Dear Thailand, I gotta tell you something: You’re spoiled. The amount of tropical islands that belong to your kingdom isn’t fair. And I doubt I’ll be able to visit all of them during my lifetime but I’m trying. It doesn’t matter how often I keep coming back to you, I’ll always end up with a longer bucket list. One by one I’m working my way through that list to finally make it to one of the remotest of all Thai islands: The Surin Islands in the Andaman Sea. What a beauty!
Declared as a marine national park, the underwater world is the main attraction of the islands and has been voted to Thailand’s best scuba diving and snorkeling site (along with the Similan Islands). Unfortunately we didn’t see any big animals this time but the corals and fish were still impressive (my poor phone photos don’t come close to reality!)
We visited the islands during a day trip, however it’s possible to spend the night in tents or basic bungalows. The overnight package seemed very pricey to me, but look at the view, it might be worth it?
The journey via speedboat takes a little more than an hour, but to me it felt like forever… The ride was so bumpy and rough that I thought the boat’s gonna crush on the waves – so you can imagine how glad I was when I finally reached the beach without having an unappetizing incident.
But the sea looks so calm and innocent here doesn’t it?
Ok dear Surin, you deserved a kiss!
Besides the snorkeling sites and a lunch break, a visit to the Moken village (a tribe that live a nomad-style life by the sea) was part of the itinerary. Of course it’s one of those obligatory “30-minutes-to-buy-souvenirs” stops which I always feel a bit misplaced at. The nomads used to live on houseboats but were relocated by the government to that stretch of beach after the Tsunami. I hope they make a reasonable income from tourism at least…
Wildlife can also be found on land like monitor lizards (ok not so spectacular, they’re anywhere in Thailand) but we also spotted a cute mother-baby flying lemur couple ❤️
But let’s get back to the water. The turquoise, crystal-clear beautiful water… Sigh!
And if you’re not convinced yet, I added a short video. It’s my first one ever on this blog (yay!) but don’t expect any milestone work… It’s basically just a summary of the clips I’ve taken for Instagram stories (therefore it’s all vertical, ugh…) but it’s good enough for a little daydreaming 😉
The Surin Island are only open to visitors during the dry season from November to May. Plenty of tour operators offer day trips and overnight packages from Khao Lak and Phuket, but the boats mostly depart from the pier in Kuraburi (about 1.5 hour drive from Khao Lak and minimum 2.5 hours from Phuket). To cut the travel time down a bit, we spend the night before in Kuraburi which I can highly recommend (otherwise you have to get up at 6am). From there, the speedboat takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the islands. I heard it’s possible to organize trips individually but it seems there’s a lot of research involved (and might cost the same at the end). Tip: Don’t expect an unspoiled Robinson experience – the tours are highly advertised and booked, there are dozens of speed boats going every day. But it never felt uncomfortably crowded and the islands are really beautiful – so still worth it!
Back on the mainland we pampered ourselves in a more upscale resort in Khao Lak. You might remember the name from the disastrous Tsunami that hit that region hard in 2004, but it has recovered pretty quickly after that. Today Khao Lak is the more quiet alternative to busy Phuket and has some long stretches of beautiful beaches and many luxury hotels. The downside, it’s hard to get around without your own vehicle. If you’re not into staying in your resort all day, you have no other choice then renting a car, because the taxi fares are totally overpriced :/
Tides were shaping the beaches, so it’s not a bad idea to have a nice pool nearby 😉
Take me back to where the sweetest pineapples grow please!
A sunset by the beach and some fresh fish, I don’t need much else to be happy…
Goodbye Thailand, see you soon hopefully!