Sleepy town to party city


Sleepy town to party city

Ezanor MK



IF YOU think Miri is a just a sleepy old town southwest of Brunei, think again the city, which is celebrating its two-year anniversary, is abuzz with activities and sights in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2007.

With the Miri City Day celebration today expected to create a Malaysian record for the most number of people celebrating a birthday 202 at the last count the city is making sure it’s not left out in the Malaysian party scene.

Miri Mayor Wee Han Wen told Bernama on Tuesday that the city was hoping a 101-year-old lady would also grace the event.

Born in 1906, she is older than the Grand Old Lady, Malaysia’s first oil derrick built in 1910 on top of Canada Hill, which contributed to Miri’s rich life as an oil town.

And as Miri developed, it opened up the northern Sarawak area, which is a paradise of nature from the famed Mulu and Niah caves to the Orang Ulu settlements in the Interior and highland havens such as Kelabit, Bario and Bakelalan.

Culture is also ever so diverse in Sarawak, which hosts 27 ethnic groups like the Berawan, Melanau, Iban, Penan and Bidayuh, to name a few, whose lifestyles differ in big and small ways from each other.

Just a glance might not tell you what the differences are, says KKM Travel tour guide Alan, who says a stay at a longhouse should be on the agenda of all visitors to Sarawak wishing to fully immerse themselves in the life of the aboriginal people.

But if long treks in the jungle, three-hour boat rides and tuak ceremonies by longhouse leaders given in your honour are not your thing, Miri has various events on its calendar to cater for all types.

For sporting enthusiasts, there is the Miri International Bakam Biathlon Challenge on May 26, the International Beach Volleyball Challenge at Parkcity Everly Hotel on June 9 and the Sarawak International Triathlon on August 11-12.

Those keen on eco-adventures are sure to find some thrills and spills in the Miri 4x4 Challenge on July 15, the Lambir International Rainforest Challenge on September 2 and the Borneo Hash half-marathon on October 27.

For those of a cultural persuasion, the city has scheduled a plethora of events celebrating diversity, including the International dance for Humanity on June 24, as well as those which showcase Sarawak’s traditions and cultures, such as the Beads, Craft and Trade Exhibition from October 25 to 28.

One of the latest attractions in Miri is its diving, the 4,000 sq km area gazetted as the Miri-Sibuti Marine National Park just last month still maintaining an untouched and undiscovered feel for scuba divers.

Said to be on par with the world’s best dive sites, the park boasts coral reefs rich with variety reachable by a 10-minute boat ride as well as wrecks of ships and oil rigs teeming with marine life.

The city itself is not short on charm, with the City Fan welcoming visitors to its three gardens Islamic, Chinese and Botanical and the musical fountain, which is sure to light up your night.

So go on, have a delightful time in Miri, we’re sure you’ll love it. The Brunei Times