Labuan, one of Malaysia’s three federal territories is an international offshore financial centre. Similar as other states, Labuan was declared a Federal Territory in 1984 and an International Offshore Financial Centre in 1990. It covers an area of 95 square kilometres and its main economic growth is in oil and gas. Being a new tourist destination, Labuan offers visitors lots of activities from adventures to duty free shopping. Located 10km off the Sabah coast, it offers duty-free shopping, wreck diving, golf and World War II Memorials.
Where to Go
Labuan: Formerly known as Victoria, Bandar Labuan is a bustling business centre with a mingling of shopping complexes, relaxing pedestrian zones, and tasty ethnic eateries. Sharing dominance on the Labuan skyline are the futuristically designed Masjid Jamek An’nur and the Financial Park Complex.
What to See
Surrender Point: Located next to the Peace Park, Surrender Point is where the 32nd Japanese Southern Army formally surrended to the 9th Division Australian Imperial Forces on 9 September 1945. The retaking of Labuan served as a base for the Allies that eventually helped to recapture Singapore.
Batu Si Bongkok: A large boulder in the shape of a stooping man, the myth surrounding Batu Si Bongkok tells of a master of magic, his beautiful daughter, and a promising student who became forever turned to stone.
Tanjung Kubong Tunnel: Beneath Labuan’s northern tip is an expansive network of tunnels and deep wells, which once supplied coal to the burgeoning 19th century Industrial Revolution. The mines are no longer used, but you can enter one of the lower tunnels and (with the help of a short rope) emerge at the top.
Marine Park: If you aren’t at Labuan on business, you’ll probably visit to explore its natural marine beauty. Labuan Marine Park is located 2km off the southern part of Labuan’s main island, and encompasses 10sq.km of pristine water and three secluded islets.
What to Do
Go Sport Fishing: The waters off Labuan Island attract sport fishing enthusiasts from around the world. Tuna, mackeral, black marlin, and sailfish are abundant in the warm ocean currents, and all are biting year-round.
Go Eco-Diving and Snorkeling: The Marine Park is an eco-diving and snorkeler’s haven, surrounded by coral reefs in shadow waters. Available are equipment rentals, instructional courses, and guided excursions.
Go Wreck Diving: Further into the waters are four wrecks that await exploration by diving enthusiasts. The Australian Wreck, the American Wreck, the Blue Water Wreck, and the Cement Wreck are all accessible to experienced divers, each with interesting submarine sights and an accompanying history.
Go Horse Riding: For a change of pace, trade in your moneybags for saddlebags! The Labuan Horse-Riding Centre gives you the opportunity to trot the beaches of Layangan Beach, and gives you a unique and elegant way to sightsee.