Do you really believe that the only thing lying in the mouth of the beautiful Brunei Bayis some good duty-free shopping?
Labuan Island is part of Malaysia and is an increasingly popular tourist destination for Asians and Westerners alike. Labuan is cosy enough to explore on foot, but bold enough to keep you in its grip for a long stay. Bursting with WWII sites and home to a plethora of significant historical events, Labuan is best suited to those who enjoy more active holidays.
If you’re into diving check out the four famous wreck sites: Australian Wreck,American Wreck,Cement Wreckand Blue Water Wreckor play in, under and over the water at Manikar, Pancur Hitamand Layang-layangan beaches. And yes, you’ll still find time for that duty-free shoppin
Labuan's Top 10
10. Financial Park For tax-free booze, bargains and more, this is the place for you.
5. Peace Park/Surrender Memorial Commemorates the Japanese surrender with a war memorial and a nice garden.
9. Allied Landing Point One of the most-famous WWII sites, memorials are held here each year.
4. Labuan Marine Park Visit the pristine beaches off the coast of these protected islands.
8. Labuan Bird Park Enveloped in rainforest, this complex offers sanctuary to a number of native species.
3. Labuan Museum Take a look at the history and culture of the island. There are some great displays on the different cultures that call Labuan home.
7. The Chimney It’s a 32m (106ft) tall, redbrick stack and no one seems to know its use. Known locally as Punil, which presumably means ‘What the…?!’
2. Labuan War Memorial This is essentially a collection of 4,000 headstones dedicated to the servicemen who lost their lives in WWII.
6. Pantai Pancur Hitam A great beach for shallow swims and picnicking. Also a popular haunt for monitor lizards.
1. Marine Museum Stick your hands in the touch pool and pat the sharks. No, seriously. And you can’t miss the massive whale skeleton.
- Labuan War Cemetery – Nearly 4,000 soldiers from Australia, England and New Zealand are buried in this historic Second World War cemetery.
- Tanjung Kubong Tunnel – A network of tunnels that mark the site of Labuan’s coal mining industry.
- The Chimney – Visitors flock to this major attraction to see Labuan’s coal mining past.
- Surrender Point – This important spot is where Japan officially surrendered to the Allies in the Second World War.
- Flame-of-the-Forest Trees – These four trees were planted by the Malay, Chinese, Indian and Europeans at Labuan Square in 1953 for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
Labuan Art & Culture
- Patau-Patau Water Village (Kampung Patau-Patau) – The wooden buildings and long boats allow visitors to see a traditional village from the past.
- Labuan Museum – This pre-war colonial building houses exhibits that tell about the culture and history of Labuan.
- Marine Museum – This museum features an abundance of marine life from the area and tells the history of local sea travel.
- An’Nur Jamek Mosque – The unique architecture of this building attracts visitors from all over Malaysia.
- Ba Sian Miau Temple – This Chinese temple boasts colourful architecture and many areas to explore.
- Commercial Park – Features a wide array of shops and restaurants, most of which sell duty-free items like chocolate and liquor.
- Labuan Street Market – Open-air market on the west end of town is a great place to buy unique souvenirs and gifts.
- Financial Park Shopping Mall – Shoppers looking for name-brand clothing flock to this popular shopping mall.
- Syarikat Teck Siong – A good store to stock up on local food items, including fruit and vegetables.
- Pak Ali – Start here for buying cheap pearls and jewellery in Labuan.
Gay and Lesbian Labuan
Islam, Malaysia’s state religion, has strict laws against homosexuality. The law applies only to Muslims, but non-Muslims should also exercise caution and refrain from displaying public acts of affection.
- Strawberry KTV – This popular karaoke bar is a favourite amongst locals and visitors.
- Jupiter 8 – A popular dance club that features a lively dance floor and caters to a mixed crowd.
- POPIN Entertainment Centre – This gigantic complex features private rooms, as well as a crowded dance floor.
- King’s KTV – Another popular karaoke bar that caters to a mixed crowd.
- Some Place Else (SPE) – In the Sheraton, one of the most popular places to get a drink in Labuan.
- Labuan Bird Park – Visitors come to this park to enjoy the beautiful scenery and see the unique birds of the region.
- Pohon Batu – A favourite place for locals to have a picnic or take a swim in the lovely waters.
- Labuan Beach – This lovely stretch of sandy beach is one of the most popular locations in Labuan for swimming.
- Layang-Layangan Peace Park – Gardens and pavilions surround a war memorial mound.
- Botanical Garden – Originally the grounds of a government house, it is now a pretty park with old trees and walkways.
- See a number of boating and fishing events at the Labuan International Sea Challenge in late April.
- Hire a kayak from the Labuan International Sea Sports Complex to explore the sea.
- Watch the swimmers at the Cross Channel Swim Challenge held every May.
- Go on a wreck dive at any of the four wreck sites off Labuan.
- Hire a boat to go sport fishing for tuna, dorado, mackerel, black marlin and more.
Federal Territory Day is actually a month-long celebration in February that starts in Kuala Lumpur and finishes in Labuan. Obviously the Malays believe in saving the best till last.
National Day Celebration in August and September celebrates the country’s independence and promotes unity between the varying races across Malaysia.
Muslims celebrate in August and September with the Ramadhan Bazaar.After fasting by day, the community celebrates with delicious feasts.
On 11 November, observe a minute’s silence to commemorate Remembrance Day in honour of the soldiers who lost their lives in WWII.
New Year goes off in Labuan, with Labuan Square the place to be for both Eve and Day.
When To Go
Temperatures are pretty consistent throughout the year, averaging around 30ºC (86ºF).
There are two annual monsoon seasons. The southwest monsoon hits from April to June and the northeast from September to December.
Peak tourist periods are June and July and December to March.
Labuan Town is small enough to see on foot. Unlike some other Malaysian towns, Labuan is very pedestrian-friendly.
There are bus services if you plan to travel farther out. A trip costs 1-3 ringgit. Some of the ‘buses’ are actually vans so don’t be surprised when they arrive! All services stop at 7pm.
If you need to catch a taxi, go to an official taxi station to get one. Always agree on the fare before in advance as drivers never use meters.