Monday, June 23, 2008

Labuan Revisited Part 2 - Labuan In Pictures

A long lost friend was recently found after he read my blog about my schooldays. When he saw the email of one of us he recognized he began writing email to him. On my side I saw his email address when he commented on my blogsite. Now we are connected again though we have yet to meet since we last parted ways 40 years ago after we finished schooling in Sultan Ibrahim School Pasir Mas, Kelantan in 1968. Now my friend resides in London and is a national of the United Kingdom.

When he was an auditor with Petronas he frequently came to Labuan where he stayed in what used to be Hotel Labuan, the top hotel in Labuan then.Due to some reasons Hotel Labuan was closed some ten years ago. To Suhaimi Jaafar of London I dedicate to you this blog.

Today I finally managed to explore the town of Labuan which is 16 km from Taman Mutiara in Kampung Bedaun where I am staying with mw son in law Lokman. Balqis will be taken care of by a neighbour who ultimately will be looking after her when I leave for home on the 2nd July 2008.
I had the option of using any of his Hondas. One is a 1.7 litre Honda Civic and the other is a 100 cc Honda Ex 5 Class 1. He asked me to make the choice. So what do you think? I opted for the 100 cc Honda Cub which was more frugal on petrol and required only RM8.00 to fill up.. Being unfamiliar with the ways around Labuan, it would be cheaper for me to lose my way and backtrack as often as I want on a motorbike than in a car. It proved to be the correct choice as the use of a two wheeler was easier to stop and park whenever I need to take pictures.My first stop was of course at the Petronas Petrol Station to fill up the tank. That done I then proceeded on to the town center.

The 'bas mini' filling up behind my bike is another convenient transportation around Labuan. Fares from Taman Mutiara to Labuan town a distance of 16 km used to cost RM0.60 one way before the price of fuel shot up. I guess the fare remains for now.

On the way to town I saw this beautiful building which turned out to be the Syariah Court.

Next to it is the Mesjid Jameq Annur. A beautiful piece of architecture.

Mesjid Jameq Annur.

Many spots in the town are landscaped with colorful flowers (flower names to be supplied later) making the roadside very colorful and beautiful. The plants are regularly replaced and thus always look fresh.

The next stop was the Labuan International Ferry terminal as from my earlier visit I know there was a bookshop there and I need a map of Labuan. The stall owner told me that she doesnt sell any map of Labuan and pointed to me to the brochure racks where Tourism Development Corporation placed some brochures and phamplets. I picked up a few including one on Labuan which contains a basic map of the island indicating the places of interest.
Seeing the address of the TIC on the phamplet. I then proceeded to look for it. On the way to there I saw this fountain at a roundabout. It turned out to be the only fountain that is switched on to save cost. Others maybe too expensived to operate daily.

The Harrison's Trading building in the back ground must have been an off shoot of Harrison & Crossfield Company a British trading giant involved in plantation and suppleir of building materials. Beside it I could see this colorful building belonging to Kastam dan Eksais Di Raja.

Moving on towards the Tourist Information Center I could see the back of entrance to the Labuan Square with the unique chimney shaped pillars holding the a circular contraption above a stage.
Going through this entrance I saw this beautifully landscaped planter box with colorful flowers at the base of the flagpoles flying the Malaysian flag and the various state flags making up Malaysia.

Right across the road to Labuan Square is the former Hotel Labuan stood. Due to some reasons this hotel ceased operation some ten years ago. It once belonged to Datok Haris Salleh, the former Chief Minister of Sabah. Soon the hotel will be renovated and refurbished to provide much needed rooms to the visitors to Labuan. Suhaimi Jaafar hopefully you will come back to Labuan one day. This was where you met our junior in school by the name of Sharifah Hamizah while she was working for the hotel during those time.

Hotel Labuan was the Hotel back then. It is yet to be decided as to who will refurbish and manage the hotel.

Across the expanse of green grass of there stands the Grand Dorsett Hotel. It was called Labuan Sheraton before and there must have been a change of ownwership and thus the change of name. In some brochures it is still called Labuan Sheraton though so please be aware of the name change.

