Scuba Diving Layang Layang

Layang-Layang is well-known as “The Jewel of the Borneo Banks” and it has created for itself a serene lagoon which abounds with natural world.

The world famous and beguiling experience with schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks in its surrounding waters is the largest draw card for this island. Oftentimes, disregarded by divers due to their enthusiasm to entrap spectacle of the sharks, is the other oceanic life on exhibition. The diversity and coral vigor at Layang laying is simply splendid. Tourists can take pleasure in unequaled scuba diving as well as benefit from the beautiful sights and sounds of the shielded bird park on the island.

Layang Layang is a coral atoll of 14 square kilometres in diameter, jutting out to about 2,000 metres from the depths of the South China Sea. In 1985, the Malaysian Federal Government began reclamation works and created a 50-acre island on a part of the reef. Since then, what was previously known as ‘Terumbu Layang Layang’ or ‘Swallow’s Reef’ is now Layang Layang Island.

There have been 13 coral reefs produced here, forming a compelling undersea panorama. Diving is the apex of island of Layang-Layang’s stunning experience – anticipate a holiday like no other on this secluded coral islet.

The world famous and beguiling experience with schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks in its surrounding waters is the largest draw card for this island. Oftentimes, disregarded by divers due to their enthusiasm to entrap spectacle of the sharks, is the other oceanic life on exhibition. The diversity and coral vigor at Layang laying is simply splendid. Tourists can take pleasure in unequaled scuba diving as well as benefit from the beautiful sights and sounds of the shielded bird park on the island.

LAYANG LAYANG DIVE SITES

Layang Layang is the ideal dive destination with warm crystal clear waters rich in both pelagic and macro diving. The ring of reefs form a calm lagoon within the center of the atoll but outside adventure looms. The coral walls plunge down to the sea floor 2000 metres below as barracuda, hawksbill turtles, manta rays, and tuna swim in the nearby open ocean. Rich in marine life the most sought after creature here is the hammerhead sharks which are found in abundance during the April-May mating season.

Dogtooth Lair: Named after the dog-tooth tuna often found cruising off the reef here, this site offers the best in pelagics and colorful reef fish. A gently sloping sand bank that quickly plunges to the seabed 2000 meters below, this site offers a wall covered in yellow gorgonians surrounded by angelfish, batfish, and colorful parrotfish. Barracuda can be found out in the blue. At the drop-off, large sun-fish have been seen. And look out for the hammer-head sharks as this is part of their cruising area.

D’Wall: Hit this site at the right time of the year and you’ll see schools of hammerhead sharks cruising pastD’Wall is a sheer, vertical, straight-down, free-fall an amazing piece of nature. The drop-off starts in 1m of water and then presto! on is falling into 2,000m of water. The wall plummets to the depths so mind your buoyancy and depth control of a max of 40m. Grey reef sharks also call this site home as do many reef fish. The wall at this site is very steep and for the will actually overhang above you for the majority of the dive. Swim down 40 meters to find a shelf covered in huge barrel sponges as well as coral fans in shades of red, blue, and purple. Rare black coral bushes can be found in a small triangular cove at 25 meters down, surrounded by trevallies and groupers. Nearby are orange gorgonians hiding pygmy seahorses and giant frogfish. This large dive site has so much to see it may take several dives to cover it all.

Sharks Cave: One the island’s more famous dive sites this one is known for its hammerhead sharks, grey reef sharks, manta rays, and eagle rays. A shallow cave about 30 meters down is home to several white tip reef sharks with giant trevally and dog-tooth tuna guarding the entrance way. Beautiful purple fans and sponges cover the ledges of this dive with triggerfish, squirrelfish, and parrotfish swimming overhead.

Gorgonian Forest:  This one of the main areas for the hammer-head sharks, but its most beautiful feature is the dense forest-like formation of gorgonian sea fans that line the drop-off wall. Schooling fish large and small are abundant here and the hard corals are spectacular. Sponges of fantastic proportions grow along the walls and the sea whips spear the blue. Amongst all these plentiful growth, charge the horse-eye jacks in their thousands, swimming along side tuna, surgeon fish, fusilier and grey-reef sharks. If you’re lucky, you’ll also catch schooling hammer-heads here.

The Tunnel: South of the island this dive site turns the diver’s attention away from pelagics and back to the reef. Table corals, staghorn, plate, mushroom, and brain corals cover this dive with their beautiful colors, a hard coral-lovers dream. The coral colonies form vertical stacks that divers can search for morays, lobsters, and small shrimps or crabs. Mantis shrimp, sea urchings, parrotfish, and pufferfish also call this site home.

Wreck Point: Of the wreck that was once here all that remains are a few scraps of metal. Instead, this site is covered in a beautiful coral garden of soft and hard corals. Squirrelfish, goatfish, and hogfish are prominent. You may also see barracuda, trevallies, and white tip reef sharks. This dive site is also an enjoyable snorkel. In the shallows we have hard coral gardens awash with an abundance of small, beautiful tropical reef fish.

Navigator Lane: This is a magnificient dive with an abundance of healthy corals, sea fans, whips and fantastic hard coral formations so dense that you cannot put your hands down! The dive is one of spectacular colour and breathtaking beauty. The corals are awesome and theres fish life of every size and description. The hammer-heads are also seen here to regular basis and in great numbers.

