Not far from the city of Sandakan, eastern Sabah, lies the island of Lankayan. Lankayan is a small but beautiful tropical island in the Sulu Sea. The island is very popular among scuba diving enthusiasts and is often visited to get some well deserved rest after having done one of the activities on Borneo. The area around Lankayan is an official protected marine park; this was done to preserve the rich eco-tourism value. Unfortunately this doesn't stop fishermen from illegal fishing in the waters around (below) Lankayan. There is only one resort on the island, Lankayan Island Dive Resort, and because of this prices are not that cheap compared to other tropical islands in Malaysia. Between June and September turtles come to shore to lay their eggs. During the same season visitors can witness baby turtle hatchlings that find their way into the sea. Most common turtles that can be found around Lankayan are the Green Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle. So many turtles live in this area that even people who only do snorkeling are able to spot them underwater.
Lankayan is the television definition of paradise - a tiny palm-topped island with pristine white sand beaches, offering seclusion, peace and quiet and spectacular diving.
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Map of Lankayan Island
Below you can see a map of Lankayan Island.
How to get to Lankayan Island
As Lankayan lies nearby the city of Sandakan in eastern Sabah; you will first have to take a plane from Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu (or any other city that flies to Sandakan) to Sandakan. The boat ride to Lankayan Island takes about one and a half hour from Sandakan. As the boat leaves very early in the morning; it is best to stay in Sandakan the night before. The boat ride is always part of your reservation at Lankayan Island Dive Resort; your reservation also includes a pickup from your hotel or resort (in Sandakan).
Diving at Lankayan Island
Lankayan Island is a macrobiotic paradise. Under water you can see large stretches of beautiful hard and soft corals, including many colorful fishes. Pelagics can also often be sighted, from large schools of scads to yellowtail barracudas, jacks and humphead parrotfish. If you come at the right time, usually between March and May, the area around Lankayan is one of the best to spot the giant whale shark. There is one dive school on Lankayan Island (where you can also get your PADI). They offer scuba diving trips to over 40 dive sites. The most popular dive site is at the 'Lankayan Wreck'; an illegal fishing vessel that sunk to the bottom (23mtr).