Close to the Grand Dorsett stands the Komplek Ujana Kewangan.

Komplex Ujana Kewangan with the Beta Service Apartment beside it (Brown building).
Komplek Ujana Kewangan is a shopping complex with most of the government offices within it.

The Post Office with The TIC/ Tourism Malaysia office beside it.

Entering the Labuan Tourist Information Centre I was surprised to know that Gay Leona Peter E is still the manager as I have met Leona once at a Tourism Fair in Kuching Sarawak some two years ago. I was then the outgoing manager of Kesedar Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd. I was outgoing because of my impnding retirement and a replacement manager was already appointed.

The TIC Manager of Labuan.

After a brief introduction and recollection of the fair that happened two years ago, I informed Leona of what I am doing lately emphasising on blogging as my main activity.

According to her there are about 70,000 people living on the island and many residents come to work here. So just like its sister city of KL, the population of Labuan fluctuates immensely when these workers return home for the festivals.

According to their pamphlets Labuan is made up of Labuan Island and six other islets of Rusukan Kechil, Rusukan Besar, Kuraman, Daat, Papan and Burung. 15 places of interest on the island are listed on the pamphlet.Labuan town was once known as Victoria.

According to my blogger friend Nightwing you can drive around the island within an hour. That must be without seeing any of the places of interest. But yet he has never done that before.

Leona told me about a trip to Pulau Papan some ten minutes boat ride from the ferry terminal which is being organized by Perbadanan Labuan who manages the resort island of Pulau Papan. The island belongs to The mInistry of Fedarl Territory and has some accomodation facilities which was recently refurbished.The trip was planned for the next day and she suggested that I tag along if I am free. Never passing off such a an opportuinity, I promised to call her up later to confirm if I can get Lokman to nanny Balqis on Saturday while I visit Pulau Papan. (I did go to Pulau Papan that Saturday and will blog about it soon).

Upon leaving Leona's office I saw the museum directly in front of her office. To know and understand more about a place you must first visit their museum if there is one around.

I went over to have a look. The entrance is free. And it is open from 9.00 AM to 5 PM everyday and is only closed on Hari Raya.
Now I know the Europeans who sttled here in 1775 were the survivors of the British East India Company who took refuge here. Do you know that Labuan once belonged to Brunei? It was ceded to the British by the Sultan of Brunei in 1846. Japan invaded Labuan on 1st January 1942. Liberation of Labuan by the Allied forces was accomplished on 10th Jan 1945. Many soldiers perished during the war and the World War II Memorial and the Surrender Points are two of the places of interest to be visited which are related to the War.

Labuan became independent in 1963 by joining Malaysia and proclaimed as Federal Territory on 16th April 1984. On 1st October 1990 Labuan was declared as an International Offshore Financial Centre. Labuan Development Authority was formed. Labuan Corporation was formed on 1st July 2001 with a Chief Executive Officer heading it. That is a bit of Labuan's history for you and me.

Perbadanan Labuan Building also houses the Public Library.

Leaving the museum I walked around looking for a place to have lunch. Surprise of surprise I saw this reataurant. It was here that I had meals with my wife when we visited Labuan ten years ago. The reason being the eating place was located right behind our hotel and the food then was OK.

Below is what I had for lunch:

I had rice with lots of vegetables for lunch and a piece of tenggiri curry. It cost me RM7.50 with a glass of sirap bandung.

These girls saw me photographing my lunch and they asked me to take photograph of themselves too, which I obliged.

Upon finishing lunch I walked over to the front of the building near the restaurant. This building was where The Federal Hotel was before.

The Federal Hotel that I stayed in before is no more there now. With the change of ownership, the hotel was refurbished and now is called Klasik Hotel and it is one of the three hotels in the stable of Ambassador Hotels. The others are named Ambassador Hotel 1 and Ambassador Hotel 2. The hotel now it is totally refurbished and fitted with a lift. I remember lugging my suitcase up the stairs to the second floor room ten years ago.

