Lambir Hills was gazetted as National Park in 1975 and covers an area of 6,952 hectares, much of which is still primary lowland rainforest.
The Park's area 's botanical richness has attracted a lot of international scientific research. The accessibility of the Park and its many other attractions (picnicking, swimming, bird-watching and trekking) have also made it a favourite destination for local people. In fact, Lambir Hills is the most visited National Park in Sarawak, and is a frequent site for local school visits and community education programs.
Unfortunately, the National Park 's small size and accessibility means that sightings of larger animals within the park are not common. However, a wide variety of bird species, squirrels, frogs and insects can easily be seen if you look and listen. Without question, the main attraction is the trees - in this relatively small area you can still appreciate the grandeur of one of the richest forests remaining in the world.
Local people tell a legend of seven fairy princesses who resided around the Latak waterfalls, and these spirits enticed young men to bathe in the pools. Anecdotally, seven young men have drowned in the pools, providing weight to local belief in the legend. Fortunately, because the seven princesses are now believed to be paired-off, the area is now considered safe again for single young men.
Lambir Hills was used as a vantage point by the Japanese when they occupied Borneo during World War II. Miri, with its rich oil resources, was the first place seized by the Japanese during their invasion of Borneo. The old oil well in the middle of the park was used by them during that period. After the liberation of Borneo, Lambir Hills became a hideout for resisting Japanese troops. Along certain trails, there are trenches in the ground, some of which are said to persist from this time.
The Japanese connection with Lambir Hills remains today, but now in a much more positive context. The Japanese and Sarawak Governments have established a 360m long canopy walkway, which is being used in cooperative research to study the impact of El Nino on rainforest, as well as researching plant/animal interactions at the canopy level.
In addition, ongoing long-term research into tropical trees is being jointly conducted by the Smithsonian Centre for Tropical Forest Science, the Japanese Government and the Sarawak Forest Research Centre. This project was established more than 10 years ago and covers a 52 hectare forest plot within the Park. Within this plot, all trees above a certain size (over 500,000 trees in total!) are identified and measured every 5 years. More than 1,100 different tree species have been identified in this area!