The Surin Islands are located in the Andaman Sea, 60 kilometers from the Thai mainland and 10 kilometers south from the Thai-Myanmar border. The islands have been home to the nomadic Moken for many centuries. So far out in the sea very few people disturbed their way of life. The Moken live in harmony with the surrounding nature and have never damaged the ecosystems of the lush jungle hills and the vibrant coral reefs. Read more about the Moken people here.
In 1981 the small archipelago of five islands became the Mu Koh Surin National Park and have attracted increasing number of tourists every year. Diving and snorkeling are nowadays very popular here, however the islands remain nesting sites for three different species of turtle.
The Surin National Park includes the islands of Surin Nua (North), Surin Tai (South), and the islets of Stok, Torinla and Mankorn. The Moken Sea Gyspies village is located on Koh Surin Tai, while the National Park headquarters and two camp sites are located on Koh Surin Nua.
Common ports of departure are Kuraburi and Khao Lak in Phang Nga province.
Accommodation can be found at the national park, either by renting tents or staying in park-run bungalows.
The islands abound with uninhabited pristine white-sand beaches that invite you to picnic, relax, get a tan, and even learn Moken mythology. Fill your day with amazing snorkeling right off the beach. Head out on a long tail boat to the hidden beaches of Mankorn and Stok islands, or explore the dramatic cliffs and windswept ridges of the south side.
The colourful marine life never ceases to amaze snorkelers. The reefs around the island are shallow enough to explore the underwater life without scuba-diving equipment. The Moken guides know where to look for clownfish, sea turtles, sharks, barracudas, diverse soft and hard corals, lobsters, sea cucumbers, and many other underwater species.
Surin is mainly composed of granite rock, covered with rich forests. The reefs surrounding the islands count over 128 species of corals, 205 species of fish and 118 species of other marine organisms. In 2010, the shallow-water reefs experienced extensive coral bleaching due to a prolonged increase in sea temperature. The corals seem to be recovering quickly, and fish species are still abundant.
Beyond the reefs, the diverse ecosystems of Koh Surin include mangrove canals, tropical forest, evergreen forest, beach forest, and sea grass beds. Over 80 species of animals have been recorded, including mouse deer, monitor lizards, pythons, the rare Nicobar pigeon, lemurs, and flying foxes. Edible plant species found on the island include bamboo shoots and ground potatoes.