The Surin Islands (Mu Koh Surin) are one of South Thailand’s more remote island destinations. This has allowed them to remain largely unspoilt and undeveloped. Though the islands are well-known for great scuba diving and snorkelling, the natural scenery above water is just as spectacular as that below it.
The Surin Islands National Park is made up of five islands, about 70kms northwest from Kuraburi in Phang Nga province on the mainland. The area is just south of Thailand’s marine border with Myanmar. The two principle islands are Koh Surin Tai and Koh Surin Nua (South Surin Island and North Surin Island respectively). They are separated by a narrow strait which can be waded at low tide. The other islands in the group are Koh Ri, Koh Khai and Koh Klang.
The Surin Islands are undeveloped and mostly uninhabited. There is a Chao leh or sea gypsy village on Koh Surin Tai. The park headquarters are located on the southwest side of Koh Surin Nua, near the strait between the two islands.
The Park authorities maintain a few bungalows, campsites and a basic restaurant for visitors when the park is officially open from November to May. There are no hotels or resorts in the national park. The nearest places to stay on the mainland are in Kuraburi, a 3-4 hour boat ride away.
The main activity here are scuba diving and snorkelling, though the Surin Islands are also popular with anglers, hikers and as an anchorage for cruising vessels.
The most famous dive site in the Surin Islands National Park is Richelieu Rock. This submerged rock lies about 14kms east of the Surin Islands, and is one of the best places in the world to see whale sharks. Other large sea creatures found here are eagle and manta rays.
See more information on scuba diving in Phuket
Getting to the Surin Islands
From Phang Nga:
The closest pier to the Surin Islands is at Kuraburi, about 125kms north of Phang Nga Town. The ferry crossing is about 3 hours, though ferries only operate during the dry season from November to May.
Other departure points include Kapoe Pier in Ranong province, where boats can be chartered for the 7 hour journey to Surin.
Boats from Phuket are mostly liveaboards on diving trips. These trips may also include the Similans and the Burma Banks. These trips can be arranged at most dive centres on Phuket.
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