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“A small Island with many parts”

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Lankayan Island Dive Resort
Ranked #1 of 32 Hotels in Sandakan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 13 April 2014

I have broken this review into 4 parts: the accommodation; the diving/centre; the food; the turtles.
The room that we stayed in was very spacious and very comfortable! There were 3 beds (a queen, a double and a single) and heaps of room in between. There was also a spacious beach facing balcony. The ensuite was also spacious, but the bracket for the hand shower would not stay in a position to be able to shower under and the toilet seat was cracked and pinched :(
The diving was very impressive! The gear was a bit old, holey wetsuits, leaking BCDs. We were also diving with a "junior open water" and the dive master didn't seem initially to grasp the importance of the limits for this age and selected dive site that were up to 20m. The last 2 dive sites were much more appropriate at 9m so our son was able to view the reef more closely and we were able to relax and enjoy the dive more.
The food and dining area were exemplary!! They have built a large pagoda style dining/lounge area over the water with some glass floor areas for wild life watching. The food was amazing, every meal was delicious!!
The turtles: The island hosts a significant turtle research sanctuary and will alert interested guests to nesting and hatching activities. We had the pleasure of 2 hatchings during our stay. Each hatching was accompanied with some explanation about the turtles and the process. Guests have an opportunity to "adopt a nest" and are also alerted and sent photos when their nest hatches. The turtles are obviously comfortable with the island and its inhabitants as we enjoyed watching 3 turtles foraging bellow the dining pagoda while we dined.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Sarah O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 8 April 2014

We stayed at Lankayan in mid March 2014 for 3 nights.

The 90 minute boat transfer in the smallish open boat was a bit bumpy - even in calm waters - so we did get splashed but it was fun. Luggage is stored in a closed locker though so no need to worry about that getting wet.

We are a couple who are used to both Luxury hotels (Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton) but don't mind doing budget if it means experiencing a wonderful place. We were going for idyllic location as well as the snorkelling (myself) and Diving (my partner) and expected Lankayan resort to be quite basic with budget bungalows on the beach.

How wrong we were. We were woed the second we stepped foot off the boat onto the jetty and saw the crystal clear water full of amazing fish.
We had a wonderful surprise by the standard of accommodation, food and service. We stayed in cottage 11 which was huge - it had a four poster King Bed, a double bed and a single bed and the room was not at all clutterd! There was a fridge and kettle with tea & coffee and complimentary bottled water.
Air conditioning was not as effective as it could have been due to louvered doors but along with the fan we were comfortable enough. We did not have any problems with noise or privacy.
The room had good storage space, wardrobe and several deep drawers but as previously mentioned, there was no mirror in the bedroom and no plus socket in the bathroom. The bathroom was huge but the shower was an attachment over the bath with no shower curtain. We weren't bothered but I imagine the rooms with seperate shower would be better.

The visability in the water was excellent when we were there and we swam with turtles right off the jetty and saw so many fish species including small sharks. Unfortunately there were a lot of annoying jellyfish about. At one dive site the divers could not come up for a while because the jelly fish covered a wide area of the water surface down to about 5 feet.

The beach is beautiful white sand and the waters turquoise blue - something you don't get at a lot the islands around Kota Kinabalu. It really is like the Maldives.

We were lucky enough to see two sets of turtles hatching one after the other . First 85 tiny Hawksbill turtles, followed immediately by 87 baby Green turtles in the pen next to the Hawksbill. It was a moving site and watching the cute little creatures rush down the beach to the sea was both comical and tear jerking - would they make it or not?

The main reception, lounge/library and restsaurant are on stilts in a lovely polished wood setting with vibrant atmosphere. I was expecting quite limited food with poor cuts of meat but the buffets in the restaurants were great. There was a good choice of both Asian and Western cuisine (pasta, pizza, roast dinner and veg!) and some lovely deserts and fruit plus home baked pastries and cookies with coffee, tea, hot chocolate and juice available all day.
With 3 courses a day filling your belly, you'd wonder when you'll be fit to go in the water !!

We didn't drink any alcohol as it is expensive in Malaysia in general.

The only negative thing I would say is that you pay a lot for the packages whether diving or not and don't expect to pay for extras like snorkelling equipment and each bit of dive gear on top. Luckily I had seen this in advance and had my own snorkelling gear.
My partner also had to pay an extra £80 for a refresher course on the fist day as he has not dived for 3 years, fair enough, it's needed and necessary, but then this took time away from the diving that was included so he miseds at least one of the included dives if not 2.
We noticed other people doing pay per dive when we were there and wondered if this may be a better option if you only want to do a couple of dives.
Personally I think it's probably worth paying up front the Diver package as it's not that much more.

