Header Ads Widget

Responsive Advertisement

Things to do in Miri - A Complete Guide

Miri Things To Do

Among the many things to do in Miri, ecotourism is probably the best activity here, apart from just enjoying the natural city charm.

However, from my many visits to Miri, the resort city in the north of Sarawak, I will share with the general tourist on what else you can do around Miri, especially the main city area.

Miri is a coastal city located two hours from Brunei and was once well known as an oil city and recently re-branded as a resort city by the mayor.

Things to do in Miri

Most visitors would know Miri as the main gateway to world-renown places like Mulu and Niah National Parks.

But in recent years, much has been developed in and around Miri, making this place one of the interesting cities to visit in Sarawak Borneo.

Miri is also home to the Borneo Jazz Festival which takes place yearly. Again, this article is carefully researched and most places being visited personally by me, therefore I can share my first-hand experiences with you. 

List of Things to do in Miri
  • Visit The Grand Old Lady
  • Explore The Miri Handicraft Market
  • E Mart Supermarket
  • Miri Smokehouse
  • Miri Beaches
  • Miri Sky Bar
  • Crocodile Farm in Miri
  • Miri Chinese Temple 
  • Miri Ethnic Market
  • Diving in Miri
  • Container City Miri
The above are just some of the main things to do in Miri. Read on to see the entire list and additional information on things to do in Miri.

This is also considered as a comprehensive guide to what you can do in Misi, Sarawak.

Miri Grand Old Lady
One of Miri's iconic landmark, the Grand Old Lady
1. Visit the Grand Old Lady

The iconic landmark of Miri where you can find Malaysia's first oil contraption that made Miri what it is, an oil-rich city in Borneo. This is located on top of Canada Hill, which is about 10 to 15 minutes' drive from the city.

Just next to the Grand Old Lady is also the Petroleum Science Museum which only if you are a museum lover, this would be awesome.

From the back of the museum, you can get an amazing view of the Miri city and the sea. This is a great place to get some landscape photographs too.

Handicraft in Miri
Inside the Miri Handicraft Centre
2. Explore the Miri Handicraft Market 

A one-stop centre where you can find all the local and ethnic handicrafts in Miri city. The Miri Handicraft Centre is also located at a junction along with Jalan Brooke and near the Meritz Hotel and is open from 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM daily.

There are about 12 shops that offer unique handicrafts and most of them operated by the local Kelabit, Penan and Orang Ulu people. (http://sarawaktourism.com/attraction/miri-handicraft-centre/)

3. Visit E Mart Supermarket

This is a very popular local place where you can find just about anything to shop for and is located closer to the Brunei border, taking advantage of the Bruneians that come to Miri for shopping.

This massive place can be quite interesting to explore for the tourist too and while you are here, do check out the food stalls around the area. E-mart is located along Jalan Tudan towards the Brunei checkpoint.

Rumah Asap Miri
One of the local Smokehouses in Miri
4. Try the local Miri Smokehouse

For the non-halal market, the smokehouse or Rumah Asap is a very local roadside stall that serves roast pork and beer. Straight forward and simple, you simply order the part of the pig and they will barbecue it for you.

You can find pigs' ears, tail, and intestines for the hardcore. At the end of the day, the locals just love their pork and beer, which is the perfect combination on a hot day in Miri.

Miri Brighton beach
Brighton beach sunset
5. Take a walk on the beach 

The most popular beaches in Miri are Luak Bay Esplanade and Brighton Beach or Pantai Tanjung Lobang where in the evenings, you will see many people coming here to catch the beautiful sunsets or simply to just relax.

Luak Bay is about 11 kilometres from town and has parking and toilet facilities with small roadside vendors selling snacks, food, and drinks. GPS to Luak Bay N 04 19.016 E113 57.744.

6. See the Blue Glow at Tusan Beach

Another very unique and special place that attracts the locals is Tusan Beach which is half an hour's drive from Miri city.

