Layang Layang is a 3 star resort built out of tropical hardwood and architecturally modelled in the traditional longhouse style. The resort buildings including the restaurant and Raba Raba massage centre curve around a central swimming pool, facing out towards the coral lagoon and which is a great place to unwind. Renovated in 2013, the resort offers you both comfort and a unique cultural perspective.
Easily the biggest drawcard for this island, is the world famous and enthralling encounters with schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks in its surrounding waters. Being lucky enough to watch a big school of hammerheads glide by is an experience that will live with you for a very long time, and makes the whole journey worthwhile.
But often overlooked by divers in their eagerness to catch sight of the sharks, is the other marine life on display. The coral health and diversity at Layang Layang is simply superb. Mantas also frequent this deep water area, and you just never know what might show up. Guests can enjoy unparalleled scuba diving with unlimited shore dives as well as enjoy the sights and sounds of the protected bird park on the island.
Layang Layang Island Resort is the only diving operator and hotel accommodation available on this small coral atoll in the South China Sea. Single travellers can share accommodation. Numbers are very limited due to the low availability of flights, so if you want to share in this breathtaking wonder, we suggest you plan your trip well in advance - book early!
It is necessary to book your stay at the resort at least 14 days in advance, in order to allow time for island permit applications and domestic flights reservations.
Layang Layang. No diving on day of departure.
Resort diving includes:
Dives (as detailed in the packages above), unlimited self-guided shore dives, boat rides to sites, experienced English-speaking divemaster (maximum 10 divers per DM), tanks, weights and weightbelts, drinking water, hot drinks. Diving excludes (mandatory, unless customer provides own):
Scuba equipment (approx. US$ 58 per day). Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival (cash or credit card). Optional extras:
Extra boat and boat dives, dive computer, dive insurance, soft drinks. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival.
Resort accommodation includes:
Bed, breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinking water, hot drinks, return resort transfers from Layang Layang airport, internet access. Accommodation excludes (mandatory):
If you are a single person it is compulsory to pay in advance for a single supplement. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival. Optional extras:
Soft drinks, alcoholic drinks. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival.
How to get there:
The resort is located on a tiny atoll in the Spratly Islands in South China Sea, midway between Borneo and Vietnam. Layang Layang is a 1 hour flight north of Sabah's capital Kota Kinabalu and your package to stay requires a return flight from there.
There are regular special charter flights to Layang Layang from Kota Kinabalu (approx. US$ 314 return per person including airport taxes but exclude 6% GST). You'll need to check with us for flight availability as the aircraft are small and flights are not available online, nor do they operate every day. We will handle the booking for you as part of your holiday booking.
The current schedule has flights from Kota Kinabalu to Layang Layang at 06:30 am, with return flights at 08:00 am. Please be at Kota Kinabalu Airport Terminal 1 at least 1½ hours before flight departure and book your connecting flight at least 4 hours after estimated time of arrival.
Please note that there is a 25 kg maximum baggage allowance on the flight between Kota Kinabalu and the island. Scuba divers visiting Layang-Layang should attempt to keep their baggage for the trip down to a minimum; non-essential luggage can be stored on the mainland.
Kota Kinabalu International Airport has direct flight routes to Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, as well as with Bangkok, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Taiwan, Kaoshiung, Singapore, Manila and Brunei.
Dive clubs and group discounts:
Pay for 7 guests and receive 1 extra place free of charge.
If this is your only planned visit to Malaysian Borneo then we strongly recommend that you consider a 2 night add-on stay at the Sepilok Nature Resort, Sandakan in Sabah, to allow you to witness the not-to-be-missed jungle adventures with orangutans.
Layang Layang Island Resort has a scuba centre with a fleet of 10 catamarans at its disposal. All dive sites on the island atoll can be accessed within 5 to 25 minutes.
The powerful catamarans are designed for a maximum of 12 divers with a divemaster. They have twin 4-stroke 90 HP Honda engines, a kit-up area, shaded area and steel ladders for exiting the water.