All in all this was a fantastic experience and I would go back in a heartbeat .

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank GinaR444
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2014

We had a fantastic time there only wish it could of been longer. We were delayed by a day as our connecting flight was cancelled, and did not want to loose our money, so phoned them immediately and managed thankfully to get our trip pushed back a day, which we are more than grateful for. The transfer on the oat is a bit bumpy, also don't wear your best gear as if on the wrong side you may get wet. After an hour and 30 minutes we were welcomed on this paradise island, the chalets are large and comfortable, the food good and plenty full, so long as you drink moderately the price of alcohol bare able. We sadly could only manage 2 of the planned 3 or possibly 4 dives we hoped for owing to or delay and the pending onward flights booked, as strict with the 24 hour before flying rule, for your own health that's good and shows they care. However enjoyed the diving and The drive crew friendly and looked after you all. We'll recommend the expense for the experience and the views alone.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
2  Thank mikeyk64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 March 2014

...or this paradise found in Sabah will become too crowded!
It almost cannot get any better than Lankayan Island Dive Resort. Whether you are a diver or not (me), a stay on this great island and resort will be a highlight of a trip to Sabah.
It's the Maldives as they used to be or should be. Beautiful accommodation in single chalets featuring an open-air shower and free-standing tub (already too much if one considers the limited water supply) and a private terrace overlooking the white sand beach and turquoise ocean.
A great restaurant complex built over the water serving exquisite meals and friendly and helpful staff are rounding up a memorable stay at this one-of-a-kind island.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank swissconnex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 March 2014

My husband and I were originally booked to go to Layang Layang but the day before we were told that it was cancelled and our travel company managed to rebook us to Lankayan. I am so glad we ended up here as it was fab. The villas are lovely and all face the ocean so you can step our and straight on to the beach. We are both divers and the dive centre set up was great, nice facilities and good guides - Garry, Malle and Ray were our 3 and they were all great. Most of the dive sites are a very short boat ride away (which suits my husband) and the dive site under the jetty itself is brilliant, although viz was quite poor when we were there. The food is always served as a buffet, which worried me at first as I don't really like this. However, there is such a variety to choose from and the quality was so good that I didn't give it a second thought. The villas are spacious but have little in the way of storage apart from one rail and a few hangers. This would be ok if you were only here for a couple of days (as most people seemed to be) but we were here for over a week and ended up throwing t-shirts, tops, etc over a chair. The bathroom area is nicely tiled but there is no socket for a hairdryer next to the only mirror in the room. The socket is way at the other end - not a problem for you guys blowdrying your hair but it made doing mine a bit of a lottery. The resort either needs to put another socket in near the mirror (expensive) or hang another mirror near the socket (cheap). There is a turtle research centre and if you happen to be lucky you get to see turtles nesting and hatching - we lucked out and got both :-) Pretty much most of the staff were friendly and helpful, a couple just seemed a bit grim faced and not as likely to help but overall everyone was great. To get to the island you face a long boat trip (1hr 30/45 mins depending on sea conditions) not my husband's first choice. Even when it was sunny you can get wet on the boat and I would suggest a boat with glass windows to keep the water out but still let you see. A seaplane as they do in the Maldives would be great but it is a very expensive option. Although not our original choice, we had a great time, met some lovely people and had some great diving - would thoroughly recommend.

Room Tip: We were in villa 18 and it has the least bit of beach in front of it due to a tree - villas 10-12 lo...
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jellybean7788
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2014 via mobile

What's not to like. A dessert island in the middle of nowhere. Perfect beaches, hatching turtles and good food. Great for 2 nights (more if you're into scuba). Bring a good book and relax. For us a great way to start our borneo holiday. Would definitely recommend.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Unbiasedview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2014 via mobile

We stayed at Lankanyan for 4 nights at the end of December 2013. It was heaven we spent all day in the sea with our 5 year old son. The water temperature was bliss and was perfect for snorkelling around the local reefs. The villas weren't ostentatious but perfectly suited the beach surroundings. We felt very safe on the island due to the military presence. The food was not 5 star but there was enough variety to keep everybody happy. We took our own spirits but would also recommend taking your own wine as it is expensive to buy at the resort and the selection is limited. It's service with a smile and everyone made us feel very welcome. The highlight was the baby turtle release at dusk onto the beach it truly made our 5 year olds holiday. One point to mention is the boat journey to and from the island can be a little scary if the weather isn't ideal. We were caught in a storm on the way back to Sandakan but in no way is this a deterrent to visit true paradise. We want to go back!!!

Stayed: December 2013
2  Thank MummyKayla
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

Address: Lankayan Island, Sandakan, Malaysia
Region: 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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