Surin Islands National Park
The Surin Islands National Park is located approximately fifty five kilometers off of the Thai mainland. Surin is the archipelago of the 5 islands in the Andaman Sea. These five islands are named: Ko Surin Tai, Ko Surin Nuea, Ko Kai, Ko Ri, and lastly Ko Klang.
The Surin Islands National Park
covers the island and most of the surrounding waters. This is the home of some of the most famous dive sites in all of the world. The most familiar is Richelieu Rock. The Surin Islands have some of the most stunning reefs, making this an amazing snorkeling destination. Along with the beautiful coral and reef life, Surin Islands is the home of a broad variety of animals including the Mangrove Monitor Lizards and the Nicobar Pigeon, just to name a few.
When visiting Richelieu Rock, which is about eighteen kilometers from the islands, you will see astounding marine life. Some of the most popular sightings include: manta rays, sharks and whale sharks. Richelieu Rock was named after the only foreign Commander in Chief of the Thai Navy, Andreas du Plessis de Richelieu.
The Surin Islands, Thailand is the home of approximately one hundred and fifty Moken, more commonly called “sea gypsies”. This community spend almost all their time on their “kabang” which are boats. They live off of gatherings of shellfish from the mudflats and reefs, as opposed to fishing. Their income is derived from the sale of shells and other marine commodities that they harvest. Although, this practice is technically illegal, due to the Surin Islands National Park status, they escape prosecution because of the community’s size and their situation.
The Surin Islands ecology may be in danger, due to illegal fishing of commercial fishing boats, and careless boaters. However, for the most part, even after the Tsunami of 2004, and careless habits of visitors, the reefs remain healthy.
This chain of Surin Islands is undeveloped, offering a true vacation to many. However, if you seek five star service and resort life, this may not be the destination for you. You can opt for the live aboard pleasure cruises that visit the area. This is one of the most spectacular and unscathed places in Thailand. If nature and outdoor life is your forte, then this is the perfect destination. Offering up some of the most breathtaking hiking, snorkeling, and diving. The viewing of large marine life in close quarters and the stunning reefs, along with the animals that call Surin Islands National Park home, provide some of the major reasons to visit this area.
Other than the Park Rangers, and the small collective of Moken, the Surin Islands are largely uninhabited. You will find a handful of bungalows and tents that are rented out by the government. You can visit these islands on a single day trip, or on one of the many Park Ranger tours.
The Surin Islands will show you some of the best that Thailand has to offer, without the commotion of busy city life.