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Miri

DESTINATIONS

MIRI

MALAYSIA

Miri is the second largest city in Sarawak (the same region as Kuching) in the northern part of Borneo. It used to be a cowboy village where people would come in search of oil. Now in this city that feels more like a small town, you will find multiple national parks, wild animals I had never heard of before, and an annual jazz festival. Miri often gets overlooked by travelers who go directly from Brunei or KK to Kuching but I highly recommend breaking up your trip and stopping by for a day or two.

THE BASICS

LANGUAGE: Mandarin, Malay, English

CURRENCY: Malaysian Ringgit

CLIMATE: Tropical (hot & humid), Monsoon season is Oct-Feb.

DRESS CODE: Casual

GETTING AROUND: Grab, Local bus, Local taxi

COST OF VISITING: $ – Hostels start at $8 per night and street food is a little as $2 to $3 (USD) per meal

TIPPING: Tipping is not expected and most restaurants don’t even give you the option

SAFETY: Generally a safe city, watch out for pickpockets as you would in any other city

PACKING ESSENTIALS: Mosquito repellent

VISA: No visa needed for tourist visits under 90 days for US citizens, Must have passport valid for at least 6 months 

GETTING THERE

BY BUS

FROM BRUNEI

You can easily take a bus from Brunei to Miri by either prebooking online or purchasing directly from the bus driver (in which you may get a slightly better rate). We stayed at Joy Rest House and the owner let us know that a bus stops directly out front in the morning (you will need to ask what time) which was super simple to pay the driver and board. Travel time is around 3 hours.

FROM KUCHING

From Kuching, head to the main bus station and you will find multiple bus companies fighting for your business. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price, as we were able to talk them down to around 50RM. You can also prebook online which allows you to see bus times in advance. I do need to warn you that the bus ride is pretty long (although it is easy, just bring a blanket or jacket if you can!) and can last anywhere from 15 to 16 hours.

FROM MIRI AIRPORT

The Miri Airport is about 15 minutes from the city center and quite easy to get to by taxi. Airport taxi counters are located outside of the baggage claim area. One way taxi fares from the airport are fixed which means you don’t need to spend time haggling. There are both a budget taxi counter and an executive taxi counter and I am not sure if there is a difference. You can buy a taxi coupon at one of these counters and proceed to the taxi stand outside of the terminal.

WHERE TO STAY

MOTELS

M EMPIRE MOTEL

Lot 1245 & 1246, Centre Point Commercial Centre Phase 1, Jalan Melayu, 98000 Miri, Malaysia (Map)

We stayed at the M Empire Motel which is a budget accommodation but super cheap and we got a huge room to share. It was bigger than any studio apartment I have lived in. The staff was also super friendly and so helpful. We had laundry stolen that we left in the dryer overnight (they have free laundry machines to use), along with 4 pairs of shoes and they were able to track down who did it and filed a police report for us without us even asking them to. Our room was only $9 USD per night split in half (so we each paid $4.50!). Also in a good location with a good restaurant out front.

WHAT TO EAT

WHERE TO EAT

MING CAFE

$$-$$$, Indian, Bar, Cafe

Cnr Jln North Yu Seng & Jln Merbau, Miri 98000, Malaysia (Map)

Ming Cafe is a popular spot to eat and have some drinks. We came here every day we were in Miri either for lunch or for dinner and drinks. The food is reasonably priced and they always gave us a bunch of free Jagerbombs (not exactly sure why but okay with us!). The patio is cute, the food is good, and it is a pretty big place. Highly recommend you come here at least once if not everyday.

TIAN TIAN CAFE

$, Malaysian, Asian

Address (Map)

This cafe is located directly out front of the M Empire Motel (where we stayed) and we ate breakfast here every morning. And by breakfast I mean iced Nescafe and noodles. This is a very unassuming place but the food was amazing and extremely affordable. Our breakfast was usually only a few dollars.

