With brilliant, powdery white sandy beaches, the small Sabah island of Lankayan is reminiscent of the Maldives. The beach resort is environmentally conscious, being instrumental in having the surrounding waters protected and declared a national marine park. It's also the only resort on the island, meaning you can unwind and feel at one with nature. Walking along the beach, you can complete a circuit of the island in around 30 minutes. From the moment you step onto the jetty, you will feel the worries of the world drain away.
The island has been steadily growing in reputation and is beginning to emerge from the huge shadow of Sipadan. The highlight of Lankayan diving is from March to May each year, when you have the not-to-be-missed chance to dive with whale sharks. There's also a great jetty dive in very clear water with thousands of glassfish, lionfish and a wreck. At the end of the jetty are some sun loungers where you can go to sit and watch the sun set over this picturesque island.
The shallow reefs are really fantastic for snorkelling. When the tide is up you can watch blacktip sharks swimming around in the shallows along the beach. Unlimited beach diving means you can get to know the marine life around the island very well.
Many describe their time here as like being in a nature documentary, where at night dancing fireflies, swooping fruitbats and turtle hatchlings scurrying to the sea all delight the guests. Add to this the amazing scuba diving and snorkelling sights such as numerous baby black tip sharks, and you can see why you might leave sounding like David Attenborough.
Lankayan is favoured by couples seeking a romantic getaway, and those who want to dive in its unheralded waters away from the hordes. Many guests find it to be a little slice of paradise, awaking each day in their chalet to sights of the islands forested interior or a beautiful expanse of blue ocean. Book this Lankayan dive resort package and you also have a great opportunity to visit the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, close by on the mainland in Sandakan - Sabah.
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Destinations:Lankayan Island (Diving environment: wreck diving, healthy reefs, beginner & advanced divers, off the beaten track; Highlights: whale sharks, turtles, great macro life/marine diversity).
No diving on day of departure.
Resort diving includes:
Dives (as detailed in the packages above), unlimited self-guided shore and night dives in front of scuba centre, boat rides to sites, experienced English-speaking divemaster (maximum 10 divers per DM), tanks, weights and weightbelts, drinking water, soft drinks, hot drinks, snacks. Diving excludes (mandatory, unless customer provides own):
Scuba equipment (approx. US$ 38 per day). Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival. Optional extras:
Extra boat dives, scuba computer, dive insurance. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival.
Resort accommodation includes:
Bed, breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinking water, soft drinks, hot drinks, snacks, return resort transfers from Sandakan airport. Accommodation excludes (mandatory):
6% sales tax on accommodation and diving package prices above (payable in advance). Malaysian tourism accommodation tax - MYR 10 per room per night (approx US$ 2). To be paid in cash at the resort. Lankayan conservation fees (approx. US$ 7 per person per night, payable in advance). Single supplement on single travellers only, payable in advance. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival (cash or credit card). Single Supplement:
This is a compulsory additional charge on single travellers for the sole occupancy of double/twin accommodation. Optional extras:
Alcoholic drinks, internet access. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival.
How to get there:
Kota Kinabalu International Airport is the main gateway to Pulau Lankayan and there are direct flights to and from Bangkok, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Taiwan, Kaoshiung, Singapore, Philippines, Kuala Lumpur and Brunei.
If you are arriving from Kota Kinabalu then there are daily 50 minute flights from both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 departing to Sandakan at 07:10, 11:30 and 13:20 (with return flights at 08:35, 10:55, 18:10) with Malaysia Airlines, and 07:05 and 13:20 (returning at 08:10 and 14:35) with Air Asia.
If you plan to arrive from Sipadan then there is only 1 flight per day from Tawau to Sandakan, a 40 minute flight at 11:15 am (returns 10:15). There are also daily direct flights from Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia departing at 06:25, 13:35 and 16:55 (returning at 09:40, 16:50 and 20:10 respectively).
Guests are collected at the airport and taken to the jetty at Sandakan for registration before being transferred to the island. The boat transfer is daily and takes between 1 hour 30 minutes and 2 hours. To get the 10:00 am transfer on the same day, you need to take one of the earlier flights, otherwise you can stay overnight in Sandakan and get a transfer the next morning. The once-daily boat transfer from Lankayan departs at 07:00 am. Guests are recommended not to book flights departing before 11:00 am. Flight information changes frequently. You are responsible for booking the correct flights.
Dive clubs and group discounts:
Groups of 9 guests or more - 1 extra person can join free of charge.
