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“Terrible - don't bother!”

Pulau Payar Marine Park
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Full-Day Pulau Payar Snorkeling Tour from Langkawi
Reviewed August 27, 2008

This was the worst trip we have ever been on and I won't recommend it to anyone.

We booked with East Marine through Tour East, which was about £40-£50 each.

A very small minibus picked us up from the Datai which then proceeded to pick up 9 more people so it was extremely cramped and quite a long journey to the jetty.

We were given refreshments and then a quick talk from one of the guys. On board the ferry we were given snorkelling gear and lifejackets and the trip took about an hour. Not very comfortable I must say.

Anyway Pulau Payer looked lovely from the sea, all green and clear until we landed. We were taken to a large shelter with concrete floors and benches right behind the "beach". This was very dirty. Right next to us construction work was going on which was extremely dangerous as we had to walk through it to get to the toilets. No health and safety here at all!!!! The loos were a disgrace and can only be described as "rank" - the worst I have ever seen and I have seen some bad ones. Only 2 loos between over 200 people. They didn't flush, no loo paper and they didn't lock, they also smelt terrible.

We decided to try the other beach near the floating platform. However we discovered that the walkway ended well before the beach with a rock climbing assault course. This was very dangerous especially when the tide came in later.

Back to the "main beach" which was basically a strip of sand 10-12 ft wide which completely disappeared after lunch when the tide came in. We then had to sit for hours under the shelter with the construction work and filth all around us. There was nowhere else to go at all. We were encouraged to take our rubbish with us, but a lot of tourists didn't bother and the sea was littered with plastic bottles, old lighters and plastic bags.

The sea was warm but very cloudy unless you went right out beyond the jetty where it was clear. Many people fed the fish which did bite so beware! The shark feeding was a frenzy and was quite dangerous as the guys feeding them basically tormented them encouraging them to come into the shallows where small kids were standing.

The packed lunch consisted of fish paste & tomato (disgusting), cold potato wedges and a very limp salad. Water accompanied this but there was no other food or drink available so if you didn't like this (who would?) you went hungry.

As I said before the Health & Safety was disgusting. The guys accompanying us only had basic training in putting plasters on. When a french guy got bitten by a fish they didn't know what to do. He was in a very bad way with his arm swelling up fast. There was no rush to take him off the island and no transport fast enough to get him to hospital in a hurry. He was still with us at the end of the day looking decidedly dodgy. They also informed us that they didn't have any lifeguards so if anyone got into trouble it was tough luck.

I would not recommend this trip to anyone, it would be much better to save your money and go to one of the lovely beaches around the island that are free and very clean and have safety facilities around them!

25  Thank Lisa_Birch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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in 39 reviews
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616 - 620 of 784 reviews

Reviewed May 2, 2008

Firstly...just to clarrify...there are a few main tour companies that go to the island the 2 main ones from Langkawi are East Marine Divers & Coral Island. We travelled with the latter...so can only comment on our experience with them.

Ok...so...we booked the trip through one of the numerous travel agents on Cenang Beach. Prices vary depending on where you book and what option you take...there are 3!

1 - The floating platform. This is 230 rm for adults and 150 for kids. You can snorkel and they have a glass bottom boat but you dont go on the beach

2 - Diving - Coral island offer 1:1 diving for those who havent done it before. They also can video you diving for an extra chareg of 80rm i think! The cost for this is 260 rm. And you get to go out of 2 dives!

3 - Snorkelling from the beach. this costs 160 rm (again this will vary as to where you book it from so shop around!)

We booked the snorkelling trip....with coral island they have a huge boat with 2 sundecks. On the trip out they show previous videos of diving and snorkelling to give you an idea of what to expect. The boat trip takes 1 hour 15 mins...and on a calm day is really easy and a lovely trip!!

The boats docks with the jetty and all snorkelling equipment is provided. A small packlunch is also provided and drinks/snacks can be bought.

We went out snorkelling and saw the most amazing underwater life including black tip reef sharks, a baracuda, and nemo fish!! The staff also take groups out snorkelling and point out interesting fish etc

At approx 1pm they feed the sharks and as you can see from he pics it is an amazing experience.

The staff of Coral Island are all lovely, cheeky, helpful and friendly!!

And to say they pick you up at your hotel and drop you off...well what more could you ask for?

The day on this island was the icing on the cake for our holiday.

9  Thank kitty_mcr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2007

The boat I took was a 2 hour ride each way. I was expecting 1 hour each way, so was suprised to find it was 4 hours in transit instead of the advertised 2. Bring books.

Once we finally arrived we left the boat for the platform (which was quite roomy) we were given snorkel gear and could use fins or lifejackets if we wished. They had a nice swimming platform where it was easy to put on your gear.

The water was an unusual color of green. Zillions of fishes when you jump in. Nice angel fish and crown fish in the anemones. The coral was not a 'Finding Nemo' colorful garden, It was mostly shades of brown and beige in the corals. You may only swim in a restricted area marked by floats. It was rough part of the day I was there, so you couldn't go far anyway.

At 1pm they had a much promoted shark feeding. You needed to transfer via small boats to go to another beach. The guides feed fish to the 3 - 4 foot long nurse sharks. Not terribly impressive. Take another swim instead.

They provided a lunch buffet that was mediocre at best. Foods that had been prepared in town were reheated and thrown on the buffet. Don't depend on this lunch to fill you up. (which actually was a good thing)

On the way back it was quite rough and a number of folks were throwing up regularly. The hurlers were widely distributed throughout the boat, so you couldn't get away entirely.

This is an okay trip if you want to see fish. This is nowhere near barrier reef quality, so don't expect it.

6  Thank yippyEyeO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2006

I did the trip to Pulau Payar from Penang in Sep 2006. It was the most memorable day of the holiday.

Picked up at our hotel by a coach for a short transfer to penang harbour. Quickly onto the ferry, which has to be said is in need of a bit of TLC. Word of advice, boat trip takes approx 1 hour and no refreshments are offered on board, take a bottle of water with you. You can sit on the top deck to feel the wind in your hair or on your bald spot and watch the beautifull scenery go by ( Small fishing boats and isolated islands )

You arrive at a pontoon moored some 100 metres from a white sandy beach. You're given a safety briefing from the 'Captain' of the pontoon. Facilities include all snorkelling equiptment, a below deck viewing area, glass bottom boat and scuba diving equipment ( additional cost 120 MR per 45mins ).

On board there is a bar area selling alcoholic and soft drinks and wash room and changing room facilities for the more bashfull

Your free to spend your time snorkelling or over on the beach sunbathing with the Monkey's. The reef that the pontoon is moored by is truely amazing. I've snorkelled on the Barrier reef, and it doesnt come close to matching Pular payar. The reef is only about 2ft below the surface, with an abundance of marine life. I saw a Black tipped reef shark (5ft) no danger to us humans. A baracuda, sea turtle, octopus and of course I finally found Nemo.

A buffet lunch is served, which offers a good selection of meats,noodles and rice. The bowls of lemon jelly went down particularly well with me. Then after our lunch its a hop on a small boat to a viewing pier where Capt Ahab feeds the sharks !!!

The rest of the afternoon is yours before the returtn ferry to the terminal and your coach transfer back to your hotel.

A really really good day, that I would recommend to anyone young, old or middle aged.

41  Thank Nogger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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