Layang-Layang, meaning “Swallows Reef”, is one of the 600 Spratly Islands (whose ownership is hotly contested by countries including Malaysia, Philippines, China, Taiwan and Vietnam!) and is situated 300km north of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia in the South China Sea. Layang-Layang is an uninhabited oceanic atoll made up of 13 linked virgin coral reefs that have never been fished and the remoteness of the atoll keeps it unpolluted. The extreme position of the Layang-Layang atoll with its 2000km deep walls attracts pelagics as well as macro creatures making it one of the healthiest dive sites in Sabah.
The 2000km drop-off walls at Layang-Layang are covered with hard and soft corals, gorgonian fans and barrel sponges which are often visited by the elusive scalloped hammerhead sharks, grey reef sharks, leopard sharks, resident schools of barracuda, big-eye trevally and turtles. Stingrays, including the manta, pygmy devil, marbled and eagle are regularly spotted. . Layang Layang plays host to many of the more elusive pelagics, with sightings of whale shark, orcas, thresher and silver tip sharks over recent years. The 20m deep lagoon has a myriad of macro creatures to be found including seahorses, cuttlefish and pipefish, however it is the pelagics visiting the outer walls that truly excite divers. The visibility at Layang-Layang is known to exceed 40m, coupled with its diversity of marine life it makes Layang-Layang a gem in the South China Sea not to be missed.
The creatures of the deep blue sea are not the only treasures of offer on Layang Layang. It is also a predator free bird sanctuary. With a varied species of birds coming here to nest and visit the island. These include the Black-napped tern, Great crested tern, Sooty tern, Brown foot booby, Lesser frigate bird, Pacific golden plover, Plumed and Pacific-reef egrets and Ruddy tern to name but a few. T During the right time of the year, hundreds of birds can be seen providing outstanding observation and photographic opportunities for the bird watching enthusiast.
The Layang-Layang Island Resort is the only place to stay on the island and operates between March and August. The Resort consists of 76 superior rooms as well as 10 deluxe rooms, all of which are air-conditioned. The Layang-Layang Resort is home to the Raba Raba House which offers reflexology and massages. If the lagoon isn’t enough, they have a beautiful swimming pool in which you can cool down or simply lie beside and read or daydream about your next dive.
Experience Level: Intermediate-Advanced