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“My Magical Malaysian Island”

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Lankayan Island Dive Resort
Ranked #1 of 32 Hotels in Sandakan
Certificate of Excellence
HK
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“My Magical Malaysian Island”
Reviewed February 12, 2009

After 2 days of KK, we were ready to move on to a pre-booked trip to Lankayan Island for 5 days. I found this offer on the Internet and read some reviews which seems to suggestion Lankayan Island to be a nice, relaxing place that focuses on scuba diving so we booked it up hoping for the best. I was apprehensive as to what was to come since as we loaded this tiny boat for our 1.5hr ride to the island. I look some medicine, cranked up my iPod and sure enough got safely got there in one piece. We were told that there were ONLY 20 cabins on the island. We were taken to our cabin and I could hardly contain my excitement. This place was more like a suite! It was very spacious, lacking a bit in furniture but really, who was going to stay in the cabin when we
were approximately 15 steps away from the Sulu Sea which we could see upon opening our balcony door. It was glorious, to say the least!

Every day, our itinerary included scuba diving three times a day fitting in a hefty meal or two in between. Food included many Malay spreads along with some familiar items to ease the tummy. Quality ranged from average to very good. If you're vegetarian, just let them know and they will prepare something for you.

We explored the island during one of our 'breaks' and found army posts with loaded guns epending this undisputed remote piece of heaven. With such beautiful
scenery surrounding us, it was a bit of a surprise to see some very stern army men with their guns ready to rock n roll. Nevertheless, we took it in strides and enjoyed the very nice summery weather daily. At one point, we noticed clouds circling around the island but none above the island with black clouds over the mainland.

I had never done so much scuba diving in ONE trip that at first, was a bit frightful though quickly adapted and really began enjoying it. The crew was very professional, patient and helpful though the gear was a bit older. On one dive, we saw a huge green turtle foraging on some corals disregarding all of us who were just starring at it for minutes. Another time, we got to see a full grown leopard shark resting on the sea floor. It didn't move or anything but seemed very surreal. The water was murky so our visibility (5-10m) was a bit hindered. There were many Nudi Branches that lit up the sea bed along with rays, lion fishes, puffer fish and many macro sea life.

By the last night of our stay, I had fallen in love with this island and was trying to persuade my other half to extend our stay though with great failure. We headed back to the mainland and where arranged by the resort to checked out Sepilok Orang Utang Sanctuary prior to our evening flight. This is worth a trip to see the orang utans in somewhat of a natural habitat and view them during their lunch time.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank nawkadnalrag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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423 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (70)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Market Harborough, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed October 9, 2008

We have just returned from a tour of Borneo followed by a week on Lankayan Island to recover. Everything about this island was perfect, far better than I could possibly have hoped - especially having never even heard of it before we went there! The bungalow was right on the beach with our own personal sun loungers and hammock. It was spacious, lovely and clean and had absolutely everything you would need. The sea was gorgeous and swimming with juvenile black tip reef sharks was quite surreal. Whilst there my friend completed her advanced divers course which was excellent value for money and she said her dive master 'Mel' was brilliant with her as she is still quite an inexperienced diver.
We also were able to watch a turtle come up from the beach and watch how she dug her hole and laid her eggs. On 2 seperate occasions we released the babies into the sea. I had seen similar on Turtle Island but that was a lot stricter and more of a
tourist circus. This was much different and much more personal.

A special mention must go to the staff at this resort. They have to be the friendliest most genuine people I have ever met in all my travels. We had bags of clothes that were still wet, dirty and smelly from the Borneo trip that one of the ladies took home to wash for us as there was no laundry service. When I went to pay she said this was a gift. Nothing was too much trouble and we both came home feeling that we had made some real friends that we were genuinely sad to leave behind. We would both love to go back but in reality i don't suppose we ever will - the journey home was an absolute nightmare!
Thank you to everyone on Lankayan.

  • Liked — Size and cleanliness, tea coffee and fridge in room. Brilliant location.
  • Disliked — Leaving it!
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank Tior
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bribie island
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed July 18, 2008

What a magic little island. We are a family of 3 (2 50yo+ plus 17yo daughter). I dive and they snorkel. After a nice speedboat ride of about 90mins we arrived at this little piece of paradise. We stayed in chalet No 20 which was the last one at the endof the new chalets that have been built. Very comfortable right on the beach. From our bed we could just watch the crystal clear water outside and feel any work stresses just dissappear.
Food was excellent and plenty of variety and quantity ..make friends with Beth and she will look after you. All the staff are friendly and accomodating.
Great dive set up . Being only an occassional diver they were very helpful and took only a couple of dives to get my sea legs again. The dive masters are very professional and passionate about their job and making sure you get to see anything that may be interesting. My wife and daughter enjoyed the snorkling and just relaxingon the beach.
We normally dont go back to a place a second time but with Lankanyan I think we may have to break our rule.

  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank bribiejeff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Europe
Level 6 Contributor
40 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed July 6, 2008

Arrival
After a boat ride of about 70 minutes you reach an island in the middle of the ocean. Just incredibly beautiful. After a briefing by a crew member and lunch, we went to do a check dive on the house reef. This was a nice check out dive, saw a stingray, seahorse, seacucumber, lionfishes etc. etc.

