Monday, October 11, 2010



Labuan island is located off the northwest coast of Borneo, north of Brunei Bay and faces the South China Sea. It comprises of the main island of Pulau Labuan and six smaller islands namely Pulau Kuraman, Pulau Daat, Pulau Rusukan Besar, Pulau Rusukan Kecil, Pulau Papan and Pulau Burung. It is located at 05 latitude North and 115 longitude East, and lies approximately 10 km southeast off the coast of the East Malaysian state of Sabah.

Labuan is only 8km or twenty minute boat ride from Menumbok, a small fishing town in Sabah. High speed air-conditioned ferries ply daily to Labuan from Sabah, Sarawak and Negara Brunei Darussalam. The trip from Kota Kinabalu, capital of Sabah takes about 3 hours and about an hour from Negara Brunei Darussalam. It is roughly equidistant from Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore. There are direct flights from Kuala Lumpur as well as from Brunei.

The island is mainly flat and undulating and the highest point is only 85 metres. More than 70 percent of the island is still under vegetation. Due to the fact that land utility is geared more towards property and industrial use, there is less agricultural activity in the area. Most of the island's prime land, waterfront and suburbs are utilised for residential and tourism development. A sizeable area on the south western side of the island is utilised by shipbuilding, manufacturing and oil and gas industries.

Labuan has a tropical climate with two annual monsoon seasons - the South West monsoon from April to June and the North East monsoon from September to December. It is free from hurricanes and typhoons and enjoys good climate all year round. Daily temperatures average between 28 to 32 degrees celsius.

Labuan comprises one main island and six other smaller ones covering an area of 92 sq. km. It is located off the coast of East Malaysia.

Labuan had a glorious history under the rule of various empires. After the demise of the Majapahit Empire in the 14th century, Labuan came under the rule of the Brunei Sultanate. The Island was ceded to the British by the Brunei Sultanate in 1846. The British then officially declared Labuan a colony of the British Empire in 1849 and renamed it Victoria. The British lost its hold over Labuan in 1942 when the Japanese Army occupied the island. The Island was renamed Maeda Island during the Japanese rule. After World War II, the British resumed control of the island until 1963 when Labuan joined Malaysia and became a part of Sabah. The Island became a Federal Territory of Malaysia in 1984. Labuan was declared an International Offshore Financial Centre in 1990.

Labuan is a Federal Territory of Malaysia, which is a democracy based on the parliamentary system of government. Labuan is a strategic naval and air force base for East Malaysia, which makes it one of the safest places to visit in the region.

Population (year 2000)
The population of Labuan is 78,000 comprising of 41,900 males and 36,100 females.
Malay - 24,400
Chinese - 9,400
Indian - 900
Other races - 20,900
Foreigners - 22,400

Labuan has a tropical balmy climate with two annual monsoon seasons - the South West monsoon from April to June and the North East monsoon from September to December. It is free from hurricanes and typhoons and enjoys good climate all year round. Daily temperatures average between 28 to 32 degrees Celsius.

Bahasa Melayu is the national language. However, English, Chinese and Tamil are widely spoken.

Islam is the official religion of Malaysia. Freedom of worship is guaranteed. Places of worship for Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists are available.
Local time : GMT + 8 hours
Sunrise : 0600 hours
Sunset : 1830 hours

Taxi Services
Taxis may be hired from taxi stands, hailed by roadsides or through a radio-phone paging system. They operate by zone with charges ranging from RM6.00 for Zone No. 1 to RM26.50 for Zone No. 9.

Bus Services
Town buses in Labuan operate services both within town and numerous destinations around. Generally these buses utilise vans and are commonly called 'mini buses'.

Business Hours
Shops generally open from 9.30 am to 7.00 pm while supermarkets and department stores operate from 10.00 am till 10.00 pm. Some bigger stores may open for business on Sundays.