The town of Labuan is clean. The streets have trees that provide cooling shades. Seats are also provided to rest those tired legs after walking around.

The above picture shows a former cinema being converted to a billiard parlour.

Victoria hotel is another old hotel and another old landmark of Labuan. Remember the old name for Labuan was Victoria and if you were to use Google Earth, Victoria is clearly indicated on it.

This is the bus stand in town. Only minibus plies the roads in Labuan. Taxis are available too.

You will see many people wearing coverall in Labuan. These are provided by their employers. Most are made of Fire Retarding Compound material for their safety especially for those involved in the oil and gas industry.

Hotel Pulau Labuan is another chain of hotels in Labuan. Below is another of their new hotel being built.

I will have to continue my rediscovery of Labuan another time as I had promised Lokman that I would be home early to go to Layang Layangan to enjoy the delicious satey there.

It had rained earlier so there were not many patrons. We managed to get our order soon after we placed it.

Here are some pictures of Lokman, Balqis and me enjoying ourselves at the Layang Layangan satey joint.

The satey man and his helpers.

We ordered 15 sticks and I ended up eating 10 of them and Lokman had to order chicken wings to make up for the imbalance to his share of the satey.

A piece of chicken wing cost RM1.60 inclusive of all the cholesterol.

Balqis was ecstatic when I fed her with the flesh of a young coconut. Even young Balqis knows when something is good to eat.

I will kiss her cheek for Daphne Ling after I have cleaned up the remnants of the cocnut flesh on her cheek.

OK folks, we will see more of Labuan in the next post.


Gurindam Jiwa said...

Summary: Fill-up tank, ride, ride, ride, snap, snap, snap, EAT.

Oh, and the ladies, also; I forgot about those ladies. ;-D

Try not to forget the lady back in Pasir Mas eh, Pok Zawi.

You are having too much fun there.

Zawi said...

I am quite amazed as to what time you posted this comment huh?
Anyway I was like a caged animal being let loose. I was so hungry to roam the place and like u said, ride and snap, snap, snap just at anything. Like right now I have taken 1000 shots and having a headache to choose which shot will be best to illustrate Labuan. How I wish I am daring enough to ask the beautiful ladies 'May I take a shot at you?'.
Don't worry about the one in Pasir Mas, She will come along in due course. After seeing all the pictures in my post, she may fly in this weekend hahahahaha.
Yeah having too much fun playing with my little princess. Like she prefers me than her own dad.

Nightwing said...

Helo Pak Zawi,

Great post and lovely photos..:)

I knew you will find interesting places in Labuan...:)

Yalor...did not get to explore when i was there..:(

Day trips..hard to explore....thanks to your time will try to stay overnite.

J.T. said...

Now those chicken wings definitely look better (and probaby tastes better) than the ones at Hooters ... cholesterol and all. :D

Azmy Omar said...


You seem to be having a great time over there.

Any special food that's totally different from our 'kelate' dishes?. and maybe tastier too?

Yeah, I notice the town is indeed clean. Those people in Majlis Daerah Pasir Mas should go out more often and find out what other towns look like and take actions wherever applicable.

Happy shooting!

Zawi said...

Make it a point to stay for two nights at least. If you love singing which I know you are fond of, lots of KTV here. Will tell you more in my next post. Since liqour is cheap, you can drink to your hearts content and you wont go broke. Book your room early as rooms are scarce here even on weekdays. That is what I was told anyway.
I am glad you are thinking of coming back. Papan Island is a must see. You can do it as a daytrip. That again you must wait for another post to know more.

Zawi said...

Grilled chicken wings seems to be very popular in this area including Sabah. No doubt they are delicious but the high cholesterol is defintely a put off.
Hooters have better attractions though the food may not be soo good.

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
That Honda, excellent choice :) However, lucky you back home earlier. Rain is beautiful, but to the biker, it's a bummer.
The architecture of certain buildings over there is indeed remarkable. But what amazes me the most is of course the clean roads and town environment; so many flowers, so many colours!
And thanks for the hint that next time we are to eat satay together, it should be 30 sticks hehe :D
So what did you do in the island, snorkelling?
Have a nice day :)

hajjah1510 said...

