Miri is a city in northern Sarawak
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang , Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the North- East.The administrative capital is Kuching, which...

, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

. It is the second largest city in Sarawak, with a population of about 300,000, and the government administrative centre of Miri District in Miri Division
Miri Division
Miri Division is one of the eleven administrative divisions of Sarawak, east Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It has a total area of 26,777.1 square kilometers, and is the second largest division after Kapit Division....


Miri is the birthplace of Malaysia's petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 industry, which remains the major industry of the city. The first oil well
Oil well
An oil well is a general term for any boring through the earth's surface that is designed to find and acquire petroleum oil hydrocarbons. Usually some natural gas is produced along with the oil. A well that is designed to produce mainly or only gas may be termed a gas well.-History:The earliest...

 (the Grand Old Lady) was drilled by Shell
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

 in 1910, and is now a state monument and one of Miri's tourist attractions. Shell also built Malaysia's first oil refinery
Oil refinery
An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into more useful petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas...

 in Lutong, a suburb of Miri, in 1914. Recently, vast oil reserves
Oil reserves
The total estimated amount of oil in an oil reservoir, including both producible and non-producible oil, is called oil in place. However, because of reservoir characteristics and limitations in petroleum extraction technologies, only a fraction of this oil can be brought to the surface, and it is...

 were discovered just offshore northeast of the city . Miri has grown phenomenally since oil was first discovered in the early 1900s, burgeoning into the business, commercial and educational centre it is today.

The city's other major industries include processed timber, oil palm
Oil palm
The oil palms comprise two species of the Arecaceae, or palm family. They are used in commercial agriculture in the production of palm oil. The African Oil Palm Elaeis guineensis is native to West Africa, occurring between Angola and Gambia, while the American Oil Palm Elaeis oleifera is native to...

 production, and tourism. The world famous Gunung Mulu National Park
Gunung Mulu National Park
Gunung Mulu National Park near Miri, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses incredible caves and karst formations in a mountainous equatorial rainforest setting...

 with its Sarawak Chamber
Sarawak chamber
The Sarawak Chamber is a huge chamber in Gua Nasib Bagus , which is located in Gunung Mulu National Park, in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. It is considered to be the largest known underground chamber in the world....

, a half an hour flight from the city, is one of the favourite eco-tourism destinations. Miri is also the main tourist gateway for Loagan Bunut National Park
Loagan Bunut National Park
Loagan Bunut National Park is a national park located 130 km from Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia, on the Borneo island. The park was named after the Loagan Bunut lake nearby, which is connected to Sungai Bunut , Sungai Baram and Sungai Tinjar...

, Lambir National Park, and the Niah Caves
Niah Caves
Niah Caves is located within the district of Miri in Sarawak, Malaysia. Part of Niah National Park, the main cave, Niah Great Cave, is located in Gunung Subis and is made up of several voluminous, high-ceilinged chambers...

. Miri has lately become known for its exotic coral reef
Coral reef
Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps...



The earliest evidence of human population in the area dates back to 35,000 BC from the nearby Niah Caves.
In 1989, a proposal for Miri to become a city received the blessing of Sarawak state government in 1993. A public forum was held in 1994 and a grand signature-collecting campaign was organised in 2004. More than one-third of the residents of Miri signed in support. City blueprints were drawn up in the early 2000s, while the government and private sector managed to fulfill the federal government's ten main criteria for obtaining city status.

The Sarawak state government approved the then Miri Municipal Council's application for Miri to be elevated to a city and concurrently the Council to be upgraded as the Miri City Council on 20 May 2004. The federal government approved its application on 16 March 2005. The Yang di-Pertua Negeri
Yang di-Pertua Negeri
The Yang di-Pertua Negeri is the official title of the ceremonial heads of state of the Malaysian states without hereditary rulers, namely Penang, Malacca, Sabah and Sarawak...

 (ceremonial head of state) of Sarawak issued an order on 12 May 2005 for the establishment of the Miri City Council. The King of Malaysia, Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the head of state of Malaysia. The office was established in 1957 when the Federation of Malaya gained independence....

