Located in East Malaysia, Labuan is one of the Federal Territories of Malaysia made up of the main Labuan Island and 6 surrounding smaller islands. The name Labuan is derived from the Malay word “labuhan” meaning harbor. It is an international offshore financial center as well as a free trade zone which was declared back in 1990. On top of that, Labuan is also a famous holiday destination especially to the scuba divers as it has beautiful beaches making good diving spots renowned to the world.
Picnic and Sunset Viewing by the Beach
Labuan Island is bounded by unspoiled beaches. 3 of the most popular beaches are the Batu Manikar Beach, Layang-Layangan Beach and Pancur Hitam Beach. These beaches mostly located on the west coast are clean, unpolluted and are wonderful to stroll on. The long stretch of sand between Surrender Point and Layang-Layangan Beach had given the UN’s Cleanest Beach Award in 2008. Visitors can plan a picnic while watching the sunset at the Pohon Batu Beach or Pancur Hitam Beach in the north as picnic facilities and public toilets are available.
Discover Magnificent Underwater World
Labuan has the best wrecks in South East Asia. There are 4 major wrecks which are popular among the divers. They are the Cement Wreck, Blue Water Wreck, American Wreck and Australian Wreck. You can discover the tragic history of this wreck during the World War II era with the loss of 9 lives. On the other hand, the Australian Wreck has rich coral growth with skeletal remains of the ship. Meanwhile the Blue Water Wreck was a huge Philippines fishing trawler that was caught on fire and sank in 1981. As for the Cement Wreck, it is the shallowest wreck available and hence it is the best wreck to start off for beginners as wreck diving training. If wreck diving is new to you, you may take up the wreck diving specialty courses provided locally.
Come and see the talkative and comical mynas and do some bird watching at the Labuan Bird Park. Some of the major attractions in the bird park include the wonderful hornbills, eagles and large ostriches. There are 2 sessions of daily shows, 1 in the morning and another in the afternoon. The park is open daily and admission tickets are required.
Visitors can have a splendid shopping here in Labuan as it is a duty free zone. Most of the stores found on the island are duty free. The most sought after products are the textiles and sweet delights like imported chocolates, biscuits and candies. Visitors will be spoiled for choices with so many collections of bags, accessories, shoes, confectioneries and many more. Products like cosmetics, perfume, skincare, leather goods are all at a lower prices due to its duty free zone location.
Visit to the Labuan Marine Museum is another great thing to do in Labuan. The museum is located just east of the city center and is housed in the International Sea Sports Complex. You may find interesting array of artifacts collected from shipwrecks on display. Another museum to visit is the Labuan Museum. It showcases the culture and history of Labuan Island. Here you are able to discover more about the island’s role during World War 2, the coal mining that attracted British as well as getting to know the local customs.
There are 3 memorials worth a visit to further discover the history of Labuan. They are the World War II Memorial which is constructed in memory of the fallen soldiers that freed Borneo. It is the biggest memorial in Malaysia with soldiers’ names from England, Australia, India, New Zealand as well as Malaysia are all listed with units and ranks on the walls. The Peace Park that was built in cooperation with the Japanese to relinquish the horrors of war and the Surrender Point where the Japanese surrendered and leading to the end of the war in the Pacific during World War II.
Homestay in Water Village
If you would like to experience something special, do visit the interesting Labuan Water Village and have a stay here to explore the everyday life on the water. Here you will see a matrix of bridges, walkways and wooden planks connects many homes and markets that are constructed on wobbly stilts. Fishermen from Brunei, traders and sailors were the first to build such water village.
Take a Stroll at the Botanical Gardens
Another attraction would be the famous Botanical Gardens. This beautiful and faded garden was previously the home of the Labuan Island’s Government House. There are amazing landscape and beautiful old trees in the park. Besides, there is also a hibiscus garden with different variety of hibiscus and an herbal garden which planted with all kinds of herbs and spices. Visitors can stroll along a manmade lake with an arched bridge above or have some foot massage by walking on the reflexology pathway available there. There is no ticket required to enter the Botanical Gardens.