The water sparkles. Sunlight kisses the gentle, undulating waves. White sands connect the azure ocean to the green of the canopy. I am standing in paradise. There are so many overrun, overpopulated, polluted beaches in Thailand, but Surin Islands is not one of them. All hyperbole aside, it is a slice of unadulterated heaven. Surin Islands are found in the Andaman Sea, about 90 km from the Khao Lak or about 150 km from Phuket.
Several companies run daily speedboat trips to the island. For instance, Blue Guru Diving provides a daily snorkel (or scuba) trip. These trips are not inexpensive, about 4,000 Baht and they are also seasonal, November through April.
During my trip to Andaman Islands I also visited both Tachai Island and Similan Island. While also incredibly beautiful, these islands were overrun by tourists. For instance, Tachai Island has a perfect 800 meter white sand beach. Unfortunately, 25 speedboats were lined up on the beach each holding around 45 tourists. So within a small window, 1000 people are dumped on these fantastic beach. According to this article, numbers of tourists will be capped in the future. The overwhelming number of tourist due detract from this amazing fantasy land. Tachai Island does not allow any overnight stays, while Similan Islands has tents for rent.
Surin Islands are equally as beautiful if not more. The benefit of Surin Islands are compared to my two other day trips, Surin had significantly less tourists. This made my day trip that much more meaningful.
If you are doing a day trip, I highly suggest you make your home base at the JW Marriot Khao Lak Resort & Spa. Read my overview of my stay here.
There were two other positive differentials. First, while the snorkeling was great at Tachai and Similan Islands it was that much better at Surin Islands. There are 200 coral species as well as over 800 species of fish, including puffer, lion, and angel fish. You might also see four different species of turtles.
Second, there is a Moken Village within the islands. The Moken peoples are also known as Sea Gypsies. The Moken is an ethnic group comprised of around 12,000 (approximately 150 of them live in Surin Islands) in Thailand. Other Moken can be found in South East Asia. The Moken speak their own language. They maintain sea-based culture. The Moken have developed an expertise of living off the sea. They use simple tools like a spear or net. They also have the ability to dive to deep depths for long times sans fins, mask, or diving tank. Their boats are known as kabang, and the boats are crafted from a single tree. There way of life is under attack like many other indigenous groups from globalization and damage to the environment.
My suggestion and my plan for my next visit will to stay overnight. The day trip does not do this island justice. Surin Islands offer accommodations of tents as well as bungalows. The benefit of staying overnight is you would be afforded even less tourists in the morning as well as the evening when the day tourists leave. Here are some examples for overnight stays. Staying overnight or a couple of nights would allow you ample time to explore the five islands of the Surin Island archipelago.
Whether you do a day trip or manage several days, Surin Islands is a must see.
And if you want to see amazing turtle wildlife, check out visiting Turtle Island in Borneo.
I was an invited guest of the JW Marriot Khao Lak Resort & Spa. My opinions are my own.