It was a memorable trip on an isolated island just 1 hr 30 mins boat ride from Sandakan, Sabah. A perfect getaway I must say. Click here for more description of Lankayan Island. The coral reefs were so rich with a huge variety of fishes roaming around it. Water is crystal blue with nice sandy beach which stretches all around the island.
I spent 5 days in Sabah with great companions (mostly my ex colleagues). We had great fun catching up with one another. Nice getaway! The great thing about this island is no mobile network coverage. Being on an isolated island without the common distraction of crazy ringtones and vibrating mobile phones seems to make me feel as if I am living out of this world. This also means there is no way my company is going to jeopardise my holiday. hahaha!! (evil laughter & grin)
We started off our journey from Ipoh to LCCT airport by bus at 1 am. Then there was this slight delay of about 20 minutes before take off. Here is our bird:
Arriving safely in Sandakan airport, we hurried to fill our tummies with the best seafood eatery (with good price too) in Sandakan. Thank God we had our local tour guides who is none other than Mr and Mrs Low who also happens to be our great friends. I must thank the 2 of them for organising such a great holiday for us.
We had huge "la la", prawns, fishes, some sea snails called "Tung Fung lo", crab and "lai liu ha" (critter prawns). Pardon me as I don't really know the English names for it.
After filling up, we went to see the Proboscis Monkeys and crocodiles. Nothing fascinating which is why I will not be posting any picture of if here. However, for the sake of some readers who just might not have seen one, here you go:
They are incredibly noisy mammals and mischievous too.
The following morning, we had breakfast at a rare "Bak Ku Teh" restaurant. When I mention rare, I really mean it. Original "Bak Ku Teh" is served with pork in aromatic herbs soup base. In Sandakan, this dish is totally different, it was served seafood in hot pepper herb soup. It taste like the original, but hotter with a hint of seafood sweetness. I enjoyed it.
After breakfast, we set off to Lankayan Island. Getting all set to go, our feelings were just hyper. Can't wait to get our feet on the crystal blue water and sandy beach. We were lucky to be offered a ride on my mate's yacht. It was old but reliable until one of it's engines broke down halfway towards the island. So, we had to send SOS by Morse code to get help. hehe..well no, I am just kidding! We were still able to use our mobile phones at this point so there is no need to crack our heads on Morse codes. Poor thing! We were stranded in the middle of no where. Seriously!, all four corners, wait a minute!..hmmm..not four corners but everywhere around us were just H2O, crystal blue water. Something we had hoped for but not here, not on this swinging yacht. Oh dear, everyone seems to feel a little sea sick. So we took the opportunity to enjoy some sabbatical activities like sunbathing and feet dipping into the warm crystal clear blue water. Then the rescue boat arrived. Yahooo!!!
Finally, we arrived to paradise island, Lankayan Diving Resort. The water is really crystal clear, we can see through the depths of the sea, literally speaking. We went for snorkelling, the corals are really huge with many colourful fishes. Astonishing view, I wish I have an underwater camera to capture some of the most exhilarating and breathtaking sceneries underwater.During one of the snorkelling outing, I was not used to the snorkelling mask on top of my powered swimming goggles so I did tried tasting salt water for the initial 10 mins. Phew!! After that, it was just non stop surprises around every corner. One fish after another finds it way around you. I even manage to see a shoal of silver looking fish (don't know what its' called) moving its' way around a huge coral reef. There were just so many of them that it looks like a dark cloud underwater.
The food is prepared by professional chefs on the island. The resort is manned by a majority of Filipinos as the island is not far from the Philippines. They were very courteous and treated us with respect in every way. One just cannot help feeling pampered by the level of service they provide us with. After every meal, they would come and ask if we wanted more food. Eventhough, the food was served in buffet style, we can order for second takings if we feel like it. Most of all, it is tasty.
Besides snorkelling, I also went for fishing in the deep sea which is an unforgettable experience. I mean it in a real bad way. I was having sea sick all the way. The little speed boat we were travelling to fishing spots was like a swing suspended by salt water. Swinging about 30 to 40 degrees side ways every time the wave gets by. Oh! It was terrible. I was forced to feed the fishes with precious "Bak Ku Teh" and other fermented buffet chymes. :P
There were 23 chalets on the island and the number of people who can visit the island is limited by the number of available beds. Unlike Pulau Redang or Pulau Pangkor, there is a headcount limit which ensures ample space and food for visitors. The island and it's 2km shore perimeter is prohibited from fishing by enforcement officers. The presence of marines was felt as we went for a stroll around the island, bunkers build with stacked sand bags were seen about every 100m. Lankayan Island is equipped with radar sensors which is powerful enough to sense little boats, ships and even huge waves from miles away. Unmarked vessels will be intercepted miles before it reaches the island. We felt save from threats of Abu Sayaf and sea pirates.
On the first night, we saw freshly hatched turtles being released into the sea. What a great experience! One of the tiny fella even crawl towards my feet, I must say it felt ticklish. As we are not allowed to touch them, I had no choice but to quickly kick it towards the sea. Hahahhahaha.....I was just kidding. Instead, I tried forming a barrier with both my feet to guide it towards the sea. It was pitch dark, so no one saw me did that. (No pictures of it as we are not allowed to use flash, so the pictures appear as it is, total darkness). After watching the release of little ones, I saw this weird looking man dancing happily, maybe he is too excited. Haha! Or is he might just be doing the turtle dance.
Next morning, I was woken up by our hostess, Madam Lee. Oh boy! Oh boy! It was only 5.30am. We slept for just 5 hours before. However tired, I forced myself up to watch the rising sun and believe me, it was all worth.
I recommend this island to fellow friends. I would rate it 4/5.
Looking back, we have marked another memorable moment in our friendship. With such miracle, we were all able to go for this vacation together. As what our host mentioned, such opportunity does not come along everyday. Take care, y'all.
To view more pictures of this trip, kindly click below links: