Labuan, Malaysia · 26 hotels available
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Labuan is one of the federal territories in Malaysia located off the northwest Borneo coast, having its name deriving from the Malay language labuhan or labohan, which literally means “port”. Labuan is actually the name of the main island, and together with six other smaller islands, namely Pulau Daat, Pulau Burung, Pulau Kurman, Pulau Papan, Pulau Rusukan Besar, and Pulau Rusukan Kecil, form the federal territory of Labuan.
Labuan was once under Brunei Sultanate’s rule until the British took possession of the island after a treaty in 1847 between Brunei and British Government; hence it became a part of British Empire. Briefly handed over to North Borneo Chartered Company in 1849, it reverted back to the British Government and joined the Straits Settlements of British colonies, along with Singapore, Malacca, and Penang in 1907.
Japan had occupied Labuan from 1941 to 1945 and changed its name to Maida Island. This island then placed under the British Military Administration and got its former name back. On July 15, 1946, Labuan joined the North Borneo Crown Colony, which then turned to be Sabah state, part of Malaysia.
As a federal territory, this tropical island offers duty-free shops, which makes Labuan a shopping haven for everyone. Contrary to the atypical small islands, it is very modern, home to offshore steel and flour mills, methanol plant, and has a few major banking among many industries and companies. To top with it, the area is recorded as a very safe town with a very low crime rate. The clean beaches there even won United Nation COBSEA Clean Beach Award in 2008.
There are several means to reach Labuan.
Labuan is reachable by ferries, docking to Labuan International Ferry Terminal.
Labuan is house to a long history commemorated in landmarks, such as The Labuan War Cemetery, Surrender Point, and Peace Park. Aside of the war memorials, these are the most interesting spots to visit in Labuan:
As one of the best Asian wreck diving sites, Labuan provides four impressive diving experiences at these following spots:
This site is a ship skeletal remains which are also home to coral reefs growing abundantly.
American Wreck is from the World War II era, and the wreck remains intact with canon artefacts and wine bottles.
As the shallowest wreck, this site is good for beginners. Lucky divers can even catch a sight of rare whale sharks.
The Philippines wreck is a sunken fishing trawler, and home to abundant and various marine lives.
However, when planning to go diving, you have to organize your diving trip from Sabah or Brunei because there are no diving operators in Labuan.
Earning the title of “Pearl of Borneo”, the beaches in Labuan is cleaned well every morning, making it incredible both in the sights to the sea and the clean sand to step on. Labuan’s UN-award-winning clean beach stretches six miles on the west coast of Labuan Island. This part is usually packed during weekends. However, the beaches in the northern part, Pohon Batu and Pancur Hitam beach, have picnic areas and public facilities, plus less crowded. The other famous beaches are Batu Manikar and Layang-layangan beach.
Labuan Museum displays pre-historic artefacts discovered on the island alongside a larger part of culture and history of the island, especially during World War II. It is open daily from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM without admission fee and located at Jalan Dewan.
The water village complex is series of wooden houses, shops, and mosques built on the shores, requiring no boat to get in. It was initially a settlement of Brunei fishermen, sailors, and traders. You can walk around on concrete paths or wooden bridges to look around the fascinating complex.
Labuan Marine Museum is located on the east of city centre, storing shipwrecks, preserved sea creatures, and the live ones. Visitors are allowed to touch several living creatures, such as sea cucumbers and starfish.
The museum is open daily from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM without admission fee.
Towering on 106-feet-high brick chimney, The Chimney, locally called Punil, dates back from coal mining era in 1847-1912. It was believed to be a ventilation for coal mines nearby, but no one really knows the purpose of the chimney until today. At the site, there is a museum showing coal mining history as well.
The Chimney is located at the very northern part of the island, and open from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM without entry fee.