Labuan, Malaysia

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Labuan, Malaysia

Region: Labuan, Malaysia

Geographic Coordinates: 5.300000, 115.220000
Climate: Labuan, Malaysia experiences a tropical climate with consistent temperatures and high humidity throughout the year.
Population: 95120
Language: Malay

Labuan, Malaysia is a captivating and unique destination located off the northwest coast of Borneo. Known as the pearl of Borneo, Labuan is a Federal Territory that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, Historical charm, And modern development. One of the main attractions in Labuan is its stunning beaches. With crystal clear waters and pristine white sands, These beaches are ideal for swimming, Sunbathing or simply relaxing amidst breathtaking surroundings. Visitors can explore popular spots like Layang-Layangan Beach or Papan Island Beach which offer opportunities for snorkeling and diving to discover vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life.

Beyond its picturesque coastline, Labuan also boasts an intriguing history. The island served as an important trading post during colonial times due to its strategic location in the South China Sea. Visitors can delve into this past by visiting landmarks such as the Labuan Museum or Peace Park Memorial which commemorate World War II events that took place on the island. Labuan’s duty-free status makes it a shopping haven for visitors looking to indulge in retail therapy at affordable prices.

Numerous duty-free shops line up along Jalan OKK Awang Besar where visitors can find a wide range of goods including electronics, Perfumes, Chocolates and alcohol. For nature enthusiasts seeking adventure beyond the beachfronts, Labuan offers lush rainforests waiting to be explored. The Chimney Trail provides an excellent opportunity for trekking through dense vegetation while observing diverse wildlife species such as macaques and hornbills along the way. Labuan’s multicultural society adds another layer of fascination to this enchanting destination.

Malaysians from various ethnic backgrounds coexist harmoniously with indigenous communities like Kadazandusun and Iban people who have preserved their unique traditions over generations. This cultural diversity is celebrated through annual festivals such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid al-Fitr) or Pesta Pulau (Island Festival), Where visitors can immerse themselves in vibrant music, Dance and traditional cuisine. Labuan is also a financial hub with a well-established international offshore financial center. The Labuan International Business and Financial Centre (IBFC) attracts businesses from around the world seeking tax advantages and investment opportunities.

This aspect has contributed to the island’s modern infrastructure, Including luxury hotels, Restaurants serving diverse cuisines and excellent connectivity through an international airport. Labuan offers an enticing blend of natural beauty, Rich history, Multiculturalism, Shopping delights, Adventure activities in its rainforests and access to international business opportunities. Whether you are seeking relaxation on pristine beaches or immersing yourself in cultural experiences while exploring historical sites and enjoying duty-free shopping sprees – Labuan promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler.

Important Landmarks

  1. Labuan War Cemetery: A beautifully maintained cemetery that commemorates the soldiers who lost their lives during World War II.
  2. Chimney Museum: Housed in a former coal mine chimney, this museum showcases the history of coal mining in Labuan.
  3. Peace Park: A serene park dedicated to promoting peace and honoring those affected by war.
  4. Surrender Point: The site where the Japanese surrendered to the Allied forces at the end of World War II.
  5. Labuan International Sea Sports Complex: A popular venue for water sports activities such as jet skiing, sailing, and kayaking.
  6. Financial Park Complex: The tallest building in Labuan, housing various financial institutions and offering panoramic views of the city from its observation deck.
  7. An’Nur Jamek Mosque: One of the main mosques in Labuan known for its stunning architecture and peaceful ambiance.
  8. Labuan Marine Museum: Showcasing marine life and artifacts related to fishing traditions in Labuan.
  9. Botanical Garden & Bird Park: A lush green space with a variety of plants, flowers, and bird species perfect for nature lovers.
  10. Layang-Layangan Beach (Palm Beach): A picturesque beach with crystal-clear waters ideal for swimming or simply relaxing by the shore.

Primary Industries

  1. Offshore Financial Services: Labuan is known as an international offshore financial center, offering a wide range of financial services such as banking, insurance, trust management, and fund management.
  2. Oil and Gas: The oil and gas industry plays a significant role in Labuan’s economy. The island serves as a base for exploration and production activities in the region.
  3. Shipping and Logistics: Due to its strategic location near major shipping routes, Labuan has developed into a hub for shipping companies offering services such as ship registration, maritime agencies, logistics support, and bunkering facilities.
  4. Tourism: Labuan attracts tourists with its beautiful beaches, historical sites (such as World War II memorials), marine parks (including scuba diving spots), duty-free shopping centers, and cultural festivals.
  5. Trading: As a duty-free island, Labuan has become a trading hub for goods like alcohol products, tobacco products, electronics appliances, textiles/fashion accessories due to lower prices compared to mainland Malaysia.
  6. Hospitality Industry: With the growth of tourism on the island comes the development of hotels/resorts that cater to both leisure travelers and business visitors.
  7. Education Sector: There are several educational institutions on the island that provide courses ranging from primary education to tertiary level education including colleges offering professional programs related to finance or maritime studies.
  8. Manufacturing Sector: While not as prominent as other industries mentioned above; there are some manufacturing activities in sectors like food processing/packaging or light industries that contribute to local economic development.

