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Little more than a coral reef with a runway, the tiny island of Layang-Layang is located some 300 kilometers northwest of the Sabah capital of Kota Kinabalu (KK), the state to which it belongs.
A creation of the Malaysian Navy, which reclaimed land from the sea in order to state the nations sovereignty over the Spratlys, that South China Sea island group also claimed whole or in part by China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Surrounded by pristine waters that drop to 2,000 meters, Layang-Layang is often ranked as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world due to its remarkable array of marine life.
Due to the Navy`s presence, the coral reef has been spared the explosive damage caused by dynamite fishing and other destructive practices, leading to underwater visibility of more than 40 meters.
Particularly of note are the schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks, which can sometimes number in the hundreds, though you can also expect to see manta rays, dolphins, barracuda and turtles.