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Also take a look at: Sipadan | Mabul | Layang Layang | Liveaboard
- Jewel of the Borneo Banks.
- Most spectacular hard and soft corals in the world.
- Outer atoll fringes plummet to 2,000m.
- Macro life haven and photographer's paradise.
- Wallpaper of Scalloped Hammerheads.

Layang Layang Diving, Malaysia: An Introduction

malaysiaBorneo is a remote island of Eastern Malaysia, just south of the Equator in the South China Sea, brought to the surface through the volcanic activity of the vast Malay Belt millions of years ago. The island was largely introduced to the diving world by Jacques Cousteau, who was amazed at the sheer 2,000m walls and the vast diversity of marine life, which he learnt of in the 1970's. Over 3,000 species have been recorded within this area of the South China Sea and many more either have not yet been named or are unrecorded. The islands themselves are lush with rainforest and fringed with an edge of white sand, coral reefs and blue seas. The rainforest is one of the oldest forests in the world and is home to many species including the Orang Utan, Borneo's 'Man of the Forest', and jungle trekking is an excursion enjoyed by all who visit the islands. For the more adventurous Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak of SE Asia at 4,100m, can be climbed.

190 miles off the north coast of Sabah in Borneo lies the 'Jewel of the Borneo Banks' Layang Layang Island. This remote coral atoll, a linked chain of 13 coral reefs, is a diving haven with staggering plunging walls and waters teeming with life due to the seas being nutrient rich because of the combined currents that converge around these islands. Venturing below the surface of the sparkling blue water you'll be met with an average visibility of 50m and will find a unique dive destination that is still largely unexplored. The dramatic underwater topography of this atoll, combined with its remote location, accounts for the abundant marine life and pristine condition. Large shoals of pelagics, including massive numbers of barracuda, jacks and hammerhead sharks frequent these waters. The reefs and walls are home to some of the most spectacular displays of hard and soft corals throughout the world and harbour many species yet to be identified.

divingThe most prolific dive sites are located at the outer fringes of the atoll where the reef plummets to 2,000m, the reef crest is usually at a depth of between 5 and 10m allowing for a large section of reef to be explored within safe diving limits. At D-Wall the reef crest is a beautiful and pristine coral garden that has an abundant array of reef life. Brightly coloured tropical reef fish forage amongst the coral and at deeper depths along the wall Emperor Angelfish, bannerfish and groupers steadily progress up and down the reef. Looking out into the open water large schools of barracuda, jacks and fusiliers can be seen and the occasional sighting of the magnificent Manta Ray can be encountered.

For the keen underwater photographer one of the best sites is Wrasse Strip and Valley. Here the reef crest lies at a constant depth of 10 - 15m and is a haven for macro life, the hard and soft corals form a forest that is teeming with bannerfish, pipefish and butterfly fish in every colour imaginable. The beautiful Moorish Idols and Emperor Fish all live in harmony, feeding off the coral that is continuously being enriched by the nutritious waters. In being a shallow reef there is always plenty of light allowing for the true colours of these fish to be reflected in photographs.

Both Dog Tooth Lair and Gorgonian Forest are the most likely sites for witnessing huge schools of Scalloped Hammerheads, occasionally so many that the sea has been described as looking like 'Hammerhead Wallpaper'. The reef drops steeply here to open water and the currents can be stronger, bringing in more fish for the hammerheads to feed off. Whilst diving shallower levels at Gorgonian Forest, given its name due to the abundance of gorgonian corals interspersed with whirls of whip coral, try to spot a lone hammerhead or Leopard Shark resting on the reef which they are often seen doing.

Currents can be strong around Layang Layang and dives are often drift dives for the more experienced. Scalloped Hammerheads can be seen year round though more consistently throughout April and May.


Accommodation at Layang Layang, Malaysia: Dive Resort

Layang layang Island Resort

layang island resortCONTENTS OF PACKAGE
- Accommodation at Layang Layang.
- 5 meals a day.
- 3 boat dives a day.
- Use of tanks, weights and weight belt.


padi dive centreRESORT FACILITIES
-86 rooms/suites with air-conditioning; private shower; TV; refrigerator; telephone and private verandah.
- Swimming pool, kayak, windsurfer.

- Restaurant serving Asian & Continental cuisine.
- TV lounge & souvenir shop
- Bar serving exotic cocktails and refreshing soft drinks.


Our recommended Stopover hotel before Layang Layang, Malaysia

Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort sits amidst 25 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens at the edge of the South China Sea in the East Malaysian State of Sabah. Its lush tropical setting is just outside Sabah's sprawling capital of Kota Kinabalu, seated in the surrounding shadow of Southeast Asia's highest mountain, Mount Kinabalu.

Tanjung Aru Resort offers beautifully appointed rooms designed to reflect the laidback and tranquil lifestyle of Sabah. All rooms have private balconies offering panoramic views of the gardens, ocean and outlying islands. The 500 appointed rooms have all been designed using natural timber, bamboo and indigenous fabrics, offering guests a feeling of natural luxury.

There are a host of amenities and recreational activities at Tanjung Aru Resort to keep guests entertained at all times. Activities include tennis, cycling, golf and most water sports imaginable from the private beach, for the more relaxing activities there is a complete health spa where aromatherapy and massage treatments can be enjoyed from professional staff.

For dining there are a multitude of restaurants and bars to choose from, Western and Asian food can be enjoyed from the Garden Terrace, Cantonese from Shang Palace, Italian from Peppino's, Sabahan and Seafood cooked to perfection at Pulau Baya or an amazing mix of snacks from the 2 bars. Tanjung Aru Resort is a paradise of luxury amidst a beautiful setting, it is the perfect stopover on route to any of Malaysia's or Indonesia's incredible dive destinations, enhancing a holiday that will truly be unforgettable.

