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Reviewed 11 June 2010

Layang Layang
Remote dive only location. The dive centre is organised and well run. Three dives a day with the first two dives focused on looking for hammerheads. This involves swimming into the blue at around 35mts for 20 minutes. Sightings are very much based on luck we dived twelve time and only saw the once others saw them six times for the same amount of dives. We did have three Manta sightings that made up for our lack of sharks. The reefs around Layang Layang are average with some sites infested with crown of thorns starfish to the point that large patches have been eaten away.
The accommodation is in three large blocks with basic rooms and paper thin walls. Whilst they say the rooms have balconies they are too small to use and there is no outdoor furniture. Food is good and plentiful and the staff are friendly. While this is a dive only destination some divers feel compelled to bring there children which become an irritance as they are left to run wild whilst the parents dive.
If you see hammerheads then this is a great dive location if they are not there then it is an expensive remote holiday. One problem is that divers tend to chase the sharks when they are sited driving them away.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank PJ-Scuba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2010

The most important are the dives, so I will talk about the resort and the accommodation later.

The dives are simply fantastic!
The organization is very efficient and since it is the only dive center on the area, you do not end up on crowdy spots.
They have several boats and I have the feeling that each one was assigned to a different dive spot.
When you board the boat, your tank is equipped with your gears. And since you use always the same boat during your stay, you can leave everything on board, you will find it for the next trip.
The guide we had was really professional, he new the dive spots very well and could draw our attention to some aspects, some fish, some coral etc.. if we missed it. He really paid attention to the safety, especially when we were looking for the headhammer between -35m and -40m in the blue.

The atoll is around 7km long and 2km wide. There are 12-14 dive spots set on the perimeter of the reef.
The wall is so beautiful, full of life and colors.
We were there early May, it was supposed to be the headhammer sharks season, but we did not really see them. But it does not really matter :
In one dive we have seen almost everything you can think about:
- eagle rays, a group passing under us and then one flying over us
- white tip sharks, a Napoleon wrasse
- a huge tuna fish
- a school of barracudas, the smallest being at least 80-90 cm long
- then two big barracudas waiting for their prey
- a leaf fish
- more white tip sharks, giant trivallis
unicorn fish

We have explored only 8 dive spots but on each of them the visibility was very good, ranging between 20 m and 30 m, the temperature between 30°C on the surface to 27°C at 35m. It is probably the reason why the head hammer, which prefer colder water, were deeper.

Our favorite spot is shark cave, and no need to explain why it is called like this.....

The accommodation is on the rustic side. The walls of the room are very thin and painted in dark brown. So the rooms are very very dark, even with the curtains wide opened.
The bathroom is basic. The shower has an individual water-heater. If you are not lucky..... you won't have hot water. And if you are really really not lucky, you won't even have water at all: this happened to us.

The food is really basic: pasta, rice, vegetable, fish and two choices of meat. For desert, fruits and pastry.
I must say that I did not really enjoy it. But it is ok and there is plenty of it, at least the quantity is there.
All day long you have free flow of coffe, tea, hot chocolate and water.

I am not complaining, far from it, but I must confess that I did not like the room nor the food. And I would recommend to go this year or next because since they evidently do not really maintain the buildings well, it will most probably not be bearable within 2-3 years.

Erick

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Dinha_et_Erick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2010

We went for a 6 day package, included 12 dives - weather was good for us but the ocean did blow up a little on our last dive day. We went purposely to try and dive with the hammerheads and only found them in 1 of the 13 dives we ended up doing. None of this is of any control of this resort.

The staff were great, friendly and helpful. The Dive Master did try so hard to find those hammerheads for us. The food was good and plentiful and with a good variety. Our room was made up daily and we were given clean pool towels daily.

On the downside - paper thin walls, and guests in the next room kept us awake most nights.
The resort did not appear to be busy - yet we were charged an extra 10% for going in April.
The resort does a video - DVD of the days diving of which is way too expensive. I have purchased this from other countries such as Fiji for 1/2 the price.
The satelite was not working so no TV (personally this was a good thing for me). Lack of maitenance on the dive boats and I thought that there was a lack of marketing.
The T-Shirts could have been a better range and more souveigners would have been great.
We went there not knowing what to expect - not many reviews, thats why I am writing this one. We went thre to dive and dive we did. Our disappointment is not seeing more of the hammerheads but this is out the resorts control.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank DiveladyNsw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2009

If you're a diver, this is a great place to visit. Since we already went to Sipadan in 2006, we decided to visit Layang Layang because we like to see large pelagics. We came in April since April-May is the high season for seeing hammerheads. Did we see them - well, yes, but they were very deep. I stoppped descending at 135 feet, but some of the other divers went down to about 150 ft. to see the school of hammerheads up close. I saw "shadows" of them below me. The coral and variety of fish are amazing and we saw several white tip and grey reef shrks as well as schools of jacks, barracuda, and several dogtooth tuna. "The Point" is the best dive site and the boats go there every morning looking for the hammerheads.

The resort is basic and comfortable. Certainly not luxurious but luxury is not the goal of this trip; the diving is. If I want luxury, I go to Bora Bora or stay at an Aman resort. The rooms have good A/C and are comfortable. However, the resort could do a better job at keeping the rooms cleaner. My main complaints were that the shower was moldy and had no water pressure and the comforters on the bed were all stained. Other than those issues, the resort is great. The food and the service is good. The dive shop is well organized and professional.

I would go back to both Layang Layang and Sipadan again - probably combine them into one trip.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank DiveLoverLosAngeles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2009

Layang Layang, or ’Swallow’s Reef’ in English translation, has some of the most beautiful reefs in the Indo-Pacific area. Layang Layang has breathtaking corals and towering Barrel Sponges. This is due to the dive operator’s “diver-no-touching” strict rules. In additional to its big pelagic mecca (school hammerhead sharks, manta ray and mobula ray galore - I took a picture of 18# in one frame), Fish guru, Dr. Gerald Allen, recorded over 450 species of fishes in a week of diving there. With his additional research work, Dr. Allen has estimated that Layang Layang has over 650 species fish fauna. This is an astonishingly number for a relatively compact area!! The resort and service are top-notched and complementing with great food and beautiful sunsets provide its uniqueness. I long to go back. Stephen Wong, www.stephenwong.com , marine wildlife photojournalist

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled on business
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1  Thank Saiwong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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