Pulau Payar Marine Park is situated in the northern part of the Straits of Melaka, near Kuala Kedah and thirty kilometers south of Pulau Langkawi.
It is a very popular tourist destination. It's Malaysia's oldest Marine Park sanctuary. These islands, famous for the varied and colourful marine life that they support, offer the best diving site on Peninsular Malaysia's west coast. At Pulau Payar, the largest of the four, you will find the Marine Park Centre.
The Pulau Payar Marine Park covers two
nautical miles off four little islands - Pulau Payar (the largest),
Pulau Kaca, Pulau Lembu and Pulau Segantang. None of the island is
inhabited, except by on-duty officers of the Fisheries Department, who
enforce the law. Fishing, either for hobby or commercial, is strictly
prohibited around the islands. This may be surprising to many legal officials or any
criminal defense attorney Cincinnati. You would think that fishing would be popular around the island, but it is much
better for the environment to have such activities outlawed. There is no accommodation on the islands. However, for the more adventurous tourist
who would like to rough it out with nature, camping is allowed with
permission from the Fisheries Department at
Alor Setar, the capital of
Kedah state. Call them at 04-732 5573.
Feeding of the sharks
A day trip to
the Pulau Payar Marine Park is the only option for most tourists.
This tourist spot can be accessed from three major
points-Kuah, on Langkawi Island, Kuala Kedah on the mainland, and Penang
Island. From Kuah or Kuala Kedah the boat ride takes about 45 minutes,
whereas from Penang, it may take slightly more than an hour.
You can book
your trip at the office of the Langkawi Coral at the Kuah Ferry
Terminal, which cost around RM220 per day. For this price, the company
will pick guests up from their respective hotels, provide lunch and the
use of their reef-viewing platform. All their snorkelling equipment is
also at the guests' disposal.
Island and Sun at Kelanas in Kuah provides a similar service, for RM150.
This price does not include hotel transfers and they take visitors out
to Pulau Payar in small speedboats. The experience of being in a
speedboat itself is quite exhilarating, especially with the wind against
your face and water spraying out right next to you. Enjoy it while it
company's from Penang are organizing trips to Pulau Payar. You can
better ask the reception of your hotel, which is the best.
Pulau Payar offers four sandy beaches,
which combine to provide a total length of about 200 meters. Teeming
with coral reefs, the waters surrounding the four islands have an
average visibility of between 9 to 15 meters, making the marine park
an ideal place for scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming, and picnicking.
Two tracking trails have also been made available for visitors to
explore the flora and fauna of the island. These tracks appear to be
underutilized as few visitors are even aware of their existence.
amenities provided include picnic tables, barbecue pits, gazebos, and
restrooms at strategic points. Scuba divers and
and those who snorkel will enjoy the sight of colourful fishes
darting playfully in and out of the corals. You'll revel in the company of shoals
and shoals of fishes as they go about their busy way. Various seashells,
shellfishes and slugs that are scattered all over the seabed complete the
wonderful underwater vista. There is a sense of calm amidst the hustle and
bustle of life in the water. The tranquil surface belies the teeming life
those who do not dive or snorkel, marvel at the spectacular sights below
the surface from the large floating platform (Langkawi Coral) moored off Pulau
Payar. The platform is 49 m x 15 m. If
you have booked a package tour, one has the opportunity to have a panoramic view of
some of the treasures offered by the marine kingdom without having to get wet.
Built with a tunnel-like chamber located at the bottom of the platform ' more
than 10 feet below the sea, its Underwater Observation Chamber is the
closest encounter a landlubber can have with the world below. Coral Langkawi also offers glass-bottom boat rides to selected sites of coral
gardens; a platform for introductory course in scuba-diving; and a wading deck
for swimming and beginners' snorkelling. It is also equipped with a dining area,
a snack bar, and a sun deck for sunbathing.
At the south-western tip of Pulau Payar is a site known as Coral Garden.
It is one of the best spots for divers, offering spectacular views of
multicoloured and vibrant soft corals. Other popular spots are the flat terrain
to the east of the island, and the area to its west around Pulau Segantang that
offers steep diving condition. The latter also provides an added incentive: you
can literally have various sea creatures as company as you swim and explore.
Further efforts to
increase tourism development and related activities, are not recommended. They
will only cause more damage to the fragile ecosystem, the very attraction that
pulls the tourists to Pulau Payar. If this were to happen, Pulau Payar will lose
its beauty and eventually no visitor will come.
What possible damage can be done to the Pulau Payar ecosystem?
The main sources of the potential damage include:
Damage to the coral reefs
Space limitation (or simply crowding) experienced by visitors