Do visit "Surender Point"...and maybe the seafood restaurant that have horse riding sessions masih ade di Labuan lagi. Me and my group did enjoy that visit..well quite a few years back.
Futher more..Labuan managed to sell the British War Monuments as "tourism product" whereby they get those families to visit annualy.

Bravo..more stories from you.

Zawi said...

Havent found anything spectacular food other than the mentioned satey.
I was lucky to have 2 days free to roam the town and also visit Pulau Papan.Federal Territory. No problem about money la.
They have a big budget since Labuan is a
Will tell you more about Labuan in the next blog.

Zawi said...

The Honda Cub was wonderful. Unfortunately the bike had a puncture so today I cant get out until Lokman comes back in the evening to repair the puncture.
Snorkeling mana ada chance nye.
Nak makan 30 cucuk satay? 10 cucuk perut dah penuh. 30 cucuk leh muntah tu. Darah tinggi naik sampai setinggi pucuk kelapa hahahahaha. Kat mana satey yang sedap di Kelantan? Tak mahu ada lemak punya.
The towns are clean. Only place not clean is the Kampung Air. The filth are so bad you wont want to go there at low tides.
I like the old buildings in the town. They were old buildings left behind by the British.
Tunggu saya post pictures from Pulau Papan. Mungkin kat flickr.

Zawi said...

Thank you for visiting and making the comment.
Will visit the said restaurant after my daughter is back from Keningau.
They have the right products for the right market. The War Memorial was magnificiently maintained. I was astonished to see the level of mainytainence that I couldnt imagine that I was anywher in Malaysia. If only we could maintain our tourism products the way they do it here, we are safe.
I have lots more stories about Labuan to post, just keep coming back and you will get to read them with lots of pictures too.
Salam pada Tuan haji Hussein n Dora.

jaflam said...

Salam Zawi,
Great photos of Labuan from you. It is unfortunate that the Hotel Labuan remains to be the eyesore for Labuan despite its legacy as the Hotel before.

The YB for Labuan, Datuk Yusof Mahal used to be my junior engineer during my sailing days. Great guy hope he will make Labuan a better place for business and living.

uncleawang said...

Pak Zawi,
Labuan..banyak perubahan .Betul kah...Labuan is the ChiangMai(Thailand)of Malaysia..hehe.I don't know orang kata..Well great shoot ..oh ya makan Rm7.50 tak mahal ke..

Zawi said...

D. Jaff,
Thank you for the kind words. It seems taht the Hotel Labuan problem is resolved and the building will be refurbished soon and make it even better than the before.
Knowing the YB's capability I guess he will contribute to the devlopment of Labuan as a Premier tourist destination. Personally I prefer Labuan to Langkawi.

Zawi said...

Memang banyak perubahan di Labuan.
Labuan is the Chiangmai of Malaysia? Orang kata begitu? I pun dengar begitu. Tunggulah lapuran siasatan saya dalam post akan datang.
I feel honoured if you like my pictures being a photographer yourself.
The meal is OK at RM7.50 as I took alot of different vegetables even though I had only one lauk.I love vegetables so much especially the way they cooked it suits my taste.

Puteri said...

Another great post!! Makes me want to go back to Labuan soon!

Rusdi Abu Bakar said...

Nice Photo Indeed Pok Wi!
Try to edit the contrast & brighness sometime!

Zawi said...

You are so near now. Dont give it a pass. It may be another you when you will come back to Miri so come over soon. I two night stay will do. Check with AieAsia's Go Holidays for a cobination of airfare and hotel package. The tours can be done on your own as the mini bas are aplenty here and they dont cost a limb.

Zawi said...

