There's more to Sabah than meets the eye. Beyond the majestic mountains and charming towns, Sabah is brimming with idyllic islands that are perfect for scuba diving, snorkelling and refreshing swim. If you could name one island in Sabah, it would probably be Gaya Island, Boheydulang or Sipadan Island. However, there's a hidden gem that you should know about.
Situated in the northeastern coast of Sabah, you'll find Lankayan Island
, a jewel-shaped island surrounded by crystal clear waters. Getting to this hidden gem from Sandakan is easy too. Make your way to Sandakan Yacht Club (Sandakan jetty) and then, take a 1.5-hour boat ride to Lankayan Island.
While this is a paradise for divers, you don't need to be one to appreciate the beauty that this island beholds. All you need is a relaxing holiday in Lankayan Island to realise that you should have visited this place sooner.
This island has 14 diving sites where you can see coral reefs and diverse marine life - giant groupers, tiny ribbon eels and more! If you're lucky, you can spot whale sharks between the month of March and May too.
If you're planning to spend a night in this stunning island, there's only one resort you can go, and that is Lankayan Island Dive Resort. A luxury resort that sits above the waters, it's no surprise why this accommodation is popular among honeymooners and for wedding ceremonies.
Lankayan Island Dive Resort has 16 beachfront chalets and 9 over-the-water chalets. Since this resort primarily caters to divers, it's definitely better to book the diving package that starts at RM2,382 per person (3D2N stay). Otherwise, you can opt for the vacation package (without diving) that starts at RM1,916 per person (3D2N stay).
If you have the budget to splurge on a water chalet, we definitely recommend it as it comes with a private deck and sun lounger that lets you enjoy the sea view at any given chance. The room is also immaculately designed with traditional wooden furniture and has an ensuite bathroom and a comfortable bed.
Besides scuba diving and snorkelling, there are many things to do in Lankayan Island including swimming, kayaking and enjoying a relaxing moment by the beach. Did you know that this island is part of the Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMA)? And their role is to protect and preserve the natural surroundings of Lankayan Island.
Here's a fun fact, Lankayan Island is also situated along the sea turtle corridor, which makes it a popular nesting and foraging ground for hawksbill and green sea turtles. If you stay at the resort, you can catch baby turtles being released into the sea.
Inspired to plan an island getaway in Sabah? Look no further than a relaxing vacay in Lankayan Island! Besides exploring this jewel-shaped island, there's more to discover in Sabah too. Remember to check out our recommended reads below to kick start your adventure!