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Flights to Labuan

Labuan Airport serves the federal territory of Labuan, one of 3 such territories owned by Malaysia. Located off the coast of Borneo, Labuan’s name was derived from the Malay word for ‘port’, a reference to its strategic location in the South China Sea amidst many major shipping routes. The Labuan area actually consists of 7 islands, on which the largest holds the main town, Victoria (also known as Labuan Town), which supports an estimated 87,000 people.

Labuan Airport is located less than 5 kilometres from Victoria and offers domestic flights to a handful of cities in Malaysia. Despite the lack of international flights, the little airport receives a respectable 700,000 passengers annually. Operational from 1999, Labuan Airport boasts 2 runways and is served by airlines such as Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines.

Destinations that can be reached from Labuan Airport include Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, and Miri amongst others.

Getting around Labuan

Airport shuttles are available to help tourists make the commute from Labuan Airport to Victoria. For travellers who’d prefer to drive their own vehicle, car rental facilities can also be found within the airport terminal. Once within Labuan, transportation becomes easier with the region’s efficient network of public minibuses that operate on a 6-zone system at extremely affordable fares.

What to see and do

Shopaholics rejoice; Labuan is one of only 3 tax-free islands in Malaysia, making duty-free shopping one of the island’s greatest attractions. Score alcohol, tobacco, spirits, appliances and perfumes at impossible prices, as well as good-quality local products such as textiles, rugs, carpets and leather goods. To gild the lily and drive shopaholics into a further frenzy, the island also hosts an annual month-long shopping carnival during the year end festive season. Now you know where to head to for some guilt-free retail therapy - but be sure to bring extra bags.

But Labuan has more to offer than material consumerism - the island’s rich and colourful past is documented in its many museums and war memorials, and a visit to some of them are a must for those looking to better understand this unique little island. Have a look at the Labuan War Cemetery, a Commonwealth World War II graveyard that holds the bodies of more than 3,000 soldiers from all over the world (including Australia, India, Sarawak, Borneo, Great Britain amongst others). Pay your respects to the ancient soldiers who gave their lives during the Japanese invasion of Borneo in 1945, then head over to the Labuan Museum to learn about the island’s history and its 6-stage transition into an International Offshore Financial Center.

For the more adventurous, Labuan is also a great jump-off point for making shipwreck dives. With 4 famous wrecks just off the shores of the island - the Blue Water Wreck, Cement Wreck, American Wreck (featuring the first USS Salute) and Australian Wreck - diving has an extra thrill in Labuan.

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