The dive centre has equipment stations for all scuba divers, with hangers, booty pegs, fresh water shower, and rinse tanks for scuba equipment and cameras. As part of their service, all you're asked to do is wash your own wetsuit!
Unlimited beach diving is possible, free of charge, with your own dive buddy. Night boat dives can be arranged at the resort.
The resort practices a strict environmental conservation policy and requires all divers to agree to its Reef Conservation Policy set up under its Environmental Conservation Programme.
The English translation of the phrase Layang Layang means "Swallow's Reef" and bird watching is a favourite activity between dives. While the bird life is prolific, you will not see any swallows, but noddy terns, sooty terns and brown boobies all have nesting colonies here.
Additionally, the lagoon provides snorkelling and sea canoeing, and the resort offers a full size swimming pool for your use. For more sedate pastimes, you can play pool, bar football, or surf the internet with the resort's free wi-fi facility.
The Raba Raba House massage centre is the perfect recuperation after a hard days diving or walking in the bird park; try foot reflexology or a simple muscle massage.
There is also a full bar in the reception lounge - a great place to have cocktails while overlooking the sunsets on the lagoon.
Resort facilities include: Restaurant - Bar with TV - Swimming pool - Bird island - Complimentary Wi-fi in lobby and restaurant - Canoes for hire - Pool table - Bar football table - Hammocks - Laundry service - Gift shop.
Unfortunately, the island doesn't have any beaches. So, if you have a non-diving partner joining you on this trip, it may be a better idea for him/her to stay at home or holiday in another destination.
Location: Layang Layang Island, South China Sea, Malaysia
The resort's restaurant offers East meets West cuisine, in the air-conditioned canteen or open-air at the poolside. Meals are laid out 5 times a day at the buffet table, so you can eat as much (or as little) as you want.
Malay, Chinese, Indian and continental cuisine
4 or 5 dishes at each sitting
Soup and salad bar with each meal
Large choice of sumptuous desserts
Poolside weekly BBQ - fish, satay, lamb, beef and prawns
Special dietary requirements can be catered for with advance notice
Some sample dishes - curried prawns, Chinese style chicken, beef in black pepper sauce, grilled lamb, fish n chips, pasta, deep fried fish, crab sticks.
Some sample desserts - chocolate gateau, banana cake, apple crumble, fruit jelly, red beans in sweet coconut milk.
In the event that you suffer from decompression sickness while on Layang Layang, you will be transferred by airplane from the island to Labuan, 350 km away, where there is a decompression chamber.
Layang Layang Island Resort provides customer diving insurance for evacuation and chamber treatment within Malaysia only. If you would rather have cover that includes treatment back in your country of residence, then we recommend you take out your own dive insurance policy and bring details.
Oxygen, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, life jackets, and a divemaster are provided for each catamaran. The resort also has a sick bay, fully equipped with further oxygen and medical supplies.
The Malaysian Navy also have a base on the island, so you can go diving in the very safe knowledge that armed security is always present - no boats are allowed within a certain area without permission.
"Everything was well organised, all the staff were friendly and warm, they were all eager to help. Diving was great, I had to hire equipment and this was all good though I understand most divers bring their own stuff. My dive master was Amanda, along with the boat captain, she was excellent, her dive briefing were clear and I really enjoyed accompanying her underwater. She made a point of telling us where the reef should be and we never had to worry about where our stuff was, it was fine just to be left on the boat.
The rules for diving were not strictly enforced, a few on my boat went deeper than 40m and others openly wore dive gloves. Why state rules and not observe them? It might be a good idea to have a stronger dive shop manager though I appreciate that we are all adults." - Damian Flynn, UK ...
"The resort is pretty good, though the rooms and facilities could probably use a bit of an updating. However, the sites were pristine and wonderful to be the only show in town. The DMs and the boat crew were all quite good." - David Probert, USA ...
