Sunday, November 28, 2010

Travel to Malaysia - welcome to Miri, Sarawak (land of hornbill)

Welcome visitors, alright, let me do a lil bit intro on Miri; it is a small city in northern Sarawak on the Malaysian island of Borneo. It has a population of about 300,000. Malaysia's first oil well was drilled here in 1910, and petroleum has continued to drive the city's economy and development ever since.

Miri boasts a diversified population, which consists of Chinese, Malay, Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau, Kelabit, Lun Bawang and many other ethnic groups. International students from a foreign university campus based here and expatriates from international corporations add much spice to Miri as well.

Almost all locals speak a tiny smattering of English, along with Mandarin. The main language is the Bahasa Sarawak which is a local Sarawakian language; it is similiar to Malay but with local slang.

Now, if you wish to plan for a visit, there are several ways for you to travel which is;

By plane

Miri International Airport (MYY), which moved to a sparkling new facility in 2005, is a significant hub for central Borneo. From Peninsular Malaysia there are frequent flights from Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru on Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia . The airport is also connected to all major destinations in Malaysian Borneo, including Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
  • To/From Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia Airlines flies four times daily between Kuala Lumpur and Miri, with two stopping over at Kuching. AirAsia also flies direct non-stop three times daily.
  • To/From Johor Bahru: AirAsia flies on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
  • To/From Kuching: Malaysia Airlines flies three flights daily and AirAsia has one flight daily.
  • To/From Kota Kinabalu: Malaysia Airline and AirAsia each have two flights daily. MASWings also puts on a Fokker flight on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
MASWings , which took over operations of the rural air service from FlyAsian Express on October 1, 2007, operates a web of flights to remote destinations in the interior, most notably Gunung Mulu National Park and Bario in the Kelabit Highlands. MASWings also links Miri with Limbang, Lawas and Labuan which will enable you to by-pass expensive Brunei. Go to their website to book flights on-line and check schedules.

By bus

  • To/From other Sarawak cities: Numerous bus companies such as Biaramas, Suria Bus Express and Borneo Highway Express link Miri with other Sarawak cities such as Kuching, Sibu and Bintulu. Most express buses depart from the Express Bus Terminal
  • To/From Brunei: As of April 2010, there are two direct services between Bandar Seri Begawan and Miri. PHLS Express operates a dedicated BSB-Miri service, leaving BSB at 8:15am, and the return service presumably early afternoon. Fare is $18 BSB to Miri. Note that this terminates at Tudan terminal, some distance north of BSB city centre, but with local bus connections. A new service, and not well patronized (3 backpackers, 0 locals on my day), so don't bet on it lasting. The other service is EVA Express, with buses from BSB to Kuching etc, which pass through Miri.
  • To/From Kota Kinabalu, Sabah: Bintang Jaya Express opened a new route from Miri to Kota Kinabalu (KK) and return in November 2008. The route originates from Pontianak in Indonesia to Kuching, Miri, Limbang, Lawas ending in KK Wawasan Bus Terminal. Bus departs Miri at 8.00AM on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The journey takes approximately 10 hours without changing buses. From KK the bus departs at 7.30AM on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays.
  • To/From Niah Caves: Bas Suria departs from the Miri Express Bus Terminal to Batu Niah town regularly. The journey takes over an hour. From Batu Niah, you can either take a speedboat or walk to the Niah National Park headquarters at Pengkalan Batu. 
Miri has variety of foods to offer ^^

Eating out is a Malaysian pastime, and the good folk of Miri are no exception. The offer is unlimited: food outlets range from fine dining, exotic foreign restaurants and bistros to roadside food stalls.
Western Dining
Many restaurants and cozy cafes serve western cuisine like steaks, fish and chips, a cup of espresso, or a full five-course dinner accompanied by fine wines.

Hawkers’ stalls: Day-and-night hawkers offer a unique dining experience at economical rates, ranging from as low as RM3.00 for a bowl of pasta to an elaborate RM8.00 plate of Hokkien Noodles with all the trimmings. Visitors should try spicy Nasi Lemak, a rice dish garnished with peanuts and anchovies, or any of the dozens of noodle dishes.
The drink of choice is ‘Teh tarik’, sweet milky tea dramatically poured from one jug into another. Food stalls with their plastic chairs and tables are easily recognisable, especially along North Yu Seng Road, Jalan Permaisuri, Taman Seroja, Taman Selera and at the Saberkas Commercial Centre.
Indian Food
‘Roti canai’ pancakes for breakfast, ‘Nasi briyani’ rice for lunch and ‘Mutton curry’ for dinner are commonly available in Miri.

Chinese Food
From cheap snacks in the coffee shop stalls to twelve-course dinners fit for an emperor, Miri has it all. The main cuisines represented here are Cantonese, Hokkien, Foochow and Hakka.

