By Jon Tampoi
The infrastructure of the small but yet exquisite town of Labuan has been given a remarkable facelift with newly constructed modern buildings and a new port. Its strategic location by the sea makes it an instant tourist attraction amongst travellers. The city combines a delicate taste of history through its old shop houses and ancient buildings which signifies and indicates traditions of the past and present as well as events that molded the now present Labuan. Premier Automobile (Brunei) sponsored 14 four-wheel drive vehicles and gave them the opportunity to travel to Labuan to enjoy the breath-taking scenery and to experience the new facilities and unexpected treasures Labuan has to offer.
As the entourage drove around town, the perfectly structured gardens and trees stood out as a symbol of attraction. The beautiful flowers and warm summer breeze created a sense of peace and awe. During the early morning, vendors started assembling their wares and goods to sell along the roadside. A wide range of products can be purchased from the roadside stalls.
A fountain uprooted in the middle of the roundabout near the marina displayed statues of sword fishes which looked so realistic and lively it was if they were leaping from the water. Towards the West, one will be able to find handicraft shops that sells almost everything from herbs to delicate men products, clothes, pearls, fake antiques and even odd gem stones all available at a reasonable and yet bargained price.
Further up West and towards the North is the beautiful and extraordinary Chinese temple dedicated to the sky deity. The majestic and modern shaped mosque provides no room for questioning its uniqueness and extravagant beauty. On the Northern side of the island is the Bird park beautifully constructed to allow visitors to gain a first hand experience and direct contact with the birds. The park features free and airy cages where birds are allowed to roam freely. Visitors are able to hand feed the birds although it is not encouraged.
Next to the Bird Park stands the once busy coal industry. It has now been transformed to an information hub of the now protected and preserved historical area. The entourage was able to obtain a group photo with the background of the 'chimney' standing in the background. The group then proceeded to drive towards the South of Labuan where they passed through ridges and gained an up close view of the beautiful sandy beaches and seaside decked with visible coral reefs. The reflection of the sun over the water enhanced the beauty of the island. Heads will turn to see such a wonderful scenery.
Further South, one will pass through the memorial area for fallen soldiers who gave their lives during World War Two. The beautiful park is lined with a simple epitome marker in proper rows. The bed of flowers gave it an almost garden like experience.
Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend