Thailand is well known as a tropical island paradise. Koh Phi Phi, Koh Chang, Koh Lipe are just a few of the stunning tropical islands Thailand has on offer. For snorkelers and scuba divers however, one of the very best spots within Thailand is Mu Koh Surin. Famous for its coral gardens and white beaches, the Surin Islands are one of the world’s most renowned diving and marine life viewing sites and no doubt one of the best in Thailand. The islands are within Mu Ko Surin National Park.
The Surin Islands are an archipelago of five islands within Mu Ko Surin National Park in Phang Nga Province. The islands are 55 km off the coast, 100 km north from the Similan Islands in the Andaman Sea, and just 18 km from the oceanic border of Myanmar. The national park covers an area of 135 km², of which 76% is water.
The main islands are Ko Surin Nuea and Ko Surin Tai, which are only 200 meters apart. The corridor between both islands is shallow and a popular place for snorkeling. The other three small islands are Ko Ri, Ko Khai, and Ko Klang.
The islands are one of the very few untouched places in Thailand. Diving and snorkelling are the main activities on the islands. The best time for diving is around December to April, when the wind is minimal, and the average water temperature is around 29 °C. Snorkels and lifejackets are available for rent from the visitor center of the park.
The shallow and deep waters around the islands allow seeing some of the most impressive marine species in Southeast Asia. Barracudas, blacktip reef sharks, olive ridley sea turtles, giant morays, and boxfish are just a few. Although sightings are rare, February to April is ideal for spotting large pelagic species like manta rays and whale sharks.
There are currently around 100 known bird species reported from Surin Islands. Some of the rare birds of Thailand recorded from the islands are; Swinhoe’s storm petrels, parasitic jaegers, beach thick-knees, brown noddies, large green pigeons, & great-billed herons.
Khura Buri is the nearest small town, not too far from the coast. The popular tourist towns in the area are Phuket, Khao Lak, Krabi, Ao Nang, and Koh Samui, with Khao Lak being the nearest. Visiting the island can be done either with day trips with speedboats or by multiple-day cruises.
While many visit Mu Koh Surin for just a day, with so much to see and experience, it is highly recommended to spend several days fully taking in its pristine natural wonders.