Labuan is a tiny island town off Sabah’s coast that was formerly known as Victoria Town. Today, it is a hub for duty-free goods and boasts some nice cultural touches and landmarks. Because of its proximity to Brunei, Labuan attracts many visitors from there frequently as well as avid scuba divers for its rich marine life. Some of the places you can visit on the island are described below.
The Labuan Bird Park is located in Tanjung Koban, consisting of three large dome aviaries surrounded by landscaped gardens. The park is home to various local species of birds, frequently encountered on the mainland by bird-watchers.
The birds come from various habitats that span mangrove swamps to thick rainforests to coastal jungles and highlands. Best of all, entrance to the park is free.
The Botanical Garden was once the site of the Government House. Built in 1852, the only remains of the house are the water storage tank and a small grave for a fox hound named ‘Jim’.
On the other hand, the Botanical Garden is a nice place to visit with shady trees and picturesque landscapes, providing recreation for visitors from all walks of life.
Labuan War Cemetery
The Labuan War Cemetery is a memorial for the fallen Australian, British, New Zealand, Punjab and local soldiers during the war. Many prisoners-of-war were forced by the Japanese to march to Ranau after being captured in Sandakan, in what is now known as the Ranau Death March. Hundreds died along the way and most were buried in Labuan.
The memorial center serves as a place to remember their valiant sacrifices and as an effort to mark it, a Remembrance Day is held on the first Sunday of November each year.
Layang-Layangan Beach is a picturesque setting of warm sands and gentle waves, making it a popular place to visit on the weekends.
The beach has cycling trails and picnic tables resting below trees that fringe the beach.
Many hawker stalls are found here as well, and on weekends, there are even live musical bands!
The Labuan Marine Park is located 2 km southwards from Labuan Island. The marine park consists of three main islets that are pristine, tranquil and lush. Some of the sights found here include beautiful white beaches, reefs, rich jungles and peaceful tidal pools.
The park is famous for its snorkelling and scuba-diving activities due to its rich marine life. Fishing is prohibited to protect the integrity of the park.
Located near the Labuan Square, the Museum Square is a collection of colonial houses, each having a roof made of orange tiles.
Within this square you will find four Flames of the Forest trees, planted by the local communities to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, various stone plaques that mark historical events on the island as well as the main Labuan museum and a handicraft center.
Tanjung Kubong Tunnel
Tanjung Kubong was the site of a massive network of tunnels and deep wells that was built in the 18th Century. They were built to mine the rich coal ores found in this area, but a series of mining accidents led to its closure in 1911.
Today, old bricks, pieces of rail tracks and rusty cables can still be seen strewn across the site. Visitors can enter a low tunnel with a short rope and climb it all the way to the top but other tunnels remain unexplored.