What to Do in Labuan
Lying eight kilometres off the coast of Sabah, Labuan is best known as a duty-free stopover particularly between the Kota Kinabalu and Brunei routes. In 1846 the Sultan of Brunei ceded Labuan to the British; the region then went on to become a coalmining centre.
During WWII the Japanese held the island for three years; later on Labuan became the site where Japanese forces in North Borneo surrendered at the end of the war. Soon afterwards Japanese troops responsible for the Sandakan death marches were tried and sentenced here.
Featuring a mixed populace of Malays, Chinese, Indians and native groups such as the Kadazan, Dusun, Bugis and Bajau, Labuan is known for its diving with four major wrecks (Cement wreck, American wreck, Australian wreck and Blue Water wreck) off the coast. Lying in 100 to 115ft of water, the different wrecks ensure that novices as well as advanced diving enthusiasts are able to explore these WWII and 1980s ruins. Trips to the reefs have to be organised through tour operators in Kota Kinabalu.
There are two golf courses: the nine-hole 36-par Labuan Golf Club is a driving range with squash and tennis courts, a gymnasium and swimming pool. Situated approximately two kilometres east of town, along Jalan OKK Abdullah, the club also has decent putting green features. Alternatively you can arrange a pricey exploration of Pulau Kuraman, Pulau Rusukan Kecil and Pulau Rusukan Besar – isolated and serene islets southwest of Pulau Labuan that form a protected marine park.Read More