 XII issued the instrument for conferment of city status of name Miri City Council on Miri Municipal Council, with full jurisdiction on Miri City on 13 May 2005. The appointments of the mayor, deputy mayor and city councillors of the Miri City Council was published in the Sarawak Government Gazette on 19 May 2005. On 20 May 2005, the official proclamation of Miri City and appointment of Cr. Dato Wee Han Wen as first Mayor of Miri City Council were made at Miri and this was then followed by a celebration. 20 May is now celebrated each year as Miri City Day.

World War II

Realizing that war was imminent, the Brooke government, under Sir Charles Vyner Brooke
Charles Vyner Brooke
Vyner, Rajah of Sarawak, GCMG was the third and final White Rajah of Sarawak.-Early life:...

, conducted preliminary work to establish airstrips at selected locations throughout the country. These airstrips would be located at Kuching, Oya, Mukah, Bintulu, and Miri.

With no air or sea forces stationed in or around Sarawak, the British government encouraged the Brooke regime to adopt a "scorched earth policy" in the event of a Japanese attack. Later, schemes were developed to destroy the oil installations at Miri and Lutong. The Brooke government learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (on 7 December 1941) and quickly ordered the total destruction of the oil fields and airfields at Miri and Seria. Orders for the demolition of the refinery at Lutong and the oil wells reached the officer commanding at Miri on the morning of 8 December, and by that evening, the task was completed. The garrison, a company of the 2/15 Punjab Regiment, then left for Kuching by sea on 14 December. The Japanese captured the city on 17 December.

On 19 December 1941, a Dutch flying boat
Flying boat
A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water. It differs from a float plane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage...

 from Tarakan Island
Tarakan Island
Tarakan is an island off the coast of East Kalimantan, Indonesia. It is a marshy island situated in the eastern Celebes Sea, off the northeastern coast of Borneo. The island occupies an area of .-Petroleum:...

 attacked the Japanese destroyer Shinonome, (Cdr. Hiroshi Sasagawa) of 1,950 tons off Miri; the ship was sunk along with her entire crew of 228. Another flying boat damaged a transport ship.

Recent history

Miri was elevated to city status on 20 May 2005 and is the ninth city, and its local authority the tenth city council in Malaysia.


Miri's population consists of Iban
Iban people
The Ibans are a branch of the Dayak peoples of Borneo. In Malaysia, most Ibans are located in Sarawak, a small portion in Sabah and some in west Malaysia. They were formerly known during the colonial period by the British as Sea Dayaks. Ibans were renowned for practising headhunting and...

, Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

, Malay
Malay people
Malays are an ethnic group of Austronesian people predominantly inhabiting the Malay Peninsula, including the southernmost parts of Thailand, the east coast of Sumatra, the coast of Borneo, and the smaller islands which lie between these locations...

, Berawan, Lunbawang, Melanau
The Melanau are a people who live on the island of Borneo, primarily in Sarawak, Malaysia, but also in Kalimantan, Indonesia. They are among the earliest settlers of Sarawak, and speak a Northwest Malayo-Polynesian language .-Origins:...

, India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n, Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit, Bidayuh
Bidayuh is the collective name for several indigenous groups found in southern Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, that are broadly similar in language and culture . The name "Bidayuh" means 'inhabitants of land'...

, Penan
The Penan are a nomadic aboriginal people living in Sarawak and Brunei. They are one of the last such peoples remaining. The Penan are noted for their practice of 'molong' which means never taking more than necessary...

, a handful of Eurasians
Eurasian (mixed ancestry)
The word Eurasian refers to people of mixed Asian and European ancestry. It was originally coined in 19th-century British India to refer to Anglo-Indians of mixed British and Indian descent....

 and other indigenous groups. Many religions are also represented in Miri, including tribal religions, Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, and Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...



Miri has a tropical rainforest climate
Tropical rainforest climate
A tropical rainforest climate, also known as an equatorial climate, is a tropical climate usually found along the equator...

