Labuan island not only has rich Marine resources but also has a strong national culture and numerous historical sites, tourism resources are very diversified. However, due to inconvenient transportation and other factors, Labuan has not vigorously developed tourism. This has kept the pure land from being commercialized and over-developed, retaining its original Borneo style and relaxed pace of life. If you come here for the first time, you will be surprised by the beauty of peace and leisure.
Historical attractions are a must in Labuan island, including the War Memorial Park and Peace Park. Labuan War Memorial Park is the largest war cemetery in Asia, built and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It is the burial site of 3,908 soldiers from Britain, Australia, India, Malaysia, and other countries who gave their lives in Borneo during World War II. Every year, locals and foreigners gather here for memorial day ceremonies on the Sunday nearest November 11. The Peace Park commemorates the end of World War II and is the only peace park built by Japan in Malaysia for the cause of peace.
In addition, the islands of Labuan have colorful reefs to watch and fishing is popular for red minnow and brackish fish. On top of that, world War II shipwrecks make Labuan one of the best places in the world for boat diving.
Besides its rich tourism resources, Labuan island is also a pioneer in Asia as an international financial center and is gradually expanding its visibility into the world. On April 16, 1984, Labuan officially became a federal territory of Malaysia and became a free port and international offshore financial center in 1990. Banking, finance, tourism, and education are becoming the island's fast-growing industries. The oil and gas industry is also the mainstay of the local economy.
And the status of "East Malaysia Duty-free port" makes it a shopping paradise, with a crazy discount season every year. As a tax-free island, Labuan not only has many cheap shops but also offers plenty of business and investment opportunities. Raw materials, such as those used in manufacturing, can be imported and exported without tariffs. In addition, Labuan is the only deep-water anchor dock in Malaysia.
In the past, Labuan island was a place of refuge for seafarers traveling across Brunei Bay and the South China Sea. The island, which derived its name from the word "Labuan" or anchorage in Malay, provided protection from monsoon winds as well as pirate attacks.
Labuan's history was marked by the rule of various empires. In 1840, the Sultan of Brunei ceded Labuan along with its islets to Britain making it the empire's smallest colony. Within years, its population grew from a handful to thousands of people.
During World War II, Britain lost the island to Japan, which was renamed Maida Island. When Britain resumed power in 1945, it assumed its former name. Britain subsequently ceded the island to Sabah
in 1963 when Malaysia was formed.
In 1984, Labuan has proclaimed a Federal Territory of Malaysia and placed under the authority of the Labuan Corporation. It was further declared as an International Offshore Financial Centre in 1990.
Labuan’s economic growth mostly centered on the mining sector, which is largely represented by oil and gas production and related industries. The sector is followed closely by the manufacturing and tourism sectors. The finance sector is becoming a major economic contributor probably due to the increasing number of offshore companies, like Seychelles company, that had set up an office in Labuan, which is also an International Offshore Financial Centre.
As Malaysia’s only deepwater anchorage, Labuan is a free port, a Federal Territory, and an International Offshore Financial Centre (IOFC). The currency is the Malaysian Ringgit (RM); however, the business of Labuan offshore companies requires a foreign currency (the standard currency is US dollars).
As with most travel destinations within the country, Malaysian Airlines Systems (MAS) operates flights from Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu to Labuan. Labuan’s a popular duty-free stopover particularly between the Kota Kinabalu and Brunei routes. There are also passenger ferries, express boats, car ferries, and speedboats that ply the course from Kota Kinabalu, Limbang, Lawas, and Muara to Labuan – although schedules are prone to changes. There are no scheduled ferry services from the peninsula to Labuan.
Most travelers consist of off-shore businesses and local bargain hunters. Traveling to Labuan promises an adventure and a convenient stop between Sabah and Brunei. Here are the 10 best things to do in Labuan:
The climate in Bandar Labuan is hot, oppressive, and overcast. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 77°F to 89°F and is rarely below 74°F or above 92°F.
Based on the beach/pool score, the best time of year to visit Bandar Labuan for hot-weather activities is from late January to late March.