Islands — 27 January 2015 11 h 42 min

Surin Island

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Surin-island

Mu Koh Surin National Park, found some 60 km off the west coast of Phang Nga province,

and 100 km north of the Similans, is an archipelago of 5 islands: Koh Surin Nuea, Koh Surin Tai, Koh Ri, Koh Khai, and Koh Klang.

Surin-island

The excellent diving, snorkelling, hiking and game fishing are what most visitors come for, and those hoping to find a quiet refuge

from the tourist traps and urban centres will be delighted with the islands’ lack of “development”. Those seeking convenience,

comfort and 5-star service had best choose another destination or travel there on a luxury liveaboard cruise.

Surin-island

The main island of Surin Nuea has several bays, the largest being Ao Mae Yai on the southwest,

which features calm waters and safe anchorage. On the southeast side is Ao Luek, which has shallow corals

and an abundance of marine life. Ao Mai Ngam is where the National Park’s office is found,

as well as a 2-kilometre walking path. There’s good snorkelling and swimming here off its long beach.

Ao Chak at the north of Surin Nuea is a beautiful bay of pristine coral reefs.

Surin-island

Surin Nuea is also home to a community of around 150 Moken, or “sea gypsies”,

who have settled there on a semi-permanent basis for several decades. The Moken spend much of their lives on their boats,

called “kabang”. They survive mainly through the gathering of shellfish and other marine life from the reefs

and mudflats rather than fishing – their practise of collecting shells, snails

and other marine resources for sale is technically illegal due to Surin’s national park status.

Surin-island

Illegal fishing activities of commercial fishing boats – and to some extent the careless practises of some snorkellers

and pleasure boaters – pose a greater threat to the islands’ ecology than the Moken.

Surin-island

The second most visited island is Koh Surin Tai, which draws snorkellers to its main bay, Ao Tao, on the east side.

Koh Ri, Koh Klang and Koh Khai (also called Koh Torilla) each feature areas of unspoilt reefs,

with healthy live coral being particularly abundant off Koh Khai.

The major drawcard for divers to the area is the famed Richelieu Rock, a coral-covered pinnacle,

which for reasons still unknown attracts a fair number of whale sharks. Click for more on diving in the Surin islands.

Surin-island

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