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Curtin University

Curtin University

MIRI FACTS

Enjoy balmy weather all year round. Experience the city’s vibrant and stimulating living environment.   Indulge in the local culture and lifestyle. Discover the area’s natural wonders.

Sarawak’s Most Cosmopolitan City
On the north-western fringes of the Malaysian state of Sarawak bordering the Sultanate of Brunei lies Miri Division - the largest of Sarawak’s eleven administrative divisions - of which the city of Miri is the administrative headquarters. Miri is also popularly known as the ‘Oil Town of Malaysia’, being home to the country’s over 100-year-old petroleum industry, as well as Sarawak’s ‘Resort City’ and the ‘Northern Gateway to Sarawak’ given its scenic seaside location and its being the gateway city to the area’s world-renowned natural attractions.

Miri is regarded as Sarawak’s most cosmopolitan city with an estimated population of 300,000 comprising almost the entire spectrum of Sarawak’s many ethnic groups. It is said 19 of the state’s 27 ethnic groups call Miri home. A significant number of expatriate workers from other Malaysian states and overseas, the majority of them engaged in the oil and gas industry, are based in Miri, and the city attracts numerous foreign tourists heading to the nearby national parks and other attractions, as well as weekend shoppers from neighbouring Brunei.

City on the Move
Miri’s history, progress and economy have always been tied to oil. Once only a humble fishing village, Miri was brought from obscurity to great significance in a matter of a few years when oil was discovered in August 1910. The oil industry remains by far the biggest contributor to the economies of Miri and Sarawak. Other industries such as forestry and agriculture burgeoned in the years following Sarawak’s independence through the formation of Malaysia in 1963, and in recent years, the construction, retail and financial sectors have contributed greatly to the city’s rapid economic growth.

Today, Miri boasts a splendid waterfront, marina, shopping malls, luxury condominiums, two 18-hole golf courses, four- and five-star hotel accommodation and an ultra-modern airport. With the designation of Miri as the Shell Group’s Asia Pacific exploration directorate and technical hub as well as Shell’s upstream headquarters, the city has enjoyed further growth as an oil and gas hub. It has also become an educational hub with the presence of Curtin Sarawak and other public and private institutions of higher learning, as well as a key tourism hub for eco activities, diving and adventure holidays.

As a city on the go, new infrastructure and development projects are planned or underway, including the RM1 billion Marina Park comprising Miri’s new City Hall, financial institutions, hotels, shopping malls, luxury condominiums, sports amenities and government offices, which is expected to stretch over 15 years. Indeed, Miri is well on its way to fulfilling its objective of becoming the location of choice to live, work, visit and invest in Sarawak.

Experience the City
Within Miri City, there are several interesting sites worth visiting. In the city centre, a causal stroll through the old bazaar and waterfront area or browsing at the bric-a-brac in Chinese sundry shops or trinkets at the goldsmiths’ can be quite an experience for the newcomer. One should also visit the Central Market where fresh produce from area farms is sold. For more exotic produce and wares from the upriver areas, Tamu Muhibbah is a colourful native market where you will find a range of exotic fruits and vegetables, homegrown rice and handicrafts. The Fish Market on Jalan Bendahara where the local catch is landed every morning offers numerous photo-opportunities and some of the fishmongers’ displays are simply works of art. While there, you might want to pop next door to the Tua Pek Kong Temple for an insight into the religious rites of the local Chinese community.

A stone’s throw from the city centre is the Civic Centre or Dewan Suarah, which houses the Miri City Library and is the focal point of the Miri City Fan, an award-winning urban park complex comprising a variety of theme gardens and a large amphitheatre where outdoor concerts are frequently held. The Public Swimming Pool and Pustaka Miri (Miri Resource Library) are also located there. Other attractions within walking distance of the city centre include the Miri Handicraft Centre, a fascinating showcase of the ethnic arts and crafts of northern Sarawak; the Sikh Temple, one of only two Sikh temples in Sarawak; and the marina and iconic seahorse lighthouse at the Marina Park.

Just outside the city centre, the Saberkas Weekend Market or ‘Pasar Tani’ open on Fridays and Saturdays offers a huge variety of goods and local delicacies. Taman Selera on Brighton Beach is a popular park with food stalls, playground and other recreational facilities. Other scenic parks include Taman Bulatan, a favourite for evening strolls and jogging; Taman Awam Miri, a huge family park with children’s playground, botanical garden, soft adventure activities and jogging trails; and Luak Esplanade, a popular spot for picnics and barbecues and probably the best spot to watch Miri’s spectacular sunsets. For a glimpse of Miri’s history, visit the Miri Petroleum Science Museum and Oil Well No. 1, Malaysia’s first oil well, atop Canada Hill.

A myriad of attractions can also be found in the outskirts of the city. Amateur geologists will be fascinated by the Airport Road Outcrop, a raised outcrop of layered laterite and other soft rocks that clearly illustrate how the surrounding area was raised from the sea over the past 10 to 15 million years. The San Ching Tian Temple in Krokop, the largest Taoist temple in Southeast Asia, is well worth a visit, as is the Miri Crocodile Farm in Kuala Baram, the largest crocodile farm in northern Sarawak.

Miri’s multi-ethnic population means visitors are assured of a wide variety of Malaysian and international cuisine. There are a number of fine-dining restaurants specialising in Chinese, Western, Japanese, Korean and Indian cuisine, in addition to the popular coffee shops, cafes, food courts, hawker stalls and fast food outlets. Seafood is to be found in abundance at restaurants and stalls along the Miri Waterfront, at Taman Selera and along Jalan Bakam.

Miri is a shopping haven with a wide variety of shops, department stores and street markets selling everything from daily necessities to designer goods and local handicrafts. There are also a number of large air-conditioned shopping malls with ample parking for convenient one-stop shopping. Weekends are when Miri truly comes to life, with shoppers crowding the city centre and shopping malls, and the city’s vibrant nightlife is at its best. There is no shortage of entertainment outlets in the city, and most are conveniently located in the Pelita Commercial Centre not far from the city centre.

Explore Further
Miri is a major tourism gateway and the jumping-off point to Sarawak’s most spectacular natural attractions. Lambir Hills National Park, just 30 minutes drive from Miri and one of the most accessible and enjoyable national parks in Malaysia, features magnificent sandstone hills covered with dipterocarp and heath forest and spectacular waterfalls. The Niah National Park about 100 kilometres away provides some of the most interesting and impressive sights in all of Southeast Asia. The area was a major centre of human settlement as early as 40,000 years ago, and features one of the world’s largest caves and a number of interesting forest trails. Loagan Bunut National Park features Sarawak’s largest natural lake, which in the dry months shrinks to nothing, making it possible to walk on great expanses of dry mud flats. Gunung Mulu National Park, a 25-minute flight from Miri, is by far the most spectacular of the area’s national parks. Spanning 544 km2 and dominated by three mountains, it is famous for its limestone cave systems, which include the world’s largest cave chamber and cave passage, and Southeast Asia’s longest cave, as well as the spectacular razor-sharp ‘Pinnacles’ limestone peaks soaring high above the rainforest.

Miri is also a popular dive destination due to the abundance of pristine patch reefs that make up the Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park, Sarawak’s first marine national park. The diversity and accessibility of corals and other marine life on the reefs is amongst the best in the region.

Other interesting destinations such as Bario in the Kelabit Highlands are also accessible from Miri.

Coordinates

4o23’34.74” N, 113° 58′ 49.08″ E

Time zone MST (UTC +8)

Area

4,707.1 km2 (1,838.71 sq ml)

Climate Equatorial, with fairly uniform temperatures throughout the year.

Elevation

21.95 m (72 ft)

Average daily temperature 23C – 32C

Population (2005)

269,000

Postal code 98xxx

Population density

50.90/ km2  (130.31/sq ml)

International dialling
code prefix
+6085 (landline only)