Near Khao Lak, there are two places very famous for their white sandy beaches and turquoise waters and many snorkeling and diving spots, the Similans Islands
which attract a lot of people and the Koh Surin islands, a little less known and therefore less crowded which makes tours there more enjoyable. Especially if you leave early in the morning as a few agencies offer. It takes 1h20 of speeboat to reach Koh Surin which is 55 kilometers from the coast.
In fact, Koh Surin is two main islands, Koh Surin Taï in the south, and Koh Surin Nuea in the north, separated by a small arm of sea. They are part of the Mu Koh Surin National Park which is open to the public only 6 months per year during the high season (see dates below). The day trips to Koh Surin generally marks 3 snorkeling stops whose location depends on the weather and the attendance of each one. But whereever you stop, you can see multicolored fish of all kinds and if you are lucky... even sea turtles. If you are not a good swimmer or can't swim, you can still snorkel by wearing a lifejacket. Often, the instructors offer to accompany in the water the less good swimmers. Note that to protect nature, there are some rules to follow and if you break them you may get fined:
- It is forbidden to feed the fish
- it is forbidden to take anything with you from there (shells, corals, sand ...)
- it is forbidden to step on corals
- it is forbidden to leave waste and to bring plastic bottles (the companies usually supply gourds)
I also remind you that sunscreen is very bad for corals. The Surin Islands are populated by two small communities of the seas nomads, the Moken, commonly known as Chao Lay
. The visit of one of their villages is often on the programme of tours but personally, I preferred to choose a tour that leaves them alone.