Chalet and beach
We had chalet nr. 11 on the restaurant side of the island. It was a nice chalet: spacious and provided with a mosquito net. The terrace was also nice and distance from the chalet to the sea was about 10 metres. Lovely beach!

Food
The restaurant serves great food three times a day and also snacks in between. Really good food. Both western style and local cuisine.

Diving
A professional diving centre with friendly staff. Very relaxing diving, not to big groups and you can tell the staff where you would like to go. They will also make sure that you don't go to the same reef twice. And if one of the boats goes to one reef, none of the other boats go to the same reef. So it is always just one boat on your reef. A luxury!
When we were there the visibility was not too good and there would be a current going down (but not on the reef).

Turtles
There is a turtle protection programme on the island with staff looking out for nesting turtles and hatching eggs. One night a turtle came to the island and made a nest. She left 101 eggs. Just incredible to witness. Too bad we did not see hatching.

Other
They have internet access at the island. Mobile phones don't work here.

  • Stayed May 2008
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank I&P-7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
albany
Level 6 Contributor
108 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed May 31, 2008

WOW! Where to start? This place was so beautiful that my husband was in shock for the first day! He couldn't believe he was really in such an amazing place! We loved the chalets being so close to the water - about 10 metres away, and the hammock right outside our chalet! We only spent 3 days here and found it too short. We are only snorklers, yet there are so many places to snorkle, it was hard to know where to start. The staff were simply fantastic and very down to earth. I found this to be the first place in all our travels of Borneo, where the staff interact more with the guests. They are keen to chat and joke and eat their dinners at the same time as the guests. We loved the casual atmosphere - no footwear inside. Most of the time we didnt wear any footwear as everywhere is sand anyway.
We also loved the food. I have read negative comments about the food, but we were delighted with some of the flavours - especially the curries. And there was always enough for us to have a second helping!
The chalets themselves are very basic, but with a traditional feel. Most of our time was spent on the deck or in the water. We loved having an east facing chalet because we had beautiful sea breezes most days.

  • Liked — peacefulness and casual atmosphere
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank cavamebri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
41 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2008

My husband and I are keen divers and have done many Island holidays in the average price bracket, we like our basic creature comforts, but cannot afford exclusive hide-aways....
Layankan was perfectly suited for our needs. Beautiful spacious bangalows near the beach, and, as island catering goes, good food (keep in mind everything has to be carted there) and lovely staff.
Other reviews fill you in more about the lovely island so I just want to add some tips for your stay here.

If you can afford it, book a bugalow rather than a room. We stayed in both. The rooms are not sound proof. But for the low budget traveller who does not mind this, still a good option to choose in order to be able to have a lovely holiday venue. And the views and sunsets from the room balconies are to die for!

If you are going around July, ask for a bungalow on the "jetty" side with a sunset view. Not only for the sunset, but also because prevailing winds blow right into the bungalows on the restaurant side.

We had hot water in the room and in the bungalow

You can ask the staff to do your washing and pay them what you think is fair.

If you have done a lot of diving trips and have seen lots of underwater creatures, this is not the diving destination of your dreams. In July visibility was not too good and sea life dissapointingly limited. it is a macro life environment (which we love) but we saw very little variety and even numbers were low.

If you are a diver we recommend that you rather go to Sipidan Kapalai Water Bungalows- run by the same conservation group as Lankayan- now there is a diving experience of a life time and in stunning accommodation too....(not sited for non-divers at all though)

In summary - a great island holiday venue, but mediocre diving in July.

  • Liked — Amazing sunsut and sea views
  • Disliked — room accommodation not sound proof
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank HoutBayDiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Switzerland
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2008

I can hardly describe this experience in Lankayan, because it was too amazing and unforgettable. Nothing here like roads, swimming pool or many restaurants, but wild nature, white sand, turquoise water, warmly staff, turtles nasting and babies turtles releasing... You are really in paradise on earth, with absolute calm and relax. You feel like Robinson Crusoe, far away from daily life.
My husband and i stayed one week and before arriving i thougt it would be too long : no way, it was so short! The chalet was just at two meters of the sea, not luxurious but comfortable, the restaurant with buffet was great and completely open in front of sea, the food is not gastronomic but very good and various. You have nothing to do but relax, swimming and diving (or snorkeling). We take part in the International Clean Up Day, we were about 30 people to clean the islands above from trashes, it was an great and useful ecological experience.
what can i say more ? Lankayan is certainly one of the last paradises on earth, a place you have to see (and to respect !).
Pascale, Switzerland.

  • Stayed September 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank GreenTurtle_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lankayan Island Dive Resort

Property: Lankayan Island Dive Resort
Address: Lankayan Island, Sandakan, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Sandakan Division > Sandakan
Amenities:
Beach Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 32 Hotels in Sandakan
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Lankayan Island Dive Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A jewel like tiny island in the Sulu Sea, an hour and a half boat rides north of Sandakan; Lankayan has been declared part of an immense Marine Protected Area to adopt the eco-tourism concept. Unpopulated and covered by thick tropical island vegetation on its topside, this peaceful, untouched little bit of paradise is ringed by an endless pure of white sandy beach, offering simply elegant and exquisite accommodation. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Lankayan Island Dive Hotel Sandakan
Lankayan Island Dive Sandakan
Lankayan Island Dive Resort Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia

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