WOW! We’ve seen a lot of Thailand over the past few years, but the Surin Islands really are something else. Rarely have I seen sand this white, a sea so clear and such colorful fishes. This is something you have to see at least once! Spend the night and marvel at their beauty for the whole day. We can’t wait to show you around!
Waking up on the Surin Islands
You’ll wake up to the sound of the sea and the birds while the first rays of sunlight enter your tent. You zip it open and…
Yep, this is paradise!
Thailand’s most beautiful beach?!
Mu Koh Surin National Park is famous for its fantastic snorkeling and diving spots, but nobody told us about the beaches!
The beach where we camped out, Ao Mai Ngam Beach, is truly stunning and, believe it or not, also very quiet in the morning, late afternoon and evening!
Snorkeling around the Surin Islands
But of course these islands uniquely lend themselves to snorkeling, which was – after clearing our tent – one of the first things we did. Snorkels in hand, we jumped on the long tail boat. We couldn’t wait to dive into the water.
The water is amazingly clear. In fact, it’s so clear, that it’s possible to see coral reef from the boat.
Climate change, the fishing industry, tourism and 2004’s tsunami have all left their marks. But luckily we could still see large parts of lively and healthy areas of coral and, swimming around them, hundreds of colorful fishes.
If you’re really lucky, you might even spot sea turtles off the beaches of Ao Suthep and Ao Phat Kat! Unfortunately, this time around, we weren’t. But we weren’t down in the dumps for long, because we snorkeled among sharks! That’s right! Dangerous? No. Amazing? Yes!
Mu Koh Surin National Marine Park is a group of islands located in the Andaman Sea and is made up of five small islands, of which Koh Surin Nuea and Koh Surin Tai are the main ones.
The islands are green and alive with beautiful flowers, mangrove forests, bodhi trees, exotic birds, monkeys and Komodo dragons.
You can stay the night over on Koh Surin Nuea, while on Koh Surin Tai you’ll find the Moken Village, where about 200 “Sea Gypsies” live according to their own traditions.
By the way, this protected area closes several months per year (16 May until 31 October) for preservation purposes and also because of the rainy season. And, as it is a national park, you will have to pay a one-time contribution of 500 baht per person.
Don’t get me wrong. You definitely won’t be the only tourist on this island!
Between 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM the island actually gets quite busy, as this is the time when all the day the people on daytrips arrive to have lunch at the – state run – restaurant.
This is why we really do recommend you buy an open ticket. This way, you can stay on the island for multiple days, which will give you a chance to experience the beach and the natural surroundings at your own pace.
Camping on a tropical island
But we didn’t plan on that, did we?
That kind of camping?
Yes, we would also recommend that kind of camping. The tents are sturdy and close off well, which meant no creepy crawlies got in. Sure, the mats were a bit hard, but the sleeping bags and pillows you can borrow are nice and clean.
And, be honest, what’s better than staying in a tent on the beach?!
Actually, there are two places on the Surin Islands where you can stay the night. One’s on Ao Mai Ngam beach (where we stayed) and the other is on Ao Chong Khat beach. The latter being the quieter one, if only slightly less dreamy than the former.
Both beaches have their own restaurants where you can have three meals a day and an information desk where you can rent a locker, borrow snorkeling gear or book to go on a snorkeling trip.
The snorkeling trips set off in the morning (± 7:30 AM) and in the afternoon (± 2:00 PM), cost only 150 baht per person and, depending on the time of day and the weather, changes its route, so you’ll get to see the National Park from a different angle every time!
The easiest way to get to the Surin Islands is from the coastal towns of Khao Lak and Khuraburi. From there, a speedboat leaves every morning from 8:30 to 9:30 AM. It will take at least an hour.
So, traveling outside the rainy season? Don’t let the chance to experience the Surin Islands for a few days pass you by!