Located in the Andaman Sea, 60 kilometres to the west of Phang-Nga and about 100 kilometres to the north of Koh Similan islands, this marine park covers an area of 33,750 acres and is one of Thailand's best places to visit. In operation since 1981, the park includes some of the kingdom's best islands and beaches and offers the visitor a very broad and rewarding experience.
Key features of the park include the Surin Islands, a group of five wonderfully tranquil islands. The area is also home to a number of tribes whose have for many generations made their living from the sea. A visit to any of these tribes provides a genuine insight into a traditional lifestyle. Alongside numerous nature trails are also a number of sites of cultural interest, but the area is most renowned for its diving and snorkelling opportunities. The coral in this area is some of the richest in the entire kingdom and there are plenty of opportunities to see marine life such as turtles. The park has Thailand's first underwater nature trail established to offer an insight into marine ecosystems.
A visit to the Surin Islands National Marine Park requires a significant investment in time, but it is time well spent. It is a true delight.
Details: The best time to visit the park is from December to March. There are several bungalows in the National Park as well as camping facilities. All must be booked in advance. As with all national Parks there is a 200-Baht entrance fee. The National Park headquarters is on Koh Surin Nua where accommodation is available at a modest price.
How to get there: There is ferry to the islands that leaves the dock on highway 4 (6 kilometres north of Kuraburi town between Takua Pa and Kapoe). The ferry takes around 4 hours to get to the islands. Travelling by boat Phang-Nga town takes around 13 hours and is therefore not recommended! There are a number of private agencies in the area where people can hire transportation for larger groups.
Contact: Tel: (076) 491-378 to book accommodation. Information about the weather can be obtained from the park office (076) 419-028-9.