Lankayan Island is located in the Sulu Sea, an hour and a half boat ride north of Sandakan, on the north east coast of Sabah. The small jewel-like island with stretches of white sandy beaches, swaying casuarina pines and beautiful sunsets has been declared part of an immense Marine Protected Area.
Lankayan is unpopulated with only one resort, Lankayan Island Dive Resort built in 1997, and covered by thick tropical island vegetation surrounded by endless pure white sandy beaches. You can circumnavigate the island in about 30 minutes.
The island is a nesting and foraging ground for most commonly the Green and Hawksbill turtles. From June to September, guests can watch the baby turtles hatch and make their way to the sea.
There are direct flights from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Tawau to Sandakan.
From Sandakan it is a 35 minute road transfer by minibus to the Sandakan PSR Jetty (next to Sandakan Town Post Office), followed by a 105 minute boat ride to Lankayan Island.
Boat Schedules (effective 1 April 2018 and subject to change)
Fixed boat departure times:
Depart Sandakan PSR Jetty to LANKAYAN Island – 10:00 am daily
Depart LANKAYAN Island to Sandakan PSR Jetty – 07:00 am daily
Flight Timing Guide
Arrival :Latest flight to arrive Sandakan is by 09:00 am for same day transfer to the resort to meet the boat to Lankayan at 10:00 am. The earliest flight to Sandakan arrives from Kota Kinabalu.
Departure: Any flight from 11:00 am onwards connects with the 07:00 am boat departure from Lankayan.
Despite its remoteness, the resort offers most of the amenities of a tropical resort.
Meals are informally served at the central open building, which boasts a large open-air timber terrace - an ideal spot to relax with a drink and discuss the days diving. Alternatively, enjoy the panoramic view from the sunset bar. A TV room is available to view the day’s videos or other footage captured during the day’s dive. Film, batteries, toiletries and souvenirs are sold at the over-the-counter shop in the central building.
The Dive Centre is located at the end of the jetty.
Lankayan Island offers simple but elegant accommodation for a small number of guests in 23 wooden, spacious, well appointed seafront chalets.
The chalets are made out of local timbers and materials to blend into the natural surroundings. All chalets offer air conditioning, mosquito nets, en-suite bathroom with bath and hot water, coffee and tea making facilities, mini refrigerator, fresh water from the mainland, 220 V and 110 V power and a private balcony with sea views and direct access to the beach.
Fresh buffet meals (breakfast / lunch / dinner), afternoon snacks, tea/coffee, cold water and cordial are included in the tariff.
Water sport gear and equipment for diving, snorkeling and ocean kayaking activities can be rented at the dive centre.
There is good snorkelling around the island and guests can watch active baby blacktip sharks swimming in the shallow water by the beach as well as turtles nesting and hatching in season.
We recommend adding a stay at Sepilok Nature Resort after your dive holiday at Lankayan Island to see the Orang utan and Sun Bear Rehabilitation Centres as well as a trip to Labuk Bay to see the Proboscis Monkeys or a river stay on the Kinabatangan River to see more of Borneo’s captivating wildlife.
Valid from 1st April 2019 - 31st March 2020
(Prices are subjected to change without prior notice)
Package rates in (Malaysian Ringgit) MYR per person
Lankayan Island’s dive sites, all just a few minutes away, boast unbelievably colourful macro fauna, a variety of larger marine creatures, fascinating wrecks and, in season from March to May, regular sightings of gigantic whale sharks, the "dream date" of every diver in the world.
Schools of parrotfish, yellowtail barracuda, humphead parrotfish and scads appear at many of the dive sites and are always exciting to encounter. Sometimes, divers are lucky enough to encounter large rays, guitarfish and even manatees. Sabah’s Turtle Sanctuary, Pulau Seligan is nearby so it is not unusual to see the occasional green turtle or hawksbill on a dive.
For those more inclined towards the smaller creatures of the reefs, there are numerous juvenile fishes, clown anemone fishes, decorator and spider crabs, coral shrimps, nudibranchs, prawn gobies and rarer subjects as jawfish, ornate ghost pipefish and frogfish.
An illegal fish poaching vessel that demised In the area. The wreck is located 2 km (8 minutes) from Lankyan Island Jetty and it's a host to a variety of species, including small glassfish, harlequin ghost pipefish and painted frogfish. Other rare subjects to be found include seahorses, jawfish, dragonets, flying gurnards, flamboyant cuttlefish and also the seasonal whalesharks. Depth: 15 - 23m.
This area has recently been declared a National Marine Park. Robust staghorn coral, fine table coral, bush coral, maze coral, lobed pore coral covered with Christmas tree worms, mushroom coral, these are just a few of the colourful hard coral varieties fused together to create the perfect home for all manner of critters at Jawfish Lair. Apart from macro creatures such as nudibranchs, ghost pipefish, frogfish, cuttlefish, and devil scorpionfish, divers can spot stingrays in the sand and resting leopard sharks, that frequent many of Lankayan's diving sites. Depth: 15 - 25m.
This site is an artificial reef, made from the wreck of a small fishing boat, located right in front of the resort’s jetty. Within minutes of descending into the waters, divers can spot a school of batfish and sometimes a school of jacks as well. The wreck itself it home to a couple of frogfish. Other life on board is groupers, blue spotted stingrays, cuttlefish, scorpionfish, ghost pipefish and anemonefish. Also considered a good location for night diving, nocturnal visits will bring you up against more frogfish and other reef life. Depth: 15 - 20m
One of Lankayan Island's three wreck diving sites. The ship was once part of the Mosquito Fleet maintained by the Japanese during World War Two. The wreck itself has some great items of interest - from the bow gun, which still remains intact to other bits and pieces of its original cargo. As for fish life, around the surrounding waters you might come across schools of jacks and barracuda, with the occasional manta ray or even whale shark. Depth: 15 - 25m