Lankayan Island

Diving, snorkeling, turtle watching and relaxing

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Lankayan, the jewel of the Sulu Sea, is one of the three islands within the Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area, or SIMCA, a small expanse of sea measuring some 46,000 hectares in size. It lies 80 km north west of Sandakan, and the sea journey by fast outboard motor speed boats takes about 90 minutes over open sea.

There are upwards of 500 species of marine fish and 300 species of corals in the conservation area, including two species of marine turtles and the manatee.

Being a natural coral atoll island, Lankayan is ringed by a halo of white sandy beach and fringed by shallow coral formations. The island itself is small, about 2.5 ha in area, and lushly overgrown with tropical island flora, providing welcome shade for the sun beaten swimmers. There are no inhabitants on the island other than those from the resort.

After two decades of conservation, turtles abound in number and can be seen from the walkways. Fish stock has increased and hunting reef sharks and jacks can be observed readily during snorkeling jaunts.


The resort operates under strict conservation guidelines mandated by Category II IUCN for marine protected areas.All hard rubbish is shipped back to the mainland and waste water is treated to comply with environmental guidelines laid down by the state's environment ministry. All marine is protected within the conservation area under a strict no-take umbrella guideline.

A conversation fee of approximately US$ 5.50 is charged per day for visitors to the conservation area and all collections are applied to existing programs and administrative overheads.