
Miri City Fan, as its name implies, actually looks like a gigantic handheld fan when viewed from above – how cool is that? When you’re down there, you’ll discover a sprawling wonderland that covers a whopping 26 acres, split into 10 themed zones.
Right smack in the middle, there’s this amphitheater that’s like the heart of the park, surrounded by a serene koi pond, beautifully kept Islamic gardens, and a breezy promenade.
And speaking of cool, you can plop yourself beneath the shade of some trees and catch a show at the musical fountain.
If you’re in the mood for a bit of a brain workout, the Miri Library’s got this spacious, air-conditioned reading room where you can dive into local culture.
Now, here’s the fun part: Miri City Fan has been a hit with the locals since it opened up back in the ’90s. You’ll see folks jogging like there’s no tomorrow on those paths, especially in the cooler morning and evening hours.
It’s like a community hub where nature and relaxation come together, and everyone’s invited to join the party!
- Bring some snacks and drinks! The park is a fantastic place for a leisurely picnic, and there are plenty of shady spots beneath the trees.
Visit Malaysia’s first oil well, the Grand Old Lady
Location: The Grand Old Lady – Canada Hill, 98000 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
Contact Details: +60 85-438 516
- Daily, 24 hours
So, here’s a little history lesson for you: The Grand Old Lady on Canada Hill is like the OG spot where Shell kicked off the oil drilling party in Miri way back in 1910.
This monument, standing tall at 30 meters (that’s about 98 feet), is basically a clone of Malaysia’s first-ever oil well.
It might not be the flashiest thing to look at, but it’s like a time machine taking you back to the days when the oil industry was the real game-changer in Malaysia.
What’s even cooler is thinking about how the oil discovered right there played a massive role in fueling the nation’s development. It’s like the money made here went on to pay for iconic landmarks like Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers.
So, even though it might not be the fanciest spot in town, the Grand Old Lady packs quite a punch when it comes to historical significance.
- You can combine this monument visit with a hike up the nearby Canada Hill.
- Go early in the morning or during the golden hour before sunset. This way, you not only avoid the heat of midday but also get the best lighting for your photos.
Stop by San Ching Tian
Location: Jln Chong Poh, 98000 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
San Ching Tian opened its doors in 2000, and ever since, it’s been pulling in quite the crowd—it’s like the Taj Mahal of Taoist temples in Southeast Asia. It’s become one of the go-to places of worship in Miri, and we can totally see why!
Tucked away in a peaceful garden, San Ching Tian makes quite an entrance with its elegant facade and this stunning two-tiered orange roof that just pops.
Take the time to appreciate its exteriors and its intricate dragon designs that are like something out of a fantasy movie! And when you’re inside, you’ll find a treasure trove of bronze statues of religious figures neatly arranged on the shelves.
Swim in Lambir Hills National Park’s Waterfalls
Location: 1-76, Bintulu – Miri Hwy, 98000 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
Contact Details: +60 11-6572 9433
- Daily 8AM-2PM
Lambir Hill National Park is like Mother Nature’s playground, with an ecosystem so diverse it’ll make your head spin. We’re talking over 150 bird species, a mind-boggling 1,100 tree types, and a cool 1,200 insect species buzzing around.
But that’s not all. Keep your eyes peeled, and you might spot some wild pigs, monkeys, and even flying squirrels. It’s like a wildlife safari right in the middle of the forest!
Now, here’s the best part: the park has these awesome trails that snake through the trees. At the end, you’ll find a waterfall cascading into a refreshing pond.
After hiking all day, let me tell you, taking a dip there is like hitting the reset button on life. It’s like having your own personal forest adventure with a built-in swimming break.