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“Best hammerhead diving in the world!”

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Layang Layang Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Layang Layang
Reviewed 3 July 2011

This was our second trip to Layang Layang - and the diving was even better than our first trip! We had hammerhead sightings on 6 of our 8 days of diving, some days we saw them on both of our morning dives. The absolute pinnacle was being surrounded by a school of about 50 hammerheads eddying up from the depths like a tornado - best dive I've ever done in my life. Then on our last day of diving we saw a wall of hammerheads - about 100 as far as you could focus deep and wide. It truly was a magical experience. The resort hasn't had much done to it since we were there 5 years ago, and is pretty average, but the service from the staff from making me whatever vegetarian meals I requested to the fabulous towel arrangements on our bed (hammerheads, manta rays, turtles) make up for the state of the resort. For the Aussies out there, the resort charges in $US and is all inclusive (except alcohol!) which makes it exceptional value. In addition to three dives a day, the price includes as much shore and night diving as you desire (although 3 dives a day - with the hammers only in the morning is enough for me). We also saw manta rays this time on three of our days, and lots of other stuff. If you're not a diver, it would be pretty tough, but there is a very large swimming pool but not much of a beach. For those divers out there it's a must go place!

  • Stayed: April 2011
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5  Thank Live2travel_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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89 - 95 of 120 reviews

Reviewed 17 June 2011

On arriving at Layang Layang on 5th June 2011 my wife - Ruth - and I had high hopes. Great diving, lots of big fish and, of course, schooling hammerheads – even out of season! We have combined dive experience of 1,700+ recreational dives. Rooms were clean and large but not luxurious, beds were fine and the shower was warm. Diving was well organised to the point of being regimented – 8.00, 11.00 and then 15.00. The dive boats were well run – max of 12 divers - and the boat man – Arif was ours – was very knowledgeable and helpful. Food was adequate and plentiful and the resort staff were friendly and always trying to help.................so here’s is the BUT..... although please read the whole review as there is another but........The diving is very packaged and our dive guide came across as bit joyless. The dive briefings were so brief there was little sense of excitement or anticipation. The diving was very good – excellent vis, very warm – 28°/29° but our expectations were also very high. The morning dives always involved 15 to 20 mins hanging in the blue searching for the hammerheads and then back onto the reef wall. This takes some getting used to and by day 3 I was bored. However as we slowly got into the rhythm of the place and the dive boat group began to gel things did improve.

Wrasse Reef is spectacular............ And then on our very very last dive – dive 15 after 20mins in the blue – they majestically appeared – 30+ hammerheads purposefully cruised by - very close to our group – 5- 10 metres – and so an extra ordinary minute of wonder................ and a lump in my throat!

So our advice is to manage your own expectations. Accept the style of the briefings and the apparent lack of empathy from the dive guide as it is not intentional. Our dive guide worked very hard to find us that breath taking moment in his quiet and gentle manner.
Would we go back???? – definitely.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank AndyPerkins007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2011

Those who have dived in Layang Layang will know that if you want to dive there, you have no choice but to stay at this resort, as they are the one and only on the island. Nevertheless, I am glad to say that the operator surely did not act like they are the only one. Overall good and friendly service. Relatively good food - five meals a day. Clean and basic rooms. Wooden longhouse style, do take care to walk gently otherwise you may wake up other divers resting in their rooms.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank kwoong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2011

After visiting Sipadan two times, we decided to go somewhere different in Malaysia and Layang Layang was the choice. It is 300 km away from Kota Kinabalu, definitely "in the middle of nowhere" but exactly for this reason it is a wonderful dive spot. No pollution, no fishermen, not so much divers, everything is beautiful. Similar to Sipadan, maybe less turtles and white tips but all the other animals were bigger, plus the mantas and hammerheads! We saw only once in our very last dive at 44 m, but it was a big school of hammerheads and I cant help screaming with joy :)))
This place is ideal to go after Sipadan for advanced divers, as you might need to go very deep to see hammerheads.
The resort was basic, but ok for divers, the staff were very kind and helpful. I liked the food but my husband could not eat so much, it depends on taste...If you are fastidious with food, take with you something you like...
The cost of resort is similar to the ones around Sipadan, but keep in mind that there is internal flight from KotaKinabalu to the island, which is not so cheap and also the flight times are subject to change. Be careful with your connections...
In summary, it was a great place for diving and I am looking forward to go there again...