It is worth noting that being an offshore financial center is one of the main pillars of Labuan’s economy alongside the oil & gas industry; however, the tourism sector has gained more attention recently leading to investment opportunities in the hospitality sector too.

Noteable History

Historical Events:

  1. British Occupation: Labuan was originally part of the Brunei Sultanate but came under British control in 1846 when it became a British Crown Colony. The British established Labuan as a free port and used it as a base for suppressing piracy in the region.
  2. World War II: During World War II, Labuan was occupied by Japanese forces from 1942 to 1945. The island served as an important strategic location for the Japanese military.
  3. Surrender of Borneo: On September 9, 1945, General Masao Baba signed the surrender document on behalf of Japan at Surrender Point in Labuan, marking the end of Japanese occupation in Borneo.
  4. Independence Movement: In the mid-20th century, Labuan played a significant role in Malaysia’s independence movement from British rule. It became part of Sabah state when Malaysia gained independence in 1963.
  5. Financial Center Development: In recent years, Labuan has emerged as an offshore financial center due to its attractive tax incentives and business-friendly regulations. It is now known as Labuan International Business and Financial Centre (LIBFC).

Notable People:

  1. James Brooke: Although not directly associated with Labuan itself, James Brooke played a crucial role in establishing British control over Sarawak (which includes parts of modern-day Borneo). As Rajah Brooke, he extended his influence over neighboring territories such as Brunei and eventually led to the establishment of modern-day Malaysia.
  2. Datuk Rozman Isli: A prominent Malaysian politician who served as Member of Parliament for Labuan constituency from 2018 until his death in July 2021.
  3. Tun Mustapha Harun (known as Tun Mustapha): Born in Labuan, Tun Mustapha was a prominent political figure and the first Governor of Sabah. He played a vital role in the formation of Malaysia and served as Chief Minister of Sabah from 1967 to 1975.

These are just a few notable historical events and people associated with Labuan, Malaysia. The island continues to evolve as an important economic and financial hub in the region.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Labuan Museum – A historical museum showcasing artifacts and exhibits related to the island’s history, culture, and heritage.
  2. Peace Park – A serene park dedicated to honoring the fallen soldiers of World War II with beautiful gardens and memorials.
  3. Chimney Museum – Housed in a preserved chimney structure from an old coal mine, this museum provides insights into Labuan’s coal mining history.
  4. Labuan Marine Museum – Offers a fascinating glimpse into marine life and biodiversity through displays of preserved marine specimens.
  5. An’Nur Jamek Mosque – This stunning mosque features intricate architecture and is one of the iconic landmarks in Labuan.
  6. Surrender Point Memorial Park – Commemorating the surrender of Japanese forces during World War II, this park offers scenic views along with historical significance.
  7. Financial Park Complex – A modern complex housing various financial institutions, shops, restaurants, and entertainment options for visitors to enjoy.
  8. Labuan International Sea Sport Complex (LISC) – Ideal for water sports enthusiasts with facilities for diving, snorkeling, jet-skiing, kayaking, and more.

Sports Teams

  1. Labuan Football Association (LFA): The LFA represents Labuan in Malaysian football competitions. It has participated in various state-level tournaments and leagues organized by the Football Association of Malaysia.
  2. Labuan Rugby Club: The club was established to promote rugby union in Labuan and has competed against other clubs from Sabah and Sarawak.
  3. Labuan International Sea Challenge: Although not a specific team, this annual event held since 2006 features various water sports competitions like jet ski racing, kayaking, fishing tournaments, and more.
  4. Paddle Sports: Kayaking and dragon boat races are popular water sports activities among locals and tourists visiting Labuan.
  5. Golf Clubs: There are several golf clubs on the island where enthusiasts can enjoy the sport including Palm Beach Golf & Country Club and Labuan International Golf Club.

It’s important to note that due to its small population size and limited resources for professional sports development, many athletes from Labuan often join teams or represent larger neighboring regions such as Sabah or Sarawak when participating at national levels or higher competitions.

Cultural Events

  1. Labuan International Sea Challenge: This annual event features various water sports competitions such as jet ski races, fishing tournaments, and sailing regattas.
  2. Labuan Arts Festival: Celebrating the local arts scene, this festival showcases traditional music and dance performances, art exhibitions, and workshops.
  3. Hari Raya Aidilfitri: As a predominantly Muslim city, Labuan celebrates the end of Ramadan with great enthusiasm. The festival includes special prayers at mosques, family gatherings, delicious feasts such as ketupat and rendang, and vibrant street decorations.
  4. Malaysia Day Celebration: On September 16th each year, Labuan joins the nation in commemorating Malaysia’s formation with parades, cultural performances, fireworks displays, and exhibitions highlighting the country’s history.
  5. Chinese New Year Celebration: With a significant Chinese community in Labuan town center, lantern festivals showcasing beautiful handmade lanterns in various shapes and sizes.
  6. Regatta Lepa: Held annually in nearby Semporna but attracting visitors from Labuan as well due to its proximity; this colorful boat race celebrates traditional lepa boats adorned with vibrant decorations representing indigenous culture from Sabah.
  7. Harvest Festival (Pesta Kaamatan): Although not specific to Labuan alone but celebrated across Sabah state including its islands like Labuan; this festival honors rice harvests through cultural performances such as traditional dances by Kadazandusun communities along with buffalo races known as Magavau.
  8. Christmas Celebrations: While Malaysia has a diverse population following different religions including Christianity; Christmas is also celebrated by locals in Labuan through church services followed by festive gatherings featuring carol singing sessions and beautifully decorated homes around town.

Note that some events may vary each year or have specific dates based on the lunar calendar so it is advisable to check the local tourism board or event organizers for updated information.


  1. Ikan Bakar Patau-Patau: Known for its grilled seafood, especially the famous ikan bakar (grilled fish) dishes.
  2. Restoran Anjung Ketam: A seafood restaurant that specializes in crab dishes, particularly the ketam masak lemak cili api (crabs cooked in spicy coconut milk).
  3. Janggut’s Seafood Restaurant: Another popular seafood spot offering a variety of fresh seafood dishes such as butter prawns and chili crabs.
  4. Ayam Penyet Ria Labuan: Famous for its Indonesian-style fried chicken served with sambal chili sauce and various side dishes.
  5. Warong Selera Kampung Air: A local food court where you can find a wide range of Malaysian delicacies like nasi lemak, roti canai, satay, and more.
  6. Ah Soon Curry House: Renowned for its flavorful curry dishes including fish head curry and chicken curry served with rice or bread.
  7. Tasty Point Restaurant & Cafe: A fusion restaurant offering both local Malaysian cuisine as well as Western favorites like burgers and pasta.
  8. Kedai Kopi Fook Ming Tong: This traditional coffee shop is known for its delicious breakfast options such as kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs, and aromatic Malaysian-style coffee.
  9. Restoran Pantai Bersih Seri Lamanis: A beachfront restaurant that serves authentic Malay cuisine including various rice-based dishes like nasi goreng kampong (fried rice) and nasi kerabu (herbed blue rice).
  10. The Cottage Restaurant & Cafe: A cozy eatery serving a mix of Asian cuisines including Chinese stir-fries, Thai curries, Indian biryanis, and more.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Labuan Bird Park: A tropical bird park housing various species of birds, including hornbills, peacocks, and parrots.
  2. Peace Park: A serene park dedicated to promoting peace and harmony, featuring beautiful gardens and a war memorial.
  3. Chimney Museum Park: A historical site that showcases the remains of an old coal mine chimney along with interactive exhibits on Labuan’s coal mining history.
  4. Financial Park Complex: This modern complex houses a shopping mall, cinema, bowling alley, food court, and other entertainment facilities.
  5. Tanjung Aru Beach: Located nearby in Kota Kinabalu (accessible by ferry), this popular beach offers water sports activities like jet skiing and parasailing.
  6. Layang-Layangan Beach: Another beautiful beach located on the island with crystal clear waters ideal for swimming or simply relaxing by the shore.
  7. An’Nur Jamek Mosque Recreation Centre: This mosque complex includes a recreational area with jogging tracks, children’s playgrounds, and picnic spots.
  8. Labuan International Sea Sports Complex (LISC): Offers facilities for various water sports such as sailing regattas, kayaking competitions, jet ski races etc.
  9. Labuan Marine Museum & Aquarium: Showcasing marine life found in the waters surrounding Labuan through exhibits of preserved specimens and aquariums with live fish displays.
  10. Botanical Garden & Butterfly House: Features a variety of plant species as well as a butterfly house where visitors can observe different butterfly species up close.


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