By | 16th January 2018

Should you rent a car in Miri?

Do you need a car in Miri > Should you rent a car in Miri Malaysia > Miri ( MYY )
Do you need a car in 1? Is it worth hiring a car in 1? Should you rent a car in 1? Should you rent a car in 1?

Miri Car hire summary

Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all factors, including driving roads, hire and fuel costs, road safety etc. [Full notes - drive rating]


Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]



  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Miri but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
How much should I expect to pay in the peak season? Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]




  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.
Free parking score Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking.Total 42 - of which 24 have free parking. [full notes - parking]




  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.

Miri public transport quick facts

"Top trumps" train score

Higher scores go to the systems which take you to the most amazing places.



  • [full notes - top trumps trains]
  • A good rail system doesn't mean you shouldn't hire a car, but it often means you have a decent range of options.

Overall public transport score

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel.



  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Miri good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Miri



Take to the waters!

This is a general rating for all types of water travel, including scheduled ferries, sea / rivers cruises and excursions in Miri


Need, worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Miri", "is it worth hiring a car in Miri", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme:

Do you need a car in Miri?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city.

Is it worth hiring a car in Miri?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares?

Should you rent a car in Miri?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Situated in Malaysian Borneo just south of the border with Brunei, Miri is an important gateway to the Malaysian jungle, and especially to the hugely impressive Mulu Caves.

Do you need a car in Miri? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in Miri?", this often breaks down to two key questions:

  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in Miri? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?

Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in Miri as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in Miri?

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Why should you rent a car in Miri?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Miri?

  • We don’t really think it’s worth hiring a car in Miri.
  • You could hire a car to drive south along the coast, or on inland roads which run parallel to the coast.

Why not? Visiting Miri without a car

What is public transport like in Miri? What about local conditions for walking or cycling? Can you rely on public transport and maybe a few taxis for most or all of your trip? Are there some times of year when it's easier to get by without a car than others? When should you rent a car in Miri?

The town of Miri itself is compact enough. Although its bustling by Borneo standards, this is no Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur. It’s perfectly easy to get between the major hotels on foot, or by taxi if necessary. There are also enough buses scooting around to travel along the coast, and also into neighbouring Brunei. Having said that, despite extensive deforestation, there are still very few roads heading inland anyway, so the main way in and out of Miri by land is the travel along the coast.

  • To reach Mulu National Park for the Mulu bat caves, travel by boat via Marudi, or take ashort hop flight.
  • Other than the road towards the village Long Lama on the Baram River, there are very few other roads which can be driven on.
  • Generally, car hire in Miri is expensive relative to other locations in South East Asia (see pricing tables).
  • Plenty of options just to come to Miri and relax on the beach – but this would be a huge waste if you are coming here from further afield!
  • The airport in Miri is very close to the town centre – you could almost walk it, but you probably won’t want to with a bag, given the usual humid heat in Borneo.
  • There are no driving roads between Sabah and Sarawak, other than routes which go through Brunei. You can make this journey by bus, or a combination of bus and ferry, but you will be unlikely to be able to get a hire car in Miri and get insurance to drive it into Brunei. See our cross border driving pages for more information.It is generally better to fly to Kota Kinabalu instead.
  • There are very few options for one way rental from Miri, since you would only be able to return your car to a location within the state of Sarawak. One such location might be Kuching.

So should you rent a car in Miri? The real reason for coming into Miri in the first place must surely be to head into the jungle, and in particular to trek into the Mulu caves. The best way to reach this area is to travel by river, and a variety of fast boat and slower local services is available. So there really is not much point in getting a hire car here, so our Miri car hire advice is not to bother.


Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Would you hire a car in Miri?

Have you driven in Miri? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Miri?

Do you need a car in Miri? For some or all of the time? 

Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

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