Day Trip from Khao Lak to Koh Surin Islands

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.

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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!

Khao Lak Surfing 2021

In Khao Lak, surfing is getting really popular these days. Khao Lak is hands down one of the best places to experience sun, sand and surf in the country. If you are planning on coming here to surf, here is a rundown of some of the well-known surf spots.

The first place is the Nang Thong Lighthouse. The waves on left side of the lighthouse are small but fun right-handers. There were a few large boulders jutting out of the lineup so it is best to go there mid to low tide. Coconuts Nang Thong Beach is the place to go for drinks, snacks and lounge chairs but they aren’t always open during the monsoon. I’ve never seen more than a few surfers in the water. There is plenty of parking behind the restaurant. Suwan Palm Resort is a good place to stay and it is steps away from the lighthouse.

Our next stop was just a few kilometers north to Bang Niang Beach. There is a river mouth that was flowing heavily from the recent rains and the beach had some of the best waves in Khao Lak. Bang Niang Beach has a nice sandy bottom, lefts and rights are always on offer and you can have the lineup to yourself most days. You can park on the dirt road just past The Haven Resort or at the end of Bang Niang Beach Road Soi 1. Nong Prew Bar and Restaurant is about 200 meters from the good breaks.
You can’t mention Khao Lak surfing without talking about Pakarang Cape. Down a long dirt road is Pakarang Surf Shop and Memories Beach Bar. This is by far the busiest and most popular surf spot in Khao Lak. They have surfboard and bungalow rentals and surf lessons are available year round. Ripcurl sponsored surf contests are held here every year too. With everyone from novices to experts in the water at the same time the lineup can get pretty hectic. There is also a pretty strong riptide so stay on the inside until you get more experience to hang outside with the big boys and girls.

You can also stop in Salt Surf Club and Hostel. Located a few meters from Apsara Resort, Salt is the new kid on the block although it’s owner, Matt has been surfing Khao Lak beaches longer than anyone in the area. They also sponsor charity surf events for underprivileged children and board giveaways. Salt Surf Club offers surfboard rentals, surf lessons, good food and clean rooms for rent.

There are other spots on Pakarang Cape that are worth mentioning. Taxi Dave’s is probably the first surf spot in Khao Lak. Dave is long gone (RIP) but his surf spot lives on. There is another good spot on the cape but you’ll have to ask a local about it. Maybe they will tell you…maybe they won’t.

In my opinion there is nothing better after a session than an ice cold beverage and some quality Mexican food. The World Famous Rusty Pelican is the place to be. Good vibes, great food and the best margaritas in Thailand wait for you. We also have second hand surfboards for sale from time to time. We hope you all come visit Khao Lak. Surfing isn’t the only thing to do here. There are waterfalls, world class diving and snorkeling, beautiful beaches and an abundance of natural beauty.

Surfing Khao Lak is where the spirit of aloha meets sabai. Come and see for yourself

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Bussaba Massage, Bang Niang, Khao Lak

Want to luxuriate in a Khao Lak massage that will leave you feeling completely relaxed and refreshed, ready to enjoy other things to do in Khao Lak? A place where you can go with your partner and share the experience of having those tight muscles pressed into peaceful submission? If you are looking for what to do in Khao Lak, then look no further than Bussaba Massage, located a few minutes away from the Khao Lak center, in Bang Niang.

Bussaba Massage, Khao Lak, has professionally qualified masseuses that have invested years in providing customers with the finest massage experience. You can go with a traditional Thai massage that systematically massages, manipulates and stretches the whole-body, working from the feet to the head. You won’t come out the amazing elastic man, but you will definitely feel different about the world you inhabit! Or you may want to equally indulge yourself with an oil massage, which is also full-body, and includes exquisite head and hand massaging. Oil massages can be strong or mild, depending on your preference.

Bussaba Massage, Khao Lak, utilizes a variety of oils such as coconut, aloe vera, lavender and balsam. Bussaba, the owner of the massage parlour, makes the coconut oil herself. She gathers the coconuts from her property in Bang Niang, extracts the coconut by cracking the shells open, then liquefies the contents on a stove. After liquefaction she pours the oil into bottles, allows them to cool, then transfers them into the Bussaba Massage parlour where fortunate customers get to experience the freshness and delightful aroma of pure coconut oil. THERE ARE NO ADDITIVES WHATSOEVER!