Here, you can witness a strange phenomenon where during the night, a blue glow is seen when special algae called ‘Dinoflagellates’ produces a glowing light when the water they are living in is disturbed by motion, like the waves.

However, in the day, this place is beautiful as there are many cliff structures that provide some awesome photography. One needs to self-drive or engage a tour company to bring you here.

Sunset Picture Miri
A sunset that was taken from the Miri Sky Bar
7. Experience the Miri Sky Bar

Yes, Miri has one, located at the Meritz hotel and called Sky Garden Meritz, this fancy sky bar offers some beautiful views of Miri city, especially during sunset.

You can order cocktails, beer or soft drinks and watch the sunset behind the South China Sea. Alternatively, the Sky Garden Meritz also offers to dine too. Check with the hotel. (http://www.meritzhotel.com.my/)

8. Visit the Miri Crocodile Farm

Well, most places around Malaysia has one and so does Miri. If you are up for this, then take a visit to the Miri Crocodile Farm located at Kuala Baram which is about 30 minutes from the city.

There is also a mini zoo here so it is not only crocodiles here. Overall, this place would be great if you brought your family and also having extra time.

Cover up as there are mosquitoes and check on the feeding times for the crocodiles before going.
(Miri Crocodile Farm http://www.miricrocodilefarm.com/)

Miri Tua Pek Kong
Tua Pek Kong Temple in Miri
9. Explore the Oldest Chinese Temple in Miri

There are a couple of beautiful Chinese temples but the most popular one is the San Ching Tian or Lian Hua San Temple which is the largest Taoist temple in Southeast Asia and located in Krokop district, four kilometres from the city.

The other place is the Tua Pek Kong Temple located in the old part of the city which was built in 1913. This temple is also located next to the Miri fish market and by the sea and can be easily reached by walking.

Markets in Miri

This section is created to those who love to visit markets and Miri is a very old style city, has some of the best markets to explore.

You can find speciality markets, weekend markets to special markets and visiting each of them will give you a different experience.

It is recommended that you go with a local guide that can explain the many unique things you will come across these markets in Miri.

Miri Tamu Khas
Inside the Tamu Khas Miri or Miri Special Market
10. Tamu Khas Miri

Located in the city area and behind the main market called Tamu Muhibbah, the Tamu Khas is a place where local ethnic produce is sold here.

Tamu means market in Malay, and Khas means special, therefore the Special Market is not to be missed for those who love visiting these kinds of places.

The good thing about this place is that only ethnic vendors are allowed to trade here hence you will see only jungle produce and handmade or hand cooked items for sale.

11. Miri Weekend Tamu Bazaar

A very local day market operated by the ethnic people can be found along Jalan Melayu on weekends only where you will see a lot of jungle produce being sold here.

Sometimes, you can spot some extra unique items being sold by the traders who sell off the ground here.

A fun experience but please do ask permission before taking photos here as you would not want to upset the traders.

Miri Kedayan Market
Kedayan Market in Miri, this is the old local market
12. Tamu Kedayan Miri Old Market

This unique market is also recommended for those who love all things markets where you can find local traders selling vegetables and Iban prayer items.

This market is also located in between Jalan Melayu and Jalan Oleander in an open-air covered market with proper stalls.

13. Miri Night Market

The Saberkas Weekend Market is the best place to see the local night market lifestyle with offerings of all kinds of local food and produce. Mostly locals visit this place and are open to visitors as well. 

Nature in Miri

14. Explore the Piasau Nature Reserve

Recently opened to the public in 2014, this nature reserve is located about 20 minutes from town and is the up and coming place to do some simple trekking and walking. It is also the closest nature reserve in Malaysia where it is within the city limits and is shared with the beach.

You can see lots of birds, insects and the main star here is a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbills who have made their home at one of the trees here. 

15. Go for the Sibuti Fireflies Experience

Yes, there are fireflies in Miri and they can be found around the Kampung Sibuti area. You need to book a tour to see the fireflies here.