. There are two monsoon seasons: the southwest monsoon, which is the dry season from April to September and the northeast monsoon, which is the wet season from October to March. The annual rainfall is around 250 to 380 cm (100 to 150 inches). The air temperature is between 23 to 32 °C (74 to 90 °F) the whole year round. But in rare occasion, temperature can reached down to 18 °C to 16 °C especially in the month of November, December and January. Lowest ever recorded is in December 2010 where temperature dropped down to 11 °C.


Miri mainly thrives on its vibrant oil and gas industry, which contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 (GDP) of Sarawak. Sarawak Shell Berhad and Petronas Carigali have their headquarters based in Miri. The city is also home to numerous local and multinational oil and gas companies, including Nippon Oil
Nippon Oil
The , or NOC or Shin-Nisseki is a Japanese petroleum company. Its businesses include the exploration, importation, and refining of crude oil; the manufacture and sale of petroleum products, including fuels and lubricants; and other energy-related activities.Its products are sold under the brand...

, Schlumberger
Schlumberger Limited is the world's largest oilfield services company. Schlumberger employs over 110,000 people of more than 140 nationalities working in approximately 80 countries...

, Baker Hughes
Baker Hughes
Baker Hughes Baker Hughes provides the world's oil & gas industry with products and services for drilling, formation evaluation, completion, production and reservoir consulting. Baker Hughes operates in over 90 countries worldwide mainly based in countries with a mature petroleum industry as is...

, Halliburton
Halliburton is the world's second largest oilfield services corporation with operations in more than 70 countries. It has hundreds of subsidiaries, affiliates, branches, brands and divisions worldwide and employs over 50,000 people....

 and Petra Resources and many others. The oil and gas industry not only infuses money into the economy, but also brings in expatriates from various countries. Businesses, big & small, in Miri are constantly on the increase as businessmen look to venture and investing in the growing city.

Tourism is another important focus of the economy. Miri has a diverse ecology and a myriad of flora and fauna species. Four national parks and a marine national park are all located near Miri. Thus, it is often seen as a hub for ecotourism and a draw for nature enthusiasts.

Miri is also a shopping destination for the neighbouring country of Brunei Darussalam, as well as nearby smaller towns like Bintulu
Bintulu is a coastal town, and the capital of Bintulu District in the Bintulu Division of Sarawak, Malaysia. It is about 650 kilometers from Kuching and about 215 kilometers from either Sibu or Miri....

 and Limbang
Limbang is a border town and the capital of Limbang District in the Limbang Division of northern Sarawak, East Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. The division has an area of 3,978.1 square kilometers, and a population of 42,600...


The regional airline, MASwings
MASwings Sdn. Berhad is a regional airline operating the Rural Air Services in East Malaysia. It took over the RAS previously operated by FlyAsianXpress. The first flight was on 1 October 2007,which is also the anniversary of the founding of Malaysia Airlines in 1972. Its headquarters are in Jalan...

, has its head office at Jalan Airport in Miri.


Miri Airport
Miri Airport
Miri International Airport is an airport serving Miri, a city in the state of Sarawak in East Malaysia.Miri International Airport is the busiest domestic airport in the country, serving 1.5 million passengers in 2008. It is also one of the country's top three airports in terms of aircraft...

 is the fifth busiest airport in Malaysia, and the busiest domestic airport. The airport receives flights from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Kuching, Singapore, Kota Kinabalu, Labuan, Sibu, Bintulu and many other smaller towns throughout Sarawak. The airport is also an important hub for MASwings's fleets to provide connecting flights to isolated communities in the interior. It serves as the essential airway to national parks such as Mulu Caves, Niah Caves, and Lambir Hills. MASwings is headquartered at Miri Airport. Malaysia Airlines
Malaysia Airlines
Malaysian Airline System Berhad , DBA Malaysia Airlines , is the government-owned flag carrier of Malaysia. Malaysia Airlines operates flights from its home base, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and its eastern hub in Kota Kinabalu. It has its headquarters on the grounds of Sultan Abdul Aziz...

 and AirAsia
AirAsia Berhad is a Malaysian-based low-cost airline. AirAsia is Asia's largest low-fare, no-frills airline and a pioneer of low-cost travel in Asia. AirAsia group operates scheduled domestic and international flights to over 400 destinations spanning 25 countries. Its main hub is the Low-Cost...

 operate flights to Miri.

