Labuan The Garden Island of Borneo
Well known among the business community as an International Offshore Financial Centre, Labuan is also fast becoming popular as an island resort.
Labuan is best known as an offshore financial centre and a tourist destination for nearby Bruneians and scuba divers. The name Labuan derives from the Malay word “labuhan” meaning anchorage.
The rich marine life in the waters of Labuan attract many sport-fishing enthusiasts for year round fishing. The interiors of some of the bigger islands are covered with dense jungles rich with flora and fauna. In the surrounding waters of Labuan island are several wrecks that are dive havens with their rich marine life.
The island also has facilities for golfing, angling and yachting. Last but not least, duty free shopping is another draw. These attractions along with its vibrant nightlife make Labuan the ideal choice as a business holiday, holiday and getaway destination.
Labuan Island (75 km²) and six other smaller islands (Pulau Burung, Pulau Daat, Pulau Kuraman, Pulau Papan, Pulau Rusukan Kecil, and Pulau Rusukan Besar) that, together with Labuan, have an area of 92 km². The islands lie 8 km off the coast of Borneo adjacent to the Malaysian state of Sabah and the independent State of Brunei Darussalam and are on the northern edge of Brunei Bay facing the South China Sea. Labuan is mainly flat and Bandar
Labuan, formerly known as Victoria, is the major town and port and faces Brunei Bay.
Labuan was part of the Majapahit Empire until its collapse in the 14th century. Then, it was ruled by the Sultan of Brunei until 1846 when it was ceded to the British in that year. It was a strategic re-fueling station for British steamships and was subsequently established as a free port. Labuan was a British naval base used to fight the pirates in Brunei Bay and was also the only significant coal-mining center of the then British Empire in the Far East in 1987. The main town of the island was named Victoria, after Queen Victoria. During the Japanese occupation the island was renamed Maida Island. Labuan as part of Sabah, joined Malaysia in 1963, and was subsequently declared as Federal Territory in 1984.
People & Culture
The main town is now known as Bandar Labuan. More than 53% of the island’s 80,000 population claim Brunei-Malay descendants. Numbering slightly less are the Kedayan who claim Java origins. There are also the local Chinese as well as immigrant Fillipinos and Indonesians.
As a duty-free port, it offers great bargain shopping and is a haven for branded imports. You can go to a posh shopping complex, jostle with bargain hunters during a cheap sale in a department store or sweat it out in a night market.
The main shopping hubs are at Jalan OKK Awang Besar, Lazenda Commercial Centre, and the Financial Park Building. Textiles, jewelry, perfume, electrical appliances, sports equipment, kitchenware, alcohol, and cigarettes are popular buys.
Lying just eight km off the western coast of Borneo, one of the world's largest islands, Labuan is accessible daily by air from Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Beside Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu also serves as the international gateway for Labuan. Royal Brunei also flies direct to Labuan. High speed air‑conditioned ferries ply daily to Labuan from Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei. The average traveling time to these destinations is about two hours.
FAST FACTS ABOUT LABUAN
Full Name - Wilayah Perseketuan Pulau Labuan (Federal Territory of Labuan)
Weather - Warm, sunny days and cool nights all year round with occasional rain in the evenings. Temperature ranges from 24°C to 34°C. Humidity is usually exceeds 82.3%. Annual rainfall is 3,500 mm.
Population - 85,000
Capital City - Bandar Labuan (Labuan Town)
People - 77.9% Malays, 15.5%Chinese, 1.3 Indians and 5.3% others
Major products/industries - Oil and gas production & related industries, followed closely by the manufacturing and tourism sectors and an increasing financial sectors