Layang Layang Diving Holidays
Layang Layang Travel Information
The island sits in one of the most hotly contested pieces of real estate in the world - it serves primarily as Malaysia's claim to ownership of this section of the Spratlys i.e. those which are closest to her land area.
The Malaysian Navy has had a naval base here since the early 1980s and a resort has operated on the island for a number of years. Previously, the only access for the scuba diving enthusiast to dive in Layang Layang was via Malaysia liveaboards but these no longer operate here.
Layang-Layang lies in 2,000 metres of ocean and due partly to the depth, this atoll has become famous for sightings of hammerhead sharks and large pelagic species and for wall diving over undisturbed reefs. The naval base has also had an important indirect contribution to the quality of scuba diving in the area in that it has protected the island from the more destructive fishing practices witnessed elsewhere in the region.
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How to Get There
Layang Layang is a 1 hour flight north of Sabah's capital Kota Kinabalu. There is only 1 resort on the island, the aptly named "Layang Layang Island Resort", and your package to stay there requires the return flight from Kota Kinabalu. You'll need to check with us for flight availability as the aircraft are small and there are not flights every day. The current schedule has flights from Kota Kinabalu to Layang Layang at 06:40 hrs, with return flights at 08:00 hrs.
Please note that there is a 20 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, and should you have extra non-essential baggage storage can be arranged for you on the mainland.
Located within the equatorial belt, Layang Layang has an equatorial climate. It is closed to tourists from September to February each year because of the heavy monsoon rains which fall on it. Temperatures range from 28°C to 32°C. Although an equatorial climate comes with fairly high humidity, the cool sea breezes make staying on the island very comfortable. The dive resorts opens only from March - August to be sure of diving only in the best weather.
Sightseeing and Adventure
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.
Once your Layang Layang scuba diving holiday is complete you will return to Kota Kinabalu and here you have all the tourist attractions of Borneo at your disposal.
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.
Dining Out & Nightlife
Most visitors don't come to Layang Layang for the nightlife. Discuss the day's new dive log book entries with your dive buddies at the resort bar, or put your feet up on a waterside sun lounger and watch the sunset with a suitable sundowner.
Layang Layang's History
Layang Layang Island is one of the many islands which form part of the disputed archipelago known as the Spratlys. With its oil rich natural reserves, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia have all tried to lay claim to this island.
Malaysia staked her decisive claim here by building a naval base on the island in the 1980s, ensuring that any other countries hoping to govern it will have an uphill struggle before they can do so.
The Local People
Prior to the construction of the naval base in the 1980s, the population was limited to the birds on the island. Since the setting up of the base and the island's sole resort, the population on the island has also included human beings. No numbers are available for the population base on the island as all information relating to the military in Malaysia is considered top secret. However, all island inhabitants these days are Malaysian and originate from the peninsula or from Sabah and Sarawak.
If you're keen to discover the hammerhead sharks of Layang Layang, then click below to check your options now for:
Be sure to book in plenty of time to avoid limited choice! The best diving opportunities are booked by repeat customers who book well in advance to ensure their reservation!
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