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Lankayan Island Dive Resort
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Reviewed 28 August 2016 via mobile

We visited Lankayan in August primarily to scuba dive. The diving was good, but the visibility was poor. For divers, Sipidan is much much better.

The property and beach around Lankayan is beautiful and peaceful; however, the chalets are basic and not well cleaned. We had an enjoyable time, but it would have been much better with better accommodations.

The kitchen staff is wonderful and catered to our vegan diets. They were attentive and thoughtful and the food was good. They provided tofu and tempeh with every meal and soymilk at breakfast.

Stayed: August 2016, travelled as a couple
Thank ebny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2016

If you're expecting, a great, possibly unique location in a protected marine conservation zone (Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area), real relaxation, friendly,approachable, helpful but not intrusive staff, an arguably second to none turtle conservation programme with a dedicated team, possibly once in a lifetime turtle observation experiences and very limited wifi/phone access (a big plus) ... you will be making a good choice ... if you want spas, bars, jet skis, crowds ... go somewhere else. Lankayan is exclusive in a positive and non opulent way.
This was our second visit and we made sure that this time it was longer, it was that good! It is becoming more difficult every year to find places that have not been or are being spoilt.
The small island of 26 bungalows with no room for expansion is reached by an hour and a half 400-500 HP speed boat ride from Sandakan Yacht Club jetty; there is only one boat a day, so make sure your flights or stopover in Sandakan accommodate this. The island will transfer you from the airport or accommodation in Sandakan to the jetty - the transfer is very efficient and punctual as is the boat. An armed member of the military is on the boat and there is a military attachment on the island for safety given the problems in the area in the past few years, although on the whole you would not know they were there and when you do see them they will always smile and say hello.
The island with its white, sandy beaches can be walked around in about 15 minutes - the bungalows, cleaned daily, spacious, simple but equipped with comfortable bed, open plan 'ish' bathroom, fridge, safe, towels and toiletries are placed on the Eastern side of the island. Some are not well placed and do not have direct beach access due to erosion and you do not get to express any preference for location, although if the island is not fully booked we did notice that peoples requests for change were accommodated
You can experience the sunrise (at about 5.45-6.00 when we were there, its an early bed and early rise location). On one morning (our first or second) we were privileged with an experience of seeing a large, Green Turtle making her way down the beach, returning to the sea after laying her eggs - this was a real 'wow factor'. The conservation staff who regularly monitor the beaches for turtle nesting during the night collected the eggs and placed them in the outdoor hatcheries. You can see the baby turtles hatching and released into the sea - nests hatched every day while we were there, sometimes multiple nests with between 70 - 100 babies. The hatching and release is a great experience. the conservation staff will inform you when nests are hatching and when turtles are nesting (on average 2 turtles nested each night we were there, some only meters from our bungalow), which adds to the amazing experience of staying on the island.All of this is well coordinated and controlled by the conservation staff to avoid disturbance to the turtles, but nevertheless an 'up close and personal' experience - more 'wow factor' ... !
Snorkeling is amazing, direct from the beach, swathes of live coral with all sorts of marine life including turtles, Green and Hawksbill, numerous species of fish, big and small, plenty of trigger fish of varying size and variety, black tip sharks, Moray Eel the list is endless - but then snorkeling from the jetty is even more amazing ... parrot fish, bumpheads, clown fish, peanut fish .. so clear and pristine, its like swimming in an aquarium! A recent review suggested there is only so much snorkeling you can do - we're not really good swimmers but couldn't get enough, its a shame to leave. Its fair to say that we came away better swimmers/snorkelers, but that might not be true for everyone, so if you want to snorkel and have some experience, its great, but perhaps limited for those that have never snorkeled before it could be limited.
There is a mix of nationalities, mostly European (British, German, Scandinavian, Italian) and some mainland Chinese. Most people will have witnessed or heard about the bad behaviour of Chinese on holiday, but for the most part, their behaviour was not as bad as we have seen elsewhere - They did appear to be receptive to how others were behaving and followed suit, on the whole, although a little more assertiveness from the Lankayan staff about disturbing marine life and the consequences legally and environmentally wouldn't go amiss for everyone - perhaps posting details of the penalties for disturbing or taking marine life in the rooms might help.
Nevertheless an overall wonderful holiday, but the only thing that lets Lankayan down is the food. From last time to this it has gone downhill. We appreciate that getting supplies to a remote area is difficult, but the quality and choice at meal times leaves a lot to be desired and can be likened to a poor works canteen - there are only a maximum of 50 people there at any one time and it seems that little effort goes into menu planning and cooking - on 2 lunch times I decided, given the poor choice and quality that the best option was to make myself a sandwich from the bread from breakfast and a slice of processed cheese ...
This is really the only major negative and why I have decided Lankayan unfortunately only deserves Very good.

