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“Would go back tomorrow if possible”

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Layang Layang Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Layang Layang
Reviewed 2 July 2015

Read all the reviews before going so were well prepared for standard of rooms and facilities. No complaints from us as we went for the diving and comfortable beds and tasty food were the bonus. Beautiful diving.
The only negative was the pushiness of the divers with cameras. It would be great if the dive brief included some strong emphasis on respect of each other when diving. Just because a diver has a fancy camera does not mean they can push in front of other divers and often scare the fish away. It's a big ocean!!!

Room Tip: Tired enough to cope with room being directly in line with kitchen fridge motor noise but couldn'...
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  • Stayed: June 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank 60helene2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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21 - 25 of 120 reviews

Reviewed 25 June 2015

We were looking forward to diving with Avillion at Layang Layang at the beginning of March, 2015, to see what diving off an atoll in the South China Sea was like. Just two days before we were to arrive at the atoll, however, Avillion notified us through our travel agent that the trip was canceled because their runway couldn’t be certified. Did they not know this earlier, at least to give us some warning? Especially since the runway has been an ongoing problem, causing other cancellations (see review by FamilyJensen, Tripadvisor, September 12, 2014)?

Such a cancellation might not be quite as devastating to someone who lives in the southeast Asia area with shorter and cheaper flights, but we live in the United States and were already in Singapore at the time with non-changeable, nonrefundable tickets. Thus we chose to follow our air itinerary and continue on to Kota Kinabalu where we spent an enjoyable week, all planned on the spot. Forget the diving there, however, even with a national marine park. There was as little fish life there as there was visibility (15-20 feet), although there are some times of the year when the visibility is much better.

Avillion gave us 3 options with the cancellation: 1. Switch to Sipadan Mabul Resort. Sipadan Mabul would have been fine except for a few things. First, diving off Sipidan Island itself is limited. Second, we weren’t sure that Avillion could match up the flight times to Sipidan with the flights we already had in and out of Kota Kinabalu, not after they canceled so close to our arrival date. And third, unbeknownst to Avillion, we had already canceled our plans for Sipidan due to US State Department’s warnings about attacks and kidnappings at the Sipidan area resorts (2014). Avillion’s Layang Layang was our backup plan.

Avillion’s second option: Change our booking dates to later in 2015 or 2016. After the way we were canceled and that we would have to pay for flights again, this was a non-option.

Option 3: “Full refund on your current booking.” We chose this option, but unfortunately their definition of “full” was not the same as ours. A bit over a month later we did receive a refund minus some fees. Our travel agent spent a lot of time with them just to get that, and then spent more time to try to get the refund to be “full.” As of this writing (June 24, 2015), we probably finally do have a full refund, or pretty close to it. Our travel agent will be applying it to future trips.

If you are planning a trip to Layang Layang, be advised that the runway problem may pop up at any time. And then the refunds may not be clean and easy. We have to wonder: since we were the first customers opening the season on March 1, 2015, were there too few customers coming in so that it was more economical to cancel the flight and hope to rebook them for later? Lawrence L, Manager at Avillion Layang Layang, in replying to a Tripadvisor review on September 17, 2014, stated that “issues arising from the runway, of which (sic) also resulted in an early closure for us last season. The repair work by the authorities has just commenced and it will definitely be ready when we reopen.” Unfortunately, half a year apparently wasn’t enough time.

Stayed: March 2015, travelled as a couple
2  Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lawrence L, Manager at Layang Layang Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 29 June 2015

Dear David,

Thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback.

We were being notify late too on the certification of the runway by the authorities hence we had no choice but to cancelled or postponed few departures.

The runway is all good now and all flights are back to normal.

We apologised for the inconvenienced caused due to the closure of the runway.

Meanwhile we hope you will be able to visit us and do drop me an email of your next plan trip.

Thank you.

