Scuba Destination Spotlight #19: Layang Layang, Malaysia

A unique diving spot, Layang Layang is a 2,000 meters deeps atoll of 13 linked coral reefs.

The atoll shares its name with the resort island Layang Layang, which is situated in the South China Sea, and is part of 600 islands, reefs, and shoals, and it’s Malay name is The Spratly’s, which means “Place of Swallows,” and the reason why the island is sometimes known as Swallow Reef.

The atoll itself isn’t very large – it covers an area of about 14 square kilometers, but it’s surrounded by waters that teem with rich biodiversity, as all kinds of marine life live there, which allows for some fantastic diving opportunities.


Scuba Diving Layang Layang

Scuba Diving Layang Layang

A challenging dive, it’s not recommended for beginners, or anyone that prefers to dive in shallower waters, Layang Layang is perfect for the divers that like to dive along with large sea creatures, wall-diving, and reef life.

However, the special attraction is the hammerhead shark, and they’re almost always present during the period when the resort is open – which is from March to October.

Even without the hammerhead and the pelagics, there is great scuba diving to be had during these months, with healthy walls covered in hard and soft corals, and plenty of different types of marine life.

These include manta rays, thresher sharks, white sharks, melon-headed whales, and occasionally even orcas.

Scuba Diving Layang Layang
Scuba Diving Layang Layang

The visibility is generally good. It’s normally over 30 meters, though it can drop, but the temperatures are almost always constant, hovering on the higher end of 25-30°C.

However the seas aren’t as calm as in most diving spots, and it’s common to have bigger waves when surfacing from a dive than before.

During the months November through February the resort closes due to heavy monsoon rains in the area, and during that time diving is discouraged.