The island of Labuan is situated off the northwest coast of Borneo and north of the Brunei Bay which also faces the South China Sea. As mentioned besides the main island of Labuan there are also six smaller islands which includes Pulau Burung, Pulau Papan, Pulau Rusukan Kecil, Pulau Daat, Pulau Kuraman and Pulau Rusukan Besar. The cluster of islands is located at 05 latitude North and 115 longitude East and about 10km southeast off the coast of the East Malaysian state of Sabah.
You can reach Labuan from Menumbok which is a small fishing town in Sabah that is only 8km or a twenty minute boat ride. There are also high speed air-conditioned ferries that operate the routes to Labuan from various departure points that include the state of Sarawak, Sabah and the neighboring country of Brunei. The journey from the capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu will take at least 3 hours while traveling from Brunei will last about an hour. The journey is roughly equidistant of traveling to Jakarta, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Manila. If you plan to fly to Labuan there are direct flights from Kuala Lumpur and also from Brunei.
The island itself is mainly flat and undulating while the highest point on the island is measured at only 85 meters. While more than 70 percent of the island is still underdeveloped and consists mostly of vegetation, the area that is utilized are geared more towards property and industrial use as such there is less agricultural activity in the area. The island’s prime land, waterfront and suburbs are then used for development in terms of tourism and residential use. The shipbuilding, manufacturing and oil and gas industries are located on a sizeable area on the south western side of the island.
Like the other areas in East Malaysia, Labuan also has a tropical climate with two annual monsoon seasons. One is the South West monsoon that occurs from the month of April to June while the other one is the North East monsoon that happens from the month of September to December. Apart from that Labuan is also free from natural disasters such as typhoons and hurricanes while enjoying good climate all year round. With its tropical climate you can expect the temperature of Labuan to average between 28 to 32 degrees Celsius.
As an island you can expect to find that most of the activities that are found here are water related, so if you are the type of people that fall into this particular category then Pulau Labuan is definitely the place for you.
International Offshore Financial Centre – The island of Labuan is Asia’s newest international offshore financial centre. There are 65 foreign banks that are located in the island that offer sophisticated offshore banking services and numbered accounts facilities to the world’s rich and famous.
World War II Sites – Pulau Labuan is a significant historical destination especially from the time of World War II and there are three major World War II sites located here that attracts both foreign and local visitors which includes the Japanese Surrender Park, the Labuan War Cemetery and the Allied Landing Point. During the month of November, a ‘Remembrance Day’ is held at the Labuan War Cemetery which is to honour the 3,900 recorder graves of the Fallen Heroes of World War II. This particular event is attended by the Malaysian and foreign war veterans as well as their family members of the Allied troops that were killed in action during the war from the year 1942 to 1945.
Wreck Diving – Pulau Labuan has probably the best wreck diving sites in Asia and there are four wreck dives located around the island which are known locally as The Cement Wreck, The American Wreck, The Blue Water Wreck and The Australian Wreck.
Duty-Free Shopping – This may be one of the main draws of Labuan and equipped with modern shopping centers that carry a wide variety of both locally produced products as well as imported goods. The most popular items that are sold here include tobacco, appliances, spirits and textiles. At the end of the year, the entire island hosts a month long shopping carnival with attractive discounts; there are even cultural shows that add the excitement.
World Class Sport Fishing Destination – As you may or may not already know the island of Labuan is surrounded by a cluster of six smaller islands namely Pulau Burung, Pulau Papan, Pulau Rusukan Kecil, Pulau Daat, Pulau Kuraman and Pulau Rusukan Besar. The clear blue water around these idyllic islands is home to one of the world’s richest coral and fishing grounds that will definitely offer you unlimited deep sea tackling as well as coastal table fish catches.
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