Miri is a small coastal city in northern Sarawak on the Malaysian island of Borneo. Located near the border of Brunei, the city has just a population of about 300,000 which makes it the second largest city in Sarawak. Miri as known by its nickname "Oil Town", is the birthplace of the Malaysian petroleum industry as the city was founded in 1910 when the first oil well was drilled by Royal Dutch Shell and since then, petroleum has continued to drive the city's economy and development ever since.

Miri is the main tourist gateway to various national park, which makes it one of the favourite ecotourism destinations and can be anurgbly called as the "Resort City".


The Sarawak Shell Berhad and Petronas Carigali are headquartered here. As a result, Miri has a cosmopolitan whiff as it hosts expatriates from all over the world. These expats work in many of the multinational oil and gas giants that are headquartered in Miri.

Visitors stop for transit here to change planes heading onward to Gunung Mulu National Park or the famous Kelabit Highlands.

Miri boasts a diversified population, which consists of Chinese, Malay, Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau, Kelabit, Lun Bawang and many other ethnic groups. International students from a foreign university campus based here and expatriates from international corporations add much spice to Miri as well.

Almost all locals speak a tiny smattering of English, along with Mandarin. The main language is the Bahasa Sarawak which is a local Sarawakian language; it is similar to Malay but with local slang.

The people are quite helpful when it comes to direction or any help needed. A visitor's information centre located near the public bus stand is available for any further enquiries.

Miri celebrated its fifth city status anniversary on 20th May 2010.

Get in

By plane

Miri International Airport (MYY), which moved to a sparkling new facility in 2005, is a significant hub for central Borneo. From Peninsular Malaysia there are frequent flights from Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru on Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia . The airport is also connected to all major destinations in Malaysian Borneo, including Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. AirAsia also operates an international flight to Singapore several times a week.

MASWings, which took over operations of the rural air service from FlyAsian Express on October 1, 2007, operates a web of flights to remote destinations in the interior, most notably Gunung Mulu National Park and Bario in the Kelabit Highlands. MASWings also links Miri with Limbang, Lawas and Labuan which will enable you to by-pass expensive Brunei. Go to their website to book flights on-line and check schedules.

By bus

The more frequent service uses local buses in Miri and Brunei. The journey will have to include several bus changes. Miri-Belait Bus Company runs five buses between Miri and Kuala Belait in Brunei, with a change of buses at the Sungai Tujuh border checkpoint

From Kuala Belait, there are onward buses to Seria, where another change is necessary before you can get to Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB). As not all buses arrive on time for connections for the next leg of the journey, those planning to do the Miri-Bandar Seri Begawan (or vice-versa) run should start early. Effective 26th May,2009 there are only two buses leaving Miri for BSB. The 9AM is the only bus that will enable the Miri-BSB journey to be completed within one day. Those who intend to spend a night in Brunei can catch the later bus which leaves at 3.30PM. Buses arrive and depart from the Miri local bus terminal at Jalan Padang in the south of the town (not the long haul bus terminal outside of town). Having said that the whole journey takes about 5 hours.

Note that there have been reports that buses from Miri do not go all the way to the border and stop just before the Asean Bridge at Kuala Baram because of the high toll charge for using the bridge. You may have to use taxis to complete the final 5 km between the bridge and the actual border.

Get around

Go to Miri to seek or share information on how to get around in this wonderful city.

Bus services are available.

24-hour taxi service is also available and can be reached at +60 85432277. Fare surcharge applies after 12AM.

Car can be hired for for a day for as low as MYR 80 + MYR 30 (delivery charges). Remember to purchase some parking tickets, which cost MYR 0.5 each.



There are several trails for tourists to explore. These range from short and fairly flat walks to the long and sometimes steep trek to the summit of Bukit Lambir, the tallest point in the park.


There are three major shopping malls to shop around in Miri City, During the weekends Bruneians and Sarawakians from Bintulu, Bekenu, Niah would come down for shopping.


For a fabulous gastronomical experience, Miri is the place to try out all sorts of food. Depending on your budget, there is a variety of eateries around.

Chen Kee Hainan Chicken Rice- Miri famous Chinese dishes, traditional steamed Chicken rice, located at krokop 10, Tokyo Restaurant. It's delicious, Fresh, Cheap.


Tourists are encouraged to try the Sarawakian authentic rice wine known as 'tuak'. 'Tuak' is usually served during festive seasons, especially during Gawai (the Harvest Festival celebrated by the Ibans). Apart from that, if one is looking for a place for drinks and some entertainment, there are few places to go.





Lovely gardens, nice pool, pool bar, food can be ordered from the pool and eaten at the bar. Basic but sandy beach, meals are quite expensive but good quality, although there is a nice food court just a 2-minute walk from the Marriott.

Go next

To Brunei

Busses to Bandar Seri Begawan leave from the long distance bus station at 08:15, and 16:15.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 21, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.