Layang Layang Island is fondly known as “The Jewel of the Borneo Banks”. Situated 300 kilometres northwest of Kota Kinabalu in the South China Sea, this small artificially enhanced island is one of the many islands belonging to the disputed Spratly Islands archipelago.
The coral-blessed, deep-sea atoll of Layang Layang rises 2,000 metres from the ocean’s depths, barely breaking its surface. As many as 13 coral reefs have formed here, creating some breathtaking underwater scenery. Diving is the pinnacle of a stay on Layang Layang.
Layang Layang is known for the opportunity to dive with schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks which congregate in the area to perform their mating rituals between March to May. The deepwater around the atoll provides some excellent wall diving, exciting pelagic encounters and incredible visibility.
Located on the island is the modest Layang Layang Island Resort and dive facility which is open during the year from 01 February to 31 July (based on 2020 opening dates and subject to change).
There is also a bird sanctuary, a small Malaysian Naval base and 1,400-metre runway on the island.
Layang Layang has a tropical climate and no real ‘dry season’, with approximately 2528mm of rainfall annually. The temperature stays pretty consistent all through the year. Expect daytime temperatures of 31.5°C, dropping to 23°C overnight.
Wet Season – November to April
Expect high daily temperatures and high humidity due to the amount of moisture in the air. The wet season has an average monthly rainfall of 243mm, with November, December, and April being the months with the highest rainfall.
‘Dry’ Season – May to October
Average daily temperatures remain the same as the wet season; however, you can expect the humidity to ease off as the average monthly rainfall drops slightly to 202mm. June and July are the driest months of the year with 156mm of rain.
Layang Layang is a wall diving mecca. These biodiverse walls of life are fed by nutrient-rich waters from the South China Sea. The combination of deep water, pristine walls and coral gardens ensures you’ll see varied marine life from pelagics to colourful tropical fish, anemones and nudibranchs.
The area is remote and unpopulated; subsequently, the visibility is excellent and ranges from 30 to 60 metres year-round.
A highlight of diving at Layang Layang is the possibility of seeing the schooling scalloped hammerhead sharks which perform their mating rituals in these waters between March to May. Manta rays are often found here, as well as schools of jacks, giant trevally, tuna, triggerfish and baitfish.
Scuba diving is the core activity at this resort which has comprehensive diving facilities and programmes. Up to three boat dives a day are offered (2 dives on arrival day, 3 dives on subsequent days and 1 dive on the day before departure). A fleet of dive boats will get you to various dive sites within 10 to 30 minutes.
Water temperature is consistently around 27°C to 29°C – 3mm wetsuit.
Dense forest-like formations of gorgonian sea fans line the drop-off wall. It is one of the main areas to see hammerhead sharks. Schooling fish are abundant, and hard corals are spectacular. Amongst the plentiful growth of sponges and sea whips on the wall, horse-eye jacks in their thousands swim alongside tuna, surgeonfish, fusilier and grey-reef sharks. Sweet-lips will let you get up close, making for fantastic photo opportunities, and giant groupers hang out along the wall.
This dive has everything you could wish for - from large to small of both fish and corals. Turtles, schools of fusiliers and surgeonfish swim by while swirling horse-eye jacks swarm the reef. There are overhangs and ledges to be explored. Stingrays sleep next to white-tip reef sharks. Large sun-fish and hammerheads have been spotted here over the drop-off.
D'Wall is a sheer vertical drop, and utterly jaw-dropping. The drop-off starts in 1 metre of water then plummets to 2,000 metres. The wall face is adorned with life and colour. Schools of surgeons and jacks cascade down the face of the wall like a waterfall. Sea whips and sea fans defy gravity, while silver and baitfish dart and dive about. Many sharks cruise this area - white tips, grey-reef, and hammerhead sharks. Majestic manta rays glide gracefully up the wall", with Majestic manta rays glide gracefully up the wall whilst white tips, grey-reef, and hammerhead sharks cruise by."
Drift down the face of the drop off to a sand ledge where you'll find several Leopard sharks resting. Finning past sea fans, whips, and coral formations, you'll see tuna and reef sharks glide in close. You'll then find yourself in front of Shark's Cave. Small white tips huddle together at the back of this tranquil cavern. Once out of the cave you'll make your way along another majestic portion of the wall.
Wrasse Strip is one of the most eye-opening coral dives in the world. Hard and soft corals are on display in full technicolour and unique formations, some so intricate that they resemble an English horticultural show. The fish each have a little kingdom of coral that they seem to stand guard over. There are large coral bommies with small caverns and overhang home to batfish, sweet lips and soldierfish. Keep an eye out for the Titan Triggerfish. Turtles and schools of surgeons, jacks, barracuda are regularly seen. If you're lucky, you may find a small school of manta rays. Hammerheads are also regulars here in their hundreds and compacted groups.
We do not recommend Layang Layang for non-divers as diving is the core activity here. However there are opportunities to participate in snorkelling trips, windsurfing for qualified windsurfers, kayaking and swimming.
Visit the Bird Island Sanctuary where countless migratory birds seek refuge within the huge lagoon - swallows, egrets, brown footed boobies, crested terns and other feathered friends come to rest at this breeding ground.
Start your Dive Adventure here!
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Pay balance 60 to 90 Days prior to travel*
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*Time period is a guide only, subject to change according to your specific booking.