Okay I admit it, that does sound like a bit of a clickbait title, but I meant it. This place has to be one of my favourite places for snorkelling in Thailand and is one of the most beautiful islands near Phuket. Well… kind of near (not really near at all).
MU KOH SURIN
Mu Ko Surin หมู่เกาะสุรินทร์, or Surin Islands, is a group of Islands around 60km off the coast of Thailand in the Andaman Ocean (the same Ocean as Phuket & Phi Phi). It is made up of five islands, which all together, make up the Mu Ko Surin National Park. The islands are protected by the Thai Government, which is part of the reason why it manages to stay so beautiful.
To get there we drove north of Phuket for about an hour, to the Phang Nga province, where we got on a speedboat, followed by a 2 hour speed boat ride to the islands. Luckily when we went the water was flat which made the journey quite easy going, the guide with the company we used was quite funny which kept us entertained (more on that in the review section).
MEET THE MOKENS
The islands are almost uninhabited, I say almost because there actually are people living there. The Moken Tribe are Mu Ko Surin’s locals. When you first arrive to the islands, you begin to see the awesome handmade huts on the beach, with smoke slowly making its way out of them from lunch. As you make your way off of the boat and up onto the beach you are greeted by children playing in the water with hand made toys.
The houses are beautiful, a lovely backdrop for photos, and the locals have little stalls outside of their houses where they sell hand carved souvenirs.
The Moken population is around 150, with many leaving the village to the mainland once they are in high school. In Thai the Moken people are known as “chao lay” Moken or Moken Sea Gypsies.
As the island is part of the national park, the coral reef is well protected. This means we were able to see so much sea life! From cute little nemo fish to this tiny little seahorse like fish called a Pipefish (I cannot explain it, but we managed to get a video of the little cutie on the gopro, check out the video below hehe). We even had a little black tip reef shark swim by us when we were chilling on the beach after lunch. I know what you’re thinking, OMG SHARK!! But don’t worry they are very small and wouldn’t hurt you.
The corals are so colourful, I even managed to see what is called a Sea Fan Coral, which are quite hard to find in busy places because sadly people either smash them or steal them and sell them.
YEP, THAT’S ME IN THE PHOTO DOWN THERE
SAYING HELLO TO NEMO’S COUSIN
We used Love Andaman, who are an awesome company that visit all of the best islands around Phuket. Highly recommended! The tour companies can actually pick you up from Phuket and take you to the pier in Phang Nga, but seeing as we have our own car we decided to drive up by ourselves. That gave us a bit more freedom and allowed us to leave a bit later. Passing through the village of Kokkloi we made our way up to the pier, stopping on the way to fill up our cool box with beer and snacks for the day.
We were quite a big group, and as you see there were a lot of guys. Hence the need for all of the beer haha. After the 2 hour boat journey to Surin Islands, which are located just on the boarder of Burma. Our first stop was the Moken Village.
After the village we went to our first snorkelling spot. It was in a rather shallow area with many beautiful corals, but nothing too special. This was followed by lunch on the main island. A buffet style Thai lunch under the trees which was amazing. A view of both sides of the island was a big plus. We realised then that there was a camping site right there on the main island. If you wanted you could actually camp on the island, or rent a small bungalow. I think that would be the way to go if we went again. That would have allowed us to spend more time snorkelling and exploring the beautiful reefs around the island.
Before heading off to the two other snorkelling spots we had some beach time, where the boys suddenly did an impromptu boy band cover photoshoot (as you do) and we all let the food settle before heading off again.
Our friend Golf from FatMango Videos joined us on the trip and every other person had a gopro, so we got some awesome footage. Check out the awesome 30 second edit by Golf below.
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO!