Not really a tip, just a really pleasant experience. One afternoon when I was walking back from Canada Hill, I had stopped at a rest spot for a drink and some shade, when an elderly couple pulled up on their motorbike and took a seat with me. They had just been doing their exercise - walking up and down a steep section of the hill - and stopped to cut open a dragonfruit.
They were keen to share the fruit with me - very refreshing after the hot walk - and we chatted about Miri and my travels.
Fortunately I was carrying a couple of small souvenirs from Australia with me. The couple were delighted to receive them and said they would give them to their grandchildren.
This is what makes travel special.
Favorite thing: Canada Hill, also known as Oil Well Hill, sits to the east of the city centre and is where you'll find Miri's famous landmark and national monument, the Grand Old Lady, the first oil well that was dug in Malaysia back in 1910. You'll also find the interesting Petroleum Museum here as well. The views over the city are pretty good plus the view looking in the opposite direction are of countryside and palm oil plantations.
Great town and ideal place to arrange travel to Mulu National Park and to Bario in the highlands. Stayed at the The Highlands hostel in Miri, worth checking out if after good , clean accommodation at reasonable price. The owners were very helpful & obliging. If you go up to Mulu then a good guide for your stay is Phillip. Should be able to contact him from The Highlands Hostel. Bario is worth a few days. Plenty of home stays. Stayed at Nancy's and also Reddishes. Both good places.
Fondest memory: We found Miri a nice small city. Good staging point to Mulu, Bario and onto Sabah.
Miri airport caters flights from West Malaysia, Sabah & other parts of Sarawak including the rural destinations. So, if you have a few hours layover & feel bored waiting at the airport, you can try to use the airport lounge which has some facilities that may be useful
In the lounge, there are food & drinks, satellite TV, internet (PC & wifi), comfy chairs and showers. To enter, you either must fly on business class on MAS or pay RM38 (roughly US$10)
You can visit any time of the year. We don't have any 4 seasons here.
But the best times of year to visit are March to August and October - November because there may be problems with the smoky haze caused from forest fires and clearing in Kalimantan during August-September.
It is not only about bats in Mulu National Park. It takes time before you get used to seeing the wild fauna in the rainforest, even if there is plenty of it!
This small iguana, however, seemed to be more curious about us than we were about it. It followed us until it decided we had taken enough pictures of it.
The highligh of my trip to Mulu National Park was attending the daily ritual of millions of bats flying out of Deer Cave. We were taken to an observatory from where we could properly experience this spectacular natural phenomenon without disturbing the animals.
We had to wait impatiently for a few hours in fear that they decided they would not want to fly out on that particular day. Our guide explained us that, some days, they may decide to stay in, if the weather is very bad, or if the feel some kind of danger, for instance. It had been raining earlier int he afternoon and threatening clouds appeared in the horizon, but we all crossed our fingers in the hope that it would not rain any more.
Then, suddenly, a few bats woke up and came out of the cave. More and more bats started flying in circles at the entrance of the cave. Suddenly, they flew away forming an enless black ribbon that vanished in the sky.
Favorite thing: If you're here for the first time, it is advisable for you to buy your ringgits or RM from the banks because you know you'll get a fair rate. However, there are a couple of money changes in town which can also give you a slightly better rate. These money changers are more keen on USD and Brunei dollars, so should you have either, you won't have a problem. The worst places to exchange money is the hotels and the airport because the exchange rate will be low
Miri is completely safe and easy to get around in on foot. You can walk around the entire city centre in couple of hours and there is plenty to keep you interested. All the landmarks quickly become familiar and if you like getting out and exploring a town on your own, you'll like MIri.
I probably wouldn't drive here though unless I was staying long term. The roads are a bit confusing and I found myself jaywalking a lot because I just couldn't figure out a legal way to cross the street. There are roundabouts, one-way streets, 6-way intersections, by-roads and no right turns here and there. The traffic isn't really heavy though.
Favorite thing: Apart from all the resourceful information about Miri which is already available here, I hope my contribution about its people is worthwhile to those who wants to know & understand the various cultures and races in that place, or simply wants to make friends with those who are born & bred in there. A forum specifically created for the people of Miri is accessible here and it extends its welcoming arms to everyone else: http://www.miricommunity.net/ . Any questions or feedback for the people of Miri are welcomed - since that is always the most effective way to get answers for your "adventurous" lifestyle (pun intended) :-)
A walk in Malaysia's most diverse plant species park, Lambir National Park. This is one place you should not miss. Its very close. Bus services there. But my general tip is on photography. Lambir is rather dense, and quite often wet. I would bring a rain cover with me all the time, and for your camera, a polariser for the water falls and blue blue sky.
Fondest memory: Having a forest just 20 minutes away will be something I will miss! Picture shows a tree which reminds me of a tree-magician in the Disney's production Fantasia. The branch looks like a magician's wand...
Favorite thing: To explore Miri is to walk around Miri.. not much for shopping or theme park but we have National Parks and also beaches. We have Mulu Caves its world famous cave system, Niah Caves for its burial grounds and cave paintings, Lambir National Park for the most diverse rainforest and waterfall and some scuba diving place that yet to be discovered
Fondest memory: taking a dip at the pool outside clearwater caves of mulu national park.. the clear cave water flowing out from a crack at the cave underground.. the water is refreshingly cold and clear.. feels great!
Favorite thing: The flight from Miri to Mulu shows amazing views of the Equatorial forest of Northern Borneo. The greenness here reaches far beyond the horizon. This was really a magic moment to behold.