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Payar Island



Langkawi Island is a very popular tourist destination located in the Straits of Malacca off of the northwest of Peninsular Malaysia, near the coast of southern Thailand. It is an island covered in tropical forest with mangroves and sandy beaches around the coast.

Also in the Straits of Malacca, 35 kilometres to the south, lies Payar Island. There are frequent day trips running from Langkawi to this island leaving from Kuah or Cenang Beach. If you are not staying on Langkawi you can also reach the islands from Kuala Kedah on the mainland, which takes about 45 minutes by boat; and from Penang Island, which takes just over 1 hour.

Payar is home to Coral Langkawi, a large floating platform that is used for the day boats to moor up at, and as a base for divers. The platform has an underwater observation point for non-divers and snorkelling equipment is provided for all to use as they please. It is possible to sunbathe on the deck and there are glass-bottomed boats that explore the nearby reefs. On the island itself there are four small sandy beaches complete with picnic benches and hiking trails so that visitors can explore the island's tropical forests.

Water temperature: 26°C (79°F) to 29°C (84°F)
Suit: 3mm or 5mm shortie
Visibility: 5 to 15 metres (15 - 45 feet)
Rating: ****
Type of diving: Coral gardens in flat terrain to the east of the islands and sloping walls to the west around Pulau Segantang
Marine life: Black-tip reef sharks, groupers, barracudas, parrotfish, pufferfish, angelfish, bannerfish
When to go: Payar is a year round destination, but the rainy season from June to September can cause rougher seas and lower visibility, July and August are the worst months for rainfall
How to get there: Fly via Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia Airlines, then change to a flight into Langkawi. Day trips are available from here to Payar.

Coral Garden is a popular dive site on the southwestern tip of Pulau Payar. It has a rocky terrain that is rich in soft coral. Amongst the boulders there are many reef fish such as lionfish, snappers, damselfish and fusiliers. Green moray eels, barracuda and black tip sharks are also a common sight. The only downside is that the plankton-rich waters mean that visibility can be quite low.



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