Pulau layang Layang | Dive Sipadan | Pulau Sipadan

Pulau layang Layang | Dive Sipadan | Pulau Sipadan - Pulau layang Layang

Layang Layang when translated means 'Swallow's Reef' (although there are no swallows present) is fast becoming another of Malaysia's premier dive destination after the world - famous Sipadan Island. This oceanic atoll is situated in the South China Sea about 300 kilometres North West of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah. The little land mass supports a luxurious 90-room dive resort, a Malaysian Naval base and a nesting colony for several sea-faring migratory birds.

Pulau layang Layang | Dive Sipadan | Pulau Sipadan - Pulau layang Layang

The reef topography is essentially made up of a rich growth of hard corals; some are shallow that they break surface during low tides, but most begin at depths of about 5 metres and the wall plunges to about 2000 metres to the ocean floor. The deep-water attracts numerous pelagics and offers some exciting encounters of the wall.


Gorgonian Forest

Most dive sites around Layang Layang follow a similar dive profile with the reef top starting at 5 to 10 metres and sloping steeply down. Gorgonian Forest, as the name suggests, is a virtual forest of fabulous sea fans swaying with the currents along the slops from about 15 metres down to 40 metres. Bushes of black coral and whip corals share the seascape with small marine reef fishes. The stillness of the dive is site is interrupted by the presence of scalloped hammered sharks, either solitary, swimming close to the reef or in a school, cruising off the wall in the open water usually against the flow of the currents. It is a magnificent sight to behold, their heads swaying from side to side unlike other shark, swimming in formation. An advice to underwater photographers: These animals are easily spooked, especially if you utilize a flash. They are best photographed with available light, capturing their silhouette shapes in the blue water.

'D' Wall

This is an interesting wall dive, with the reef top starting at about 5 metres and plunging down rather steeply at an inverted angle, cutting of the sunlight. Visibility is usually better than most sites around and is about 40-plus metres. Coral life on the face of the wall is quite Spartan, probably from the nature of the steep wall. Several black coral bushes, colourful dendronephthya soft corals, sponges and clusters of tunicates carpet the wall. The coral garden is populated with small reef fishes darting about, red coral trout and several big emperor angles. Big moray eels make their home in several crevices on the wall, playing hide and seek with divers, popping in and out of the lair. In the Openwater, school of surgeonfish, fusiliers, jacks and sometimes manta rays cruise by. Large schools of Pennant Butterfly fish also can be seen hovering around the coral garden, probably seeking out food. White tip reef sharks are frequently sighted, and after a while you stop noticing them. The reef top is quite interesting with abundant marine creatures foraging for food among the hard coral formations, keeping the diver occupied during his safety stop.

Pulau layang Layang | Dive Sipadan | Pulau Sipadan - Pulau layang Layang

Dog Tooth Lair

Located just minutes from the resort, Dogtooth Lair probably got its name from the numerous sighting of these tunas encountered during dives. The reef topography starts at about 8 metres and slopes down into the depths. Passing schools of barracudas can be seen at the shallows along the fusiliers and surgeonfish. The wall is typical of those around Layang laying, featuring steep walls of corals, interspaced with small ledges. There is also a popular site to encounter the schooling hammerheads swimming against the current. Dogtooth Lair can sometimes experience fierce currents due to its location at the corner of the atoll. However, currents bring rich nutrients and attract a chain of predators.


An easy dive located at the western trip of Pulau Layang Layang is a gentle slope beginning at the10 metres and slopes to about 20 metres. This site features excellent hard coral growth with small reef fishes inhabiting the coral garden. You will find countless fish ranging from tiny gobies, blennies and wrasses to reef sharks. Numerous nooks and crevices provide a hideaway for invertebrates like crabs and shrimps and also fishes such as red trout and other snappers. Also look out to the sandy patches - you might see the occasional leopard shark resting on the sandy bed.

Getting there

The nearest kickoff point to Pulau Layang Layang is from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Where direct flights are available from Tokyo, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Seoul, Hong Kong, Manila, Cebu, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. From Kota Kinabalu a private charter company flies clients to Layang Layang , arranged by Layang Layang Island Resort.