Diving in Pulau Payar, Langkawi

Among all the tourism islands in Malaysia, you will be surprised that Langkawi which is known as the largest island in Malaysia has one of the poorest market in scuba diving. The next is Pangkor Island. There were once they have a lot of diving centers competing which each other but right now only left two dive centers which are the Langkawi Coral and East Marine. When I asked the local dive master about the reason for the scuba diving in Langkawi can be shrunken to this level, he is a locally born boy said that one of the reason is too many activities in Langkawi and tourists tend to attracted to other activities instead of scuba diving because mostly tour agent will rarely promote scuba diving activity unless the tourists themselves are avid divers. I somehow do not really agree with this reason because I have been to Koh Samui at Thailand which is a large island like Langkawi and having their own airport too but their diving is still one of the hottest activities despite of other variety of activities. Same goes to Boracay at Philippines.

The other reason is they need to travel 30km which is an hour boat ride to Pulau Payar. The cost is too high and they even have to make the trip with only 2 divers on the boat. They can't charge too high either because that will scare potential divers away to travel to other island instead. That's why not many dive centers able to survive with such a high cost. I have to agree on this reason instead because not just the dive center unwillingly to travel so far and even the divers too. They probably wasted one whole day trip just for diving at Pulau Payar for only 2 dives.

However, my next curious question was left unanswered which is why there is no dive spots in the Langkawi island itself? Anyone knows?

I signed up with East Marine for my fun dive. They no longer has their own private boat to the island and they are using the same ferry with other snorkelers to Pulau Payar. The price is very expensive compare to other diving location in Malaysia which is at RM400/pax for 2 dives not inclusive marine park fee. However, land transfer, lunch box and rental equipment are included.
I have covered about snorkeling in Pulau Payar before in my blog, so I would not repeat again to bore you. You can check it out again for more information about the snorkeling trip. You only can do two dives here. There is no option to do more because the time is limited. You have to leave the island by 3.00pm.
If you are really wanted to dive in Langkawi, you have to check out their season. The best month to dive to Langkawi is during the dry season between November -May. We were slightly off the schedule because we traveled on the month of June and what awaited us was milky sea water and strong current.
Even though, it was disappointing but you will tend to see larger size fish such as this Trevely. It was so big and it swam right through us. Really amazing.
4 large groupers can be seen hidden under the rocky corals. I rarely see so many groupers in my single dive. It was truly amazing when I can go up close and personal with them.
Strong current can waste a lot of oxygen and also you cannot travel as freely as you can. Most dive master would recommend you to swim along with current to save more oxygen. For some experts would prefer to swim against the current.

Anyway, what is the best thing about the current is you get to see a school of fishes stale at one place fighting to swim against the current.
This is the time you can swim with them and capture them very closely. It is amazing experience as if you are swimming with them. This is what I mean. Swimming with the fishes as you are a part of their family. The visibility was not really clear and I afraid we might missed other school of fishes. The visibility was so terrible and we only can see 1 meter range. One of our diver got lost 3 times in a single dive. I, myself got lost once in this dive. Quite an embarrassing experience when everyone has to wait and look for you.
Batfish is big here too! This is one of the largest batfish I have seen so far in all my dive.
This fish is a little special than a usual one because it does not swim away from human. It will still evade our attempt to touch it but it just swam back to us after that as if it was teasing us.
Despite the visibility and the current, the dives are still good too. I do hope something that they can do about their prices and also a choices of dive sites for us to choose to dive instead of throwing us to a similar dive site every day.
Total Damage: RM400/pax
Service: 3/5
Recommended?: At least once will do.
Freakout Level: 4/5

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