Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 August, 2018 11:16:45 PM

ISLANDS OF BORNEO > Sabah Islands > Lakayan Island


Lakayan Island

(Lankayan Island)

a new diving frontier in the Sulu Sea

 a Robinson-Island in Sabah / Borneo

Lankayan Island Dive Resort

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A small tropical coral resort island in the Sulu Sea, 15 km from Sandakan

Lankayan Island from just off shore

Lankayan Island has many species of attractive flora and fauna.

[The only resort on the island, Lankayan Island Dive Resort, was built in 1997

Divers are attracted by myriad macro marine life, coral and sunken wrecks. Lankayan Island is known for its whale shark sightings.

The fauna that inhabit the waters of the island include scads, yellow tail barracudas, and jacks.

Other fauna include blacktip sharks, giant clams, claw anemone fishes, decorator and spider crabs, coral shrimps, nudibranchs, prawn gobies, seahorses, ghost pipefish, flying gurnards, parrotfishes, rays and guitarfish.

 The indigenous plants include casuarina trees and pandan screwpine.

Green and hawksbill sea turtles make this island a key nesting spot in the Salu Sea.

The turtles are banded by the local marine preserve staff, the eggs are retrieved and counted, and then reburied in a fenced off nursery area to prevent poaching and predation, and to assist in documenting turtle productivity. After hatching, the live birth count is recorded and then the young turtles are safely released to sea.

On 13 October 2003, Lankayan Island was declared part of the Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA). As part of SIMCA, all resource harvesting (fishing etc.) will be prohibited by the state government of Sabah, Malaysia.

One of Sabah's many jewels is none other than Pulau Lankayan (Lankayan Island). An hour and a half boat ride's north of Sandakan, Lankayan is one of the hottest diving spots in Sabah. Lankayan Island is located in the Sulu Sea north west of Sandakan on the north east coast of Sabah. This small paradise island, with stretches of white sandy beaches, swaying casuarina pines and beautiful sunsets is another island with only one dive resort, Lankayan Island Dive Resort. The resort was built in 1997 and since then tourists have slowly been discovering the serenity and tranquility of this remote peace of paradise. Lankayan offers a fantastic variety of macro marine life, a muck-diving arena that rivals both Mabul and Kapalai Island.

However, with new protection from local fishermen, the larger marine creatures such as leopard sharks, marbled stingray and giant grouper have returned to the surrounding reefs. Schools of hump head parrotfish, yellowtail barracuda and scads also appear at many dive sites.

Among the 40 dive sites is 'Lankayan Wreck', an ocean going fish poaching vessel that demised in the area of its illegal activities. This wreck now hosts many different species of fish from small glassfish, harlequin ghost pipefish, painted frogfish to giant grouper and marbled stingrays.

Many rare subjects can be found on many other sites including seahorses, flying gurnards, flamboyant cuttlefish. Jaw fish, dragonets and sand divers. Having Pulau Selingan, home to Sabah's Turtle Sanctuary nearby, it is not a surprise to also see the occasional hawksbill or green turtle on one of your dives.

Uncrowned and covered by thick tropical island vegetation on its topside, this peaceful paradise is ringed by pure white sandy beaches and the sparkling blue-green waters of the sea. Visitors can stay in the island's comfortable wooden chalets, offering amazing views of green canopies, blue waters and sandy white beaches. For divers, a dive in the surrounding waters of Lankayan will always be unforgettable. Pelagics abound here, from large schools of scads, yellow tail barracuda, jacks and many more. The many schools of medium to large hump head par-rot fish are always an exciting encounter. Sometimes, divers have the

good fortune of bumping' into large rays, guitarfish and even dugongs.

Non-divers can enjoy snorkeling along the reef or kayaking around the island during a beautiful sunset. If rest and relaxation are on your itinerary, settle into a hammock by the beach and enjoy the ocean breeze. Whether you are exploring its underwater treasures or enjoying the feel of soft, warm sand beneath your bare feet, Lankayan promises you an all-round amazing island experience. Be sure to find your way there the next time you are in Sandakan!

For more information, please contact Pulau Sipadan Resort & Tours Sdn. Bhd. At 089-765200, fax 089-763575/763563 or e-mail Visit the website at

A jewel- like tiny island in the Sulu Sea and hour and a half boat ride's north of Sandakan, Lakayan is soon to be declared part of an immense Marine Protected Area. Unpopulated and covered by think tropical island vegetation on its topside, this peaceful, untouched title bit of paradise is ringed by an endless pure white sandy beach, offering simply elegant and exquisite accommodation in a handful of wooden, roomy and perfectly appointed seafront double-occupancy chalets.

Meals are informally served at the central open building, which boasts at amazingly beautiful open-air wooden terrace, the ideal spot for after dinner relaxation and chatting, all the while admiring the dozens of juvenile blacktip sharks swimming leisurely a few feet beneath.

While the ideal destination for who search tranquility and relaxation in a virgin natural setting and for families with children, Lakayan Island is also one of the hottest diving destination on the map today: its dive sites - all just a few minutes away - boast unbelievably colorful macro fauna, fascinating wrecks and, in season from March to May, regular sightings of gigantic and harmless whale sharks, the "dream date " of every diver in the world.

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