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“Go for the scuba!”

East Marine Holidays
Reviewed February 23, 2016

I can totally understand all the bad reviews here. After you have been snorkeling in Thailand and the Philippines and you are used to a small boat with just a couple of people and a secluded ocean off-boat dive... Payar island is not that. Payar is a small area with damaged coral and hundreds of tourists each day on the one beach or floating platform. It is almost exclusively loud, inexperienced Chinese tourists who have never dived before and just hover around the beach and table areas. It can be off putting. I get that.

I also get that the visibility is sometimes not good. This is only in high-tide or when the tide is coming in. When we first arrived the water was crystal clear perfection. We snorkeled, it was magical. By midday, the waves started coming in and stirred up the sand and it was no good to snorkel in. This is not the fault of East Marine. They can't control the tides.

Also, the lunch was totally crap. This is true. The worst food we had in our whole time in Malaysia. They could definitely work on that aspect.

However! And this is a big HOWEVER.... East Marine took us scuba diving and it was amazing. We are new to scuba, we have snorkeled everywhere and always been curious but trepidatious. They advertised that they will literally hold your hand the whole way if you want and they lived up to that.

We were taken on a small boat way over to the other side of Payar, away from the tourists and snorkelers. We were given our lesson and taught all the stuff we needed to know for our first dive. The guys were friendly, kind and patient. We then jumped right in 2 at a time, my boyfriend and I got to go together, each of us with our own buddy instructor. He was checking our pressure and air and making sure were were ok the whole time. He kept me calm, reminded me to keep equalizing my ears to relieve pressure. He also pointed out cool fish and things and gave us a fantastic 30 minute underwater tour of some stunning live coral ten meters down.

After our dive, 2 other guys went down and we had time totally alone to snorkel off the back of the boat and it was peaceful and lovely. We were then taken back to the main beach for lunch and a swim before heading back to Langkawi. The day was amazing because we got the absolute most out of it. East Marine diving instructors were great at their jobs and we were the happiest. For scuba beginners, it was the perfect intro to diving. For snorkelers it would just be a boring day on a beach.

Oh yeah, the really cool thing was the black tip reef sharks and their babies. They were very cute and was cool to see the feeding frenzy when one of the staff took a much of meat to feed the adult sharks off the jetty.

Thank PSt0rm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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25 - 29 of 88 reviews

Reviewed February 16, 2016 via mobile

We went snorkelling with this company today, but it turned out to be a complete disappointment. They took us to Payar island by ferry but, as they had been moving approx. 250-300 people, they didnt seem to be logistics experts in this.The whole trip was terribly organized, for example on the way back in the pier all 250something people had to ask one by one from only 1 (!) guide wich bus they had to take to get back, he was rude and shouting on us-definitely not a nice experience if you payed for a service and it is not your fault they are not able to organize properly. There was approx 2 hours available for the snorkelling itself and the coral reef was terribly worn down-no wonder, they didnt even give instructions to tourists not to touch the corals.Visibility of the water was not the best either, not to mention the so called lunch, wich was a crap. So if you want a terrible mass experience with lots of annoying mistakes, go, othervise it is better to choose a different option.

1  Thank Andrea B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2016

I had my worst ever snorkeling/diving experience with this company. They ferried us like refugees into Pulau Payar (~100 people in a fast craft), did not give any briefing in terms of protecting the environment especially for the people on snorkeling package, the guides, although friendly, did a terrible job in briefing us for intro dive. Safety was questionable all throughout the experience. And to think they did not charge cheaply.

1  Thank MchristineTA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2016

In short: Most frustrating and unorganized experience I have ever had with a dive company. Serious divers should avoid this company.

Online booking methods do not work because of their banking issues. They canceled my reservation without attempting to call (made 3 weeks in advance and confirmed the 2 days and the morning before… I gave them my hotel address and phone number). Staff said they were too busy and didn’t care enough to call or inform me despite my numerous vocal confirmations and attempts to pay. Very rude on the phone and did not care about the reservation since it was busy. Therefore, despite my preparation I was unable to scuba dive on my trip, which was the whole reason I flew to the island from abroad. AVOID, AVOID, AVOID. Lots of headache and hours wasted trying to work with them to no avail.

2  Thank Neilsan88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 9, 2016 via mobile

The dive master is incompetent and unprofessional. He touched the corals, poked those fishes that he saw. He pat on the turtle we saw during the dive. He even used his fingers to catch the seahorse. He is damaging the underwater world. The diving equipments are old and rusty. My regulator was not functioning at a point of time and I had to use the secondary regulator. What a dangerous encounter.

3  Thank pohling_foo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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