Labuan is well-known for being the Federal Territory of Malaysia, the only one of its kind in the East Malaysia region. Made up of the bigger Labuan Island as well as six smaller islands, Labuan is an offshore financial center as well as a maritime support hub for deepwater oil and gas activities. This is the major economic driver for Labuan, with 65% of its exports being petroleum and gas-based products. Labuan is named as such from the Malay word ‘labuhan’ which means harbor. It was part of the Brunei Sultanate for three centuries from the 15th century before its strategic location has attracted British to acquire it under the Treaty of Labuan between James Brooke and Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin. Soon after the acquisition, the British government would proceed to establish a naval station in the island to protect their interests and to suppress piracy. After being part of the Malaysia Federation under the state of Sabah, Labuan was later ceded to the federal government in 1984 and declared as a Federal Territory till the present day.
Labuan Airport is the main airport in East Malaysia that serves as the primary gateway to the federal territory of Labuan. Located 5 kilometers away from the city center of Labuan, the Labuan Airport can cater the large aircrafts such as the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A330, serving 1.2 million passengers manually. Owned by the Malaysian Government and operated by Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad, Labuan Airport has a runway of 2,745 meters made of asphalt. In addition to public flights, the airport also serves as a base for Royal Malaysia Air Force. Passengers from Manila may be able to reach Labuan via domestic flights from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
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While Labuan may be an excellent place to visit all year round, the off-peak season is around March to April and September to November because of heavy rains. Peak season in Labuan is June, August and July. If you plan your trip well, you can save your money because the price for hotels and flights during the peak season will cost you a lot of money. The best time to visit Labuan is around May to July because Labuan will have settled weather as the entire country will go through a dry season, resulting in clear skies.
Labuan in a similar fashion to Kuala Lumpur and nearby cities in Southeast Asia region has a tropical rainforest climate which dry season is shorter, and rainfall is normally heavy throughout the year. Usually, it will be warm and sunny except when it is nearing the Northeast Monsoon season from October to March, in which it is normal to witness raining all day long. The temperature is humid and hot and is balanced when it rains, with annual precipitation of 2,400 millimeters on average. The average maximum temperature in Labuan around 30 and 32 degree Celsius while the average minimum is around 22.9 and 24 degree Celsius. Labuan experience monsoon seasons, which are the Northeast Monsoon from November to March and Southwest Monsoon from May to September.
In Labuan, you can enjoy many festivals just like the locals would in a similar manner like any other states in the country, which is a given because Malaysia is a multicultural country which consists of the cultures of Malay, Chinese, Indian and other indigenous groups of the North Borneo region. Chinese New Year and Thaipusam are celebrated joyfully here just like they do in the Peninsular Malaysia area. There is also the Hari Raya Aidilfitri, celebration done by Muslims after fasting for one month during Ramadan. Moving on, Sabah also observes National Day where all Malaysian citizens will celebrate this day for remembering the independence from British rule, as well as Malaysia Day which commemorates the formation of Malaysia Federation. There is also Christmas Day which is observed by the citizens practicing Christianity such as the Kadazan-Duzun people. Besides that, there is also the traditional festivals, such as Kalimaran Festival is a major celebration for the Murut people which is held in April, while Tadau Kaamatan is a harvest festival celebrated by the Kadazan-Dusuns.
1. Labuan War Cemetery – Labuan War Cemetery is a Commonwealth World War II graveyard that can be found in the city of Labuan. The cemetery is the final resting place of many personnel from India and Australia, mostly killed during the Japanese invasion of Borneo or the Borneo campaign of 1945. There are also prisoners of war buried here, especially the ones that died during the Sandakan Death Marches.
2. An-Nur Jamek Mosque – The An-Nur Jamek Mosque is the only mosque in the Federal Territory of Labuan, being built to replace an old mosque which happened to be located nearby. With the construction finished in 1987, it is officiated a year later by the eighth Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Iskandar of Johor.
3. Chimney Museum – Chimney Museum is a museum in Kubong, Labuan that discloses in detail the history of Kubong and its coal mining industry under the administration of British North Borneo Chartered Company. It is open to the public since 2002 and has received International Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice and Sustainable Development 2013 awards for its historical architecture style.