The intriguing island of Layang Layang is a coral-blessed, deep sea atoll off the coast of Sabah, Malaysia with a kaleidescopic underwater world like no other.
Layang Layang known as “Swallow’s Reef” has gained the reputation as one of the Malaysia’s premier dive destination after the world-famous Sipadan Island. Layang Layang is an oceanic atoll of the Spratly Islands administered by Malaysia which is situated approximately 300 km northwest of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
The marine life here enjoy total isolation from human encroachment. Its pristine walls with outstanding underwater visibility of an average of 20-40 metres all year round bears testimonial to its heritage. Layang Layang is a wall diving mecca.
One of Layang Layang ‘s famous resident is the Hammerhead sharks. They school in large numbers between March and July, mesmerising divers with their form and gracefulness through the water. Not less spectacular are the occasional appearances of dolphins and a turtle or two swimming gracefully around you. And it’s not surprising to find yourself being surrounded by schools of Jacks.
Another major attraction of diving in Layang Layang is the feeling of frontier diving and you could see almost anything. Every dive brings some new surprises – whether it’s a dogtooth or a fantastic forest of gorgonian fans. The exceptionally clear water has promoted superb coral growth, and the craggy walls are a mass of soft coral and sponges.
Layang Layang has also generated some excitement in recent years with the numerous appearances of short-finned pilot whales. Measuring about seven metres in length, with bulbous forehead, these whales are docile and usually feed squid and schooling fish. Pilot whales are normally found in groups of ten or even hundreds, providing a spectacle unrivalled by any other diving experience.
As many as 13 coral reefs have formed here, creating breathtaking underwater scenery. Diving is the pinnacle of Layang Layang’s beautiful experience – expect a vacation like no other on this isolated atoll.
The underwater wonder has some competition above water – countless migratory birds seek refuge within Layang Layang huge lagoon. Here, swallows, egrets, brown foot boobies, crested terns and other feathered creatures find a resting place on a predator-free breeding ground after long journeys.
Layang Layang Island is renowned for its amazing scuba diving opportunities, and this is the only real reason for visiting the island. For the non-divers, there is not a lot to see on the island unless you are an avid bird watcher and/or snorkeller.
The Best Experiences to do in Layang Layang
- Dive with Hammerhead sharks
- Go birdwatching – migratory birds seek refuge within Layang Layang huge lagoon
The nearest International access point is Kota Kinabalu airport, Sabah, Malaysia.
Regular flights are operated by a private airline from Kota Kinabalu Terminal 1 Airport to Layang Layang. Flights will land at a 1400 metres runway on Layang Layang Island.
Flight schedule (subject to change):
Every Tuesday, Friday & Sunday (subject to change)
DEP 05.45 – ARR 06.45 Kota Kinabalu to Layang
DEP 07.15 – ARR 08.15 Layang Layang Island to Kota Kinabalu
The flight to Layang Layang is operated by a light aircraft which may be delayed or cancelled due to bad weather, so it’s advisable to stay one night in Kota Kinabalu before / after the the trip to Layang Layang.
Layang Layang Resort is closed to tourists from November to February each year due to heavy monsoon rains. The best time to go to Layang Layang is during the Hammerhead season which runs from April to May.
What to expect: Hammer sharks, whale sharks, wall dives and reef life.
Top 10 Marine life: 1. Hammerhead Sharks, 2. Manta Rays, 3.Eagle Rays, 4.Sting Rays, 5. White/Black Tip Sharks, 6.Schools of Trevally/Jack, 7.Barracudas, 8.Bumphead Parrot Fish, 9.Pigmy Seahorses, 10. Dolphins
Average Visibility: 20 – 40 metres
Average water temperature: 25 – 30 °C
Depth: 5 – 40 metres
Must dive: Dog Thooth Lair and Gorgonian Forest
Avillion Layang Layang Resort
On this coral-blessed atoll rising from the deep blue of 2,000m lies a modest but complete resort – the Avillion Layang Layang. Designed and built along the concept of a traditional long house, the resort boasts of a unique local stay experience enveloped in modern comforts and convenience. With only the resort on the island, Avillion Layang Layang offers a truly unprecedented “One Island One Dive Resort” exclusive experience.
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