Working Hours
Monday to Thursday: 8.00am - 1.00pm / 2.00pm - 4.30pm
Friday: 8.00am - 11.30am / 12.00pm - 4.30pm
Saturday : 8.00am - 12.30pm
*Off on 1st Saturday and 3rd Saturday of the month, Public Holidays and Sundays

Monday to Friday: 9.00am - 1.00pm / 1.30pm - 5.00pm
*Some open half day on Saturday;Off on Public Holidays and Sundays

Monday to Friday: 10.00am - 3.00pm
Saturday: 9.30am - 11.30am
*Off on 1st Saturday and 3rd Saturday of the month, Public Holidays and Sundays

Malaysia Ringgit (RM) is the legal medium of exchange in Malaysia. Traveller’s cheques and foreign currency can be converted to RM with commercial banks or authorized money changers. (USD = RM3.8)

Money Changing
Foreign currency and travellers cheques may be changed in all commercial banks during banking hours. Mondays to Fridays - 9.30 am to 3.00 pm Saturdays - 9.30 am to 11.30 am. Banks are closed every Sunday. Travellers cheques are accepted in leading hotels, stores and car rental agencies.

Shopping Tips
Check for the correct voltage when purchasing electrical and electronic goods. Malaysia uses 220 volts. Most stores however, often sell their products without plugs but will be fixed on upon request. Many electrical items also carry a one-year warranty, so please make sure you get the warranty card.

Export Of Antiques
Antiques may not be exported without a licence from the Director-General of the Museum and Antiquity Department.

Fly Drive Tourism
Labuan's roads are generally free from traffic and is ideal for self drive. The many car rental companies offer a wide range of luxury cars at competitive rates.

Islands & Beaches

island island


With breathtaking panoramic vistas of the South China Sea, desolate white sandy beaches and lots of brilliant tropical sunshine, Labuan and its neighbouring islands, are a sunseeker's paradise.

If you are seeking seclusion, the outlying islands of Papan, Kuraman, Daat, Rusukan Besar, Rusukan Kecil and Pulau Burung have plenty to offer and a just minutes away by speedboat. Visitors can spend the day exploring the beaches of the dense jungle inland which is home to a variety of plant and animal life.

Swimming and snorkeling are two favourite underwater activities as Labuan's crystal clear waters offer a window to the rich marine life of the South China Sea.


Layang-layang Island

Layang-Layang Island
Layang-Layang Atoll

Layang-Layang or "Swallow Reefs" is an oceanic atoll, which lies about 300km north of Labuan near the famous Spratly group of islands. It is a world class diving and fishing paradise. Some rate it as a "Big fish and wall diving Mecca of Southeast Asia".

Layang-Layang Island
Its coral walls plunge and staggering 2000 metres down to the floor of the South China Sea. Its warm waters are crystal clear with visibility averaging underwater world. Large shoals of pelagics, including massive numbers of barracuda, jacks and the hammerhead shark frequent these waters. By one tour operator account, an awesome school of hammerhead sharks numbering a hundred regularly visit Layang-Layang. Manta rays with fin spans of over 10 feet are also found here. Other residents include the Napoleon Wrasse, Hawksbill turtles, Dog tooth tuna, Giant hammerhead wrasse and the White tip reef sharks.

Layang-layang Island

The atoll has a 1,067 metres airstrip and a comfortable 90 rooms three-star resort. Every room is air conditioned with private amenities and comes equipped with TV, fridge, extra size beds and a private oceanfront balcony. There is a 200 seat restaurant, full service PADI dive centre, a free form water pool and souvenir shop. This is every serious diver and angler's "must visit" island.

Layang-layang Island

Papan Island

Papan Island

Pulau Papan is only 5 minutes boat ride from Labuan. It is the most developed with beautiful landscaping and an old colonial lighthouse. The island has a mini agriculture park with an interesting collection of plant life from the region. It is a popular weekend getaway for people from Brunei as well as locals who go there for trekking, picnics and snorkeling. There are chalets for rent but camping is the more usual type of accomodation.

Papan Island




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