Payar Marine Park Malaysia

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The Payar Marine Park Island

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The Payar Marine Park consists of the main island of Pulau Payar, the smaller is­lands of Pulau Kaca and Pulau Lembu, and the two large rocky outcrops of Pulau Segantang. Located at the point where the Malacca Straits open out into the AndamanSea. Pulau Payar has one of the few good wed areas along the west coast, having been gazetted as a fisheries-protected area in 1985. The corals here are diverse, Particularly off Pulau Payar and Pulau dam. Pulau Lembu has interesting boul­ders on its southwest face, covered with many oysters and mussels. Pulau Segantang is actually two steep-sided, Kicky outcrops which are joined together underwater and continue down onto muddy sand at 20m.

On the southwest tip of Pulau Payar is a dive site known as the Coral Garden, made up of rocks and steep-sided gullies carpeted with colourful Dendronephthya, soft corals and boulder corals and, deeper down, Tubastrea micranthus cup corals. Fish life is abundant and if you're lucky you may see some very big giant grouper and a ghost pipefish. Some fishing boats, impounded for illegal fishing, have been sunk off Pulau Payar and now make good diving — if you can obtain permission from the marine park staff. The shallow housereef in front of the park staff quarters is good for snorkelling.

Pulau Payar has a visitor information centre, toilets and picnic facilities, but no accommodation, so most visitors come from Pulau Langkawi, one hour by speed­boat to the northwest. You can visit the park by boat from Kuala Perlis, Kuala Kedah or Penang. Resorts that organize dive trips to Pulau Payar will also organize marine park permits. Dive clubs and dive training agencies in Penang sometimes organize boats to the park, but the only permanent diving facilities are at resorts at Langkawi. You can camp on the island, with permis­sion from the fisheries management office.

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