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Sandakan ~ Lankayan Island

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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 snorkellers alike.

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.

Known 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.

Despite 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.

Getting There
The transfer to Lankayan is by speedboat departing from the Sandakan Yacht Club and takes about an hour and a half.

Sugud Islands 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.







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[Sandakan - Sights & Visits] [Sandakan - Other Places] [Lankayan Island] [Orang Utan & Proboscis Sanctuaries] [Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary] [Turtle Islands Park]

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