Due to the dangers of flying after diving, guests often incorporate a visit to the orangutan sanctuary in Sepilok, which is conveniently located near Sandakan and close to Pulau Lankayan. If this is your only planned visit to Malaysian Borneo then we strongly recommend that you consider a 2 night add-on package at the Sepilok Nature Resort, a jungle lodge next to the sanctuary, to allow you to witness these not-to-be-missed jungle adventures with orang-utans.
Here you can see rehabilitated orangutans coming in from the open jungle to feed on bananas distributed by their human former carers. More orangutans, proboscis monkeys, macaques, elephants, crocodiles and more await you deeper in the jungle, and a few hours river cruise can take you there. With such a list of possible sightings, it is a little like scuba diving but without getting wet!
Sitting snugly in this dream location is this delightful beach resort constructed mostly of wood and consisting of 23 stilted beach chalets and 9 water chalets. Many of the beach chalets are directly on the waterfront while others are set further into the little virgin rainforest that covers most of the island. The water chalets are set directly over the sea. The chalets at Lankayan Island Dive Resort are spacious, air-conditioned, with en-suite facilities and tastefully furnished with local arts and crafts. You can enjoy sunset drinks on the privacy of your own balcony or by getting to know other guests at the resort bar.
All Lankayan dive packages include 3 boat dives per day and unlimited beach dives. Night dives are free of charge with your own buddy. There are over 32 dive sites, and all the reefs and wrecks can be reached in just a few minutes by boat from the jetty.
Dive boats feature:
Monohull speed boats
Maximum 15 persons
Steel entry and exit ladders
Dive guides are provided on all day trips as well as refreshments.
'Open Water Diver' and 'Advanced Open Water Diver' PADI courses are available, and, if you've never tried scuba before - Discover Scuba Diving.
Covered by thick tropical island vegetation on its topside, this peaceful, untouched little piece of paradise is ringed by an endless pure white sandy beach and nearby coral reefs that are ideal for diving. Baby sharks swim in the shallows, turtles will pop their heads up in the water perhaps planning to come ashore to lay eggs and turtle hatchlings scurry down the beach for their first swim in the sea.
Lankayan is a small island, fully covered with tropical vegetation, featuring tall casuarina trees and pandan screwpine. There is little in the way of organised fun, but that is Lankayan's charm. The pace of life can be a slow here as you wish to make it and non-diving partners seeking a lovely island break can enjoy the nature and seclusion while their diving partner is below the surface.
Guests staying at Lankayan have the choice of swapping 1 day - 1 night of their diving package with a visit to Sepilok Nature Resort and a tour of a Sabah rehabilitation centre for orang-utans plus a guided night walk through the Kabili Sepilok Forest to listen to the jungle 'orchestra' and spot animals (OR a guided bird watching walk).
Then there's a complimentary Sandakan City Tour (town, water village and Chinese temple).
Resort facilities: Restaurant & bar - satellite TV room - rental ocean kayaks - snorkelling - table tennis - beach volleyball - pool table - dart board - board games - international telephone & fax service - internet access incl. for personal laptops - babysitting - gift shop
Being part of a fully protected conservation area and not having suffered human occupation for long, the island and beaches are pristine and the waters clean and clear.
Location: Lankayan Island, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia
The nearest chamber treatment facility to Lankayan for diving injuries is at Semporna. Semporna is 200 km from Lankayan and reachable only with air transport. We therefore strongly urge you to take out appropriate scuba insurance, and bring policy details with you. See our insurance programme for a competitive quotation.
The resort provides 1 divemaster for every 10 divers. Each dive boat carries a small tank of emergency breathing oxygen and there is a further supply back at the resort.
The nearest medical facility is on the Borneo mainland at Sandakan.
For your own personal valuables the resort provides safety deposit boxes, free of charge, in the resort's reception.
As a counter-terrorism measure, there are 12 armed Malaysian military personnel stationed on the island.
"The staff were absolutely wonderful, I had the difficult task of changing flights while I was there and they were endlessly patient and helpful every step of the way. The dive shop staff were incredible, they have unbelievable eyes for macro and I saw the most amazing macro things I have ever seen thanks to them as well as some great big stuff like the leopard shark and giant groupers. They were kind and lovely and helped us do the sunset dive every evening and took unbelievable care of me when I put my elbow on a scorpionfish! I was in tears when I left the island. What a paradise." - Bronwyn MacRitchie, South Africa, 16 August 2014 ...
"Staff and facilities were very good. We read reports about slapdash dive operations at Lankayan but as experienced divers we couldn't really see too many problems. Gear a bit old and battered about, but that is always to be expected. Lankayan was indeed a paradise." - Anne Quaid, New Zealand, 24 June 2014 ...