  • Stayed: August 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Sean M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 August 2016

The resort at Lankayan Island was really beautiful with good facilities, good food and very nice service. Lankayan resort is a great place to relax and no-divers will have a lot of opportunities for snorkelling. Possibility to watch turtles nesting and hatching to create a unforgettable memories.We really did have the best time and would love to return in the future.

  • Stayed: July 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Monika B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 August 2016 via mobile

This place is pretty amazing. And at least in my circle of travellers not many people know about it. Not even on the radar. But it ought to be. The lodging is great. Although to the builders why would you not put doors on the toilets. If you're not close with the person you're rooming with you will be in a bad way. The reef around the island is among the best in the world. It's like finding nemo in real life. The turtle experience is pretty unique. Everything I'm mentioning is like pretty awesome but I'm so sleepy sitting on the floor of an international airport so the enthusiasm isn't coming across. Just go to this place. It's amazing.

Management. I know you said it's for security but wake guests up after midnight for the nesting. We didn't come thousands of miles to miss it because of an empty threat of kidnapping. Also the employees running the dive shop are okay and competent but they don't seem like they give a crap. I wouldn't trust them to save my butt in a pinch. For the money you charge your customer service needs to improve. All that said I still say the island is a must do for any traveling adventurer.

Stayed: August 2016, travelled as a couple
1  Thank dyhppy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2016

You need to be clear about what you want from a holiday when visiting this island. If you value spas, pampering and massages please go elsewhere. Lankayan island is about far more important things such as diving, snorkelling and, most important, turtle conservation.
It is, quite simply, absolutely beautiful. We were there for 3 nights and were a little concerned that we would run out of things to do on such a tiny place as we don't enjoy spending hours just lying in the sun. Our days were easily filled with snorkelling morning and afternoon, spending time reading and enjoying the island. Just being there is a pleasure in itself: it is hard to put into words.
The chalets were large with good air conditioning. Most have permanent beach access but the highest numbered chalets are on stilts and surrounded with water when the tide comes in. The resort was by no means full when we were there - I think it could feel rather busy if all chalets were occupied, especially as they are quite close together.
We were able to witness turtles nesting on two successive nights. Unbelievably, the other people watching with us on one of the nights wandered off when the turtle had finished covering her eggs. They missed the amazing sight of the turtle dragging herself back down to the sea and swimming off. They also missed the collection of the eggs (84 on this occasion) so they could be relocated in the hatchery. Do be patient - it's not a quick process!
We had decided to adopt a nest as it didn't seem likely that any eggs would hatch while we were there. There was an unexpected hatching just before dinner on our final night and we were privileged to witness the moving sight of the tiny turtles being released into the sea as the sun was setting. This made us even more determined to adopt a nest and we are eagerly awaiting the emailed video of the turtles' hatching and their release.
This trip was probably the highlight of our travels round Malaysia and very special indeed.

Stayed: May 2016, travelled as a couple
4  Thank Youngmargaret
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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