Payar Island Marine Park, Langkawi : Sun, Swim, Snorkel

My trip to Payar Island Marine Park, Langkawi happened many months ago, during the months of El Nino. I fell sick right after returning from this trip. Got an MC for 3 straight weeks. The trip was fun but the weather was not. When the weather is too hot, always remember to drink or you could end up like me.

Payar Island Marine Park, Langkawi

Payar Island Marine Park is located 35 kilometres (19 miles) South of Langkawi. It is one of many islands off mainland Kedah. The status of Marine Park means Payar Island offers protection to its diverse marine life. The park where visitors can swim and snorkel measures about 2 kilometres long and 1/4 kilometres wide.

How to get there?

Which one is our ferry?

To get to Payar Island Marine Park, Langkawi, you can either go by ferry, speedboat or catamaran. I went there via ferry at Kuah jetty.

Ferries can usually fit more than 100 passengers. Ferry operators will try to fill up their ferries before setting off to the marine park. So, be prepared to wait at the jetty until there are enough passengers going to the marine park before the ferry is open.

The journey from Kuah jetty to Payar Island Marine Park took about one hour so you have ample time to catch a wink before going through the physical activity of swimming. If you take the package trip, you will be provided lunch at the park. Snorkeling kit will be prepared for you as well.

Tickets to Payar Island Marine Park can be bought over the counters at Kuah Jetty (subject to availability).

Package Price: RM190 per person (including lunch)

Transfer Hours: 10.30am depart from Kuah Jetty to Payar Island; 3pm depart from Payar Island to Kuah Jetty.

What can you do at Payar Island Marine Park?

Look at all those fishes!

When I arrived at Payar Island Marine Park, I immediately noticed the hiking trails, some gazebos, picnic tables and not to mention, the fishes. I was told there are barbecue pits too but I didn’t see them. There are also restrooms to change after swimming.

Payar Island is one of the most visited islands for divers in Langkawi. This is because of the popular diving spot, “Coral Garden” that offers bright, multi-hued soft corals.

For those who are not into diving, snorkeling is another form of sport to try. The main attraction when snorkeling would be the variety of fishes. In my opinion, the baby black tip reef sharks are most interesting. At the same time however, you can find butterflyfish, rabbitfish, damselfish, pink anemonefish and many more.

I wanted to swim with the sharks very much but at the same time, I am afraid of water (sea). It took a great deal of persuasion from a friend to get me to the middle part of the snorkeling area (not being able to touch my feet to the ground scares the daylight out of me). Needless to say, I gave in to peer pressure. After getting the hang of it and putting my trust in my life jacket, I find that snorkeling is real fun, especially when the fishes comes right up to me.

I still wasn’t brave enough to venture to the deeper end of the snorkeling area even though I was told there are more fishes and corals there.

If you are braver than me though, do explore the deeper side of the water. You can see some of the pretty and colorful corals that are famous in Payar Island.

Some of the downside of the park

Sad to say, there were some things that I think can be improved at the park.

Firstly, the toilets. The water used in the toilets is the salty sea water. After a long time swimming and snorkeling in the sea, it would be great to rinse ourselves off with fresh water before changing into dry clothes, right?

Secondly, the hiking trails. Some of the wooden planks to the hiking trails are missing. This could certainly cause unnecessary injury. Some of the wooden planks and handrails are also too frail. It is just an accident waiting to happen.

Finally, the coral bleaching. Although this is a little out of our hands to handle, coral bleaching has become worse in recent years. This is because of the extreme change in the sea water temperature. With the prolonged El Nino phenomenon in 2016, the bleaching became more severe. More corals are becoming whitish grey or black instead of bright rainbow colors like before. Hopefully, this problem can be controlled by reducing number of visitors at the marine park.

Tour to Payar Island Marine Park, Langkawi

Tour to Payar Island Marine Park usually takes half day. Large groups and individual groups may vary. For those who chose diving package, they will be brought to a different site for diving. With the transfer time from Kuah Jetty to the Marine Park and the energy you used to swim, snorkel and dive, you will usually be flat tired by the end of the tour.