Korean, Japanese, Thai
The international hotels and a number of select restaurants offer these cuisines to discerning diners

And i encourage you once you arrive in Miri, you need to get "lost" and eventually you might found interesting place to visit and to dine as well!! (I always do that haha)

Place to visit? a lot!!
I always go to this place when I'm still kid

Get around the town either by using tourist bus/van or you can take taxi, places you should not miss out is Grand Old Lady, Taman Selera, Tamu Muhibah (this place kinda like mini bazaar), Tanjung Lobang, Esplanade Beach, San Ching Tian Temple (the largest taoist temple I've ever seen, check it out in internet), Lambir National Park, and many more!!
I love explanade beach..

Places to stay??
Well, for those who're in tight budget, I reckon you to go for the list below;

  • Dillenia, Lot 846 1st floor Jalan Sida, From the airport, take bus no. 28 to Miri Bus Station. Then, hop on to bus no. 33 or 42, alight just after passing Imperial Mall at the drop-off bay on your left near the blue colour Anakku signboard. Dillenia is situated immediately behind a cafe named Sembang2 Kafe, Tel: +6085434204 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +6085434204      end_of_the_skype_highlighting (email: dillenia.guesthouse@gmail.com). Check-in time is 1PM while check-out time is 12 noon. However, late check-outs can be arranged depending on occupancy rate. Opened in August 2008, Dillenia is a family-run guesthouse with a "home away from home" atmosphere. Offers safe, clean, comfortable and air conditioned rooms, with a selection of dormitories, twin-sharing, family and honeymoon rooms. Rates range from RM30 per bed/night to RM110 per room/night. Facilities available are free internet access at lobby and free wifi at both lobby and rooms, free continental breakfast (variety of fresh fruits included), refrigerator, shower heater, laundry service, key card access, 24-hours reception, spacious common room, reading corner, mini library etc. Very friendly and helpful staff, and located right in the heart of Miri city. Big public swimming pool (1RM per person) only a few min-walk away.
  • Minda Guesthouse, 1st & 2nd floor, Lot 637, North Yu Seng Rd, 98000. Brand new guesthouse with free breakfast, laundry facilities, free wifi, rooftop garden and two lounges with flatscreen, mini library etc. Dorms RM 20/person & private from RM 50/room (twin). Friendly staff and good location. Just tell the cabby Mega Hotel then it's less than a minutes walk from there.
  • The Highlands Backpackers, Lot 1272 3rd Floor, MCLD, Block 9, Waterfront, Phone: +6085422327 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +6085422327      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, email: highlan@streamyx.com, Comfortable backpackers hostel (25 RM/bed) located on the seafront with AC rooms, TV and internet (5RM/hour). Used to be run by a married couple now 1 lady who is friendly and helpful. This is the only hostel in town and does a very good job. The matresses are comfy!
    Breakfast included means tea and toast so if you are the hungry type, buy some snacks in town. Conveniently situated above 'Wheels' bar which is nice. Imperial Mall 2 minutes walk away.
  • Miri Trail Guesthouse, Sub Lot 10634, 1st Floor, Airport Commercial Centre, 98000 Miri.Miri Trail Guesthouse is the best value accommodation which is ideal for travelers, especially backpackers. This is the place to meet other travelers and enjoy your trip without big expenses. If you are waiting for long hours next flight, or early morning flight, Miri Trail Guesthouse is the right place for you! Miri Trail Guesthouse is located only two minutes away from the airport and 10 minutes away from the city. We welcome all the travelers and backpackers from all over the world! 
And for those who're a little bit rich or very rich, you have no problem to find yourself places to stay, because as soon as you're arrive at Miri airport, just go to the nearest receptionist counter and ask forlimo/taxi service and there you can select any Hotel or INN that suit you best.

Disclaimer; the info on above is collected from several website as stated:
  • http://www.gomiri.com
  • http://www.lonelyplanet.com/malaysia/malaysian-borneo-sarawak/miri
  • http://wikitravel.org/en/Miri
  • and my self, because I'm Miri citizen and of course I do know about the best places to hang out, hahaha

Prepared by;
Deideian
http://www.deideian.com

6 comments for this post:

KRISTIANNE WYNONA said...

yeahh!! miri rocks! nasib ko stated ada bidayuh living in miri! haha.

Tey said...

Wowww.. you do sound like a promising travel agent.. :-D btw , good job on promoting Sarawak! hehehehhee.. n yes , I love MIRI.. next week will be there for a fren's wedding..

Deideian said...

@Kris - itu sudah semestinya.. hahaha... ramai bah bidayuh di miri..

Deideian said...

@Tey - well I should say, welcome to Miri Tey.. do enjoy your visit when you reach here hahaha

KRISTIANNE WYNONA said...

yaka...masa ku skul ku jak satu2nya bangsa bidayuh...huhu

Deideian said...

@Kris - iya dong, mungkin sbb itu di Miri hahah, kawan bidayuh saya ramai di area BT. Niah dan area Bakong (smk luar bandar).. hehehe

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ah~ comment if you like this post, i would like to read your respond in order to create more exciting topics in future ehe...^^

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