The Valley: A flat dive site with a gentle slope The Valley may not have interesting geography but it is home to a rich array of marine life. Turtles nestle along the slope surrounded by schools of groupers, sweetlips, and snapper. Nudibranchs and small crustaceans can be found nestled among the coral overhangs and on the edge of the reef you may see a few hammerheads. Trigger fish have their nests here so mind your manners!

Wreck Point: Of the wreck that was once here all that remains are a few scraps of metal. Instead, this site is covered in a beautiful coral garden of soft and hard corals. Squirrelfish, goatfish, and hogfish are prominent. You may also see barracuda, trevallies, and white tip reef sharks. Wreck point is also an interesting night dive in the shallow caverns and cull-de-sacs. A huge humphead parrot hish sleeps in the shallow drop-off.

Wrasse strip: One of the most eye-opening coral dives in the world. Hard and soft corals are on display in full technicolour and unique formations. There are large coral bommies with small caverns and overhangs that are home to batfish, sweet lips and soldier fish.
Trigger fish lurk in this area so keep an eye out for the Titan Trigger. Turtles are seen regularly as well as schools of surgeons, jacks, barracuda, and if you are lucky, a small school of manta rays. Hammer-heads are also regulars here in their hundreds and compacted groups.

DIVE INFORMATION

Dive Season – From March through October and close for the monsoon season during the rest of the year. The only resort on the island is open throughout the dry season. Keep in mind though that the hammerhead mating season is in April and May.

Visibility –  The visibility is usually very good at 20 – 40 metres.

Water Temperature – around 30 degrees C.

Currents – Mostly Gentle. 

Weather – Between mid-October and the end of March the climate at the eastern side of the peninsula is affected by the rainy season or monsoon season. Weather usually is very rough in these months

Skill Level – Intermediate – advanced

Featured Creatures – Each dive will give you opportunity to see large creatures such as sharks, turtles and manta rays – maybe even the elusive hammerhead shark. A vast array of intact, unbleached hard and soft corals, barrel sponges, gorgonian fans, schools of large fish and the usual array of colourful little fish are easy to see on each dive.

Access: There is only one dive resort in Layang Layang, Avillion Layang Layang:  www.avillionlayanglayang.com

How to get there: With a distance over 300km from the nearest city (Kota Kinabalu), it is clear that flying – from Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KBI) – is your best option to get to Layang Layang. This flight costs around $320 per person (including taxes). The flight to Layang Layang departs from terminal 1 at Kota Kinabalu Airport (BKI); you need to be at the terminal at least 1,5 hours before departure. There is an LLIR BKI office at the airport should you have any questions.

The resort would prefer guests to reconfirm their flight when they arrive in Kota Kinabalu. Baggage allowance is 30kg per person (including hand luggage). There are numerous daily flights from cities throughout Malaysia to Kota Kinabalu; every domestic airline flies to KB. After a one hour flight you will arrive at one of the most beautiful diving areas in Malaysia.

GENERAL INFORMATION

CLIMATE:  The country experiences tropical weather year-round. Temperatures range from 21ºC (70ºF) to 32ºC (90ºF).   November thru February is the rainy season on the east coast, but is considered an ideal time for visiting the west coast, which remains dry during those months.

LANGUAGE: While Malay is the national language the many ethnic groups also converse in their various languages and dialects, but English is also widely spoken.

ELECTRICITY:  Voltage is 220 – 240 Volt AC at 50 cycles per second. Malaysia uses standard 3-pin square plugs and sockets.

TIME ZONE: Malaysia is 8 hours ahead of G.M.T., which is 13 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. No daylight savings time is practiced.

CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: The monetary unit of the country is Ringgit Malaysia and is written as RM or MYR.   Notes are available in RM1, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50, and RM100 denominations, while coins are issued in 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen (cents) denominations.  Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks and money changers.

GRATUITIES: Tipping is not customary in Malaysia, though tips are always appreciated. A 10 % service charge is often added to restaurant and hotel bills, so you do not need to tip above the service charge. Taxi and rickshaw drivers are very appreciative of a small tip.

PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: Local calls can be made from public phones using coins or prepaid card. International calls can also be made using phone cards or at any Telekom office.   Malaysia has several mobile telephone providers, and coverage around the country is strong. Check with your provider on international roaming rates, and what plans may be available. Broadband internet is available in most hotels, and in Internet Cafes around the country.

VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS:  Visitors to Malaysia must hold a valid passport or travel document with a minimum validity of six months beyond the intended visiting period. Most nationalities do not require visas for social or business visits. Immigration and customs checkpoints are situated at all air, sea, road and rail entry points.

DEPARTURE TAX: NO departure tax.

CUSTOMS:  Free import as follow:
– 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 225 grammes of tobacco;
– max. 1 litre of wine, spirits or malt liquor;
– max. 100 matches;
– cosmetics, perfumery, soaps and dentrifices in open containers to a total max. value of MYR 200.-;
– max. 3 pieces of new wearing apparel;
– one pair of new footwear;
– one unit of each portable electrical or battery operated appliance for personal care and hygiene;
– a total max. of MYR 75.- of dutiable food preparations;
– gifts and souvenirs up to a total value of max. MYR 200.- (except goods from Langkawi and Labuan, up to a total value of max. MYR 500.-).

The trafficking of illegal drugs is a serious offence in Malaysia and the penalty for such an offence is death.

USEFUL INFORMATION

Malaysian Immigration Department

Malaysia Tourism Information

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