Avillion Layang Layang Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2015 via mobile

Ok I don't really want to write this review as I don't want Layang Layang to get overdone like Sipadan. But if you want to have great diving this is the place. I have dived in 30 countries and with Tofo, Mozambique and Beqa, Fiji shark dive - this is the best. Every dive of the 10 we saw sharks except the night dive. All 3 mornings we saw the 30+ school of hammerheads. Last dive came within 8 meters. School of jacks insane. 3 mantas. Up to 8 large white tips in Shark Cave.
I would be booking a trip back but worried as I think we had incredible luck, conditions and a small group (only 7 divers on our boat and 20 in the resort in total). Dive masters were even freaking out taking video of themselves w the hammerheads - so you know it was good. Last day the vis got murky with plankton and jellyfish but up until then 30m.
I thought the dive staff were great (Albin, Gavin and Ricky really good). However our group was experienced and chilled out. I can imagine that it would be too relaxed for some but I don't think its a place for beginners. The currents are not that challenging but they are deep dives (30-35m in AM then 20-25m in PM). We were lucky to have a good group of confident divers, although we did have one beginner doing open water and he got great 1:1 treatment (plus school of hammerheads on his 1st dive?!).
Rooms are super basic and the resort knows it needs more activities for non dive time (they are getting standup paddle boards - also table tennis would be great). You can also run around the airfield at dusk which is fun as the navy is out training and the dive masters play soccer and skateboard.
Surprisingly we never got bored. It's kind of like a liveaboard but better as you at least can do some stuff on land and have space
Staff are super friendly as are the management. Really nice touch - they give you a hard copy coffee table book when you check out!
Will probably tempt fate and go back again as we can't resist ;)

Stayed: June 2015, travelled as a couple
4  Thank Dikiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2015

Tired and so-so resort and staff. Dive masters were good, but they had to be: more divers than sharks. Not our best experience. A bit like staying on a land-based liveaboard in terms of facilities, food and drink and privacy.

Room Tip: All rooms are like liveaboard cabins...not great for privacy.
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  • Stayed: May 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Ronald M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lawrence L, Manager at Layang Layang Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 29 June 2015

HI! Ronald,

Thank you for your feedback.

We are currently refurbishing our rooms and we hope you can visit us again to experience some changes by next season.

Happy and Safe Diving!

Avillion Layang Layang Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2015

For the diving, I think one divemaster vs 9 divers is not enough; should be at least two DM. The current is sometimes quite strong and changing direction; the water would become murky with low visibility. It is better for you to have at least advance open water cert and 80+ diving experience before coming to this place.

Usually the first 20 minutes will swim into the blue at around 25M looking for hammerhead sharks, you may see them if lucky or nothing. Then will swim back to the wall looking for other stuff, but there are several times the current was too strong, we can't swim back to the wall, just do the safety stop at the blue and surface.

The corals are not very colorful and there are not much small stuff to see. We have seen the hammerhead sharks twice and one threshea shark, but the water was too murky we can't have a very good shot. And the highlights were the Manta rays and big school of jack fishes.

The dive master was very busy to count for the divers periodically, so he will not find things for you to see (it's a bit difference from other diving site); you have to look by yourself. May be this is one of the reason that night dive is not popular in this site. And unlike other diving site the staff will help you, you have to wash and rinse your gear by yourself.

For the hotel, it is a wooden complex with thin walls and a bit aged. Wifi is very slow that sometimes you can do nothing with it, but sometimes you may upload photos to FB if you are lucky.

The food is good with western and asian dishes; and you can't get hungry with 5 meals a day. There is a bar and a small library with many books and magazine. Usally the bar is the union place to kill time at night.

The small sand beach is a good place for sunset. Other than the pool, there is no other leisure facilities. Suggest to add the table tennis and massage service, so the guest can have more options to kill time.

The hotel staff are very polite and helpful and the dive masters are also professional.

One the last day, you may visit the bird island depends on the tide. But beware of the smell and you may walk on the bird shxx and dead birds....

  • Stayed: May 2015, travelled solo
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank Corali2005
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
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: RM1,014 (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
Layang Layang Island Resort Sabah

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