Shark! One of the tourists we were walking with at the jetty shrieked and pointed to the water several feet below us. We all bent over the wooden railings, searching the clear waters of Pulau Payar for the said creature. And indeed, there it was, or were, there were more than one! But they weren’t the kind of sharks everyone fears for, it was a small one, a baby blacktip shark to be exact, and more than anything, it looked really cute!
|FERRY RIDE TO PULAU PAYAR|
Our day started early. From Hotel Bahagia, we booked our island tour to Pulau Payar via their Ekomegah Holidays. Included are the roundtrip van transfers from the hotel to the Langkawi Royal Yacht Club, the ferry ride to Pulau Payar, packed lunch and snorkeling gear. That last one, we brought our own; the thought of biting on to a snorkel previously used by hundreds of other people really didn’t appeal to us that much, lol.
|THE FERRY’S AIR-CONDITIONED SO YOU REALLY CAN’T SEE MUCH OUTSIDE|
From Kuah’s yacht club, where we also launched off the day before for the Langkawi Sunset Cruise, we brought bottles of mineral water and cans of beer right before boarding the medium-sized ferry to the island. The ride takes about an hour and we dozed off throughout.
|BLACKTIP SHARK FROM THE BOARDWALK|
|PULAU PAYAR IS GEORGEOUS|
Pulau Payar Marine Park consists of four islands; Pulau Kaca, Pulau Lembu, Pulau Segantang and Pulau Payar, its main island. The word pulau, by the way, is Malay for island. All four are uninhabited and without any accommodations. The only way to see it, really, is via the daytours being offered by tour companies. There is the option of camping on the island, but one has to get a permit from Alor Setar’s Fisheries Department at the capital of Kedah state (04) 732-5573.
Well, we didn’t have no tent so it was the daytour for us.
|THE CLEAREST WATER I’VE SEEN IN MALAYSIA SO FAR|
Soon enough, we were all disembarking from the ferry and transferring to a smaller boat to bring us to the Pulau Payar’s jetty. The island, filled with lush vegetation over its rocky outcrops, looks stunning even at first view. And the water! Emerald green in color, it was the clearest I’ve seen in Malaysia.
|MAIN BEACH AREA WITH PICNIC BUILDINGS, THEY HAVE SHOWER ROOMS AND TOILETS TOO|
|PACKED LUNCH FROM OUR TOUR, CAN’T GO WRONG WITH FRIED CHICKEN|
There were a lot of picnic huts set some meters from the main beach of the island, but everything was quickly filled up. With no other choice, we first asked for our packed lunch, consumed it at the dining hall near the jetty, before proceeding to find a nice spot near the water.
|OUR SPOT AT PULAU PAYAR|
That spot was found right under another jetty at the other side of the beach. It was shaded, has a few rocks we could set our stuff and beer and is just a hop away from the water. It was the perfect place. In fact, it was so cozy we didn’t even leave it to explore the three other beaches on the island, nor its two hiking trails. We were contented with our beer, some chips and the sea.
|SHARKS AND FISHES|
And we didn’t even need to go far to snorkel, a few steps from the shore, schools of fishes explode into view as you dip your head down the water; colorful butterfly fishes, groupers, parrot fishes, the most common of which.
And among those fishes, small blacktip sharks sometimes mingle. I was actually a bit nervous at first, but these creatures are actually quite shy, swimming away as you approach them. There’s a resident giant barracuda in the area, which they dubbed as Mr. Mustafa, but we weren’t able to spot the guy.
|CLEAR WATERS AT PULAU PAYAR|
|GOODBYE PULAU PAYAR!|
I heard the best place to snorkel in Pulau Payar is at the Coral Garden at the southwestern tip of the island, but it was closed off at the time to let the corals recover. But that’s alright with me, the multitudes of fishes and sharks we’ve seen were good enough for me. Now let’s drink some more beer!
~ THIS TRIP WAS MADE POSSIBLE WITH THE ASSISTANCE AND EFFORTS FROM HOTEL BAHAGIA
Pulau Payar Island Tour via Ekomegah Holidays
Address: Persiaran Bunga Raya, Langkawi Mall, Phase II,
Kuah, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Contact Number: (604) 969-5989
Cruise Fee: MYR180.00 per person | MYR130.00 for kids
Pulau Payar GPS Coordinates Map: 6.063741, 100.040913