Other massages specific to different parts of the body are also available. These include neck, shoulder and foot massages. You can also get scrumptious body scrubs and have your nails sparkling clean and shaped with a manicure and/or a pedicure.

Bussaba Massage, Khao Lak, has been certified by the Thailand Safety & Health Administration (SHA), which includes adherence to all Covid prevention requirements. So, not only will your body receive the treatment it deserves, but you can also be confident that the safety measures in place will ensure a protected environment for your enjoyment. We hope to see you soon! Visit the website here: Bussaba Massage Khao Lak Website.

See Bussaba Massage on Google Earth Click HERE!

What to Do in Khao Lak when it Rains

The weather in Khao Lak plays a big part in what you get up to during your holiday. Between November and April you can be almost guaranteed to be treated to warm sun, clear skies and calm seas. But for the rest of the year the Khao Lak weather can be a bit unpredictable. Take yesterday for example, yesterday was a typical day in June. Hammering rain first thing in the morning followed by scorching sun and then an almighty thunderstorm that made the lights flicker in the evening. Sometimes it all comes at once and is gone within the hour, sometimes the weather lasts for a week!

So what can you do in Khao Lak when it rains?

Well some people will tell you that Khao Lak is an outdoors kind of place and you are better off looking to move somewhere on the east coast or in the north where the weather is a bit more stable. But that is not necessarily true. You can still enjoy your holiday in Khao Lak even through the biggest storms!

Why not relax with a traditional Thai massage while listening to the sound of the rain pattering on the window? There are several massage parlors lining almost every road in Khao Lak and they are open all year, rain or shine. Even if you don’t fancy heading out into town while it’s raining, almost every hotel in Khao Lak has an in-house spa that offers a full range of massage and health services.

If laying around is not for you, there are plenty of other activities in Khao Lak that are great fun even when it is raining! Trips to the waterfalls, bamboo rafting down the rivers, kayaking in the mangroves. These activities run all year round and even if it is raining, who cares? You are going to get wet anyway! The additional water just adds to the fun. A word of advice though, try to keep a shirt or a towel dry in a bag or in the car. It is still warm in Khao Lak even when it rains, but if the wind picks up and you are wet it can feel cold.

Another option for those who don’t enjoy laying around or getting wet, is to rent a car with a driver and head down to Phuket for the day. The drive from Khao Lak to Phuket takes just over an hour and a half. Once in Phuket you will be spoilt for choice. There are museums, zoos, shopping centers and even cinemas. Not forgetting of course the popular nightlife areas! In most cases your driver will be able to recommend the best places to go. Just let him know what kind of things you enjoy and let him show you around. If you are heading to Phuket for a day out I would always recommend booking a car with a driver and not trying to drive yourself. Phuket is a maze of busy streets that make Google maps and other sat navs dizzy. Even on the best of days, driving in Phuket is a tiring experience, and in the rain it is definitely not for the faint hearted. Best leave that job to the professionals.

But the most important thing to remember when it rains in Khao Lak is that the weather here can be incredibly localised. Just because it is raining outside your hotel room there is no guarantee that it is raining in the hotel car park. It is a common enough experience in Khao Lak to see it pouring with rain on one side of the road and bone dry on the other. So if you are planning a day out, go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? You might get 5 minutes down the road and discover that the sun has come out and you are missing your sunglasses. Or you might find that the rain is even harder than before and you are treated to a spectacular lightning show. Either way it keeps life exciting. The key to visiting Khao Lak in the monsoon season is to plan for rain, hope for sun.

History of Surfing

Surfing in Khao Lak

There are beautiful beaches in Thailand. Surf spots are easy to find. The most logical place to start is to go where everyone else is going. There are some popular places to surf that are advertised in local and national travel guides. The breaks in Phuket are well documented and easy to find. Billabong and Quicksilver both sponsor surf competitions there.

