Koh Surin archipelago is a group of 5 islands located just south of the border with Burma and about 50 km off Ranong Province on the mainland. Only two of these islands are inhabited: Koh Surin Nua, where the Marine Park official station is located; and Koh Surin Tai, the home of the Moken minority – known also as the Sea Gipsy.
Still untouched by mass tourism due to their extreme northern location, the Surins are a paradise dotted with beautiful coves, bays and the most developed coral colonies of Thailand. They are rich of excellent diving and snorkelling spots along with white beaches and sites of cultural interest.
About 200 coral species have been listed here, among which the rare brain coral and red ruby gorgonian; the Surins are also the perfect habitat for 800 species of tropical fishes, among which the lion fish, the Moray Eel, the whale shark, 4 different species of sea turtles and the pipefish.
Richelieu Rock is the northern limestone of the Surins, an adventurous and not to be missed destination for more expert divers. It is quite difficult to reach as underwater currents are relatively stronger here, but it is definitely worth the effort as it ranks among the top 10 world dive site.
November to April is the best period to visit the area.
Beside the marine attractions, the islands all are blessed with lush jungles, ideal environment for hiking and trekking. Here wild and rare animals are not difficult to be seen: flying foxes, pythons, macaques, sea eagles and peregrine falcons can be easily spotted especially on Surin Nua.
The Surin Islands are also one of the favourite shelter of the Moken people, a sea-gipsy minority that has lived for hundreds of years on the islands off the coast of Thailand, Malaysia and Burma. They are, of all the peoples of the world, among the least touched by modern civilization.
The Moken are nomads, moving constantly from island to island, traditionally living more than six months a year on their boats. Kids learn to swim before they can walk. Underwater, they are reported to be able to see twice as clearly as other people, and by lowering their heart rate, can stay underwater twice as long.
Originally free from any nationality, they live a totally different life from other Thai people. They follow an animistic belief system centred on ancestor worship.
In April they hold the Loi Reua festival to pay respect to their ancestral dead and to ask the spirits to protect the tribe.
They make their living by fishing, harvesting sea products, trading. pearls and certain valuable shells.
Surin Islands are not equipped with any hotel or resort beside the bungalow and camping area, located in the national park head quarter. Those who wish to spend a night here can count on Classy Frontiers arrangement to find a comfortable and romantic accommodation.