An established gateway, particularly to Mulu National Park which is an exciting and unique centre for visiting amazing caves, virgin rainforest, rivers and wildlife, Miri is a budding resort area and flourishing oil town on Sarawak's northwestern coast. Miri was just a sleepy little trading village at the mouth of the Miri River until 1910 when the giant Shell Oil company sank its first oil well on Canada Hill.

It wasn't long until offshore oil rigs turned the village into a booming headquarters for North Sarawak's big drilling and oil refining operations. Texas accents mixed with Iban dialects on increasingly busy streets, all with money and time to spend.

The contrast between the old town with its traditional shophouses and markets and the modern town's hotels, restaurants, shopping centres and legendary nightlife (a legacy of oil and timber workers from around the world) is striking.

It isn't a big city and is the base for tours to the Mulu and Niah Caves and now has international hotels. It offers a bit of everything in the culinary stakes, as its very international community indicates.

There's a wealth of fruits and vegetables, seafood, game and meats at the Tamu Muhibbah markets, a must for visitors. Kuching laksa is very popular, along with Malay rice and spicy meats and vegetables, curries, grilled and steamed seafood. Diners can even choose between good chicken rice or Southern fried chicken.

Because of Miri's commercial interests and its location just south of Brunei and roughly half way between Kuching and Kota Kinabalu the city could take the role of the principal northern gateway for Sarawak's new "Culture-Adventure- Nature" tourism theme, the state and city have big plans for Miri, incorporated in a 10 year program called "Miri Resort City", scheduled for completion in 2005 and already underway.

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