You will find below topics we have selected from the most popular ones when moving to Miri. For all other subjects like spouse/partner employment, banking, staff employment, shopping or recreation clubs (and many more), please download our Inside Guide by registering you on the website. Once you are logged, visit our library and all the documents we have published about living in Miri.
Housing options for Shell Expats
On first arrival, transit housing is normally made available at the Marriott, Mciti Suites or Imperial Hotel depending on availability. You will be granted up to one month at one of these locations whilst you chose your permanent house.
The former Piasau Camp is no longer available. Newcomers will have to look on the open market. Currently most Shell expatriates are moving and staying on the Taman Bayshore housing estate, a gated community adjacent to the former Piasau Camp and close to SSB office. Another gated community is Prima Villa, where a smaller number of expatriates choose to live. There is a good variety of private houses available in Miri to suit individual family needs and help is offered to track them down, such as the Shell-appointed relocation agent.
Expatriate-Rented on the Open Market
Immediately adjacent to Piasau Camp, in the direction of the Shell offices is Taman Bayshore, a commercial housing area. These modern houses have been built recently and are part of a larger development plan. The Taman Bayshore area has 24-hour security.
A cycle path connects Taman Bayshore with the Piasau Boat Club and recently, a nice landscape area with a small playground has been added.
There are a few phases of the houses being built in Taman Bayshore. The first and second phase houses come with two storeys but the later-phase houses come with three storeys. The two storey houses have a spacious living room with high ceilings, 4 bedrooms and two bathrooms. One of the bedrooms is downstairs and there is also a small storeroom downstairs but there are no dedicated servant quarters. The three storey houses have a larger and more modern kitchen, 4 bedrooms, two bathrooms, an open space with balcony on the third floor. The garden is relatively small and minimalist.
For more information and pictures of houses in Taman Bayshore, go to the Photo Gallery.
Another option for housing is Mciti Suites. It is a serviced accommodation located close to the city center. It has shopping malls, medical center, recreation park and restaurants close by. Suite and Studio apartments are available depending on individual requirement. For more information visit Mciti Suites.
Other locations in Miri
There is a variety of houses available in Miri, ranging from high-rise apartment units to detached and semi-detached single and double storey bungalows and villas. There are very few condominiums and service apartments with extra facilities such as swimming pool, tennis courts etc.,
Accommodation is usually rented unfurnished although there are some fully furnished options and you may have to negotiate what stays and what goes. Even unfurnished accommodation generally comes with standard facilities like built-in cupboards/ wardrobes, ceiling fans, air conditioners, oven / fridge and a hot water system. Houses on the whole are sizable, with larger reception / living areas. Some people even find it difficult to fill the living areas with sufficient furniture, but sizes do vary widely. Most gardens are very small as houses are built to the maximum size on their "lot". Very few houses in Miri have a private swimming pool. There is usually a car porch large enough for 2 cars and most the properties are surrounded by a fence with a large front gate.
Distances are short in Miri but traffic is on the increase and short distances are starting to take more time. There are peak times linked to the local school hours, very early in the morning (before 7am), at lunchtime and around 3.30 - 4 pm. The decision on where to live is often based on where children go to school and how long it will take to get to work There are no really "naturally attractive housing areas" in Miri with the exception perhaps of Luak Bay. This neighbourhood is built along the coast, on a headland southwest of the city centre. It is however too far from the SSB Office, which is located to the northwest of the city centre, to be of real interest.
Most people working for Shell, Petronas and oil service companies rent accommodation in areas near Piasau. Residential areas such as Pujut, Krokop, Desa Seri (near the Boulevard shopping complex) and Lutong are very popular. Shops and other amenities are within a 10 minute drive from these locations.
Housing estates where houses are built in a similar style are becoming more popular, but it is still possible to rent a property in somewhat unique locations (e.g. next to a traditional Malay house or a run down wooden shack). When renting a house on the open market, you may want to check whether the neighbourhood you are interested in, has a neighbourhood security program, which is run by residents and otherwise known as "Rukun Tetangga". Most unfurnished houses are equipped with a number of security features like an alarm system, grills and an automatic gate. Have a look at Security and Safety in Miri for more details on these issues.
By international standards, housing and renting in Miri is still relatively cheap though finding your ideal location and going through the bargaining process can be a hassle. If not staying in Shell company accommodation, most people chose to rent for the duration of their stay in Miri.
Whether living in town, Taman Bayshore or Prima Villa, an amah can be hired on a live-in or part-time basis. Most people also employ a gardener or grass-cutter to take care of the garden. For more information, ask for our Inside Guide.