Surin islands holiday guide (2020)

Surin islands


Thailand Surin islands Guide

Genuinely unspoiled, the Surin Islands are an authentic, secret destination of Phang Nga province in Thailand. With shallow, jade waters in between its Five islands, Surin is a beautiful home to a small community of Moken ‘sea gypsies.’ The Moken have settled on these islands for decades and will welcome you to share their paradise. Getting to know the real sea gypsies and even go fishing together is what attracts most visitors to come to the Surin Islands. Here you can find a quiet refuge from the tourist trap of the Similans. If you’re searching for the most beautiful diving spots featuring abundant sea life, shallow waters, and untouched nature, then Surin Islands are definitely for you. An overnight sailing trip is the best option to discover this quiet refuge of the lost world.

A tiny Surin archipelago lies in the northern part of the Andaman Sea, 60 km off the west coast of Phang Nga province in Thailand, just off the Myanmar border. Surin Islands have a pleasant location for people who’re looking to do island-hopping around off-the-beaten-path of Thailand. Koh Phayam and Koh Chang – not to confuse with large Koh Chang in the Gulf of Thailand – are two other islands surrounding the Surin archipelago where you can continue your trip exploring the untouched nature and enjoying the secret destinations of Thailand.

There are Five islands in the archipelago: Koh Surin Nuea, Koh Surin Tai, Koh Ri, Koh Khai, and Koh Klang. Only two islands (Surin Nuea and Surin Tai) feature a minimal level of infrastructure, while three others are ideal for a boat tour and exploring the untouched nature. With shallow waters in between, the color of the sea around islands is of incredible emerald color. Quite the opposite of nearby turquoise Similan islands.

If you like the idea of having the whole paradise for yourself, then Surin Tai is the place to be. Since the entire island features a dense, thick jungle covering white powder beaches, you’ll have a chance to explore diverse flora and fauna. The waters are calm and shallow, which allows you to snorkel from any beach. In addition to secluded beaches and diving spots, you can immerse in the authentic culture and traditions of the Moken community – gypsies of the sea.

Like the Similan islands, the Surin National Park opens its doors to visitors from October 15 to May 15. If you’re worried about the weather during that time, don’t be, as of December to April are known as the high season featuring turquoise waters, calms waves, and sunny weather. People recommend visiting around April since it’s the transition period, and tourists tend to go mainland or south. You can join an open day trip by speedboat, or charter yacht with Islander to enjoy a tailored experience around the paradise.

Tourism infrastructure on the Surin Islands is scarce, which means there are only a few accommodation options, including local-style bungalows and staying in an equipped campsite. The Thai government is putting much effort into preserving the ecosystem of National Park. If you’re an adventurous soul who’s looking for an authentic experience living and being connected with untouched nature, camping might be a perfect choice. Arguably, the best and only area to stay is at Chong Kaad Bay, where the official headquarters of a local forest guard is located. A few basic bungalows, along with a local restaurant, cafeteria, and a tiny shop, can be found in the bay. The lack of infrastructure and good connection with the mainland makes Surin Islands an ideal destination for yacht holidays. Nothing matches to living onboard while enjoying the most preserved nature in Thailand.

  • Whale sharks are often seen off the north coast of Koh Surin Nuea during February-March
  • While angelfish, butterflyfish, moray, surgeonfish, reef-sharks, and sea turtles, are just ordinary residents of its coastal waters
  • Meet friendly locals in Moken Village, appreciate a natural way of living, and get unique environment-friendly souvenirs
  • Go fishing with Moken Sea Gypsies
  • Pitch a tent in Ao Mai Ngam and enjoy emerald waters filled with colorful corals and diverse marine life
  • With luxurious, white sand, clear, tranquil water, a multitude of coral life and stirring scenery, Mae Yai is an ideal location to breathe in the paradise and to dive in Bon Bay
  • Both Surin Nuea as well as Surin Tai are home to one the best panoplies of the coral reef you can find anywhere – making a perfect spot for heavenly snorkeling
  • Richelieu Rock is a famous diving spot reaching up to 40 meters of depth. Explore stunning and diverse coral reefs and swim with manta rays, sea turtles, and majestic whale sharks
  • Compared to Similan islands, the Surin archipelago is genuinely unspoiled, offering a secret slice of paradise not to be missed when vacationing in Khao Lak or Phuket.
  • If you’re planning a trip to Surin Islands from Phuket, there are a few time-consuming options. The best option is to arrive at Khao Lak town from Phuket, from where you can join an open day trip by speedboat. Alternatively, you can drive further to Khura Buri Pier, which is the closest point to venture towards the Surin Islands. From the pier, you can get a speedboat that takes about 60 minutes. With Islander, you can organize a personalized yacht holiday from Phuket and enjoy the secluded tiny islets on the way to Surin.

    The Surin is a tiny archipelago consisting of 5 untouched islands located about 100 km north of Khao Lak. There are speedboat day trips that are running from Khao Lak to Surin Islands during November-May. If you’re looking for comfortable voyages from Khao Lak at your own pace and personalized itinerary, then the Islander boat tours are for you.

    The distance between Ranong and Surin Islands is 104 km. The most convenient way to get from Ranong to Surin Islands is by taking a speedboat ride that usually takes around 2 hours. Alternatively, a speed boat transfer by Islander from Khura Buri Pier offers a comfortable experience with a filling local lunch on-board.

    Best places in Surin islands

    Koh Surin Nuea


    Koh Surin Tai


    Moken gypsy


    Mai Ngam


    Mae Yai


    Chong Kat


    Bon Bay


    Richelieu Rock