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Friday, 20 May 2016

Malaysia: Top Things to Do and See in Labuan


Labuan is a serene island nestled in the Bay of Brunei just off the coast of Sabah. Accorded Federal Territory of Malaysia status in 1984, this sleepy fishing village has transformed itself into a major Oil and Gas Hub and International Offshore Financial Centre in the region. Boasting long shorelines of beaches and untouched islets paired with a colorful history of bloody battles and a curious chimney, Labuan now is welcoming itself to travelers near and far alike. In this instalment of “Top Things to Do and See in…” series, Danial of Dan on the Road, in collaboration with Ramble and Wander, shares his list of 10 things to do and see in Labuan.
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Of all the states in Malaysia that I had been, Labuan was the only place that needed to be ticked off my bucket list. So, it was a nice surprise to find out that I was invited to be part of a delegation with Tourism Malaysia on a three day media familiarisation trip around the island recently.

These are the things to do and see in Labuan:

Kampung Patau-Patau 2 Floating Village


Kampung Patau-Patau 2 Floating Village | Labuan | Ramble and Wander
Photo © danontheroad.wordpress.com
Kampung Patau-Patau 2 is one of the few remaining floating villages in Labuan which are inhabited by Brunei Malays for over a hundred years. Out of the remaining 110 houses, 11 have been turned into homestays in what is to be the only “floating” homestay in Malaysia. The village is separated from downtown Labuan by a bay and the best way to get across fast is hopping onto a water taxi!

Address: Kampung Patau-Patau 2 (Map) | Website
Bookings: Hj Sulaiman Wan Chi (+60168246193), Mr. Ardillah Arsat (+60168424981) & Ms. Sahadiah @ Lizah Mangsur (+60138540217)



Labuan International Golf Club


Labuan International Golf Club | Labuan | Ramble and Wander
Photo © danontheroad.wordpress.com

Tee off with Mother Nature at Labuan International Golf Club (LIGC), an 18-hole golf course tucked amidst a lush forest and fronting the South China Sea. LIGC was designed by Australian firm Parslow & Winter Golf Design, famed for crafting many of Malaysia’s top golf courses. The narrow layout of the holes coupled with the strong sea breeze makes it an enticing proposition for golfers to challenge themselves.

Address: Jalan Sungai Pagar, Kiansam (Map) | Website



Surrender Point & Peace Park


Surrender Point & Peace Park | Labuan | Ramble and Wander
Photo © danontheroad.wordpress.com

Labuan was an important port during the World War II and it was no surprise that it bore witness to the surrender of the Japanese Army to the Australian Imperial Forces in September 1945, now commemorated with a small monument at Layang-Layangan Beach. Beside the monument, lies Peace Park, a Zen-like garden with its own impressive monument gifted by the Japanese government to renounce war and promote peace between the two nations.

Address: Jalan Mohammad Salleh, Kg Layang-Layangan (Map) | Website



Sunset at Layang-Layangan Beach


Sunset at Layang-Layangan Beach | Labuan | Ramble and Wander
Photo © danontheroad.wordpress.com

Sabah and Sarawak are known for their breathtaking sunsets and it is no different in Labuan. Evenings are best spent at the many spotless beaches like the one at Layang-Layangan. Sip a refreshing coconut before nibbling on the addictive barbeque chicken wings. Then, wait for the sun to go off into the horizon while the clouds scuttle themselves across the sea to usher in the darkness.

Address: Jalan Mohammed Salleh, Kg Layang-Layangan (Map)


Scrumptious Seafood


Scrumptious Seafood | Labuan | Ramble and Wander
Photo © danontheroad.wordpress.com

Labuan is undeniably a seafood haven as we had it for two nights in a row. The foods served at both Mawilla Yacht Club and Anjung Ketam was similar but cooked in different ways, reflecting the cultural diversity of the island. The star of the show was the slipper lobster known as “satak” by locals. The best version of this half-prawn half-lobster was at Dorsett Grand Labuan – it was cheese baked to juicy perfection.

Address: Mawilla Yacht Club, Jalan Tanjung Batu (Map) | Anjung Ketam, Kampung Nagalang (Map) | Dorsett Grand Labuan, Jalan Merdeka (Map)



Island Hopping


Pulau Rusukan Besar | Labuan | Ramble and Wander
Photo © danontheroad.wordpress.com

We were given the opportunity to explore Labuan’s untouched surrounding islands with a snorkeling trip to Pulau Rusukan Besar. The water was crystal clear and was teeming with marine life from spotted moray eels to black tip sharks. A resort offering A-frame huts has just started operations and a turtle conservation center is currently running there as the island, and neighboring Rusukan Kecil and Kuraman, are popular landing spots for sea turtles.

Read more: Pulau Rusukan Besar - It is really Labuan's untouched wonderland

Bookings: Mr. Tan (+60178180812), Ms. Tan (+60178186906)



Labuan War Cemetery & Memorial


Labuan War Cemetery & Memorial | Labuan | Ramble and Wander
Photo © danontheroad.wordpress.com

On the other side of the island lies the Labuan War Cemetery, one of the few Commonwealth World War II graveyards in the region. The cemetery contains 3,908 burials of which more than half are unidentified. This solemn site is home to the British, Australians, New Zealanders, Indians and Malayans who died in battle or captivity in Borneo, including the thousands who perished during the Sandakan Death Marches.