One place to find good surfing at one of Khao Lak’s larger river mouths. For those of you who are new to surfing a river mouth is the spot where the river meets the ocean. Depending on how strong the water is flowing into the ocean the force of the two tidal swells meeting can make for some good waves for surfing. Thailand has so many waterfalls and rivers that there are a lot of places that could generate a great wave to surf. The best and safest river mouths for surfing beginners would be one with a sandy bottom. Rocks and other large immovable objects can ruin not only your surfboard but your life as well. It is better for you to wait until you get really good at surfing before you try to surf in a rocky area.

A better way to find a good surf spot in Khao Lak is to meet other local surfers and ask questions. Having a great attitude is essential if you want to go this route. Most of the local surfers in Khao Lak will be happy to point you to a good place to surf.

The most important thing about surfing in Khao Lak is to find a place that is easy to access and generates a wave that you would be comfortable riding. Surfing accidents happen when people aren’t being responsible. Surfing in Khao Lak is fun, easy to find and great exercise. Come and join the fun surfing in Khao Lak.

See KHAO LAK SURF REPORT AND FORECAST at the bottom of this page.

History of Surfing

Beach Boys in Hawaii

Surfing is an exciting recreational activity in which the surfers are propelled to shore by the force of a wave. In this sport, the surfer stands, kneels or lays on a fiberglass, foam, epoxy or wooden board. Many people want to experience the thrill of surfing during their beach vacations. If you want to know more about surfing, it may be interesting for you to know a little bit of the history of surfing.

Although there is no recorded history of the first surfer, it is widely assumed that this sport has its origin in the South Pacific. The act of riding waves using a wooden board started in Western Polynesia more than three thousand years ago. The first known surfers were fishermen who found that riding waves was a convenient method for getting to the shore with their catch. Eventually, “surfing” became a part of daily work. It proved to be a revolutionary change in fishing.

Vintage Long Boards

There is no written record about when stand-up surfing was recognized as a sport. It is believed that the kings, queens and royalty of the Sandwich Isles took part in the sport of wave-sliding or “he’enalu” in old Hawaiian during the 15th century. Early records of the history of surfing are found in the late 1700s, when Polynesians and Europeans first landed in Tahiti. It is assumed that the sport of surfing started during the colonization of the Pacific Islands including Indonesia, Tahiti, Fiji and Hawaii. The fact is that the Hawaiians mastered the skill of standing on boards about 1000 years back and Hawaii is generally accepted as the birthplace of modern surfing. The kings of Hawaii used huge 25 to 18 ft long ‘olo’ balsa surfboards while other people surfed with the use of simple ‘alaia’ boards.

Two Waikiki beach boys along with Duke Kahanamoku and George Freeth made the surfing culture very popular. Freeth visited America and presented his surfing skills in California. He was titled as ‘the man who could walk on water’ in California.

Duke Kahanamoku was a deft swimmer who won a gold medal in the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games for the United States. He was also the most well known Hawaiian ambassador. To spread the Aloha spirit, he traveled all across the globe. He introduced surfing to countries like Australia and New Zealand. In the year 1917, Duke managed to surf a Waikiki beach wave on his 16 feet solid redwood surfboard for over a mile. Tom Blake, Duke’s companion in 1926, was the first person to surf Malibu.

Beach House Surfboards Hawaii

By the 1930s, the sport of surfing was expanding and gaining in popularity. Tom Blake was the first man to photograph surfing from the water. Early surfing boards were made of wood that were fin less and heavy. They were difficult to control in huge waves. In 1930, Tom Blake developed the hollow, rib-supported balsa, waterproof glue, dowels and varnish surfboard.

Surf Board designs changed in 1937 when the native Hawaiian teenagers managed to cut the tail into a lucid V. It helped the surfers to hold the wave in a more effective manner allowing them to ride bigger waves.

Bud Browne, a skillful surfer and water man, produced the first ‘surf movie’ with his 1953 “Hawaiian Surfing Movie”. This inspired many surfers, filmmakers and photographers to document this sport. Although the sport of surfing was dominated by men, adventurous women surfers can be found in the history of surfing. Anona Napolean and Eve Fletcher were two notable surfer girls.

The wooden boards progressed into surfboards coated in fiberglass resin with rear stabilizing fins. Today they are made with a variety of materials like epoxy. Surfing is still a growing sport so there is still time to make surfing history yourself.

Shore Break Malibu

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