Known as Malaysia’s oldest sea sanctuary, Pulau Payar Marine Park covers two nautical miles around four little islets with rocky coastlines and white sandy beaches. Rich in flora and fauna, the main island lures you with two hiking trails through lush tropical vegetation where you can spot monitor lizards or flying foxes and admire more than 20 bird species.
The main attraction though is the diverse marine world. With pristine clear water, visibility up to 15 metres and seven spectacular diving sites, the marine park is heaven for snorkelers and scuba-divers, offering an amazing vista of dreamlike coral gardens and nearly 250 colourful fish species. As part of the migration route for marine mammals, you may even get to see dolphins and whales.
Even those who don’t like to get wet can have their fun feeding tame baby black-tip sharks or admiring the maritime world from an underwater observatory, a tunnel-like chamber built 10 ft below the sea surface.