Lankayan Island is located in the Sulu Sea north west of Sandakan on the north east coast of Sabah. This small paradise island with stretches of white sandy beaches, swaying Casuarina pines and beautiful sunsets is another island with only one dive resort, Lankayan Island Dive Resort. The award winning resort was built in 1997 and since then tourists have slowly been discovering the serenity and tranquility of this remote peace of paradise.
Lankayan offers a fantastic variety of macro marine life, and a muck-diving arena that rivals both Mabul and Kapalai Island. However, with new protection from local fishermen, the larger marine creatures such as leopard sharks, marbled stingray and giant grouper have returned to the surrounding reefs. Schools of humphead parrotfish, yellowtail barracuda and scads also appear at many dive sites, and if you are really lucky you encounter whale sharks – the ‘dream date’ of each diver. Their migration takes them to the shores of this island every year between March and May.
Among the 40 dive sites is the ‘Lankayan Wreck’, an oceangoing fish poaching vessel that was demised in the area of its illegal activities. This wreck now hosts many different species of fish from small glassfish, harlequin ghost pipefish and painted frogfish to giant grouper and marbled stingrays.
Many rare subjects can be found on many other dive sites including seahorses, flying gurnards, flamboyant cuttlefish, jawfish, dragonets and sand divers. Having Pulau Selingaan home to Sabah’s Turtle Sanctuary nearby it is not a surprise to also see the occasional hawksbill or green turtle on one of your dives. There is only resort on the island and is wholly managed by ‘Pulau Sipadan Resort & Tours Sdn Bhd’.