The Surin Islands are located in the Andaman Sea, in an archipelago of 5 islands in Phang Nga Province, South West Thailand. Located about 60 kilometers from Nam Khem or Thap Lamu Piers in the Khao Lak area, the speed boat ride is about 90 minutes.
I was fortunate to be part of an “inspection” tour of the Similan and Surin Islands for a local outfit called Seastar Plus. For now I will focus on The Surin Islands.
I love the Surin Islands. It is, in my opinion much better than the Similan Islands. From the quality of the reefs to the abundance and wider variety of sea life, the Surin Islands are far superior.
We met at Nam Khem Pier early in the morning and were treated to a nice continental breakfast, welcome drink and refillable water bottle.
We boarded a 15 meter two level catamaran named Tao Talay 9. The cabin was air conditioned and there was plenty of room for the passengers. There was an upper deck for sunning once the boat was at anchor. The Tao Talay 9 had one toilet near the captain’s chair. The vessel was designed to seat 70 people but there were about 15 of us onboard. Once seated we all were provided with a mesh bag containing a towel, mask, snorkel and fins. Captain Mac and three boat boys got us underway for the hour and 30 minute cruise to the Similan Islands. Our guide, Khun Latte, Gave us a briefing about the day’s activities and A little of the islands history.
Click Images Below to Enlarge
After a smooth ride lasting about an hour and a half, We arrives at our first stop. The Surin Islands are the ancestral home to the Moken People. The Moken originate from Burma or so the story goes. They are sea gypsies and their villages dot the entire Andaman coast. The Surin Islands has one such village. Due to local restrictions, we were now allowed to go ashore but I have been there before. There are around 80 people in the village living in thatched houses on stilts. Every hut has its own solar panel for electricity. There is also a school and small government office and not much else. The children are some of the happiest I’ve seen and everyone is extremely friendly. Our first snorkel spot of our Surin Island tour was within view of the Moken Village and was quite impressive. The coral was magnificent and teeming with fish of all colors. We stayed for about an hour then headed to Surin Nua, North Surin, to have lunch. Other than the marine park rangers, we were the only people there. The day we went, there were no other tour boats in sight. Everywhere we visited we were the only ones around. It was heavenly.
There are accommodations at the Surin Islands. At Chong Kaard Bay, you can choose from tents pitched on a pristine beach, small bungalows for two people and larger bungalows that sleep up to six people. There are ample shower and toilet facilities, including wheelchair access, a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating and tour desk. SeaStar Plus provided us with a wonderful lunch buffet with fantastic Thai cuisine. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available but you should inform the receptionist when you check in that morning. Soft drinks, a variety of Thai sweet teas iced coffees and fresh fruit are also there to enjoy. After lunch and a chill out we got back on the Tao Takay 9 and headed to Bon Bay for snorkel spot #2. Again the reef systems were thriving and there were larger fish swimming about. We stayed at Bon Bay for about 40 minutes before heading to our last stop of the day. Mare Yai or, Mother-in–Law Bay isn’t always open to the public but today it was. I had visited this site many years ago and it is one of the better spots for marine life and coral formations. It didn’t disappoint. We spent an hour there again, by ourselves. Come to think of it, we didn’t see or hear another boat all day! I dozed off on the way back to Nam Khem Pier. Since I was on another “inspection” tour to the Similan Islands the day before, I know that we were offered fresh fruit and chocolate brownies. We arrived safely and adjourned to the reception area for a nice snack buffet and refreshing ice cream. I’ve said it earlier and I will say it again now. SeaStar Plus did a fantastic job and really took care of us on our trip to the Surin Islands. Weather your destination is the Similan Islands, Surin Islands or one of their other tours, SeaStar plus is the way to go!