"Accommodation and food great. Diving superb. Only criticism was that divemasters could have been more involved with the divers. I am a divemaster and I think that briefings were too brief and not as safety concious as they should have been. Also they were not very interested in describing what we had seen and the ecology and protection of the environment. They did an OK job but I think they could have been great." - Luisa Clarke, UK ...
"Overall everything was great. The only thing we thought were not very good was the filling station for the air. The air is taken from the room where the compressor stands so there is more pollution in the air then necessary. Also the bungalows are ok but the resort should think about an investment on them." - Raphael Wiser, Switzerland ...
"Good overall service and facilities. It could use some freshening up. The food and, especially, the coffee (Nestle machine) could use an upgrade. Those with limited experience / OW would benefit from a bit more detailed a briefing." - Ronald DeVries, USA ...
"We are back after a wonderful trip. We were very lucky as we saw the hammerheads 4 times, unlike all the others. Only hiccup was our flight from KK to Layang Layang was cancelled and we were put on another flight about 4 hours later. Otherwise everything else was smooth sailing and we had a great time." - Enoka De Zoysa, Sri Lanka ...
"The service was good, but the package was too much expensive for the quality/service/price. The resort doesn't have any beach (and was not told) and half of the island cannot be visited, as a military station is forbidding the entrance (not informed about this)." - Marina Orel, Italy ...
"From the moment that we were received at the airport in Kota Kinabalu until the moment that we left the service was extremely good. The 5 meals a day, that are always fantastic, compliment the diving perfectly. All of the staff were friendly and helpful, from the Dive Masters to the reception staff. As for the diving itself - unfortunately due to the cyclone the conditions were far from perfect, however, the diving was still the best that I have experienced anywhere in the world." - Charlie Turner, United Kingdom ...
"Great service and very friendly people. Saw a lot of life while diving so needless-to-say, very happy!!" - Mark Hillick, Ireland ...
"Layang Layang was very organized and kept the same group together, it was nice to dive with the same people, the diving was great." - Tom and Linda, USA ...
"Staff - couldn't have asked for better - 5 star all around. Everyone was so friendly and helpful without coming across as aggressive." - Bertha Horcasitas, USA ...
"The resort and dive facilities at Layang Layang Island Resort are good. The staff is very friendly! The food is good (and more than enough with 5 meals a day)." - Marije Wolsink, Netherlands ...
"Diving was organized so that even though there were about 60 people on the island, there were never too many people at a dive site or getting ready at the same time. The dive guide we had was great - Jasper. The boats were powered with 2 100 hp engines. We saw schools of hammerheads - mobulas - jacks - barracudas - turtles, best diving and diving organization we have done for a long time now (maybe the best)!" - Stephen & Cindee, Sweden ...
"I was impressed with the variety of activities available at the island. Between dives, I found myself bird watching ... really a treat to the senses." - Patricia Lim, Singapore ...
"The rooms were comfortable, the dives were spectacular, and the island a paradise. What more can I say?" - David Jones, Wales ...
"Overall excellent location and service from staff was very good; friendly, helpful and very good diving even if the hammerheads didn't play ball!" - Philip Amswych, UK ...
"I had a great time at Layang Layang. The diving was epic - schooling hammerheads! Does it get any better here??? The service was excellent and the staff were very knowledgable and safety conscious." - Arianne Ford, Australia ...
"The staff, facilities and equipment were v. good, however the cost of renting equipment was disgustingly high and simply taking advantage of the guests. I have made the same comment to the resort, but really this needs to be communicated by all levels." - David Meade, UK ...
"Nice accomodation such as the dining-room and swimming pool but the rooms need a renovation (bathroom!) and the beach was not cleaned (trash). The food was very good and the staff were very friendly. We found this accomodation very expensive for these kind of rooms. The transfer boats were ok but the dives were very nice. " - Inge Van Stappen, Belgium ...
"Good dive management and staff. Good dive sites. Good boats. No nitrox." - Igor Nefedov, Montenegro ...