13 Family Friendly Things To Do In Labuan Island, Sabah

13 Family Friendly Things To Do In Labuan Island, Sabah

Beautiful beaches, historical landmarks, cultural attractions and interesting parks – these are some of many places to visit in Labuan!

Sabah is often associated with the coastal city of Kota Kinabalu. While that’s a fantastic city to visit, travellers should consider extending their stay in Sabah and making a trip to Labuan Island. This island is one of the best diving spots in the state and it also offers museums, parks and beaches. Here are some attractions that will help you understand why Labuan is dubbed as the Pearl of Borneo:

1. Labuan War Cemetery

Image credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

The war memorial in Labuan is a historic site to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers, both locals and international, who fought against enemies of Malaya back in the day. Among those buried are British, Australian and Indian soldiers who were killed during the Japanese occupation and those who died during the Sandakan Death Marches. The war cemetery was constructed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and it’s a good place to understand the darker days of history.

2. Surrender Point

Image credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

Another site for history buffs is Surrender Point, which is where the Japanese surrendered themselves to Australian soldiers on 10 Sept 1945. To get into the details, Lieutenant General Masao Baba, the Supreme Commander of Japanese Forces and also the Commander of the Japanese 7 Army at that time, brought himself and his fellow comrades to this very spot. Prior to this, Australian soldiers had overrun the Japanese troops to secure rubber and oil resources as well as major bases. The memorial is located near the Peace Park. Don’t miss the scenic view of the South China Sea at the other side of the memorial.

3. Financial Park

Image credit: JKT-c

Next, find your way to another major attraction of Labuan Island: Financial Park. Launched in 1996, Financial Park is an integrated commercial landmark right in the middle of the town area. Major international and local financial institutions are based here, but you can shop, dine or even stay at Financial Park as there are many retail stores, restaurants and residential condominiums within the complex. Outside the complex, there is a huge park for you to enjoy the city view as well as do some recreational activities.

4. Labuan Bird Park

Labuan Bird Park is the perfect spot for bird enthusiasts, nature lovers and families with kids. The birds in Borneo are unique. In fact, some of them are rare and found only in this region. The bird park offers you an opportunity to view the various species of bird, such as hornbills, ostriches, and parrots. Just bring along a pair of binoculars to make the most of your visit!

5. Labuan Square

Image credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

Another one of the town’s landmarks is Labuan Square, a venue for various performances and events throughout the year. Even if nothing’s on during your trip, you might be able to catch locals playing football at the field nearby.

6. Labuan Chimney

Image credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

Image credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

Found in the town centre, the Labuan Chimney which is made from raw red bricks is a towering 32 metres high. During the British occupation in Labuan, this area is known as Coal Point. The museum next to the chimney houses seven galleries where you can get information on the significance of coal mining in the area.

7. Labuan Museum

Image credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

The Labuan Museum is where you can understand the history of the island, from the prehistoric era until the independence of Labuan. Cultural artefacts, and exhibits on the migration history, prominent individuals, and local customs are what you can find in the two-storey museum.   

8. An’Nur Jamek Mosque

things to do in labuan island

Image credit: Romel Jacinto

Opened to the public in 1988 by the then 8th Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, this museum has a stunning dome and minarets. The architecture of the mosque has a combination of Turkish and Bruneian Malay influences, but the end result is a resemblance to a spaceship or a giant shuttlecock. Inside the mosque are more stunning features. Non-Muslims are allowed to enter during non-praying hours, so come for a visit to see it for yourself.

9. Kwang Fook Kwong Temple

Image credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

Another majestic place of worship is the oldest temple in Labuan, Kwang Fook Kwong Temple. Founded by migrants from Eu Jian, China, and built in 1852, the temple is still the most popular one in Labuan today. This historic temple can get crowded with tourists and locals.

10. Labuan Clock Tower

Image credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

The Labuan Clock Tower is a beauty. It’s constructed in 2002 and is considered a replica of the original version. The original clock tower which is located in Taman Antarabangsa, Borneo, was constructed in 1906 by Chee Swee Cheng, a Chinese businessman. It’s the only structure that survived the bombings by Japanese troops in 1945. Even though it’s not the original, do snap a picture in front of the Labuan Clock Tower.

11. Labuan Layang Layang Beach

The beaches around Labuan are a must-visit. A local’s favourite is the Layang-Layang Beach. While “layang-layang” means “kite” in Malay, you might not be able to spot kites floating above the beach. That’s just its name! The best time to come to this beach is on the weekends so you can join in the crowds and soak in the lively atmosphere. If you’re still pumping with energy after your day on the beach, make a trip to the famous Peace Park nearby.

12. Labuan Maritime Museum

The Labuan Maritime Museum is part of the Labuan International Water Sports Complex. The museum is divided into 16 categories where you can learn about the marine life in Labuan, from fish to sea corals, reptiles and sea plants. There are even artefacts from a shipwreck! This modern museum is interactive, so rest assured you won’t be bored. Before heading home, drop by one of the souvenir stores within the complex where you might be able to find something unique.

13. Pulau Papan

things to do in labuan island

Image credit: Pulau Papan Di Labuan

If you want to explore the islands near Labuan, you can’t go wrong with a day trip to Pulau Papan. The island can be reached by boat and it takes just five minutes to get to Pulau Papan from the town of Labuan! There are many things to do on the island, from enjoying the white sand beaches to exploring the colonial lighthouse. It’s no wonder the locals love to come here during the weekends. If you’re planning to swim on the island, take note that there will be no lifeguards.

Now that you’re in-the-know about Labuan’s many attractions, you have every reason to make it your next holiday destination. Enjoy your trip!

About Author

Adrian Chew
Adrian Chew

Adrian was born and raised in a small town called Muar, Johor in Malaysia. He likes reading, watching TV, surfing the internet and travelling (if he has time and budget). His favourite destinations are Perth, Siem Reap, Cebu and Singapore. In regards to writing, he loves travel writing too as it helps to broaden his horizon on the different countries, culture, food etc. around the world.


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