About 90 Kilometers off the coast of Khao Lak lies a small, untouched island paradise in the middle of the Andamen Sea: the Surin Islands. They are considered one of the most beautiful snorkeling spots in Thailand. So it was clear that we booked a snorkeling tour to the Surin Islands during our stay in Khao Lak. Our summary? That turns out to be ambiguous. We will tell you about our experiences in this blog article.
1. Our Surin Islands Day Trip: Supplier & Pickup We booked our snorkeling tour at the Provider SeaStar booked (which we cannot recommend, but more on that later). It started early in the morning: We were picked up at 7: 20 picked up from our hotel in Khao Lak by minibus. At about 8 o’clock we arrived at the pier. And we were quite surprised right away: We had expected a lot of holidaymakers, but not THAT many. The whole pack was – according to the language – divided into several boats . And so that we don’t forget that we belonged to the right boat, we were given a plastic band in the corresponding colour. “You are team blue”. Uff.
Shortly thereafter we diving goggles, snorkel and fins were handed over. It all happened in no time – no wonder given the mass of people who had to be cared for here. There was only one size of diving goggles, but otherwise we can’t say anything negative about the equipment itself. Another positive surprise followed: There was a breakfast buffet. So we could spend the time sipping coffee until the boat departed. Yay!
2. The crossing with the speedboat to the Surin Islands The first shock came at the enrollment. No, the little pills weren’t sweets, we were actually tablets against seasickness handed out. The waves were meters high and during yesterday’s crossing people vomited in rows. It was the first, but not the last time that we looked scared into each other’s eyes that day.
Our worries were promptly confirmed: the crossing was one the worst experience (if not the worst) we have ever had in Thailand. (And you have to know: We are used to a lot, after all, we have been traveling through this country for months.)
Due to the bad weather, the waves were actually meters high. It wasn’t a ride anymore, and it wasn’t just a swing either. That was nothing but a single catastrophe on the open sea. And so everyone spent almost 40 Boat occupants spend about two hours looking into the eyes of fellow passengers and praying. Oh yeah, and seeing her breakfast twice. Some of us had to vomit on our boat too.
As we found out a little later, all the other boats turned back that day because of the bad weather. Just not those three boats from SeaStar. We then asked our guide why that was. His answer was: “If tourists pay, then we go. We’ve never turned around.” That’s reason enough for us never to book another tour with this supplier. When greed comes at the expense of security, our stomachs turn.
3. Snorkeling spot no. 1 Let’s come to the nicer part of the tour: the underwater world on the Surin Islands. A total of three spots are usually headed for on a snorkeling trip. However, there were only two of us – we were told because of the currents. In general, depending on the weather and season, other spots are headed for.
We were lucky and were allowed to see many Nemos and lots of other colorful ones right at our first stop see fish. The coral dying shocked us (once again), but at least we were able to marvel at one or the other colorful coral.
We had on This snorkeling site took almost an hour, which was great, because we were not in a hurry and were able to take a short break on the boat.
4. Shore Excursion and Lunch Since the current was very strong on our day, as I said, we went right after the first Snorkel spot on land. After a short walk we reached this beautiful beach, where we had a good hour for lunch and relaxation. Lunch is served buffet style in an unexpectedly large restaurant and was delicious.
5. The Moken Village on Ko Surin Tai The next destination of our trip was a beach on the South Island (“ Ko Surin Tai”) where some Moken families live. Exciting detail: When the tsunami 801 came not a single person died here. Since the sea nomads live right next to the water, they know the ocean better than anyone else. When the water receded, they correctly interpreted the signs of the catastrophe and fled inland.
Visits to indigenous peoples of this kind almost always have something strange for us. It doesn’t feel right to us to inspect people and their homes like in a zoo. If it had been possible, we would have skipped this stop. Of course it was still exciting, no question.
6. Snorkeling Spot No. 2 The second and last snorkeling spot of the day wasn’t as impressive as the first one, but it was still beautiful. We saw Nemos here again and were even able to capture them with the macro mode of our underwater camera.
7. Return to Khao Lak Thank heaven the waves were a lot lower on the return trip. So we were able to experience a still bumpy, but no longer cardiac arrest-causing return trip to Khao Lak. Upon arrival in port at approximately 18 o’clock there was even a small dinner waiting for us – we thought that was great , because we were quite hungry at this point.
8th. Snorkeling on the Surin Islands: our conclusion The question of all questions: Can we do a snorkeling tour on the Surin Islands recommend? After all, we have per person 2. 700 Baht (approx. 70 euros) paid for this day trip, which is a proud sum for Thailand. Our answer: yes. Be aware that the coral reefs are more devastated than you might think. Nevertheless, the underwater world is very diverse and the beaches on the Surin Islands are simply fantastic.
But please don’t make the same mistake we did and choose a different provider than SeaStar. That was really under any criticism what happened there. We can only warmly recommend that you do the excursion on a sunny day. If you – like us – have consistently overcast weather, then think twice about whether you really want to put yourself through this hardship.
We are curious: Have you ever done a snorkeling tour to the Surin Islands? If yes, how did you like it? We look forward to hearing about your experiences!