Such complements from an established photographer ike you is muc appreciated. Rushed through the resizing to post at 2.30 am last night didn't enabe me to do much on the photos. I will do some editing when I am uploading it to flickr later.
Thanks for the comment.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Pak Zawi
I remembered replicas of marlins at one of the roundabouts. Not there anymore?
Oh, did you check out the huge mansions and bungalows there?
There are some very rich people on that island.

Zawi said...

The marlin replica is in the picture showing Komplex Ujana Kewangan. I guess the picture is too small to show. There is a bigger marlin replica in front of the new airport which I will put in the next post. Maybe I will use a bigger picture next time.
Yes I did see the mansions but since my current blog is limited to the town of Labuan, I havent put in anything that is out of it. Next post I will feature abit more of the town before highlighting the others from out of town area. There is so much to show since I am using alot of illustraations. I am too lazy to write now hehehehe.

SJ said...

Salam Zawawi

My utmost thanks and loads of appreciation for dedicating the splendid blog to me . The coverage was superb and it really brought poignant memories of my time in Labuan . That must be more than 30 years ago and sad to say that I can only recognise the old Hotel Labuan , where I met Hamizah again years after leaving school . Other buildings are new to me and Taman Mutiara was nowhere to be seen then . Labuan was a dinky town but look at it now , I just can't believe my eyes that it has developed over the years . Labuan now looked so structured and organised in its development phase , by the time it reaches the peak I reckon it would be beyond recognition .
I am glad that you are having a whale of a time jaunting across the island penning your chronicles and how I wish I could do likewise . It would be like waking up to a long stupor if I were to visit Labuan again , just it would Pasir Mas .
Btw not only Labuan belonged to Brunei at one time , Sarawak was too , not sure about Sabah though .
Keep up the good work and I am sure that I will read your blog with keen anticipation .
Sorry to keep your email in abeyance , I will attend to it asap . Oh yes , I was in Stratford Upon Avon , the homeland of Shakespeare , over the weekend and that reminds me of you . I will always associate you with Shakespeare because I remember you were into English Literature at school and you were Shakespeare's go or not to go to Labuan...that's the question !
Have a bountiful of bliss galaventing around the island and look forward to hear from you again .

Zabs said...

Salam Zawi,
Nie photographic N3. Just wondering if you have the opportunity to go to Tg Kiamsan and the surronding area.
There are quite few developments going on there, I was told.

mi2omar said...

Labuan and Tourism Malaysia should pay you commission for your writings.
Informative yet attractive enough to make us get onto the next plane to join you in your discovery of Labuan.

Balqis is growing really fast huh? Have fun.

Zawi said...

Thanks for visiting. I was hoping you would coe ealier.
There is more to come in the next post as I am not done covering the town yet. I had to do multiple posts otherwise each one will be too long. The next one will cover the outskirts of town too. Hey just read my blog and you are transpoted to Labuan via cyber space. There are many new housing estates mushrooming around the island but most of them on the other side of the islands as under Federal Territory, Labuan is blessed with alot of funds to develop it's basic infrastructure like roads, water supply and radio telecommunations. No place is too remote in Labuan now.
Please come back for the next post.

Zawi said...

Thanks for the appreciation of the photos. Kiamsam is quite close to Taman Mutiara Bedaun. I have been there. It will be covered in the next blog (hopefully).

Zawi said...

I can see Leona smiling when she reads this comment of yours. A thank you from them will do.
Dont hesitate to put yourself on the next flight to Labuan. Take advantage of the low fares provided by both airlines. Just make sure that you get your room to stay in first before you hop over otherwise you may have to squat somewhere. Anyway there are homestays in Bukit Kuda should you want to experience family life with the locals
Balqis has gained another kg and now weighs 11 kg. Quite a bundle for me to 'dokong'. Luckily I brought along the 'kain batik lepas'.

drizzter said...

bersihnya bandar dia ... kudos to majlis bandaran & rakyat dia ..

one day insyaallah kawe akan sampai labuan .. btw .. nice pics!

Zawi said...

