20 December 2010

Pulau Payar: Getting There & Around

There is no accommodation on the island, so you can only do daytrips. In a way this helps preserve the cleanliness of the area. Anyhow, the 2 most popular base for trips out to Pulau Payar would be Pulau Langkawi and Pulau Pinang (Penang).

Although I only took the catamaran ferry from Penang, I'm guessing it is almost the same with trips originating from Langkawi (but with a shorter journey).

For those based in Penang, you'll enter the pier from an old side gate. Just look for the famous Jubilee clock tower and it's right opposite. You can park your car at the nearby Fort Cornwallis parking for RM7/day.

Jubilee Clock Tower

Pier entrance for most passengers

There are only a few ferries in the morning and they depart on time, so don't be late! An announcement will be made and you will proceed through to the new Swettenham Pier complex:

New Swettenham Pier Complex

At check-in you will be provided a wrist-band and notified of your assigned seat number. Note that you have assigned seats for the journey there but it becomes free seating on the way back. Our catamaran that day was "Zon 2" and after dropping us off at Pulau Payar it proceeded to Langkawi Island.

Zon 2 catamaran to Payar and Langkawi

We got the same ferry back to Penang, but our tour guide Jafri mentioned that this is not guaranteed, so don't leave any belongings when you disembark! The journey back to Penang leaves at about 3.15pm, and it takes about 2 hours either way with a speed of around 24.5 knots.

Seats inside Zon 2 - non reclining and thin cushions

Zon 2 has an upper deck where you can catch some sea breeze if it's not raining, and two small toilets that I didn't attempt as I didn't want to wet my pants and shoes!

Upper deck affords fresh air

Thanks to Jafri I also managed to take a peek at the cockpit. It was a really cramped space with lots of different instruments and buttons for the captain to press, pull, and turn:

Zon 2's cockpit with the captain on deck

Once you arrive at Langkawi Coral's platform, you can easily visit the Marine Park on the island itself via shuttle boats. I saw 2 types of boats - one is a glass bottom boat where you can see the sea life as you cruise along while we took this boat where more people could fit in:

Transfer boat between Langkawi Coral's platform and the island

Our tour guide Jafri takes over the shuttle's controls

It's only 3 minutes from the platform to the Marine Park jetty.

1 comment:

anaklangkawi said...

Hi Zemien,
Such informative article on the trip to Payar Island. I dont even know there's such trip from Penang without even stepping to Langkawi.

Great info mate.. Already link it in my blog..