Located 15km off the coast of Sabah, Malaysia this small tropical island is an untouched slice of paradise hosting thick island vegetation, white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. The conservation efforts put in place on this island help maintain the pristine conditions of the coral reefs and its marine life which really make this area a mecca for divers. Lankayan also receives an annual visit from whale sharks, making the surrounding waters their home between March and May.


While Lankayan is an ideal spot for those looking to relax and rejuvenate, it is also fast becoming one of the most world renowned diving destinations. This underwater paradise boasts extremely colourful macro life including hard and soft coral and juvenile fish alongside an abundance of marine life including barracudas, jacks and medium to large hump head parrotfish. Situated in the ‘Sea Turtle Corridor’, it also means the waters are a nesting place for sea turtles, mainly the Green and Hawksbill Turtle. If you are after wrecks, there are three different wrecks to be explored.

Dive Sites

Mosquito Wreck
This wreck was once a ship belonging to Japan’s World War II Mosquito fleet. It is now home to numerous fish including jacks and barracuda and if you look out into the open ocean you may even see a manta ray or whale shark. Although plenty of fish have made this wreck home, you will also have a chance to take in the history of the boat itself, with the bow gun and other parts of the ship still intact.

Jawfish Lair
This dive site is named after a small fish with a big mouth. The yellow jawfish can be found here poking out of the sandy seafloor. Rays and leopard sharks can also be found resting in the sand plus a wide variety of hard corals nudibranchs, frogfish and cuttlefish can be seen in the shallower area of the dive.

Twin City
This dive site hosts two small reefs that are separated by a narrow strip of sand. Among the black coral bushes, you will be able to see plenty of small transparent shrimps plus blue fusiliers and rabbitfish are often seen among the reefs. If you are lucky you may even be able to spot a bamboo shark or catshark.

Jetty Wreck
This artificial wreck is easily accessible by a guide rope. Heading down to the small fishing boat you can spot schools of batfish and jacks then blue-spotted rays, cuttlefish and scorpionfish. At night Anemonefish and frogfish are common. This dive reaches depths of 20 metres.

Other Dive Sites Include: Lankayan Wreck, Froggie Fort, Mel’s Rock, Moray Reef

Best time to Dive

Lankayan can be dived all year round. If you would like the chance to see whale sharks your best chance are between March to May. Nesting turtles can be seen between June to September.

Getting there

Fly into Kota Kinabalu International Airport then take a connecting flight to Sandakan from here you will be transferred to the jetty that will take you to Lankayan.

Ask our Active Travel Experts to assist you in prearranging transfers or a rental car for your stay.


There is only one resort on the island, Lankayan Island Resort.

Contact our Active Travel Experts for insider tips on and tailor-made dive experiences.

Download our Quick Guide to Dive Malaysia
Take a look our quick guide to the best dive locations in Malaysia. Enter your details below to download your copy now