Langkawi – Part 3 (Pulau Payar)

Pulau Payar Marine Park

This is the third part of the Langkawi series (You can read part one and part two here).

We booked the full day tour when we first touched down at the airport and it turned out to be one of the best decisions that we had made. Even if you don’t swim, I would still strongly recommend this tour when you are in Langkawi. Have you ever been swamped by fishes? Have you ever swum with sharks? Or do you like fish feeding? These are the things that you can do when you are on this tour.

There are two types of tour packages (on beach or floating platform) to go onto this paradise. Basically the packages are the same, except that the latter allows you to see the fishes from the floating platform, i.e. without getting wet. As the price was almost doubled, we paid for the beach access instead. Our package included a pre-packed lunch and all the snorkeling gears. We were told that the luncheon was the same for both packages, except that the former was served in buffet style.

We were picked at our hotel at 7.45am and were transferred to a ferry ride for another hour. We reached the island around 10am and were left to explore the island on our own until 2pm, before we were transferred back to our hotel (around 4pm). Here are some advice for you, if you plan to go on this tour.

  • Bring a big loaf of bread to feed the fishes. I learned this from my previous experience in Phuket, Thailand.
  • Bring and apply (generously) suntan lotion. It actually rained when we were on the island but it didn’t dampen our mood cos most of the time, we were in the sea. 😉
  • As we took an air-conditioned ferry and there was proper shelter on the beach, there was no need to waterproof your stuff. Again, I have learnt from my Phuket experience that my stuff will get wet. However, I must say this tour was much better organized.
  • Fruits and mineral water were provided. If you like, you may want to bring along some snacks (for picnic).

Boarding the ferry

Shelters are available for different tour groups. The one at the far end was ours.

Seaview

What was special about this tour was that you get to swim with and feed the blacktip sharks. Most of them were baby ones (about 2 feet long) and they swam very close to the beach. It was quite an interesting experience to swim with these sharks, or even trying to catch up with them. If you go a little deeper (but still within the safety zone), you may get to get bigger ones. I saw one huge blacktip shark (about one metre) circulating on the seabed. 😉

A baby blacktip shark

See the blacktip? This one was actually quite small (about one foot)

A baby blacktip shark circulating around the seabed

That was how close you could get to the sharks!

For the faint-hearted, don’t fret. There weren’t so many sharks actually and most of the time, you only get fishes around you. And whenever there is a swamp of fishes, these sharks usually won’t go near. What you can do is really simple …. Just take a slice of the bread and dip it into the water and let the fishes do the rest. LOL!

With this much of fishes, I could literally catch them with bare hands. And I did!

Not to mention that some of these fishes were huge (at least to me). Fishes that were larger than my palm were very common. And I must say … They were not camera shy at all!

Fishes, fishes and more fishes

Having a fun time chasing after these fishes

My children can swim but I wouldn’t say they are very good swimmers. In fact, it took them a while before they learned how to snorkel, i.e. breathe through the snorkel. Once they learned the technique, they loved the world underneath the water. Maybe, one day, I could scuba dive again. 😉

Human raft

You can see the floating platform from the picture below (bottom left) but you will have to pay more (almost double) to get onboard them. And of course, you get to eat your lunch in buffet style as well. For us, lunch was a hasty affair as we couldn’t wait to go back into the waters. So, the choice is yours. 😉

This pretty much summarized all the activities that we did in Langkawi. The next, and final, post shall cover our accommodation and food.

[Previous – Part 2] [Next – Part 4]