Memang Labuan bersih. Yang pasti kurang bersih ialah kawasan kampung air. Sesuatu mesti dilakukan untuk mengubah sikap penduduk kampung air. Bagi mereka membuang sampah kelaut adalah biasa dan dilakukan sewenang-wenangnya. Sewerage system untuk mereka perlu diujudkan. Nasib baik bekalan air paip ada disediakan.
Datanglah ke Labuan, pastinya anda tidak kecewa.

Queen Of The House said...

You do make a fantastic tour guide ... cyber or otherwise, I am sure. Now, ada tempat-tempat menarik untuk shopping tak? Duty free and all? For the benefit of some of us, buatlah coverage on that sikit :D

Zawi said...

Thank you for reminding me to cover that part of Labuan for the ladies. Thanks to you it will come in the next segment under the topic - Shopping In Labuan. I was thinking of doing the juicy side of Labuan hahahaha. At this rate I may have to do at least 5 Parts. Thats beside special blogs on Pulau Papan and One Day At Pasar Labuan! Can you bear to read all that? I dont mind doing it.

mamadou said...

Assalamu'alaikum Ayoh Awi

I really like Labuan from I have seen from the photographs. I could see that the city very organised and clean, well landscaped, alot of shady and trees, have beautiful and contemporary designed buildings and perhaps better drainage and road systems too. I wish that all the cities in our country have such characteristics.

However just ponder that buildings in Labuan and other parts of the country lost of our heritage in buildings architecture. There are not many buildings have traditional features like Muzium Negara, Bank Bumiputera(now Bank Muamalat) Muzium Terengganu,or like Hotel Hyatt Saujana or Hotel resort Tanjong Jara that received Agha Khan Award in architecture. The civilisation of a nation would been seen through the buildings architecture as we notice in other older cities around the world

Nice posting, when is the next?. thank you

Zawi said...

Waalaikummuassalam. I am impressed by the cleanliness and good maintainence of the town of Labuan too. It is imperative that they maintain it well because Labuan is blessed with some products that keep the repeat visitors coming for generations to come. What are the products? The World War 2 Memorial and surrender points to name a few.
Many people in countries that formed the Allied forces such as Britain, Australian and New Zealand perished in the war and that made their next of kins to come and visit their grave. Labuan Corporataon did a good job of keeping everything ship shape.
In some places even KL some olf buildings that form the landmark of the capital were demolished to be rebuilt with ugly modern buildings that don't lend any conformity to the surroundings.
We dont have many old buildings so anything nearing 100 years old should be preserved. In China any building below 1000 years old are considered new because they have many older buildings.
I think many old buildings in Labuan will be preserved and not torn down.

mujako said...

I'm a Labuanist. Sorry to say during your visit, our bird park still under renovation, same goes to our botanical garden.

Zawi said...

It is allright even if it was still under renovation as like the Botanical Park it was still beautiful to look at. I got a beautiful picture of the building by the lake side in the Botanical Park.
I will be in Labuan again this December so I guess the bird park could be visited by then.

Anonymous said...

Hey , anybody looking for a Brand New 3 bedroom flat to rent in Taman Mutiara - Labuan ? Pls call Mr Chok 019 872 3141

lee said...

you forget all about night lifes...the gro..the slots machines...the massage parlours...the discos..the karoskr the pubs and so forth..the pondans.......

BobLeV said...

Some good memories here. I was stationed on Labuan in 1965/66, at the Supply Depot down by the slipway. I am now a member of the Britain's National Malaya & Borneo Veterans Association (NMBVA) and proud possessor of the Pingat Jasa Malaysia medal.I have promised my daughters that I will show them your delightful country, one day. Very best wishes. Bob Le Vaillant

NC said...

Hi there!
I googled on Hotel Labuan and found your blog. I am a teacher in this island and I was posted to the island last year. So far, I enjoy the quiet and peaceful life in Labuan.

ST Velu Bangalore said...

Photos of buildings are OK. But photos of people in the market area, bus stations and restaurants would have been very picturesque.What is the demography made of Malay, Chinese, Indian and aboriginals ?
Percentage ? Are there Chinese and Indian Restaurants?

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