Labuan, which derives its name from the Malay word ‘labuhan’ that translates as ‘anchorage’, is a Federal Territory in East Malaysia—an island located just off the coast of Sabah.
Also known as the ‘Pearl of Borneo’, Labuan consists of a group of one large and six smaller islands, namely Pulau Labuan (the main island), Pulau Daat, Pulau Burung, Pulau Kuraman, Pulau Papan, Pulau Rusukan Besar, Pulau Rusukan Kecil and Pulau Mayat. Labuan is officially known as an offshore financial centre as well as an offshore hub for deep water oil and gas activities in Malaysia.
A small Federal Territory spanning of 75km2, Labuan is most famous for its duty free shopping. People from Sabah and Brunei routinely visit Labuan for duty free chocolates, liquor as well as other duty free merchandise.
Among scuba divers, Labuan is well-known as a popular wreck diving destination—with numerous wreck dive sites such as the Cement Wreck, American Wreck (first USS Salute), Australian Wreck and the Blue Water Wreck.
Other attractions in Labuan include the Military Cemetery which contains the war graves and memorial of World War II heroes. There are also the Japanese Surrender Point, Birds Park, Botanical Garden, Peace Park, Marine Park and the Labuan Maritime Museum that can be visited on a day trip.
Seafood lovers rejoice! Being an island, seafood in Labuan is extremely well-priced. While you’re at it, also be sure to try local favourites such as kelupis and lamban (a delicious morsel made of glutinous rice and coconut milk, wrapped in either coconut leaf for lamban or nyirik leaf for kelupis), jelurut (local cake wrapped in palm or coconut leaf) and pujung (little cone-shaped dessert made of rice flour and wrapped in banana leaf