Miri, The Oil Town

Miri is a city located in northeastern Sarawak, Malaysia. The city is known as Oil Town due to its close relationship with the oil industry. In fact, the city was created for the development of Malaysia’s oil industry.

Marudi was the administrative center of the region of Sarawak until 19 years after Miri was founded when Miry took Marudi’s place. The city of Miri was founded when the first Malaysian oil well was drilled by Royal Dutch Shell in 1910.

The discovery of the oil field in Miri has produced an incredibly quick development of the city thanks to all the money and jobs the industry brings to Miri. Miri became the administrative center of Sarawak in 1929.

Petroleum has continued to improve the city’s development and economy ever since the first oil well was drilled there. The companies Petronas Carigali and Sarawak Shell Berhad are headquartered in Miri because it is the City of Oil. As a result of this, Miri has a strange cosmopolitan whiff due to that it hosts many expatriates from all over the world. These expatriates work in many of the multinational gas and oil giants that are headquartered in this beautiful city.

Usually, visitors stop for transit at Miri to change planes when heading to Kelabit Highlands or the famous Gunung Mulu National Park but when they spend some time discovering the city’s interesting history visitors fall in love with the city and its food.

Miri is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Malaysia because it hosts a really diversified population which consists of Malay, Kedayan, Chinese, Iban, Melanau, Lun Buwang, Kelabit, Bidayu and many other ethnic groups.

Thanks to the oil industry of Miri, a lot of international students and expatriates are drawn there for work, adding the much-needed spice to the beautiful city of Miri.

There are many things to do in Miri but one of the most popular tourist destination is Miri’s Petroleum Museum.

The museum was built in the area where the first Malaysian oil exploration happened using the Grand Oil Lady drilling rig. It produced oil from December 22nd of 1910 to 1972 when it retired. One year after that, Sarawak Shell Bhd gave the property to Sarawak’s Government in a simple yet beautiful ceremony.

The area has been declared as a protected historical site by the State Government of Sarawak since it no longer produces oil. The interesting Petroleum Museum officially opened o the public on May 20th of 2005 financed by Petronas and Shell Malaysia.

The museum shows multiple exhibits that are related to the history of the petroleum industry in Malaysia. Inside this unique museum, you can find an earthquake simulator which is really interesting, oil rig models so you can see the technologic progress and innovations that are being made regarding oil rigs and many other petroleum related things that you will definitely enjoy.

Petroleum Museum is not the only interesting museum in Miri, there are many others like the Niah Archeology Museum that is located near the archaeological site of Niah cave which is a really important prehistorical site where humans remains dating to forty thousand years have been found. Inside the museum, there are prehistorical artifacts that were found in the area.

Baram Regional Museum is another great museum that was opened in 1997 and is housed inside Fort Hose. This fort was burnt down in 1994 but it was rebuilt some years later based on its original design and was turned into a museum. There are cultural and historical artifacts that belong to multiple ethnic groups that live in the area displayed in the museum.

The Miri Tua Pek Kong Temple is a museum also worth visiting. It was built in 1913 to thank a monk who was believed to scare away evil spirits. Those evil spirits were believed to be the responsible of an unknown epidemic in this city. This museum is the only building that survived and is left from World War II.