Miri is accessible by road from Bandar Seri Begawan
Bandar Seri Begawan
Bandar Seri Begawan, with an estimated population 140,000 , is the capital and largest city of the Sultanate of Brunei...

Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

) and all major towns in Sarawak, and is connected to major towns in Sarawak and to Brunei and Sabah by the Pan Borneo Highway
Pan Borneo Highway
Pan Borneo Highway , also known as Trans Borneo Highway, , ' is a network of federal roads connecting Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah. The Pan Borneo Highway project is a joint project between the governments of Brunei and Malaysia...



Miri is often called the northern gateway to Sarawak and is one of the state's most important tourist attractions. It is surrounded by four world-class national parks: Mount Mulu
Gunung Mulu National Park
Gunung Mulu National Park near Miri, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses incredible caves and karst formations in a mountainous equatorial rainforest setting...

, Niah, Lambir Hills
Lambir Hills National Park
Lambir Hills National Park is situated near Miri in Sarawak, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It is a small park, composed largely of mixed dipterocarp forest. A census of all trees in a 52 hectare plot found 1175 different species...

, and Loagan Bunut
Loagan Bunut National Park
Loagan Bunut National Park is a national park located 130 km from Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia, on the Borneo island. The park was named after the Loagan Bunut lake nearby, which is connected to Sungai Bunut , Sungai Baram and Sungai Tinjar...



The Gunung Mulu National Park
Gunung Mulu National Park
Gunung Mulu National Park near Miri, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses incredible caves and karst formations in a mountainous equatorial rainforest setting...

 is a certified UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts the world's largest natural cave chamber, the Sarawak Chamber.

Niah Caves in Niah National Park is an important archaeological and historical site, as one of the oldest human remains in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 was found here.

Lambir Hills National Park contains very diverse species of flora and fauna and is ranked as the 12th mega-biodiverse site in the world. The park has Sarawak's largest natural lake. There is also the recently gazetted Miri-Sibuti Marine National Park, which has coral reef
Coral reef
Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps...

s and diverse marine life.

The city has 14 public parks and recreational grounds. Miri Bulatan Park (a lake garden), Luak Bay Esplanade (a park at the sea front), Taman Selera (family picnic spot), Taman Awam Miri (a theme park) and Miri City Fan are the more popular parks with both residents and visitors. Miri City Fan, a 10.4 hectares (25.7 acre) park in the heart of the city.


Shopping complexes include the Bintang Plaza (now refurnished and renamed "Bintang Megamall" or Parkson
Parkson is a popular department store company in Malaysia which offers items at a medium rate. Parkson was established in 1987 as one of the largest retail chains in Malaysia at that time...

 as most of the locals call it); Boulevard Shopping Complex, Imperial Shopping Mall (currently undergoing expansion of Imperial City Mall next to the current building), Servay Supermarket (at Mosjaya Commercial Centre), Servay Superstore (at Taman Tunku), Soon Hup Shopping Complex (most known as Mega Hotel's Shopping Mall), E-Mart, Miri Plaza (or Servay Hypermarket) , Wisma Pelita Mall, Merdeka Mall, Permy Mall (Opened), MYY Mall (under construction) and so on.

In addition, Miri is also well known for its fine handicrafts, especially bead
A bead is a small, decorative object that is usually pierced for threading or stringing. Beads range in size from under to over in diameter. A pair of beads made from Nassarius sea snail shells, approximately 100,000 years old, are thought to be the earliest known examples of jewellery. Beadwork...

 products. Handicraft shops along Jalan Bendahara and Brooke Road are favourite destinations for tourists and locals.

