The Malaysian state of Sarawak in Borneo is famed for its well-maintained national parks and the Lambir Hills National Park is no exception. Conveniently located only 30 minutes by bus from Miri, the 17,000 acres of diverse rainforest is a must-see in northern Sarawak.
While larger mammals are hard to find, the Lambir Hills National Park is known for its staggering array of flora, insects, and birds. Over 157 species of birds have been recorded in the park. Ongoing research by international teams has turned up many unknown species of plants within the national park.
A matrix of trails throughout the national park provides access to eight waterfalls, two summits, an abandoned oil rig deep in the jungle, and a treetop tower for viewing birds high in the canopy. Similar to Gunung Gading National Park near Kuching, the Lambir Hills National Park can be explored without a guide or tour group; visitors are welcome to make their own adventure in the rainforest!
- For other nature reserves in the country, read our list of National Parks in Malaysia.
Hiking in the National Park
The trails in Lambir Hills National Park are well-marked, however many are steep and slippery. The three waterfalls nearest to park headquarters are easily accessible from the main trail to hikers of any fitness level. Bridges and groomed walkways provide easy access to Latak Waterfall - the largest area for swimming.
The second trail leading from park headquarters - Inove Trail - is much steeper, however the Pantu Waterfall (one hour walking) is one of the best and most secluded for swimming.
Aside from the numerous waterfalls, there are many interesting things to see around the Lambir Hills National Park; plan at least two full days to see everything at a comfortable pace.
Tree Tower: The dilapidated tree tower constructed in 1997 has seen better days. For those brave enough to climb the rotted - and sometimes missing - steps, a view of the forest canopy above 70 feet awaits. Walking time: 30 minutes.
Oil Well: The antique oil well is now scattered across the forest floor, however the site still remains extremely interesting. The smell of petrol lingers and an abandoned miniature locomotive located nearby is slowly being claimed by the rainforest. Beware of tiny leeches in the low-lying area! Walking time: 90 minutes.
Pantu Waterfall: Of the national park's eight waterfalls, Pantu Waterfall is one of the most scenic and best-suited for swimming; the pool below the falls is small yet deep and sandy. Walking time: one hour.
Bukit Lambir: Despite what the official website says, it is possible to climb the Lambir summit (1525 feet) without a guide. The leg-burning ascent takes around four hours at a steady pace with no stops.
Accommodation in Lambir Hills National Park
The Lambir Hills National Park is best enjoyed with at least an overnight stay rather than just a day trip. Budget accommodation exists in the form of simple, wooden chalets that share a living room and single bathroom. Each room has two single beds and costs $16 per night; it is possible to book the entire chalet for $24 per night.
There are four lodges with air-con available, each with one double bed and one single bed. Prices start at about $31 for a room or $47 to book the entire house.
Accommodation must be booked in advance, however you can do so yourself by calling 085-471630 or by visiting the Tourist Information Office adjacent to the main bus terminal in Miri.
Note: No kitchen or cooking facilities are available for guests; the national park has a canteen which sells drinks and simple food. Large bottles of water cost $1 - roughly twice the price found in shops around Miri.
- Dengue Fever is a concern around Miri and the national park; beware of the spotted mosquitoes that bite during the day. Mosquitoes and ants are a problem both day and night; never leave food in your room and use protection when hiking. Read more about how to avoid mosquitoes.
- Small leeches can be a problem in the low-lying, swampy areas such as around the abandoned oil well; wear socks and use mosquito repellent on your legs and feet.
- Daylight fades faster in the rainforest; always give yourself enough time to get out without rushing down the trail.
- Swimming is dangerous during the frequent rains as water levels can rise quickly.
Getting to Lambir Hills National Park
There is no bus from Miri directly to the national park! Do not make the mistake of taking the bus marked "Lambir" at the main bus terminal - these go only to Lambir village which is not near the national park.
Instead, take bus 33A from the main bus terminal in Miri to the long-distance bus station known as Pujut Corner. From the station, take any of the southbound buses going to Sibu, Bintulu, or Kuching; a ticket should cost between $3 - $5. Tell the driver that you want to be dropped at the national park.
A one-way taxi fare from Miri should be about $13.
From Sibu: The bus from Sibu to Miri actually passes the entrance of the Lambir Hills National Park on the left 30 minutes before arriving in Miri. Tell the driver in advance that you wish to stop at the park.
Getting Back to Miri
To return to Miri, you must hail a bus going north on the main road. Buses from different companies pass by periodically - be patient. The fare back to Miri should be around $2.