Although there are several dive operators on Langkawi most of the diving is done further south at Pulau Payar. There are four islands in this marine park some 30 kilometers south of Langkawi. It boasts the largest number of coral species in the country and the most vividly coloured soft corals. Visibility isnt as good on average as other areas in Malaysia but this is made up for by the abundance of marine life. There is a large pontoon and underwater observation chamber here where vessels laden with day trippers from Langkawi moor up.
The Pulau Payar Marine Park is situated in the northern part of the Straits of Melaka, 19 nautical miles south of Langkawi and encompasses the islands of Pulau Payar, Pulau Lembu, Pulau Segantang and Pulau Kaca which are surrounded by coral reefs. The marine park teems with a fascinating diversity of marine life and vegetation.
Many endangered species of fishes and marine organisms live within the sanctuary. Measuring 2km long and 1/4 km wide, Pulau Payar is the most popular of the islands as its sheltered waters are ideal are for snorkeling, diving and swimming. Among the enchanting dive spots is the "Coral Garden", an area covered with bright, multi-hued soft corals.
There are travel agents who will take you to the islands either from Langkawi or from Penang, and it will take between 1 hour to 1,5 hours. But is a good idea to double check the state of the coral reef beforehand. Most dive sites are closed in 2010 due to coral bleaching, and lack of fauna. So is not a good idea to visit Langkawi just for diving. We recommend other sites in Malaysia such as Perhentian Islands, Tioman, or of course, Sabah.
Langkawi, officially known as Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah is an archipelago of 99 islands (an extra 5 temporary islands are revealed at low tide) in the Andaman Sea, some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. The islands are a part of the state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border.
By far the largest of the islands is the eponymous Pulau Langkawi with a population of some 64,792, the only other inhabited island being nearby Pulau Tuba. Langkawi is also an administrative district with the town of Kuah as the capital and largest town. Langkawi is a duty-free island.
There is not really a good offer of dive centers in Langkawi, since the diving is not actually in the island, but in Pulau Payar, at the south of the island, or north of Penang.
Anyways, you can find your way to dive really easy: almost every travel agency will arrange for you a day tour to the island, either for 2 fun dives, or 1 discover scuba diving. The price will go around 300 Malaysian Ringgit, including the boat to Pulau Payar, lunch and equipment rental. The offer for courses is not really good, and is always better to go either to Thailand, or to the west coast of Malaysia.
Accommodation : Bungalow
Depths: 5 to 50 meters
Visibility: 5 to 30 meters
Average cost of a dive : $24
Dive Sites : 10+
Dive Operators : 0
Getting there : Boat from mainland 2 hours.
Off Season : Nov / Feb