Labuan is an island in Malaysia that is famous for being an offshore financial center as well as a popular tourist destination for keen divers and nearby Bruneians.

Its name derives from the Malaysian word for ‘anchorage’ and Labuan Island is the main island of a small archipelago known as the Federal Territory of Labuan. The islands sit only eight kilometers from Borneo and the main island is flat and covered in dense vegetation.

There is a military cemetery that holds the graves of British and Australian soldiers, among many other nationalities, and an interesting memorial to visit that celebrates the date that the Japanese surrendered to Australian forces in WWII.

The main town on Labuan is Bandar Labuan and it looks out toward Brunei Bay. Its financial services include offshore holding companies, captive insurance, Shariah-compliant Islamic finance structures, wealth management and private and public funds.

There are also a few attractions and activities for travelers visiting for tourist purposes, with diving being one of the most popular. The Cement wreck, the American wreck, the Blue Water wreck and the Australian wreck are among the four best dive sites in Labuan and the Labuan Maritime Museum is another well-visited place.

Getting There & Away

Labuan can be reached by plane and the nearest international airport is in Kuala Lumpur. It takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to fly here from Kuala Lumpur and there are also regular flights to and from Miri. Air-conditioned ferries leave twice daily from Kota Kinabalu, five times a day from Brunei and twice a day from Menumbok. Ferry times vary with departures mostly taking place in the morning and early afternoon.