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Layang Layang Island Resort
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59 - 64 of 122 reviews
Reviewed 23 July 2013

The only reason to come to this place is the diving and snorkelling. If you do either one of these, there ought to be no regrets about coming to this place whatsoever - the place is built on corrals after all. This is not a place for children. The rooms are entirely simplistic and basic; and made entirely out of wood. I think you can only get 2 channels on the tv. The shower is basic and the toilet and rooms is clearly in need of a little tlc. Despite the other bad reviews regarding f&b, I found the food to be quite good.

Personally, I would think it is pretty difficult to complain about anything once you are on the island. It feels like there is a touch of heaven in this place – the way that you are unable to differentiate between where the sea ends and the sky starts at certain times of the day; the warm, clear blue water all around the island; and the peacefulness of being the only island in an open sea for miles. The two-day experience was entirely a privilege.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled on business
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4  Thank Le Letteur M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2013

On my first trip to Layang Layang Resort, I of course went to see the hammerheads and asked about them writing to the resort directly only to get there and be told that the hammerheads were out of season which of course was a massive disappointment. So the first rule of going to this hotel is to double check the hammerhead season! On this first trip the diving other then missing the hammerheads was very very good!

When writing to this hotel directly the lady who took the booking tried to pass me to an agent friend of hers, basically offering the same price but I assume this means that the booking lady and the agent share the commission. I should have known then just how dodgy this resort is! I didn't take her up on the offer as I preferred to be honest and book direct.

Having missed the hammerheads the first time I visited the resort again, and again the booking lady was trying to pass my off on her friend agent, switching emails to do so and asking me not to say anything to the hotel. If you are the hotel owner reading this - watch out for your dodgy staff.

Upon checking in, they made a point of handing back our passports where we found there was no safe in the room so we hid the passports in our bags and went out for the first dive. Unfortunately upon our return the passports were missing - now you have to understand this is an island with only one hotel and an army base and the access to the rooms could only be made by staff with keys! They also said we should have kept the passports in the reception safe - thanks for the late notice and of course this has never happened to them before!

Naturally we complained and after the usual scooby doo dumb faces of course no one knew anything about it so upon leaving (luckily we were allowed to fly back to KK without a passport) we had to then to get a police report and apply for emergency passports - which take about 4 days!

The embassy informed us that this was quite a common scam and I suspect not the first time it has happened in this resort - a perfect place for the scam as you can't report it to the police and can't bully them as there is the army base next door. If I had to hazard a guess by the time we were at this resort and on our first dive, the passports were stolen and on the same place departing!

We did see the hammerheads and the diving was ok but for the first time ever I would strongly recommend not going to see this dodgy little resort and if you must, check your passports and cash into the reception safe, don't leave any valuables in the room and if you do leave a bit lock it up securely in your bags. Also check that it is actually hammerhead season! Other then all that the diving is great ;)

Room Tip: There are none... it's backpack style!
  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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21  Thank Roger Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 June 2013

Heard a lot about Layang Layang and finally got the opportunity (and the leave) to make a trip to this world-renown location in the middle of nowhere.

The trip to Layang Layang was uneventful. It's not as convenient as hopping on a plane - had to spend a night in Kota Kinabalu, before taking the early morning connecting flight to the island. By the time we reached KK, it was already late, so we only had time time for a late dinner/supper before heading back to the hotel to rest.

After reading the reviews in tripadvisor, we were a little apprehensive - didn't expect much of the resort and advised my group to bring their own food to supplement their meals.

We got a pleasant surprise after we arrived - everything was not as bad as we expected. Other than the resort showing the signs of age (the usual wear and tear), we were well satisfied with what we got. Service was excellent, the staff were attentive and helpful, and they did everything to make us feel at home. Almost everyday, we got 'towel sculptures' of mantas and hammerheads and lots of flowers on our beds after the staff tidied up our rooms.

We also read that the food was below par, and that the menu was the same day-in day-out. We were glad to find out that this was not true. Food was great and there was variety over the course of our stay - perhaps they made an effort to change the menu after the reviews. The highlight was the BBQ dinner where everyone of us pigged out. Suffice to say, some of us were worried we couldn't fit into our wetsuits the next day...

Will not provide much feedback on the diving. It is one of the best places I've dived (and I've been to many places). If you want to see big stuff - pelagics like mantas, sharks, tuna, jacks, travelly, eagle rays, etc. this is the place to be. There are small critters too like the pigmy seahorse and lots of nudis, but we were overwhelmed by the variety and abundance of life. Visibility was one of the best I've come across - at the depth of 35m I could still see the dive boat on the surface.

And dolphins accompanied us to and from the dive sites almost everyday!

Bottomline - I guess we had very little or no expectations, and we got pleasantly surprised. If one expects the kind of resorts similar to the Maldives or the Caribbean, then get ready to be disappointed. Trust me, this place is loads better than some of the so-called 'dive resorts' I've been to in the region.

I'll definitely be back. Enough said...

Room Tip: Ask for a room nearer to the dive centre as the resort is huge.
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with friends
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7  Thank Jinooi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2013

Excellently run dive spot. Things for others such as birders, snorkelers, ham radio operators and island collectors.
Friendly well organized experience.
Tips for divers wanting to see hammer head sharks, and the like.
I highly recommend the experience. Great accommodations and excellent food.
Bill Altaffer San Diego

Room Tip: All good with private veranda
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled solo
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3  Thank MostUNESCOsites
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 June 2013

The atoll, environment and diving is pristine and there is no argument that these are world class and offer a spectacular and unique diving experience. However, the resort, logistics and the little things does make one feel like they've been short changed in the value department.

Firstly, the food lacks variety as the main ingredients are basically the same. Depending on how regular guests check in, supplies are of course limited and mostly frozen. Definitely not for those with very discerning palates.

Convenience isn't always at the top of the list when they build and designed this place. A very low overhang in the ceiling when using the ramps at the room blocks is definitely a hazard. No warning signs and at low light, the dark wood is pretty much imperceptible. A solid knock to the head, crumpling to the floor and a dull ache for the rest of the night illicit almost no concern or worry from the staff either, surprisingly. This resort is definitely not built for anybody taller than 5 feet 10.

The arrangements were not always clearly stated to guests. They requested for our check in baggage to be brought to the reception the night before the flight but did not alert us of this earlier (either when we booked or when we checked in). Quite a few things which I would've like to dump in my check in bag when leaving my room for good could not be done until I reached KK airport. A minor inconvenience depending on the way you pack your luggage for sure and not all would be affected but it does cheese me off that no prior warning was provided.

The diving was good though we did not see the schooling hammerheads. There were plenty of other things to be fascinated with though they were not our #1 priority. The guides and boatmen were knowledgeable and there was concern for safety as well.

The rooms were clean but do need maintenance.Water leaks from the bathroom seep into the carpets in some rooms and the upholstery of the room chairs could use a do over. The air conditioning was also not cool when the day was at it's hottest. The housekeeping crew did a great job of not messing our stuff even though our gear and tools took up a lot of space throughout the room and they did some amazing sea creatures with the towels (turtles, manta rays, devil rays, etc) to surprise us after our dives.

Would I return? Yes, the schooling hammerheads still are the main attraction. Though I would not say it is value for money, considering the other resorts in the Celebes Sea (also accessible via Sabah) are more accesible logistically, with better service, rooms and more varied diving at similar or lower prices.

Room Tip: Choose one as close to the dive center as possible.
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with friends
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7  Thank Alex T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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