Overlooking the azure blue skies and sparkling emerald waters, you feel a wave of peace and tranquillity. This island is surrounded by lush green trees, traditional attap houses and clear waters. You don’t need to enter the waters to see the immense variety of fishes swimming there.
This is Pulau Payar, a nature park where you can swim with marine animals. Pulau means island in Malay, so it means it is off Langkawi’s main island. You need to take a boat there.
At Kuah Jetty, there is a row of travel agencies available for day trips. For this trip, in particular, there are 2 packages. Either a packet lunch or buffet lunch, and the prices differ. They sell at the same prices, and you can negotiate accordingly.
After agreeing with one of the agencies, we got our tickets and went to the departure area to take the ferry. It is a huge ferry that can carry maybe 50-80 people altogether. The different agencies will take the same ferry to the island.
The ferry ride is about 60-80 minutes. Because of the shallow waters and that they do not want to pollute the island, they will stop away from the shores. Smaller boats will pick the passengers up and head towards the main island.
What to Do
The main thing to do here is to snorkel. Alternatively, you can dive there. The waters are not too deep, so snorkelling is good enough. Once you reach, you can keep your belongings in their baskets at RM20 for 1 basket. There is also a washroom to use and change into. You will also be given a snorkelling set and life jacket. Apparently, life jackets are compulsory when in the waters.
Swimming Area #1
There are 2 areas to snorkel, the left and right. The right side is more populated with people because it is shallower. It is also nearer to the main jetty area. There is also a large floating platform at the end for those who want to rest or tan. There, you can see corals, a huge variety of fishes and shoals of fishes.
How to Swim with Sharks
Nearer to the intersection of the left and right side, you will meet LOTS of sharks. I got very afraid at first, because they are…… well, sharks. But fret not, you are not there to die. These sharks are baby sharks and they are maybe maximum 2m long. The 2m long ones do not bother humans, and they simply casually swim under you. Don’t try to catch them though they swim really fast.
The baby sharks can be found nearer to the shores. I guess many people feed the sharks there, so the sharks know where to go. We fed them with bread and apples. After a while, I was not afraid anymore and allowed the sharks to swim around me, together with other fishes. (you get to do this by having your mom and friends to throw food at you and all the animals will come towards you.)
Swimming Area #2
The left side, however, is much deeper. That is why fewer people swim there. But there is where you can find more marine creatures too. I saw tons of sea urchins with really long and scary spines. If you are lucky, you can see more varieties of sharks and even stingrays! There is a beach towards the end of the left side, and you can walk on the bridge to get there too.
This is extremely great for my mum, honestly. Till today, she still feels really excited to see fishes swimming in front of her. She could not swim, so she wore her life jacket and I pulled her along.
It is great for people who love the sea. Since it is not an island hopping-snorkelling trip, you will only be snorkelling in 1 area for about 2-3 hours (including lunch). If you are more into island hopping, try out the jet-ski island-hopping trip instead.
Things to Note
Name: Coral Island
How to get there: travel agency at the jetty
Cost: from RM150/person for a packet lunch meal