Dive Centre Layang Layang Island Resort

- PADI dive centre headed by certified instructors with a team of qualified dive masters.
- Our fleet of dive boats taking you to the dive sites within 10 to 30 minutes.
- Rental equipment includes BCDs, regulators, fins, masks, snorkels and flashlights.
- PADI dive courses are conducted regularly.

The dive operation is a certified PADI dive centre headed by qualified instructors with vast experience in running professional dive operations. A team of 6 dive masters/ instructors who had logged hundreds of dives in Layang Layang will assist with the daily scheduled dive trips.

Equipment in the dive centre include 10 Catamaran boats that bring the divers to the sites within 10-30 minutes, 300 80cu.ft. aluminium tanks, Bauer KAP180 compressors, 20 sets of BCDs and regulators (mix of Scuba Pro & Apollo), lots of fins, masks, booties, weights and belts. All divers must agree to the strict Environmental Conservation Programme set-up by the Dive Centre and are required to sign a Reef Conservation Policy prior to diving. PADI dive courses up to Dive master level are conducted. 

With an average visibility of 30 to 50 metres, you can be assured of an amazing scuba diving experience here. The sea floor, right off the edge of the isle drops down to 2000 metres. Venturing below the surface of the sparkling blue, one will discover nature's most fascinating architecture as well as habitats of luxuriant and vibrant colours. Largely unexplored, much of Layang Layang has never been seen before. The reefs here harbour many new life forms, species yet to be identified, yet to be named. Fishes of every kind of colour darting in and out of delicate pastel corals are a common sight in this underwater playground. Armed with the spirit of exploration, many divers from all over the world have discovered this jewel in the blue wilderness. It is no wonder why Layang Layang is placed at the top of their lists for the best diving spot.

Programme for Layang Layang  
0700 Morning snack
0830 1st dive
0930 Breakfast
1130 2nd dive
1300 Lunch
1500 3rd dive
1700 Afternoon Snacks
1930 Dinner
Prices for Layang Layang  March to August 2014
Rates in GBP Diver Non-Diver
6D5N Package
Extra Night

Peak period: 1 April to 11 May 2014 Surcharge: Add 10 percent of package price. Prices stated above include 6 days (5 nights accommodation) at the Layang Layang Island Resort, internal flights from Kota Kinabalu to Layang Layang Island, Full Board accommodation with 5 meals per day and 3 boat dives a day; 2 dives on arrival day, 3 dives on subsequent days and 1 dive on day before departure. Single Divers and Non Divers who do not mind sharing with others can avoid paying single supplement rate, (subject to resort occupancy).

Prices stated above do not include International flights, (we will quote the best fare available at the time of your enquiry), or equipment hire other than air tanks and weights.




4* hotels used for this trip.

Accommodation at Layang Layang, 5 meals a day, 3 boat dives a day, use of tanks, weights and weight belt, internal flights and transfers. Shangri-La hotel before Layang Layang is extra.

3 dives a day off a boat. Equipment hire and lessons additional.

Diver prices start from £1195 for 5 nights (includes everything stated above). International Flights are an additional cost.


Located within the equatorial belt, Layang Layang has an equatorial climate.

It is closed to tourists from November to January each year because of the heavy monsoon rains which fall on it. Temperatures range from 28°C to 32°C.

Although an equatorial climate comes with fairly high humidity, the cool sea breezes make staying on the island very comfortable.

Malaysia Airlines B747 non-stop to Kuala Lumpur
Depart Heathrow/Manchester daily AM / PM
Heathrow/Manchester daily AM / PM
Flight time to Kota Kinabalu approx 15 hours
Economy Class Seat pitch 34 inches
Domestic connections to Layang Layang & Tawau for Sipadan & Mabul after stopover night.

A passport is required for entry into Malaysia and Indonesia.  It needs to be valid for 6 months beyond your travel dates.

A visa is required for entry into Indonesia and can be acquired upon arrival in Indonesia at a fee.

Layang Layang

Layang Layang is an atoll 14 sq. km. in diameter jutting 2000 metres from the Ocean depths. In 1985, the Malaysian Federal Government began reclamation works and created a 50-acre island on one part of the reef. Thus, what is ardently known to East Malaysians as "Terumbu Layang Layang" or "Swallow's Reef" has now become Layang Layang Island.

Diving in Layang Layang is challenging and varied - visitors often enthuse about both the above-water and underwater beauty of the area.

The fact that it's situated by deep waters gives rise to some outstanding wall diving and encounters with pelagic species such as hammerhead sharks which gather here to perform their mating rituals. You may also encounter a whale shark or two.

The extraordinary coral gardens of these virgin reefs surrounding Layang Layang has never been fished or experienced any kind of pollution. The visibility in these waters often exceed 50 m. In fact, the extraordinary visibility and exciting variety of marine life can sometimes be misleading - watch your depth and no-decompression times!

Diving Season

You can dive Layang Layang from March to August, with April and May being the best time for seeing schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks performing mating rituals. The resort closes September to February.

Reef Basics
Great for: Large animals, wall diving, drift dives and visibility

Not so great for: Beginner divers, snorkelling and non-diving activities

Depth: 5 - >40m

Visibility: 20 - 50m

Currents: Can be strong

Surface Conditions: Calm

Water Temperature: 26 - 30°C

Experience Level: Intermediate - advanced

Number of dive sites: 12

Access: Layang Layang diving resort

Recommended length of stay: 5 - 8 days. This section courtesy of www.dive-the-world.com


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