Diving in Lankayan
Wrecks and Reefs in Borneo
Lankayan Island may not promise the heart-stopping action of high profile neighbours Sipadan or Layang Layang but if you seek a little slice of paradise on a remote tropical resort island with plenty of easy diving over pristine reefs, this could be the place for you.
It is one of the few destinations worldwide that offers macro diving, wrecks and coral reefs - a concoction any dive addict would find hard to pass up. The area was recently afforded national marine park protection status and for good reason. This is one of those destinations where in April and May a mighty whale shark may well cruise by. And during hatching season you can witness one of nature's most fascinating spectacles - baby turtles scurrying out to sea for their first swim.
During the rest of the year the island offers everything that is good about Lankayan diving - plenty of wrecks housing numerous octopus and cuttlefish, and some excellent macro opportunities including frogfish and ghostpipefish. snorkelling is quite thrilling too, with squadrons of black-tip reef sharks patrolling the shallows.
Jawfish Lair - A colourful mosaic of healthy hard corals, and lots of activity from small marine creatures including mimic octopus and nudibranchs by the dozen, are what's in store for you here. But the most novel feature of the site are the yellow jawfish that reside here. These little lovelies are readily identifiable by the profusion of offspring delicately lodged in their protective mouths.
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How to Dive Lankayan
Lankayan Island Dive Resort is the only resort on the island and no liveaboards visit the area. This means that from your beachfront chalet you have an unrestricted view of the vast blue seas and you have acres of empty beach perfect for a romantic stroll or a naughty late night/early morning skinny dip!
Special local rates apply here for Malaysians, Singaporeans and expatriates living in those countries with work permits.
Got a question?
Have a look through our Frequently asked questions
The resort never closes because conditions are relatively stable and good for diving throughout the year. For those with whale sharks on their mind try to come during the months of April and May to increase your chances. Although far from guaranteed, this is the mostly likely time for them to appear.
Underwater turtle encounters are year-round but you also have the chance to witness hatchlings being released into the sea particularly from June to September. Many of the other creatures of interest here are present all year round, such as giant clams, jawfish and baby blacktip reef sharks.
Visibility is usually very good here. However, after heavy rains outflow from the rivers on the main island of Borneo can cause a reduction. The rainy season in northern Borneo is approximately December to March. In recent years the rainy season in Sabah has not been particularly wet nor the dry season particularly dry.
Surface conditions and currents are usually calm and gentle making the diving easy and the boat rides a breeze, but occasionally currents can kick up a little and the sea's surface can become a little choppy.
Good for: Wrecks, small animals, underwater photography and beginner divers
Not so good for: Non-diving activities
Depth: 5 - 30m
Visibility: 3 - 25m
Surface conditions: Calm
Water temperature: 26-30°C
Experience level: Beginner - advanced
Number of dive sites: >40
Distance: ~50 km (1½-2 hours) north east of Sandakan
Access: Dive resort
Recommended length of stay: 5 - 7 days
Dive Site Descriptions
For further information and details on the Lankayan dive sites:
• Lankayan Island travel information
View a map of:
• Sabah - Borneo - Malay Peninsula
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