5 Reasons Not to Underrate Lankayan Island


Sky view of Lankayan Island | Source : Lankayan Island Resort

If you’re a diving enthusiast, you seriously need to check out the underrated Lankayan Island! It’s as beautiful as the nearby Sipadan and Turtle Island, but sadly people aren’t giving it the attention it deserves, and not many divers even know about this breathtaking, beautiful island.

Located in the Sulu Sea, Lankayan Island is a small tropical coral resort accessible from Sandakan, and travellers will need to take a one and a half hour boat ride to get there. An ideal destination for tranquil seeker, this virgin and untouched paradise offers a diving experience that’s out of this world.


White-sandy beach | Source : Peter Wong Photography

1.White-sandy Beach

Soon as you approach this divers’ heaven, your eyes will feast on the white-sandy beach and the clear blue tide surrounding island. Spruced up with simple-wooden chaise longue (French for long chair) along with a 23 seafront chalet, you will definitely enjoy the nature scene at its finest.


Baby Black Tip sharks in Lankayan Island | Source : Dive the World


Shark whale | Source : Asia Diving Vacation

2.Macro-marine Paradise

Diving here will be a great experience for guests as the island has been labelled as a macro-marine life paradise. Various marine life can be seen such as Ghost Pipe fish, Lion fish, Baby Black Tip sharks and many more. Not to mention shark whale sightings during March to May, so plan your trip wisely if you want to experience Lankayan Island at its best, alright?


Wrecks found near Lankayan Island diving area | Source : Lankayan Dive Sites


Wrecks found near Lankayan Island diving area | Source : Lankayan Dive Sites

3.Lankayan Wrecks

Apart from marine life, wrecks can also be found around the diving area. The wrecks have become a safe retreat and houses various marine life in them such as ghost pipe fish, mackerels, cardinal, yellow sea perch, huge bump head parrot fish and barracudas. Lankayan wrecks is one of the popular diving station in Lankayan Island with a shallow diving depth varying from 15 m to 25 m. There are two wrecks lying at approximately 24 m deep and the visibility is fair, ranging from 3 m  to 15 m. There is usually no current but the surface condition can be rough and you may only get to hover around for about 40 minutes due to decompression limits, so keep in mind to stay close with your guide and cherish every moment you get to spend down there!


Male Jawfish incubating its eggs | Source : Kevin Bryant

4.Jawfish lair

Dive into the deep blue as the guides take you to the famous Jawfish lair where you’ll get the chance to spot the cute yet most responsible fish you’ve ever seen. Did you know that the male Jawfish is the one that will take care of its eggs in their mouth? Not to mention that the fish will not eat until all of the eggs have hatched. Go Jawfish dad!


Green turtle hatch-lings released to the sea | Source : Lankayan Dive Resort

5.Nesting Ground for Turtles

Another interesting fact about Lankayan is that the island is one of the places where turtles (mostly Green and Hawksbill Turtle) nests. The eggs are carefully counted and brought to a fence of turtle hatchery. Upon hatching, the turtles are counted again and released to the sea. Guests will get the chance to see turtles nesting as well as hatch-ling of baby turtles released to the sea especially in season during June to September. You can either request to be woken up or contacted if the turtle hatching occurs during your stay in Lankayan.


Source : Patrick Meier Photography

Lankayan Island has been declared as a part of the Sugud Island Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA) in 2003 along with Tegaipil and Billean to prevent any harvesting of the island’s resources and exploiting the richness of the tropical island. Thumbs up for the state government of Sabah in keeping our seascape safe!

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