It is one of the only locations at the west side of the Malaysian peninsula where you can snorkel and dive. Besides that, you can also feed the fish (e.g. small sharks). However, we do advise not to participate in that, because it is very bad for the fish and eventually it harms the coral as well. The underwater world around the island often attracts very big kinds of fish, because of the enormous amount of algae in the water. When you obtain your PADI diving license on the island of Langkawi you complete your dives within the marine park. The best snorkel location with the marine parks is near ‘Coral Garden’.
The island is a protected area as the coral has to be preserved. Fishing is absolutely prohibited within the marine park. If you are not going to the east side of the Malaysian peninsula (i.e. Perhentian, Redang or Tioman) or to the beautiful islands around Borneo during your trip through Malaysia, then this is one of the few places where you can encounter the beauty of a real coral island. The small island group, Pulau Payar has been under a lot of pressure as a result of tourism in the last couple of years.
The islands are set up in a very touristy way and there is a chance that you might view the same fish with 20 others. Additionally, there is the issue of ‘coral bleaching’ due to the high temperature increase of the seawater. As a result, the coral is not in its best shape anymore. Below, please find a few rules to take into account to ensure that Payar does not collapse under the pressures of tourism:
- Do not feed the fish and do not touch any fish.
- Keep your waste and do not throw anything into the water.
- Only use the toilettes.
- Do not stand on the coral. Wear a life jacket and swim without flippers to prevent yourself from standing on the coral.