When one mentions Sarawak, many will focus on the state capital of Kuching, the administrative centre since the time of James Brooke, steeped in history and rich in the cultural diversity of people from various ethnic backgrounds.
Visitors however tend to overlook another interesting district, Miri, which is undergoing rapid development and is not short of its travel attractions.
The district, which is the second largest in Sarawak, is a fascinating tourist destination with its history.
This is the town where oil was first discovered in Malaysia and an archaeological site where the oldest human remains in Southeast Asia were found.|
Miri is also the first non-capital town to be granted city status on May 20th, 2005, with the title “Bandar Peranginan” or “Resort City”.
Indeed, the Resort City of Miri is a one stop centre with various interesting treasures to be enjoyed by travellers.
THE GRAND OLD LADY
The first location to visit while in Miri is the Grand Old Lady in Canada Hill as the view from the top of the hills is panoramic and mesmerising, suitable for those looking for peaceful surroundings and also for family outings.
There is an old oil well on the hill called The Grand Old Lady, once described as a ‘mother’ producing precious resource for the people of her land.
The Grand Old Lady is the first oil well in Malaysia, drilled in 1910, and producing oil for 62 years. The well was drilled manually every day by local workers to extract the oil. The well produced 660,000 barrels of oil throughout its operations before it was shut down on October 31, 1972.
The oil well sparked the development of the oil industry in the district and has indirectly transformed Miri from a sleepy fishermen’s village in the 20th century into a modern and thriving city in the 21st century.
For all history lovers, this is a must visit landmark as it is rich in historical information and you are advised to hire a knowledgeable guide to give you a thorough briefing.
Home to many national parks, Sarawak is full of natural wonders. In total, it has 23 national parks open to the public, one of which is the famous Niah National Park.
Interestingly, Niah National Park houses the oldest cave in Malaysia which is also one of the largest limestone cave systems in the world.
Even though in terms of size, the Niah National Park is among the smallest in Sarawak, it is clearly the most important and attracts a lot of tourists. One of the reasons for this is the discovery of 65,000-year-old human fossils (based on the latest research in 2017) in Niah Caves, making it the earliest known human dwelling in Southeast Asia.
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