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Gulthediver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2011

Just finishing up on our 1 week stay and have thoroughly enjoyed it

The staff are great and really friendly. There are 5 meals per day and although the choice can be a litle limited (similair dishes each day) there's loads and of a decent quality. The bar, restaurant and pool areas are v good and we liked the wooden panelling and wicker effect. Rooms are ok, bed could be bigger and more confortable and the walls are indeed quite thin but no way as bad as we were excpecting based on previous reviews.

Diving was great. We were too early for Hammerhead season but still saw a few over the week, and a school of them from afar. The season is April to May with the end of April and beginning of May being the peak of the peak season. Only woth noting as we'd been told by a few people that it was peak season in March! Regardless, was great - reef was in very good condition and we saw loads of super cool stuff. One further point - bring your gear or if you dont have consider buying before you go; we were charged USD 13 per day each for 3mm shortie wetsuit - after the 7 days hire charge we could have paid for the suits and then some !

Overall though it was awesome and totally recommend.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank AdeEccles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 August 2010

I have based this review on the hotel and not the diving but if you are going to Layang Layang you will probably be diving so I'll share my experience as well.

The resort is very conveniently located next to the runway so there is only about 150 meters to walk to the reception. From there it is about 150 meters to the dive center. The staff was attentive and most spoke good English. I have two things I want to mention as drawbacks with this resort:
1. The rooms are a bit dark and murky. They seemed to be in need of a renovation.
2. After a few days the food got a bit repetitive. I understand there is a challenge getting supplies to the atoll but I still believe some more variation is in order.

About the diving: Unfortunately we were not there during the hammerhead season but one group of diver still managed to see one. The coral reefs were pristine although they are now threatened by a crown of thorns infestation and they had already eaten most of the coral at some dive sites. The dive guides were mostly professional but I would not going here if you are an inexperienced diver. The guides love to go deep and if you don't want to follow them down they will leave you in shallow water and then meet you later during the dive. Sometimes the currents are also strong. We also witnessed a strange incident where a couple of divers who had been diving for a while and were supposed to do a SCUBA review dive with a dive master but they were left on their own in shallow water when the rest of the group went deep.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Magnus A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2010

During our trip to Malaysia, we dived Layang Layang, Sipadan/Mabul and the Perhentians - Layang Layang was easily the best diving and the resort was the most organised. The resort is so isolate, and definitely not a party resort - which we really appreciated.

We had the 5 day/12 dive package. Everyone who arrived on the same day that we did was assigned to the same boat with the same dive master. The DM was very knowledgeable about the area and drew out attention to many small things (pygamy seahorse and frog fish) that we wouldn't normally have seen. Aside from this he was largely disinterested and we thought that 12 people to one DM was a few too many people in one group.

The diving was stunning, and the visability was excellent. Many many different fish, sharks, turtles etc to see. It was definitely intermediate-advanced diving.

The rooms were of a good size, not overly clean and a little bit on the dark side. Good sized pool and free wireless internet in the restaurant/bar/lounge area.

Food was excellent - who can complain about 5 meals a day with a good selection at each meal. Tea and coffee was available all day.

The only complaints I would make is that the diving was really a "one-size-fits-all" approach and there are stray cats everywhere - I usually like cats, but these were scraggly and constantly yowling and fighting.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank KiwiTraveller012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Layang Layang Island Resort

Address: Layang Layang 88005, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > West Coast Division > Kota Kinabalu District > Layang Layang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Layang Layang
Price Range: £181 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Layang Layang Island Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 86
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Layang Layang Island Resort Sdn Bhd is an exclusive resort that dominates the Layang Layang island - an oceanic atoll of Spratly Islands situated approximately 300km northwest of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. Fondly known as "The Jewel of the Borneo Banks", it is truly a diver's paradise. As many as 14 coral reefs have formed here, creating a breathtaking underwater scenery. The dive sites are well known for the intriguing hammerhead sharks and pygmy seahorses among other rare creatures. An hour's flight north of Kota Kinabalu, the island on which Layang Layang Island Resort Sdn Bhd nestled lies in 2,000m of ocean and due partly to the depth, this atoll has become famous for sightings of large pelagic species and for wall diving. Layang Layang Island Resort Sdn Bhd is the only resort on the island besides a Royal Malaysia Navy base. The resort, designed to look like the traditional Long House comprises 86 cosy rooms, restaurant and bar, outdoor swimming pool, Dive Center with certified diving instructors and a variety of diving courses among other facilities for modern comforts. Come for the exclusive and intriguing diving experience at this remote destination out of the world, where rare and uncommon underwater creature awaits you! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Avillion Layang Layang Island Hotel Layang Layang
Layang Island Hotel

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