Sarawak’s second city often gets overlooked by tourists travelling to Borneo. With easy access to Sarawak’s jungles and caves as well as spectacular sunsets, the mind-blowing ‘Blue Tears’ and traditional markets, here are our favourite reasons to visit Miri.
Gateway to Sarawak’s best nature
Want to explore the very best of Sarawak’s natural attractions? Head to Miri. The small oil city acts as a gateway to national parks, UNESCO-listed caves and some of Borneo’s best stretches of coastline. One of the popular reasons to visit Miri is to use the city as a base to get out and explore more of the state’s wild side.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
The jungle experience in Sarawak’s national parks
Tourists can visit one of four national parks from Miri including Mulu, Niah, Loagan Bunut and Lambir Hills. Each offers a different outdoor experience from trekking along muddy jungle trails in search of wildlife to exploring cave systems and bird watching. While on-site accommodation is available, most tourists opt to stay in Miri and visit on a day trip unless they visit the hard-to-reach Gunung Mulu.
Convenient spot to explore Sarawak’s caves
Ask any local to name Sarawak’s most famous attraction and almost all will say its caves. Miri provides easy access to the historical and archaeological wonders at Niah Caves and to stand inside the Sarawak Chamber at Gunung Mulu National Park. Explore the caverns and pass through the cave system’s obstacle course while savouring the dramatic views of the surrounding limestone cliffs and pinnacles. The convenient access to Sarawak’s caves is among the top reasons to visit Miri.
See the ‘Blue Tears’ at Tusan Beach
Tusan Beach, located approximately an hour’s drive from Miri, is a tropical hideaway with white sand, sharp-angled cliffs and weird rock formations. After nightfall, the unpolluted waters sometimes host the rare and mesmerising natural phenomenon known locally as the ‘Blue Tears’. In the right conditions, tiny micro-organisms in the water accumulate and release a glowing blue bio-illuminance. The gentle waves near the shore start to glow a neon-blue in a similar way as the ‘Sea of Stars’ in the Maldives. While this event isn’t a certainty, it often features among the top reasons to visit Miri.
Sarawak’s most magical beaches
Miri sits on a stretch of Borneo’s coastline along the South China Sea. Some of Sarawak’s most attractive and photogenic beaches lie within a short drive of the city. Most beaches have clean sand and warm waters against the backdrop of coconut trees and cliffs. Locals often visit in the late afternoon for a barbeque. Check out Tusan, Hawaii and Brighton Beaches.
Secret diving spots in the South China Sea
Few non-Sarawakians know of the diving spots near Miri. More than 40 sites lie near the shore between 15 and 40 minutes away by boat. A typical tour takes visitors on two dives in the morning and returns to Miri for lunch. Expect to find healthy corals, colourful fish and professional tour operators. And most important of all –iving in a secret location practically alone.
Experience Miri’s soul at the markets
Markets burst with life, offer cultural insights and give visitors the chance to buy traditional souvenirs. One of Culture Trip’s favourite reasons to visit Miri is the abundance of local markets. From speciality handicraft and night markets to daily stalls selling produce, Miri has them all. Check out Tamu Khas for ethnic produce, the Miri Weekend Tamu Bazaar to experience Sarawak’s ethnic diversity and the Saberkas Weekend Night Market for regional food.
Sarawak’s most spectacular sunsets
Picture the sun dipping below the horizon bathing the sky in yellow-orange shades with hints of pink and purple. Now imagine the entire sky transformed into a colourful canvas for a few minutes before the inky darkness of night descends. Sarawak’s sunset consistently offers this type of experience making another one of the top reasons to visit Miri. Head to Canada Hill to watch the sunset over the city. Or enjoy on the beach at Tusan, Brighton and Pantai Bungai Miri.
Learn about Malaysia’s relationship with oil
Malaysia’s first discovered oil on Miri’s Canada Hill in 1910 transforming the unknown fishing village into a booming oil town. The Grand Old Lady, a replica of the first oil well, sits at the top of Canada Hill. Interested visitors can check out the free Petroleum Museum next door to learn about the industry, extraction techniques and its role in Malaysia.
Miri: a city that feels like a town
Despite being Sarawak’s second city after Kuching, Miri’s population is only 350,000. Contrast this to the whopping seven million living in Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding Klang Valley. Anyone who wants to maintain the convenience of a city without the chaos, overcrowding and pollution will appreciate Miri. Tourists can walk to the main attractions and enjoy Sarawakian Laksa at rock-bottom prices in a city that feels like a town.
Location, Location, Location
Look at a map of Borneo’s northern coastline and Miri sits near the centre of an epic road trip around Borneo. Flexible tourists can make the most of the opportunity to explore the very best of Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei as part of an extended trip. Culture Trip recommends flying from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching before visiting Sibu, Bintulu, Miri, Brunei, Kota Kinabalu, Ranau and returning to Kuala Lumpur from Sandakan. Attractions include visiting national parks, caves, jungles, beaches and wildlife spotting.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.