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Your guide to Labuan
All About Labuan
Labuan is an island chain off the coast of Borneo in East Malaysia where the turquoise waters of the South China Sea lap unspoiled stretches of pearly-white sand. The west coast of the largest island — Labuan Island — is peppered with pristine beaches, from Pohon Batu Beach and its wooden fishermen’s stalls at the northern end to Layang-Layang Beach, which opens up behind a quiet row of houses to a swathe of sand dotted with coconut trees. Labuan’s warm waters and inviting shallows are ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The smaller, uninhabited islands of Kuraman Island, Pulau Rusukan Kecil, and Pulau Rusukan Besar form a protected marine park, where scuba divers can explore four major shipwrecks.
Weekly bazaars and farmers markets take place behind the Labuan Museum, where you’ll find fresh produce and local street food like Mee — a traditional noodle dish. Near Ramsey Point, the Marine Museum showcases Labuan’s enduring ties to the sea through its maritime heritage, while the Labuan Bird Park beckons birders to wander the lush walk-in aviary containing more than 600 bird species commonly found in mangrove swamps, highlands, coastal areas, and rainforests.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Labuan
Labuan experiences a hot and humid climate throughout the year. There are high chances of rain regardless of season and temperatures drop only slightly during the winter, so you’ll just need to pack light layers to hang out at the beach in the cooler months. Rainfall tends to be heavier between October and March. December through February boasts comfortable temperatures ideal for outdoor activities.
There are two annual monsoon seasons to be aware of — pack a waterproof jacket and prepare for intense showers from April through June and between September and December.
Top things to do in Labuan
Labuan Botanical Garden
The Labuan Botanical Garden — also known as Taman Botani Labuan — is a pristinely landscaped park with tropical plants, fruit trees, and flowers. In addition to orchids, bougainvillea, hibiscus, and lilies, you can take in the tranquil grounds, which include a picturesque arched bridge straddling a man-made waterway.
Labuan Marine Park
Hire a boat from the Labuan International Sea Sports Complex and head to one of four wrecks that make up this protected snorkeling and dive site a few miles southwest of the main island. Along with coral, sponge, and sea fans, you’ll also see turtles and frogfish darting in and around Cement Wreck, Blue Water Wreck, American Wreck, and Australian Wreck, all sitting at around 30 meters below the water’s surface. You’ll need special certification to explore the American Wreck.
Peace Park is a lush beachside park that stretches along Labuan’s west coast and serves as a symbol of peace after World War II. The park, built next to Surrender Point by the Japanese Government, features a stone plaque memorializing those who lost their lives during the war. The memorial is a white-stone arched wall, blanketed in vibrant green grass, with an inscription to peace written in English, Malay, and Japanese. You’ll also find the House of Culture and Art Gallery on the property, in addition to meticulously maintained gardens, gazebos, bridges, and ponds.