As one of the most popular destinations in Sarawak, Miri forms a gateway to the famous Gunung Mulu National Park and Niah National Park. Miri used to be a bit of a cowboy village in the past, where people mainly came in search of oil. It is said that Malaysia’s petroleum industry once started in Miri. Years later however, Miri grew out to be a modern city though still a bit overshadowed by the neighboring oil state of Brunei (Miri was granted city status in 2005). The city is home to a population of about 300,000 people, and this makes it the second biggest city of Sarawak behind Kuching.
Brunei is a tiny nation on the island of Borneo, in 2 distinct sections surrounded by Malaysia and the South China Sea. It’s known for its beaches and biodiverse rainforest, much of it protected within reserves. The capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, is home to the opulent Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah mosque and its 29 golden domes. The capital’s massive Istana Nurul Iman palace is the residence of Brunei’s ruling sultan.
Niah National Park’s main claim to fame is its role as one of the birthplaces of civilization in the region. The oldest modern human remains discovered in Southeast Asia were found at Niah, making the park one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. In 1958, a discovery was made which confirmed Niah’s place as a site of major archaeological significance. Harrison and his team unearthed a skull which was estimated to be 40,000 years old.