Lankayan is a tiny jewel-shaped and
virtually uninhabited island covered by thick tropical jungle surrounded by
smooth, white sand, is the perfect getaway for beach lovers, divers and
Located on the northeastern coast of Sabah in the Sulu Sea, Layan Island is
part of the Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA) and is surrounded
blue-green waters and coral reefs, it is also one of Sabah's top diving spots.
as one of the best spots for whale shark sighting. The location of the whale
shark is usually indicated by flocks of seabirds screeching high above the
placid surface. With luck, divers and snorkellers may get close to this gentle
giant, although it may decide to swim away after a few minutes.
During the day you can witness black-tip sharks swimming about by the beach.
The island is also a nesting site for green and hawksbill turtles. At night,
hawksbill and green turtles may be spotted coming to shore. You can watch as
the baby turtles are released back into the sea.
the remoteness, the island has all the amenities of a tropical resort.
Visitors stay in bungalows, made out of local wooden materials to blend into
the natural surroundings. Indeed, Lankayan is not only for discerning divers
but for anyone who appreciates the tranquility of a paradise island that
offers beautiful sunrise, spectacular sunsets and magnificent seascapes
Diving & Marine Life
In all, there are about 40 dive sites, generally shallow to medium depths and
three totally different wrecks all of which are fare within 10-20 minutes from
the pier. These offer magnificent displays of marine life ranging from giant
groupers to tiny ribbon eels. Enormous whale sharks are regularly sighted
between March and May. Lankayan Island is indeed a true macroworld paradise.
Large stretches of beautiful hard and soft corals belonging to numerous genera
are preserved, including colourful juvenile fishes. It is possible that some
of the species found here are as yet unidentified. Pelagic also abound here,
from large schools of scads to yellow-tail barracudas and jacks. The many
schools of medium to large humphead parrotfish are always exciting to
encounter. Sometimes, the diver is lucky enough to meet large rays, guitarfish
and even manatees.
For those more inclined towards the smaller denizens of the reefs, there are
numerous juvenile fishes, clown anemone fishes, decorator and spider crabs,
coral shrimps, nudibranchs and prawn gobies. Divers are sure to appreciate the
remaining large stretches of unspoilt lettuce and staghorn and other hard
corals, the many varieties of soft corals, feather stars, sponges, sea fans
etc. The many different types of anemones and their different partners, the
clown anemone fish, shrimp and porcelain crabs are a sight.
The "Lankayan Wreck" was an ocean going fish poaching vessel, appropriately
demised in the area of its illegal activities. It is now the base for numerous
fish, from small cardinals and yellow pikes to large groupers, cobias and
emperors. A very impressive site and at only 23 meters. Look for the ornate
ghost pipefish here.
The "Mosquito Wreck" was originally part of the Mosquito plane fleet
maintained by the Japanese during the Second World War. The wreck has some
great items of interest including an intact bow gun and part of its original
cargo. Fish life is prolific. It lies at a depth of 15-25 metres.
The "Pier Wreck" is an artificial reef created by a small fishing boat
deliberately placed out in front of the pier.
The transfer to Lankayan is by speedboat departing from the Sandakan Yacht
Club and takes about an hour and a half.
Marine Conservation Area
We wish to advise that with effect from 15th October, 2003, the State
Government of Sabah, Malaysia under the Sabah Wildlife Department has
appointed REEF GUARDIAN Sdn. Bhd., an associated company of Pulau Sipadan
Resort & Tours Sdn Bhd as the ' Conservator ' of SIMCA (Sugud Islands Marine
Conservation Area) a marine conservation area comprising the islands of
Lankayan, Billean and Tegaipil and most of the surrounding seas and reefs,
covering an area of over 36,000 hectares.
SIMCA is proposed as a Category II MPA which prohibits any form of resource
harvesting including fishing and collection of live specimens. SIMCA will be
totally protected and programmes to rehabilitate and clean up the environment
will be undertaken by Reef Guardian.
As demonstrated in many other locations, well managed marine ecotourism
effectively contributes to the protection and preservation of marine reserves
where fish biomass flourish in extraordinary numbers while the reefs are able
to regenerate and bloom.
Being a Cat II MPA, the State Government imposes an entry fee on all visitors,
at the rate of RM 30.00 (US$8) per adult, RM 15.00 (US$4) below 18 years. Reef
Guardian, being the MPA Management Company, charges a fee of RM 20.00
(US$5.50) per visitor per night stay. This fee goes directly towards funding
all the Management and Conservation programmes to be carried out in SIMCA.
Basically, it means that the SIMCA visitor directly contributes towards the
Conservation and Management of the MPA, something to be considered very
meaningful and innovative, where a resource is exploited in a sustainable way
and in a manner conducive to its long term recovery and protection.