The Moh Koh Surin National park should definitely be on your itinerary if you are on a Thailand bareboat charter. Located around 60 km off the west coast of Phang Nga province and about 100 km north of the Similan Islands, it is an archipelago of 5 islands; with two main islands; Koh Surin Nuea, (or North Surin island) Koh Surin Tai (or South Surin Island), and three more satellite islands of Koh Ri, Koh Khai and Kho Klang. The entire archipelago covers an area of around 320 square km and on the east coast of Koh Surin you can see beautiful shallow coral reefs fringing the island.
The Surin islands are a fabulous place to visit on your Thailand bareboat charter if you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy places and enjoy some of the islands in Thailand that are still very underdeveloped. There is also brilliant opportunity in these islands for some excellent snorkelling and diving, or on the islands some great hiking opportunities.
The Surin Marine park is a brilliant place to enjoy some the beauty of nature as the islands and surrounding seas play host to a phenomenal range of flora and fauna.
The main island, Surin Nuea, actually has several beautiful bays, but on the southwest of the island the largest bay of Ao Mae Yai, is the perfect spot to stop on your Thailand bareboat charter due to it’s very calm waters and safe anchorage.
The southeast side of the island is where the bay of Ao Luek is situated which is a fantastic spot for snorkelling due to it’s shallow corals and abundance of marine life.
The National Park’s office can be found in Ao Mai Ngam, where not only can you find out local information but you could also follow a 2 km walking trail or enjoy some snorkelling and swimming from the beautiful long beach.
Ao Chak is a stunning bay of pristine coral reefs, and can be found to the north of Surin Nuea.
The island is also home to a community of ‘sea gypsies’ or Moken, who live there on a semi-permanent basis and spend the majority of their lives on their boats, known as ‘kabang’.
Though they mainly survive by living off the fruit of their gatherings, such as shellfish and marine life from the reefs as opposed to fishing, this practice is actually illegal in this national park, they do however seem to escape the attention of the local government as they are so few in number!
This is probably the second most visited island in the Surin islands, and is popular for snorkelers due to the stunning bay and unspoilt live coral reef of Ao Tao, which can be found on the east side of the island. The bay is also known as Turtle bay due to the fact that it is a protected turtle nesting site.
The Surin Islands are also home to the famous Richelieu Rock, a big draw for divers, due to the number of whale sharks that visit the area. Richelieu Rock Diving detail
If you want to visit the Surin islands on your Thailand bareboat charter, then you may want to avoid visiting during the southwest monsoon (May-October) as the seas can get very rough at times. During the northwest monsoon is a much calmer time to visit.
Do note though due to the Surin Islands national park status, there is an entry fee of 200 baht for all foreign visitors.
Photo Credit: www.phuket.com/sailing/surin, www.richelieu-rock.com