16. Visit the Miri National Parks

There are four main national parks around Miri which are Mulu, Niah, Loagan Bunut, and Lambir Hills. Each of them provides a different kind of outdoor experience.

Niah National Park is the most famous one as you can visit the historical Niah Caves to see prehistoric paintings on the cave walls here.

Sports Activities in Miri

There are some sporting activities that can be done in Miri but they are limited to just a few.

However, you should check with your tour guide or hotel to find out the kind of sports you want to do. Jogging can be done along the beach area or up to the Grand Old Lady.  

Miri Scuba Diving
Scuba diving in Miri is one of the up and coming sporting activities
17. Diving in Miri

Diving is a growing sport here with two main dive operators located in the city and there are over 20 dive spots located along the Sibuti Reef, Siwa Reef and also Patricia Reef.

I have personally dived in Miri twice from 2015-2016 and overall, this will be the next upcoming diving destination in Sarawak and diving in Miri will be one of the top activities in terms of sports.

The two operators - Coco Dive and Hoopa Dive Borneo Dive Network are located in Miri city, Coco in the city area while Hoopa is at the Brighton Beach area, next to the Miri Marriott. (Update: Hoopa has ceased operations and closed).

The dive operators in Miri offer daily dive trips with two dives per morning and you are back for lunch. The diving season is March to November too. You can also find out more about the various Dive sites in Miri

18. Golf in Miri 

Golfers will be pleased to know that the Eastwood Valley Golf and Country Club is one of the best places to play golf in Miri apart from the Miri Golf Club.

Eastwood is currently the popular course with beautiful accommodations available for those wanting a golf holiday and the location is just 10 minutes from the city centre. This course is 18 holes and 72 par.

19. Eating in Miri

While many do not know, Miri is actually an amazing food haven, provided you know where to look for the local favourites.

While you can find Chinese, Malay and Indian food here, it is the local ethnic Kelabit food that you should seek out in the town area. For me, the older the coffee shop, the better the food will be and I have always liked this formula.

For the safe ones, there are many restaurants, cafes, fast food and also hotel food available. Seafood is also quite popular, especially at the Medan Ikan Bakar and also along Jalan North Yu Seng just before the Imperial Mall.

If you want to explore a little further, Pujut is a well-known place for some authentic Chinese food and you need a local to bring you here.

Miri Summit Cafe
The owner of the Summit Cafe in Miri 
Summit Cafe Miri Orang Ulu Food

This is hands down one of the best food experiences to try if you are a foodie. The Summit Cafe serves pure authentic Orang Ulu food which is probably the only place to try it apart from the interior villages.

The trick is to come here early for lunch, about 11.00 am to 12.00 noon, otherwise, you will be slightly disappointed as the place will be packed and the choices of popular dishes would be gone.

Unity Food Center (Pusat Makanan Bersatu)

A very local food court which is hawker-style and is shared with a meat market. This place is super local serving some authentic Chinese food. Here you can try the Miri Chicken Rice and also Mee Kolo.

Wisma Mee Hua Food Court (Beautiful Jace Center or Persiaran Kabor)

Located near the old town part of Miri at Taman Jade Manis, this food court sits in between two buildings and is frequented by locals only and is also known as 'Old Folks Street' due to the many old people hanging out here.

On both sides, there are various old-style shops. The food here is very authentic and the Kolo Mee is quite unique.

Miri Muara Lalapan Restaurant
Muara Lalapan Restaurant in Miri
Lalapan Muara Restaurant Miri

One of two of the famous lalapan restaurants in Miri. Lalapan is actually an Indonesian food dish but has become one of the staple foods here in Miri and many Muslim travellers will seek the Lalapan Restaurants in Miri for this cuisine.

Generally, all the fried seafood and meats are served with rice, raw vegetables, and a special spicy lalapan sauce. Not forgetting the super hot sambal chilli sauce. Try the local fish if possible.

Miri Smokehouse

Nope, not that colonial kind of smokehouse restaurant, this is some hardcore outdoor eat, drink and leave kind of place.

