Honestly, it didn't look like an airport in the outskirts of Malaysia. It looked good and decent enough to be called an international airport and this airport is the third busiest airport in the entire Malaysia. Since this is an inaugural flight, upon deplaning, we were given traditional necklaces and there were a lot of media people waiting right outside the plane bridge. There were also a lot of immigration counters open so it didn't take a lot of time to exit the immigration.
8 Things You Need to Know About Miri, Malaysia
Tip: No money changers and grab yourself a torch light in one of the shops.
There are several food shops and even a Starbucks, taxi stands and rent a car inside the airport. There's also a stall selling simcards and some random snacks and other stuff. Just to let you know, there are no money exchange stalls here.
|Bought a sim here. 1GB of data for 40RM with simcard good for 30days.|
In one of the shops inside the airport, they are selling this headlamp torchlight. If you are planning to go to Niah caves, buy one here because in the park, they are renting out these same torchlights for 5RM. Better yet, bring one from home to save money. The brighter the better. You'll know later if you read my Niah caves blog.
Tip: They have fixed cab rates
From Miri international airport to our hotel (Meritz Hotel review soon), we paid the taxi stand 22RM. Apparently, taxi cabs here do not use meters. They travel on fixed rate. Unlike here in Manila, that's really how they do it there. From our hotel to nearby destinations, lowest rate was 13RM and traveling around the city can range from 13 to 18 RM.
|The more expensive taxi stand at 30RM.|
|The more affordable taxi stand at 22RM.|
3) Miri Money Changers
Tip: Bring some Malaysian Ringgit with you if possible
Since this is not a very tourist-friendly place just yet because there are only 2 international flights coming in (Singapore and Manila), money changers are closed on Sundays. So two things. If you're coming over, make sure that you have RM because there are no money changers in the airport and they are closed during Sundays.
Tip: Stay in the city center
Prior to the trip, I was just planning to stay most of the time in the hotel because when I checked other websites, there were not much places to visit around town. My number one criteria was to look for a good hotel since I plan to stay there most of the time. I was choosing between Marriot and Meritz. I ended up choosing Meritz. Why? Below the hotel, there is a door right inside the hotel lobby that gives you direct access to the mall. You don't even need to go out anymore. Also, I think it was a well made decision because I found out that it is important that you stay in the city center because cabs there operate on fixed rates. Also, you can literally walk around the city center! From our hotel, it was not a long walk to the Miri handicraft center, Mega Hotel, Imperial hotel and the Imperial mall. Saves money and time plus you get exercise.(Check out the image above)
Tip: Plan your trips and food trips
When we went to our Niah cave trip, we asked our guide to recommend a few places to eat. Since we were staying in Meritz Hotel, we asked for nearby places. He gave us two and the next day, we went to the seafood one. It was closed. When we asked, they said that they open around 5pm. We then walked to the other one beside Bintang Megamall called Maxim. It was open and we had a very affordable meal but sadly, the Hong Kong Chicken Rice I had was full of blood which I ended up not eating (left a tip on Foursquare for it). Anyway, make sure that you know the operating hours of the places you want to visit.
Tip: How to get an additional passport stamp
Miri, Malaysia is just 45-minutes away from the border of Brunei. To get to the city center, it might take you around 2 hours but if you just want to have an additional stamp in your passport, just hail a cab and go get yourself that stamp. It's fun for others and it might not matter for some.
Tip: Look for a travel agency
Remember earlier when I said that taxi cab have fixed rates? Well, from the city center to Niah caves which takes around 1-2 hours, taxi cabs charge around 150RM. I suggest that you go book yourself a tour. What I did was search for a day tour to Niah caves and picked the one from 'Happy Trails! Borneo'. You can either contact them or contact their Niah caves tour supplier directly via Miri Trail Inn. I paid 220RM per pax and if you think about it, the cab already costs 300RM roundtrip but with this tour, you have a comfortable van for your roundtrip transfer from your hotel to the caves and back, entrance to the caves (which is around 15~20RM per pax according to a local), lunch and a private tour guide.
Our actual experience
Part 1: http://cheftonio.blogspot.com/2014/02/niah-caves-national-park-miri-malaysia-part1.html
Part 2: http://cheftonio.blogspot.com/2014/02/niah-caves-national-park-miri-malaysia-part2.html
Happy Trails Borneo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Miri Trail Inn: MiriTrail@yahoo.com
|Pathway to the caves|
|Pitch black part of the cave. What you can see is what my torchlight can reach and what we can see as well.|
Tip: Bring water, bright torch light/headlamp, jacket/raincoat and a good shoes with traction.
I'll be posting a whole blog about Niah Caves. I just want to leave a few tips for you before you embark on this day trip. We arrived 10am and left the park 4pm. Almost non-stop walking until the end where you can see where the excavated remains of the female archaeologist who discovered the area. The guide even said that the skeleton was still there but I didn't know what to look for and I was so tired by the time we reached that area that I just took a photo of it and will leave it to you guys to looks for the remains.
|It's somewhere by the right side of the bright light|
Thank you AirAsia for opening a new door to another country, direct from Manila.
Check out www.AirAsia.com for flights direct from Manila to Miri, Malaysia.
Disclaimer: Our trip was not sponsored by AirAsia but I won 2 roundtrip tickets (Manila-Miri) from AirAsia during an event. Everything else other than the roundtrip air tickets was paid for by us.
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