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Spratly Islands

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Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Spratly Islands
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Quick Facts
Capital NA
Government NA
Area less than 5 sq km, including 100 or so islets, coral reefs, and sea mounts scattered over an area of nearly 410,000 sq km of the central South China Sea
Population no indigenous inhabitants, but scattered garrisons occupied by personnel of several claimant states
Language NA
Religion NA
Time Zone UTC +8

The Spratly Islands are a collection of more than 100 small islands and reefs in the South China Sea, claimed in full or in part by several governments in the region.


This tropical archipelago is surrounded by rich fishing grounds and potentially by gas and oil deposits, and strategically located near several primary shipping lanes in the central South China Sea.

There is only 4 square kilometres of land, but there are six countries with territorial claims. It is claimed in its entirety by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, while portions are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines. 45 of them are claimed and occupied by one of these parties. Even Brunei has gotten in on it, claiming exclusive economic rights encompassing one of the islands.

Get in[edit]

Map of the Spratly Islands

The vast majority of the Spratlys are either uninhabited, closed military bases, or otherwise off limits to casual visitors. However, a few have small civilian communities and can be visited by determined travellers.

By plane[edit]

Layang Layang (Swallow Reef), controlled by Malaysia, is the only island in the Spratlys with regular flights. A popular dive resort, it can be accessed via Kota Kinabalu.

There are a handful of unpaved airstrips among the other islands.

By boat[edit]

Pagasa (Philippines) and Itu Aba (Taiwan) are accessible on irregular cargo services from their respective mainlands.

Get around[edit]

See and Do[edit]

Scuba diving in the Spratlys is excellent, but the only island with a full-fledged dive resort is Layang Layang.

Buy[edit][add listing]

The economic value of the islands is the waters for fishing, and the suspected presence of underwater petroleum reserves. There is virtually no economic activity taking place on the islands themselves.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

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