The entertainment outlets, restaurants and road-side cafes along South Yu Seng and North Yu Seng Roads are popular night streets.

Lotus Hill (Lian Hua San) Taoist Temple

This grand Taoist
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

 Temple located in the Krokop suburbs of Miri is South East Asia's largest Taoist temple.


Miri, being close to the sea, boasts some spectacular beaches. Some of the popular ones are Tanjong Lobang Beach, formerly known as Brighton Beach (Taman Selera), Luak Esplanade, Hawaii Beach, Bekenu-Sibuti Beach, Marina Bay (owned by Marina Mahathir
Marina Mahathir
Marina binti Mahathir is the daughter and eldest child of the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Mahathir Mohammad. She is well known as a leader in many non-governmental organizations such as the Malaysian AIDS Foundation and is currently an active socio-political blogger...

), and Lutong Beach.

Coral reefs

The Miri Reef off Miri is one of Malaysia’s most recently discovered diving locations. In this patch of reefs is a variety of coral and marine life, at depths from 7 to 30 m (23 to 98.4 ), that rivals the best anywhere in Borneo.


Miri opened a petroleum museum to preserve the city's roots as an oil and gas city. The museum is situated on a hill with a view of Miri and the coast. The museum has been criticised as being poorly maintained and underpatronised. In 2010, Tourism and Heritage Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan
George Chan Hong Nam
Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr. George Chan Hong Nam , was the former Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak, state Industrial Development Minister and state Tourism and Heritage Minister. He is now the former member of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly for Piasau, Miri after having lost his seat to the...

 said he was trying to get help from Shell and Petronas to provide funds for the management of the museum. The museum was built at the site of "The Grand Old Lady", Miri's first producing rig.

Higher education

Curtin University, Sarawak Campus, Malaysia is the first offshore campus of Curtin University, Western Australia, and the first foreign university campus in East Malaysia
East Malaysia
East Malaysia, also known as Malaysian Borneo, is the part of Malaysia located on the island of Borneo. It consists of the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, and the Federal Territory of Labuan. It lies to the east from Peninsular Malaysia , which is located on the Malay Peninsula. The two are...

. Opened in 1999 in partnership with the Sarawak
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang , Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the North- East.The administrative capital is Kuching, which...

 government, it serves the educational needs of local and foreign students.

Other higher institutions of education in Miri City include Open University Malaysia
Open University Malaysia
- About OUM :Open University Malaysia or OUM is the 7th Malaysian private university and it is owned by the , a consortium of 11 public universities in Malaysia. It leverages on the quality, prestige and capabilities of its owners - a consortium of 11 Malaysian public universities.Currently, the...

 (Miri Campus), Institut Pendidikan Guru Malaysia Kampus Sarawak, Jalan Bakam (Teacher Education Institute), Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara, Permyjaya (National Youth Skill Institute), Institut Latihan Perindustrian Miri, Permyjaya (Industrial Training Institute), Riam Institute of Technology, IBS College, Fajar International College, Tenby International School and so on.

Sister cities

  • Singkawang
    Singkawang is located at the province of West Kalimantan or Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia. It is located at about 145 km north of Pontianak, the provincial capital, and is surrounded by the Pasi, Poteng, and Sakok mountain...

    , Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

  • Bali
    Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

    , Indonesia
  • Tangerang
    Tangerang is a city in the Province of Banten, Indonesia. It is located about 25 km west of Jakarta. It is the third largest urban center in the Jabotabek region after Jakarta and Bekasi. It has an area of 164.54 km² and an official intercensal estimated population of 1,537,244 for 2005...

    , Indonesia
  • Beihai
    Beihai is a prefecture-level city of Guangxi, China. Beihai means "north of the sea" in Chinese, signifying its status as a seaport on the north shore of the Gulf of Tonkin. Between the years 2006 and 2020, Beihai is predicted to be the world's fastest growing city...

    , China
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