Monday, October 7, 2019

The Best of Labuan

Hi, lovelies! As promised, here's my take on the best places to visit in Labuan. Besides Borneo Arts Festival, our itinerary also includes Labuan's famous attractions such as award-winning beaches, amazing snorkeling and diving sites, historical landmarks, duty-free shopping and more. Yes... Labuan is a duty-free island! Among the popular spots for shopping are Jalan OKK Awang Besar, the ferry terminal, Victoria Point, Labuan Airport and Labuan Financial Park (the one and only shopping complex). There are certainly many interesting things to do and see in Labuan island, but here are my top picks!

Kg. Air Patau-Patau 2 (Water Village)
Kg Air Patau-Patau 2 is a fishing village on the island of Labuan inhabited by Brunei Malays who settle here many generations ago. The water village was destroyed by bombing during World War II but was rebuilt and become one of the last remaining water village homestays in Malaysia.

The settlement is made up of houses on stilts that are built over the sea and connected by concrete boardwalks.

Instead of a car, boat was parked in front of their house as the villagers still rely on water transportation.

Upon arrival, we had a warm and friendly welcome by the homestay host. They have prepared a hearty and scrumptious lunch for us, everything was so good. We were introduced to Jelurut, a popular local delicacy. This mouth-watering pandan infused sweet snack is wrapped with coconut leaf in a cone shape.

We also got to try Ambuyat, a gooey and sticky dish made of sago. Basically, it was tasteless and best to enjoy with a spicy and tangy dipping sauce.

Clean and cosy room.
Visitors who participate in the homestay programme also can join in the daily activities of the villagers to experience the local lifestyle and culture.

A group pic with the lovely homestay host. Thank you so much for having us.

Kg. Bebuloh Laut 
Anchovies anyone?
Salinang Maju Enterprise is one of the anchovy supplier in Labuan that still use the 'bagang', a traditional structure made of bamboo to catch anchovies.

The anchovies will be dried under the sun here. Unfortunately, it was cloudy during our visit, thus we don't get to see any anchovies here.

Aww... look at this amazing view. Kg. Bebuloh Laut is a scenic water village that worth visiting.

Cobsea Monument
Labuan boasts stunning beaches with postcard-perfect landscapes. The 9km long stretch of clear sand beach features some of the most popular beaches namely Layang-layangan, Pancur Hitam, Sungai Miri and Batu Manikar was hailed as the UN'08 Beach for its 'Clean Beach Award' by the UNESCO.

Beautiful sandy beach, this is the best place to catch the stunning sunset or just chill and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze.

Labuan Marine Park
Labuan Marine Park is located 2km off the southern park of the Labuan main island which comprises of three islets namely Kuraman, Rusukan Kecil and Rusukan Besar. To reach here, you'll need to take a boat ride (about 30 minutes) from Labuan Marina.

Pristine beach and turquoise blue water, Pulau Rusukan Besar also dubbed as Labuan's 'Untouched Wonderland'. With an abundance of marine life, the island is perfect for snorkelling or a relaxing laid-back beach getaway. It is also famous for the wreck diving sites, namely American, Australian, Blue Water and Cement wrecks. I will be sharing more about this place in a separate post. Please stay tuned!

Peace Park & Surrender Point 
The Peace Park serves as a memorial and a renunciation of the war. This half-moon-shaped monument was built by the descendants of the Japanese army who occupied the island during the World War II to show remorse and sincere apology for their forefathers wrong doings.

The surrender point memorial is located next to the Peace Park. This is the exact spot where the Japanese officially surrendered Labuan to the Australian on September 1945. A bronze plaque stands at the entrance commemorating the surrender.

Labuan Museum
Housed in a colonial building, the Labuan Museum was officially opened on 8 October 2014 by YB Datuk Seri Utama Dr. Rais Yatim, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Malaysia. The displays here offer visitors an insight of the territory's colourful history from the prehistoric era, to the Brunei Sultanate, the Bristish Colonial days, the declaration of Independence and to the establishment of Labuan as a federal territory.

While you're there, don't forget to head over to the 1st floor for this replica of a Kedayan house, the major ethnic group in Labuan.

Labuan Museum is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission is free!

Labuan International Sea Sports Complex
Experience the traditional way of sailing with Perahu Larai or more commonly known as a sailboat powered only by the wind.

Feel the breeze and sail on the crystal clear water of the Labuan Ocean. It was my first time sailing and boy it was such an amazing experience.

Price :
RM15/adult for 30 mins ride (min 2 pax, max 8-10 pax)

Gedung Ubat
Gedung Ubat (ammunitions store) was used to store artillery and explosives by the Japanese army during World War II. It is cylindrical in shape with a cone-shaped roof and a doorway overlooking the sea. The store is made of thick bricks arranged in such a way there are small holes in between for ventilation.

To reach Gedung Ubat, we were required to go on a 30 minute walking trail. It was a relatively easy walk with beautiful views along the trail.

This dreamy field is a pretty spot to snap pic. 

Before you leave, don't forget to take a moment and admire the breathtaking panoramic view of the South China Sea.

The Chimney
One of the famous landmarks in Labuan, the Chimney was built in the year of the 80's and the usage of it still remain a mystery because there are no traces of smoke and whatsoever to indicate that it works like any chimney. However, the locals believe that it was used as a ventilation shaft, while some say it is just an unfinished mansion built in those days. What's more, the mysterious chimney was made from more than 23,000 pieces of red bricks from England without any foundation to support. How cool is that!

Labuan Bird Park
Spanning an area of 6.9 hectares, The Labuan Bird Park houses up to 600 birds in three large geodesic domes connected via four tunnels. The beautiful landscape design with shady trees and walking path makes Labuan Bird Park the best place for up-close view of a variety of  Bornean birds such as hornbills, sharmas, ostriches, eagles and other species that are only found deep within the forested areas.


 Brahminy Kite (Helang Merah)


You can even try feeding the birds!

Ticket Price :
Adult RM3 (Malaysian) RM5 (Foreigner)
Children RM 1 (Malaysian) RM5 (Foreigner)

Labuan Murals
Take an Instaworthy #ootd pic against the vibrant and colourful murals!
In conjunction with #VM2020, the street of downtown Labuan was painted with a series of murals by local artists. One of the iconic murals is this image of Labuan-born footballer Datuk Hassan Sani.

What to eat?
Labuan is renowned for its affordable fresh seafood. You can choose your seafood on the display counter at the entrance of the restaurant and the seafood can be prepared to your desire. All the seafood restaurant we visited was good, but I had the most memorable meal at the Mawilla Yatch Club Restaurant. 

Braised crab soup

Stir fried beef with spring onion 
The beef was juicy and tender, oh so good. Highly recommended!

Crispy fried calamari 

Aromatic and crispy fried silverfish. This is addictively good, must try! 

Sweet and sour fish

Fragrant butter prawn

The signature dish, salted egg crab. Oh so yum!

Apart from the top notch food, Restaurant Mawilla Yatch Club also offer magnificent sea views.

This is my first time visiting Labuan and it definitely won't be my last. I love the island's laid-back vibe, friendly local people, affordable seafood and postcard-perfect immaculate beaches. It is easy to get around the island too, in fact, the Labuan city centre can be easily explored by foot. If you drive, it almost never takes more than 5 minutes from one point to another. Labuan is a must visit holiday destination for all! I'm sure you will love it as much as I do. :D

This Media Fam trip is made possible thanks to Tourism Malaysia, Labuan Corporation, Malaysia Airlines and MASwings. Thank you so much for having me. I had such an amazing time and happy to make new friends. Till we meet again. XOXO