"Service has been excellent, kind and very friendly staff, very good equipment (beside the wet suits, but this has not been a problem), everything right in time ready for diving, good instructions and briefing, comfortable dive boats. The dive base was perfect organized. We appreciated the small groups (max. 10 persons per boat with always 2 dive masters, only 1 boat per dive site, very relaxed diving, easy to get out and in the boat, excellent if you are not that experienced in diving. Only short boat rides not more than 10-15 minutes, 3 dives a day was great.
Lankayan resort is a very good place to relax and no-divers will have a lot of opportunities for snorkelling. So it's a good place for a family with divers and no-divers. Chalets are nice, next to the beach, friendly staff and excellent food. Recommendation: Excellent for everybody who likes easy diving, maximum 25m, small groups, no anchor only with bouy, no gloves allowed (good for the environment and marine life). Possibility to watch turtles (nesting and hatchery), good place for non-diver to relax without been bored." - Martina Fleckenstein, Germany, 22 July 2011 ...
"Very nice accomodation on a very clean and lovely island! The food and staff were both very good. The maintenance of diving equipment was very good! The staff are cleaning every equipment for the divers very profound. The dives very nice, especially for macro although visibility was less than we expected. Security was not so good since they allow divers to dive without computer." - Inge Van Stappen, Belgium, 2 July 2011 ...
"Island and resort were unspoilt, peaceful, clean and very beautiful. Accommodation was comfortable, food was good. Could improve with a few more activities (non motorised). Staff were very friendly and motivated. Hire equipment was good." - Susan Fretten, Australia, 6 May 2011 ...
"Everyone was excellent - from the people who picked us up from the airport, the divemasters and all the resort staff. Great service and we felt very welcome ... it was all just so easy for us - no problems just relaxing and very enjoyable." - Carl Shuetrim, Australia, 20 October 2010 ...
"Transfer to the resort without any problems. The facilities and accommodation were immaculate, well organised. All staff friendly and always poised to help. Nice and interesting food; the only downside that they run out with ice cream by the end of our stay (probably due to our extreme consumption. :)) Equipment: there wasn't my size of BCD available (XS) which didn't surprise me but would have been good to have the right one; regulators would need a bit more maintenance in my opinion. Overall it was all working well and there was enough equipment to swap when faulty." - Katerina Sakarova, Czech Republic, 11 October 2010 ...
"The staff were amazing and incredibly friendly. From the moment we stepped off the boat, they greeted us at made us feel at home. They were keen to alert us when the baby turtles were hatching and when a mature green turtle came on shore to leg her eggs. The dive staff was magnificent and made each dive memorable and safe. Nothing escapes their eagle eyes!" - Aimee Tapia, USA, 16 July 2010 ...
"The resort at Lankayan Island was really beautiful with good facilities, good food and very nice service. The diving was ok but I was expecting a bit more after all the reviews. We saw turtles and sting rays but mostly macro life amongst the corals. The hire equipment was pretty old and due for replacement." - Barry Bishop, Australia, 31 May 2010 ...
"Dive staff were exceptional, thorough, professional but a lot of fun at the same time. We could not have asked for more from the dive staff at Lankayan, they were so friendly, helpful and knowledgeable and nothing was too much trouble." - Glenn Zanoni, Australia, 9 March 2010 ...
"Equipment was good, staff very friendly and helpful. The service was above expectations. Diving in general was pleasant experience." - Olga Kozmiruk, Russia, 2 March 2010 ...
"Very good service there, it's expensive but it's worth the stay. We have to do nothing, not even hook up the bottles, as everything is provided for, and very well organized and on time for maximum enjoyment. It's very calm and the facilities are nicely made, very modern. We enjoyed the all-inclusiveness and privacy of the island." - Benoit Strat, France, 1 March 2010 ...
"Quick, efficient and friendly service. The equipment was also of good quality and the divemaster took the time to clearly explain the dives beforehand and to show us the wild-life whilst diving." - Christine Lavigne, Canada, 22 February 2010 ...
"Facilities best I ever saw so far. Clean!! Smart (on top of water, well ventilated), hard-working staff and very very friendly." - Susan Leong, Finland, 30 December 2009 ...
"Everything from the amazing location, the great food, and the friendly and funny staff was just great. We really did have the best time and would love to return in the future." - Lori Trujillo, USA, 22 January 2009 ...
"Dive masters extremely knowledgeable and very eager to assist, remainder of trip well organized." - Gavin van Popering, South Africa, 9 December 2008 ...
"Beautiful location and good diving in Lankayan, very close to the resort with great variety of marine life, including nestling turtles during the night." - Ger & Marleen Steenbergen, Netherlands, 4 November 2008 ...