Surin Islands
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Surin Islands – one of the best diving places in the world

by Dr. David

I visited the amazing Surin Islands before the Big Tsunami wave. I must confess that I’m not a backpacker, but my visit at Ko Surin with its wild natural beauty left me breathless and I dreamed of visiting the island again ever since that time.

The opportunity for another holiday at Surin islands came when we thought about a place to spend the long Songkran holidays. We came up with other ideas as well but at the end we decided to spend the holiday on Surin Islands.

My best friend Ellik, joined me for the holiday. Ellik used to be a diving guide in the Red Sea and worked in the North Sea as well as in different places in Thailand, (Ko Tao), and is nowadays an Environmental Preserver (MD) of the United Nations in Bangkok. He joined us with his sweet girlfriend.

Our original plan was to drive in my car to Kura Buri, a town located in Phang Nga province, and continue from there by a boat to Ko Surin. We planned to do all the holiday arrangements independently, (as I did in my first trip to the island).

In order to do that, we booked tents on the island, and contacted the speed boat agency, about a cruise to the island. During my phone conversation with the speed boat agency from Kura Buri, I found out that they offer a cruise to Surin Islands and include Ko Tachai in it, a virgin island, which is part of the Similan Islands.

The cruise includes a ride from Bangkok on a fancy tour bus, cruise on a speed boat to Surin islands and Ko Tachai, all relevant equipment, (tents, overnight stay equipment, snorkeling equipment, etc.), and a visit at the sea gypsies village – Moken, full board on the island, and a tour of Ranong Hot Springs on the way back.

After some thought, we decided to take the agency’s offer. Our calculations showed that our own tour, using my car and a rented speed boat will cost the same as the agency’s offer and we will have to drive the long way ourselves.  In addition, I wanted to do it just like other tourists do it so I can recommend the best journey to them.

I can certainly say that the decision to take the tour offered by the agency was a success. The fancy tour bus was great, (we even had massage in the back of our chairs J). The service we received was terrific. The tour guides assisted us in every possible way, the food was fantastic and we were spoiled by the agency guides all along the way with ice pops on the islands, cold water melon and pineapple on the boat after snorkeling, etc.

Mu Ko Surin National Park – Surin Islands are a group of 5 islands which all together constitute the Mu Ko Surin National Park. It is located in the Andaman Sea, 160 Km. North of Phuket. The islands are apporx. 60 Km. away from the coast line and are very close to Burma. The closest spot in Thailand to Surin islands is Kura Buri, located in Phang Nga province.

The abundance of fish and coral reefs, the clear waters (35 meters view), and the fact that the coral reefs are relatively close to the sea level turns Surin islands into one of the world’s best diving places especially when snorkeling is concerned.

The islands are amazing with their wonderful rain forest and many species of animals and birds, the soft white sand on the beaches and the beautiful color of the water (as you can see in the picture), makes you feel like you are in a paradise.

The most popular activity on Surin islands is the snorkeling cruises to the many nearby snorkeling areas. Apart from that you can take one of the trails of the rain forest, swim and sunbathe on the magnificent beaches and visit the Sea Gypsies village – Moken.

The Thai government puts a lot of effort into preserving the coral reefs and wild nature of Surin islands, part of which is limiting the number of people on the islands at any given time.

All the services on the islands are operated by the Thai government. There is a limited number of wooden bungalows and overnight stay is mainly in tents, (relatively big and in good condition).

There is a restaurant on the island where you can buy food and drink as well as some other basic utilities. There are clean showers and toilets and electricity is available between 18:00 – 22:00. Cellular phones also work on the island.

Here, I must say something that might disappoint some visitors: you won’t find T-shirts stalls, foot massage or other massage on the island…… but there is plenty of beautiful wild nature and a wonderful view.

Some information about the Moken – they are an ethnic group of about 3000 people. They are also called, the Sea Gypsies, as they move around from one island to the other in the Andaman Sea.  A small group of Sea Gypsies leaves in the Moken village in one of Surin islands.

You can visit the Moken village by taking a longtail boat. I visited their village last time I was there and this time too. I was a little bit disappointed this time; The village was badly hit by the big Tsunami wave and it has later on been rebuilt. It does not look so authentic as it used to be.

Click here for additional information about the Moken by National Geographic

It is important to know that the season for visiting Surin islands is November – April. There are no visits allowed at the islands during Monsoon season, May – November.

There are 2 ways to get to Surin islands from Kura Buri – you can take a boat which costs less and takes a longer time, about 3 hours, or you can take a speed boat and be there in an hour for a much higher price.

Additional information about Surin islands can be found on many websites. General information can be found on this website and on the official website, where you can also find information about sleeping arrangements and prices.

As I wrote before, the deal we took included a cruise on a speed boat to another charming island – Ko Tachai – which is officially a part of the Similan Islands. It is located in the middle of the distance between Surin islands and Similan islands, (about an hour cruise), you can read more about Ko Tachai here…

On the way back to Bangkok we stopped at the town of Ranong and took a tour of the Ranong Hot Springs and had our dinner there.

Although this was my second time at Surin islands, it had been an unforgettable holiday. It is hard to pin point why, but this special place, made my soul dance!

My friend Ellik, said that what he saw when diving in Ko Tao was not half as good as the abundance of fish we saw on Surin islands.  I can only recommend this cruise to anyone looking for a “once in a lifetime holiday”!  When you plan your Thailand trip – don’t miss this special place.

It is recommended you read the article about Ko Tachai.

Important note:   Surin Islands can be included in one of “TipTop Travel” tours. Thailand Private Family Adventure tour programs of south Thailand and in “TipTop Travel” ultimate Thailand Private tour of south Thailand and in  “TipTop Travel” Coast to Coast Thailand Private tour.


Dr. David
Thailand-Expert : Thailand Travel Guide
“TipTop Travel” : Thailand Private Family Adventure Tours

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