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Lankayan Island

Sulu Sea, Borneo, Malaysia

A peaceful and idyllic jewel-like island hideaway, located in the Sulu Sea; perfect for diving enthusiasts or those seeking the ultimate in seclusion and indulgent lazy days. A real hidden gem for those wanting the 'Robinson Crusoe' experience.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office are currently advising against all but essential travel to all islands of the coast of eastern Sabah from Kudat to Tawau, including (but not limited to) Lankayan, Mabul, Pom Pom, Kapalai, Litigan, Sipadan and Mataking. Please phone our travel specialists for alternative options.

At a Glance

  • With four different wrecks and abundant schools of fish and colorful coral life, Lankayan is a diver's paradise

  • Snorkel amidst the stunning reefs, relax on the beach and delight in Lankayan's turtle population

  • For the real 'Robinson Crusoe' experience, the tiny jewel-like island of Lankayan is the perfect hidden gem

  • Lankayan offers some of the best diving and snorkeling in the whole of Borneo

  • Located within the 'Sea Turtle Corridor', Lankayan Island is a nesting place and foraging ground for sea turtles; most commonly the Green and Hawksbill Turtle

Diving, Adventure, Beach, Family

Insider's View

Keep your eyes peeled for turtles. Lankayan is a popular nesting sight for both Green and Hawksbill turtles in the Sulu Sea.

Scott Dunn team

Insider's View

When I was here I went snorkeling in the stunning turquoise waters and swam next to tiny baby sharks!

Victoria Hogg

Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your vacation to Lankayan Island or take a look at our itineraries to Borneo


Sitting in the crystal clear waters of the Sulu Sea, the unpopulated Lankayan Island is an approved Marine Conservation Area off the coast of Sandakan, North Borneo. Covered in thick tropical vegetation on its topside, this peaceful, untouched island is surrounded by picture postcard white sand beaches.

Each wooden chalet and room exudes simple elegance and has a private balcony leading directly onto the sensational beach. Hot water, comfy beds and stunning views make these chalets the ultimate in desert island accommodation.

This tranquil, paradise island is fast becoming a hot diving destination with colorful species such as frogfish, blue ringed octopus and placid bamboo sharks. There are also four imposing shipwrecks nearby to explore and turtles in the surrounding waters, who sometimes visit the island to lay their eggs.

Please note that a stay here can only be booked through Scott Dunn as part of an itinerary with at least seven nights accommodation in total.


The 16 Chalets and 9 Standard Rooms are built from local wooden materials and overlook the sea. The chalets have direct access to the beach and are simple but comfortable with private bathrooms with hot water, tea and coffee making facilities, mini refrigerators and fresh water from the mainland. All chalets have balconies overlooking the stunning beach and azure ocean beyond.

Standard Room


Children are welcome to come and stay at Lankayan. It is a wonderful resort for children to be free and enjoy the beautiful beach, tropical surrounds and all the activities they bring, but there are no specific facilities at the lodge. However, triple rooms are available.


Meals are served in a relaxed and informal dining area with seafront terrace and there is also a sunset bar for drinks and barbecues. There is a TV room (largely for viewing the day's diving footage), internet access and also a small shop for essentials. The dive center has watersports activities and equipment for diving, snorkeling and kayaking.


Activities whilst at Lankayan Island center on the world-class diving, ocean kayaking and fantastic snorkeling but on for those who prefer to be on land there are some beautiful beach walks and inland treks to be enjoyed.

Location & Directions

Sulu Sea, Borneo, Malaysia

Lankayan Island is a very small tropical coral resort island in the Sulu Sea, northwest of the island of Borneo, in the state of Sabah, in Malaysia, and 15 km from Sandakan.

When to go

Like the rest of Malaysia, Sabah’s climate is hot and humid. Expect temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s throughout the lowlands. The state’s rainfall averages about 300cm annually and though it rains throughout the year, the heaviest rainfall generally occurs between October and January. At higher elevations the temperature is refreshingly cool, dropping to colder temperatures at night. Mount Kinabalu has its own climate and, above 3500m, temperatures can drop to freezing.

June to September is the best time to go to see turtles nesting as well as new hatchlings of baby turtles released to the sea.

Best time to Visit

Good time to visit

Average time to visit

Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your vacation to Lankayan Island or take a look at our itineraries to Borneo

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