AirAsia Zest recently launched its direct flight from Manila to Miri, Malaysia. Along with fellow travel bloggers and other members of the media, we were invited to visit and explore Miri in Northern Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Joy Caneba - COO of AirAsia Zest during the Inaugural Flight Ceremoni in Miri Airport
Ms. Joy Caneba – COO of AirAsia Zest during the Inaugural Flight Ceremony in Miri Airport

Upon arrival at Miri Airport, we headed to a special function room for a press conference hosted by Sarawak Tourism Board.


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Miri Officials, Sarawak Tourism Board and AirAsia Zest Officials at Miri Airport
Miri Officials, Sarawak Tourism Board and AirAsia Zest Officials at Miri Airport

During the press conference, Dato Rashid Khan of Sarawak Tourism Board mentioned that Miri and nearby destinations are well known for diving spots, caving and other ecotourism products. Aside from its ecotourism spots, Miri is also near the boarder of Brunei, in fact Bandar Seri Begawan is just 4-5 hours drive away from Miri.

Inside Niah Cave
Inside Niah Cave

According to Rashid Khan – Sarawak Tourism Board CEO, The Philippines is currently one of Sarawak’s top 10 markets, and the new AirAsia Zest flights will further boost tourism arrivals.

Bloggers, Media and AirAsia Zest Team heading to Niah Caves
Bloggers, Media and AirAsia Zest Team heading to Niah Caves

During our second day, we visited Niah Caves – an important prehistorical site where human remains dating to 40,000 years have been found. Located 96 kilometers from Miri center, the cave requires 45 minutes to an hour of brisk walking to reach the opening of the cave. Too bad I was not able to join the rest in the short trek to the cave since Im not feeling well.

Limestone Rock Formation at Niah
Limestone Rock Formation at Niah

After visiting Niah National Park, we proceeded to The Grand Old Lady – the site of the first oil well in Miri which was drilled by Shell in 1910. Now the place was now turned into a tourist attraction. The place is a good vantage point for people who wants to take sunset photos and beautiful City Skyline at night.

Niah River
Niah River

On our third day, we visited several souvenir shops that sells, local fabrics, accessories, wood carvings and other handicrafts that are proudly made in Miri. After visiting souvenir shops, we also visited Tamu Khas a native market where you can find stalls that sell different types of organic rice, spices, various tropical fruit and vegetable.

The Grand Old Lady
The Grand Old Lady

When it comes to food, Miri is a multi-cultural destination and just like Kuala Lumpur, Miri has an old chinese district that offers Chinese-Malay food which also includes pork dishes. Since our trip was complete with itinerary including places to eat, we were not able to explore more options other than the Chinese Restaurants that the tour company pre-booked for us.

Fruits Sold at Tamu Khas
Fruits Sold at Tamu Khas

Just like Manila or any part of the Philippines, Miri is a musical place being the host of yearly Asia Music Festival and other Music Related events. With this music festivals, Filipino’s will definitely visit Miri just to witness these music festivals.

Organic Rice sold at Tamu Khas
Organic Rice sold at Tamu Khas

“Staying true to our commitment to give more choices, better value and enhanced services, AirAsia Zest is pleased to announce that we are the first and only airline servicing Manila to Miri route, giving our passengers and OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) access to this majestic city,” AirAsia Zest Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Joy Caneba said.

Sarawak White Pepper
Sarawak White Pepper

“AirAsia Zest’s brand of air travel is characterized by efficiency and good service and we are all geared up to welcome our guest to this new route on December 7, when we commence operations,” Caneba said.

Souvenir Items in Miri Souvenir Shop
Souvenir Items in Miri Souvenir Shop

AirAsia Zest is the first airline to offer the Manila-Miri route and also the second international route to Miri, after Singapore which started in 2009.

Travel Bloggers, Trad Media Participants and AirAsia Zest Officers in Miri
Travel Bloggers, Trad Media Participants and AirAsia Zest Officers in Miri

AirAsia Zest is utilizing Airbus 320, same aircraft utilized by all airlines in the AirAsia Group and notable for its durability, efficiency, safety and comfort for guests.

AirAsia Zest now flies four times a week from NAIA Terminal 4 to MIRI Airport – the third busiest airport in Malaysia. Flight from Manila leaves at 2:25PM and arrives in MIRI at 4:45PM.; while return flight leaves MIRI at 5:10p.m. and arrives in Manila at 7:30pm.

Special Thanks to AirAsia Zest for the invitation and to Roy Van Morales for some of the photos (with watermark).

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