Things to do in Miri - A Complete Guide

Miri Things To Do

Among the many things to do in Miri, ecotourism is the best activity here, apart from enjoying the natural city charm. However, from my many visits to Miri, the resort city north of Sarawak, I will share with the general tourist what else you can do around Miri, especially the central city area.

Miri is a coastal city located two hours from Brunei and was once well-known as an oil city and was 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 most exciting cities in Sarawak Borneo.

Miri is also home to the Borneo Jazz Festival, which occurs yearly. Again, this article is carefully researched, and I visit most places personally; 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 list for additional information on things to do in Miri. This is also considered a comprehensive guide to what you can do in Miri, Sarawak.

Miri Grand Old Lady
One of Miri's iconic landmarks is the Grand Old Lady.

1. Visit the Grand Old Lady

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

Next to the Grand Old Lady is also the Petroleum Science Museum, which would be awesome if you are a museum lover. You can get a fantastic view of Miri City and the sea from the back of the museum. 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 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, most of which are operated by the local Kelabit, Penan and Orang Ulu people. (

3. Visit E-Mart Supermarket

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

This massive place can be interesting to explore for the tourist, and while you are here, 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 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. For hardcore pork fans, you can find pigs' ears, tails, and intestines. At the end of the day, the locals 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. In the evenings, many people will come here to catch beautiful sunsets or simply 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 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 a blue glow is seen during the night when unique algae called 'Dinoflagellates' produces a glowing light when the water they live in is disturbed by motion, like the waves.

However, this place is beautiful during the day, as many cliff structures provide fantastic photography. One needs to self-drive or engage a tour company to bring you here.

Sunset Picture Miri
This sunset photo 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. (

8. Visit the Miri Crocodile Farm

Well, most places around Malaysia have one, and so does Miri. If you are up for this, visit the Miri Crocodile Farm located at Kuala Baram, about 30 minutes from the city. There is also a mini zoo, so crocodiles are not only here. Overall, this place would be great if you brought your family and also had extra time. Cover up as there are mosquitoes, and check on the feeding times for the crocodiles before going. (Miri Crocodile Farm

Miri Tua Pek Kong
Tua Pek Kong Temple in Miri.

9. Explore the Oldest Chinese Temple in Miri

A couple of beautiful Chinese temples are found around the city area. The most popular one is the San Ching Tian or Lian Hua San Temple, the largest Taoist temple in Southeast Asia, located in the Krokop district, four kilometres from the city.

The other place is the Tua Pek Kong Temple, located in the old part of the city, 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.

Visit the Markets in Miri

This section is created for those who love to visit markets, and Miri is an old-style city that offers some of the best markets to explore.

You can find speciality markets, weekend markets, and unique markets; visiting each will give you a different experience. You should go with a local guide that can explain the many amazing things you will encounter in these Miri markets.

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 noticed by those who love visiting these places.

The good thing about this place is that only ethnic vendors can 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 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 the traders sell off the ground here.

A fun experience, but please ask permission before taking photos here, as you would want to make sure the traders are satisfied.

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 between Jalan Melayu and Jalan Oleander in an open-air market with proper stalls.

13. Miri Night Market

The Saberkas Weekend Market is the best place to see the local night market lifestyle with all kinds of local food and product offerings. Most locals visit this place while it is also open to visitors. 

Explore Nature in Miri

14. Explore the Piasau Nature Reserve

Recently opened to the public in 2014, this nature reserve is 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 within the city limits and is shared with the beach.

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

15. Go for the Sibuti Fireflies Experience

Yes, there are fireflies in Miri, which 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: 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

Some sporting activities 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. Scuba Diving in Miri

Diving is a growing sport with two leading dive operators located in the city. There are over 20 dive spots situated along the Sibuti Reef, Siwa Reef, and Patricia Reef. I have personally dived in Miri twice from 2015 to 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 is located in the city area, while Hoopa is in 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 from 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 have yet to learn, Miri is a fantastic 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 you should seek out in the town area.

The older the coffee shop, the better the food, and I have always liked this formula. Many restaurants, cafes, fast food, and hotel food are available for the safe ones. Seafood is also quite popular, especially at the Medan Ikan Bakar and Jalan North Yu Seng, just before the Imperial Mall.

If you want to explore further, Pujut is a well-known place for authentic Chinese food, and you need a local to bring you here. Please note that some places listed here may be closed or moved since the Covid-19 pandemic.

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, probably the only place to try it apart from the interior villages. The trick is to come here early for lunch, from 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 will be gone.

• Unity Food Center (Pusat Makanan Bersatu)

A local food court is hawker-style and is shared with a meat market. This place is super local, serving some authentic Chinese food. You can try the Miri Chicken Rice and Mee Kolo or Kolo Noodles here.

• 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 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 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. 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. Remembering 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 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 an exceptional local delicacy which travellers need to learn about.

• Container City Miri

One of the latest attractions to open at the end of 2017 is a food centre made entirely of refurbished shipping containers. Called Container City Miri, this place is in the middle of the city and is to be noticed. Here, you can find a good mix of local and Western food, 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 shop, and thus Miri has become a haven for new shopping malls. The latest mall to open is the Permaisuri Imperial City Mall 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 plan to go to the national parks.

Places to Stay At in Miri

Marriott Hotel Miri
Miri Marriott Resort.

You can choose from several lovely hotels in Miri, ranging from 5 Star to budget guesthouses.

• Miri Marriott Resort (5 Star)

One of the pioneer hotels in Miri is 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 this is your place if you seek luxury in Miri. There are shuttle services to town and also a spa here.

• Pullman Miri Hotel (5 Star)

Opened in 2016 by the waterfront area and is currently one of the top hotels for leisure and business. They have almost everything a hotel has, including a massive function hall.

• ParkCity Everly Hotel (3 Star) [Edit - Closed]

Home to the annual Borneo Jazz Festival, the ParkCity Everly Hotel is also one of the pioneer hotels next to the Miri Marriott Resort. This property is suitable for a medium budget and has a beach area. Shuttle services to town are available too. Edit: This hotel has been closed since 2019.

• 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 centre of Miri City and connects to the Bintang Mall, one of Miri's premier shopping malls. This property offers Miri's highest sky bar and is well-designed with a massive MICE facility for groups.

• Eastwood Valley Golf and Country Club Resort (3 Star)

This is the best resort in Miri for golfers, as the Eastwood Golf and Country Club offers traditional wooden chalets and 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 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, which I took during my last trip there. I occasionally visit Miri every year, and I hope to find more exciting 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 are 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 is open during the day.

Street Scene in Miri
Street Buskers in Miri come out on weekends to entertain people along the main street.

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 exciting 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.

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. 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 working closely with tourism boards to help promote their destinations. You can also follow my live postings on my Malaysia Asia Instagram account, @MalaysiaAsia, usually when I am on the road.


You can also check out the Sarawak Tourism website for more detailed information on Miri, 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 leave them below in the comment form.

Malaysia Asia

Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.


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