Serving cuts of pork which is barbecued on the spot and served with chilli sauce is something the locals do in the hot afternoons, complete with a cold bottle of beer.

The beauty of the Smoke House in Miri is that you can choose just about any part of the pig to be barbecued. This is a very special local delicacy, which travellers do not know about.

Container City Miri

One of the latest attractions to open at the end of 2017 is a food centre that is made entirely of refurbished shipping containers. Called Container City Miri, this place is located in the heart of the city and is not to be missed.

Here, you can find a good mix of local and western food, with even Halal food for Muslim travellers. One of the recommendations is to try the Tusan Ice Cream, which is very famous in Miri.

20. Shopping in Miri

Miri Permaisuri Shopping Mall
Permaisuri Imperial City Mall in Miri
Well, most Bruneians cross the border weekly to do their shopping and thus Miri has become a haven for new shopping malls. The latest mall to open is the Permaisuri Imperial City Mall which is next to the Imperial Hotel.

Other popular malls are Bintang Megamall and Boulevard Shopping Complex. Another is called Permy Mall but this one caters to the local community. It is huge with the Giant Hypermarket as the anchor tenant, but a great place to get affordable items, especially if you are planning to go to the national parks.

Places to Stay At in Miri

Marriott Hotel Miri
Miri Marriott Resort
There are a number of really nice hotels in Miri for you to choose from, ranging from 5 Star to budget guesthouses.

Currently, the talk of the town is the new Pullman Miri Hotel which is scheduled to open somewhere this year in 2016. Other recommended hotels include;

Miri Marriott Resort (5 Star)

One of the pioneer hotels in Miri located by the sea and with beautiful landscapes. The location is also 10 minutes away from town.

This is a full-service resort hotel with all amenities available here, so if you are seeking luxury in Miri, this is your place. There are shuttle services to town and also a spa here.

ParkCity Everly Hotel (3 Star)

Home to the annual Borneo Jazz Festival, the ParkCity Everly Hotel is also one of the pioneer hotels here and located just next to the Miri Marriott Resort.

This property is suitable for those on a medium budget and also has its own beach area. Shuttle services to town are available too.

Imperial Palace Hotel (4 Star)

This hotel is located in the middle of Miri's busiest part where the Imperial Palace Hotel is also opposite the Permaisuri Imperial City Mall, the latest mall in Miri.

The hotel also connects to another smaller mall in the same building while across the new mall, there is a new wing for the hotel bringing the total number of rooms to 526, making this one of the largest hotels in Sarawak. Staying here will allow visitors to walk around town easily.

Miri Meritz Hotel
Meritz Hotel in Miri
Meritz Hotel (4 Star)

One of the new players in the hotel scene here is the Meritz Hotel, which is located smack center in Miri City and connecting to the Bintang Mall which is one of Miri's premier shopping malls. This property offers Miri's highest sky bar and is well designed with a huge MICE facility for groups.

Eastwood Valley Golf and Country Club Resort (3 Star)

For golfers, this is the best resort in Miri as the Eastwood Golf and Country Club offers traditional wooden chalets and also modern brick villas for accommodation. Located about 10 minutes from Miri city, the resort offers the most basic amenities.

Miri Mega Hotel
Mega Hotel in Miri
Mega Hotel Miri (3 Star) 

Another hotel located in the centre of Miri city is Mega Hotel. This property was refurbished recently and has been one of the popular choices among local travellers. Its location is very central making it easy to walk around the Miri city area.

Photos of Miri City

Below is a compilation of random photos taken around Miri City and they are all taken by me during my last trip there.

I occasionally visit Miri on a yearly basis and hopefully, I will find more interesting information and photos to share with you. 

Miri Canada Hill
View of Miri city from Canada Hill
Shopping Mall in Miri
Inside the shopping malls in Miri, some of them very modern
Beads in Miri
A local ethnic lady looks at some traditional highland beads in Miri
Kolo Mee in Miri
Miri Kolo Mee is something that any foodie should try when you are here
Miri Ming Cafe
For nightlife in Miri, Ming Cafe is the most popular place and also open in the day too
Street Scene in Miri
Street Buskers in Miri come out on weekends to entertain people along the main street here
If you look around the streets at the signboards, sometimes you will find interesting ones like this
Handicraft Center in Miri
One of the must-visit places is the Miri Handicraft Centre in town
Miri Restaurants
Walking around Miri, you can find some interesting restaurant promotions like this one
Rooftop Bar Miri
Guests enjoying the evening sunset from the rooftop bar at Meritz Hotel in Miri
Street Food in Miri
A Roti John street vendor along the main streets of Miri
To be honest, I have read other articles on things to do in Miri and most of them are very surface level or very general, having never been here or probably once in their life.

So with the internet nowadays, you can find a lot of new bloggers or lifestyle portals scraping content just to publish so-called information on Miri.

So, let me just share with you that I have been coming to Miri for the last five years and at least once or twice a year to explore the place, therefore, I would say that there are in fact many things one can do here, it is just a matter of how you look at it.

After all, I am a tourism and travel writer and I work closely with the tourism boards to help promote their destinations.

You can also follow my live postings on my Malaysia Asia Instagram account which is @MalaysiaAsia, usually when I am on the road.


For more detailed information on Miri, you can also check out the Sarawak Tourism website as they have other information available.

I hope you enjoyed this list of things to do in Miri and if you have any comments, questions or feedback, please do leave them below in the comment form.

Post a Comment


J-Mei said…
Last year I did visit Miri because of attending friend’s wedding. I just have some times to explore Miri Town. If have chance come to Miri again sure will follow your recommendation.
Do you ever go to Lawas? I found out that online information about Lawas is very limited. Perhaps you can try blog about it.
Malaysia Asia said…
Hi J-Mei, thanks for the comment. Actually, I did visit Lawas once a few years ago but trith be told that I only stopped by for a break before I went to Bakelalan. So to my knowledge, I only know that there are some amazing treks, hikes, waterfalls and also bird watching around Lawas area.
Anonymous said…
Wisma Mee Hua is the name of the a shoe shop building. The actual name of the food center at Beautiful Jade Center is called "Persiaran Kabor", and it is known by the locals as "Old Folks' Street".
Anonymous said…
There are some long houses you can visit also near Lambir. I have been there once and bought tuak from them. You can check with the local travel agent for more info. And also you can stay in some long houses (i think this is in Bakam) for a very unique experience.
Anonymous said…
Oh and another interesting tour is sightseeing those enormous houses by the sea side haha....
stallions35 said…
David, correction on Imperial Palace hotel... That is located at Pelita commercial area near Grand Palace Hotel. The hotel above Permaisuri Imperial City Mall is actuall the new wing of the existing Imperial Hotel with 249 rooms; Standard and Superior rooms... Making Imperial Hotel the biggest in Sarawak if I am not mistaken. Total of 526 rooms; combination of hotel rooms and apartments.
Malaysia Asia said…
Hello Anon, thanks for the updates and additional info. I will correct the Beautiful Jade Center. Plus the Longhouses near Lambir, I cant remember but I know of one just by Niah, called Patrick Libau Longhouse with a homestay program as I stayed there during Gawai last year. Oh, those mega houses by the sea, yeah, I saw those too :)

Malaysia Asia said…
Hello Stallions35, thanks for the update and correction/info on the Imperial. I stayed there once in August and it was really a nice hotel to stay at. Will update my info.

Ju De said…
Pretty good blog. Great info too.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for this great list! Going to visit my girlfriend next week and cant wait to visit and try all the food there!
Malaysia Asia said…
Anon, that's great news! Have a great time in Miri, exploring the food scene. Try the wet market next to Tua Peh Kong Temple in the old town area.
Unknown said…
Thanks for the info.. Very useful.. Going to visit miri this coming friday for my wife colleague's wedding.. Just happen to read this blog about things to do in miri.. Thanks a lot