North of Bintulu, the scenery along the main trunk road is increasingly dominated by oil-palm estates; if you’re driving, the quiet coastal highway is a more scenic option for the 210km drive to Miri, Sarawak’s second largest city. Though boasting no important sights, Miri is nearly as important a gateway to Sarawak as Kuching, thanks to good flight connections and its location amid the riches of northern Sarawak, mostly deep inland and requiring days to explore properly. A couple of national parks lie close to the coast south of Miri: Niah is noted for its formidable limestone caves, while Lambir Hills offers more predictable jungle trekking.

Sarawak’s northern coastal strip is also home to Lawas, near the Sabah state boundary. It has an air connection to Ba Kelalan that’s useful if you want to see the Kelabit Highlands immediately after or before visiting Sabah.

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