Address: Jalan Tanjung Batu (Map) | Website



The Chimney


The Chimney | Labuan | Ramble and Wander
Photo © danontheroad.wordpress.com

The Chimney is the most famous landmark in Labuan. It’s a 32-meter red brick tower in the northern part of the island where coal mining was once a thriving industry in Labuan. The tower is a 100-year old mystery as people still argue over its purpose – from a ventilation shaft of an underground tunnel to a lighthouse beaconing passing ships. There’s also a museum adjacent to it, which explores the history of the Chimney and its coal mining heydays.

Address: Jalan Tanjung Kubong (Map) | Website | Opening Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily



Labuan Museum


Labuan Museum | Labuan | Ramble and Wander
Photo © danontheroad.wordpress.com

The Labuan Museum is a great crash course in learning about the island’s past and present. The first floor takes you on a chronological journey through time from when it was part of the Sultanate of Brunei up to its current status as a Federal Territory. Meanwhile, the second floor explores the cultural make-up of Labuan through its many ethnicities, especially the native Brunei Malays and Kadayan people.

Address: Jalan Dewan (Map) | Website | Opening Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 pm daily



Duty Free Shopping


One just cannot avoid shopping at a duty-free haven. Labuan is no exception and there are many outlets for you to procure tax-free items, although not as many as compared to Langkawi in Peninsular Malaysia, considering the island’s relatively smaller size. The prices however, are good enough for you to add a kilogram or two into your check-in luggage. 

Address: Jalan OKK Awang Besar, Bandar Labuan (Map)

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Located in the Bay of Brunei just off the coast of Sabah, Labuan is easily accessible from Brunei and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Airlines fly direct to Labuan at least twice daily, with an additional of 2 daily flights via Kota Kinabalu.

Have you been to Labuan? What do you like most about the city? What are your top things to do and see there?

If you are going there, do check out these hotels in Labuan.

Malaysia: Top Things to Do and See in Labuan | Ramble and Wander

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When he’s not busy putting his son to sleep, Danial dreams of hitting the road and exploring anything he hasn’t seen or tasted yet. From hiking lush national parks to indulging in endless street food, this Malaysian is up for all kinds of adventures. Read about his travel tales at Dan On The Road or connect with him via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



For other travel blog series on "Top Things to Do and See in...", click here.

For other blog entries on Malaysia, click here.



20 comments:

Comments and feedback are always appreciated. So do leave one or two if you have the time. Thank you!

  1. This is certainly a place I would like to visit. You gave even more of an incentive.

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    1. It's certainly a place I'd consider now if I'm heading to that side of Malaysia. Sounds like easy enough to go there from Kota Kinabalu.

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  2. The floating village looks like a cool place to visit. I'd like to try one of the homestays there. And of course, the seafood....

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    1. It is interesting to live in a village on the water! And once you're staying at a floating village, seafood is inevitable.

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  3. While I have no plans to visit this area anytime soon, i always love a place that boasts miles of white sand beaches and island hopping. Looks nice.

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    1. Miles of white sand beaches and island hopping... that sounds like my hometown, haha!
      :)

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  4. I spent a few years in Malaysia when I was very young and I yearn to go back. I need to go check out your Ipoh post because that's where we lived. This looks lovely too thouhg

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    1. Ooh! I'm sure things have changed a lot these days. Ipoh nowadays has becoming more hipster-ish with cafes doting the old town, and not to forget some interesting street arts too. You should really come back and have that walk down the memory lane!

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  5. Thanks for the list. I will definitely make my way to Malaysia someday. I'll keep this post bookmarked!

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    1. Hopefully that someday would be soon ;)

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  6. The turtle conservation center sounds interesting.

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    1. Yes, I'd love to check that one out too. Visited one in Cherating, Rantau Abang and Penang before so would like to see how it compares.

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  7. To be honest I had never heard of Labuan, but it looks like a fine place to spend some time. the seafood looks awesome and made my mouth water, and doing some island hopping would be something I would have to do. Snorkeling and staying for a few days in the A-frame hut sounds great!

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    1. To be honest too, I was once considered for a transfer there many years ago, which thankfully didn't go through. But now, I certainly wouldn't mind dropping by if I were to head that way.

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  8. Malaysia has so much to offer and I am surprised that it is still like more or less a hidden gem. Never heard of Labuan though - looks great :)

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    1. There's too much competition with our neighbouring countries, I'm afraid, haha! But true, there are plenty of hidden gems still, some of which I hope shall remain hidden from the crowd. ;)

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  9. Malaysia is such a beautiful country and I would love to visit again. I still remember my time in Langkawi, where I simply had an amazing time.

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    1. I've just came back from Langkawi last month and it was quite a trip! Hoping to go back there again soon.

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  10. I am really attracted to Malaysia due to its diverse array of communities. Thanks for sharing Labuan, Dan. Would you happen to have any additional information on the resort with A-frame huts? I would love to check that out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi John! I just published an in-depth blog post with regards to the resort and the island. Do click on my username for more details.

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