KHAN’S ISLAMIC RESTAURANT

$, Indian, Asian

229 Jalan Maju, Miri 98000, Malaysia (Map)

We did not eat here but heard about it and it has good reviews online as well!

WHAT TO DRINK

WHERE TO DRINK

MING CAFE

$$-$$$, Indian, Bar, Cafe

Cnr Jln North Yu Seng & Jln Merbau, Miri 98000, Malaysia (Map)

We ate and drank here every evening. A chill laid back atmosphere and usually gets pretty crowded as well. Highly recommend. For more info, see above 

SEE THE BLUE TEARS AT TUSAN BEACH

TUSAN CLIFF BEACH

Miri, Malaysia (Map)

After the sun goes down at Tusan Beach, you can sometimes see the magical sparking bioluminescence known as the ‘Blue Tears’. These glowing blue micro-organisms (luminescent plankton) were discovered a few years ago by a photographer which is what caused tourists to find out about it. Locals, however, started to witness these long before and since they did not understand what was causing it, were extremely afraid. They called them The Blue Thing and whenever they were seen, fisherman would not go out to sea because it was a bad omen. Anyways, we drank too much tuak and ended up needing to leave and eat something before the sun went down. So please. For me, go see them. And right now. Check out photos from others. Sooo magical.

WHAT TO DO

EXPERIENCE THE PARKS

Please note that we did not go to any of these parks while we were in Miri because we were too busy eating at Ming Cafe and wanted to take a break from exploring for a bit.

GUNUNG MULU NATIONAL PARK

Sarawak, Malaysia (Map)

Gunung Mulu National Park is the largest in Sarawak, covering 544 sq km of rainforest. You can find mountains here if you want to climb, or caves if you prefer to be underground. Also be sure to check out the The Pinnacles Trail while you are here. I heard it is spectacular. 

NIAH NATIONAL PARK

98200 MIri, Sarawak, Malaysia (Map)

Niah National Park is famous for the Niah Caves, which is where they found some of the oldest human remains in all of Southeast Asia! This park also offers jungle walks, an Iban longhouse, Palaeolithic and Neolithic burial sites, and iron-age cave paintings. If one day isn’t enough, they offer various accommodation options as well.

LOAGAN BUNUT NATIONAL PARK

Taman Negara Loagan Bunut, 98150 Long Lama, Sarawak, Malaysia (Map)

Loagan Bunut is the name given to Sarawak’s largest national lake. What is unique about this lake is that it completely disappears during dry season! At this park, you can see a large array of wild animals including bearded pigs, barking deer, the Langur monkey, Flying Fox, and more.

LAMBIR HILLS NATIONAL PARK

M. Miri 98000, Malaysia (Map)

This is a smaller park but there are waterfalls! 🙂

GO TO THE BEACH

TUSAN CLIFF BEACH

Miri, Malaysia (Map)

Tusan Beach is located about 45 minutes from Miri and can easily be reached by taking a taxi if you do not have a car or motorbike. (We tried using Grab multiple times, but the drivers did not want to go this far.) This white sand beach is a hidden treasure with cliffs and rock formations. When we went, we had the entire place to ourselves! Incredibly beautiful beach. Not sure how the water is because we sat on the beach and drank tuak most of the time while building sand castles. The sand is excellent for castle building.

Here is me building a sand castle (with a moat!).

SEE THE BLUE TEARS AT TUSAN BEACH

TUSAN CLIFF BEACH

Miri, Malaysia (Map)

After the sun goes down at Tusan Beach, you can sometimes see the magical sparking bioluminescence known as the ‘Blue Tears’. These glowing blue micro-organisms (luminescent plankton) were discovered a few years ago by a photographer which is what caused tourists to find out about it. Locals, however, started to witness these long before and since they did not understand what was causing it, were extremely afraid. They called them The Blue Thing and whenever they were seen, fisherman would not go out to sea because it was a bad omen. Anyways, we drank too much tuak and ended up needing to leave and eat something before the sun went down. So please. For me, go see them. And right now. Check out photos from others. Sooo magical.


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