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Survin vs. Similan Islands for snorkel day trips?

Southern California
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Survin vs. Similan Islands for snorkel day trips?

We will spending 8 nights in Khao Lak, Thailand next February.

We love to snorkel (I don't dive) & are considering taking day snorkel trips to both the Surin & the Similan Islands... Has anyone gone to both? Is one better than the other for SNORKELING FROM THE BEACH? It's too difficult for me to get in/out of boat out in the water... due to a back injury.

Any recommended tour operator? Should we book via our hotel (KhaoLak Orchid Beach)?

I've read that there are speedboats that take an hour to get out there & big boats that take 2.5 hours. Is there an advantage to one or the other?

We also plan to do a day snorkel trip to Phang-Nga (lunch at Muslim fishing village, mangrove/island tour) that does not involve hiking or caving... any advice on a SPECIFIC tour operator that doesn't go out in a giant boat crammed with tourists?

Also, are these 3 all day excursions (plus a day renting a self drive car in the national park) a bit too much for an 8 day visit to Khao Lak?

Advice please!

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Khao Lak
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Phang Nga Province, Thailand
The Surin Phuket
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Khaolak Orchid Beach Resort
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Phang Nga
Phang Nga
Phang Nga Province, Thailand
Darwin, Australia
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1. Re: Survin vs. Similan Islands for snorkel day trips?

I can give you a bit of advice regarding Ko Similan, though I haven't been to Ko Surin (though would like to). I would imagine that Ko Surin may not be quite so busy as Similan, as it's further away from Phuket. However, I didn't find Similan to be very crowded. Certainly Similan is very easy to get to from Khao Lak, as the pier is close by, and Surin would involve a bit of a drive.

The trip that I did had two stops where we had to get in and out of the boat for snorkeling, though when you were at the beaches (for lunch and a stop before heading back (once at the beach with the rock formation, the other where the national park base is). You could snorkel from shore there, but you may be bored if you can't get out of the boat at the other times. There was a ladder-like steps into the boat, so getting in and out was like climbing a ladder and the deck hands could help you, if that's any help.

I'd definitely take a speed boat out there to maximise your time. It really is spectacular with beautiful clear water and white sand (much better than the Kaho Lak beaches). I can't remember the outfit we went with (booked through the hotel at the Ramada). You may be able to get a cheaper deal through one of the agents out of the hotel, but I found there wasn't too much difference and it was easier to add the cost of the trip to the hotel bill.

I think three day trips out of eight isn't a bad mix of sightseeing and lazing about.

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The Surin Phuket
The Surin Phuket
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Phuket, Thailand
Phuket
Phuket
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Khao Lak
Khao Lak
Phang Nga Province, Thailand
Southern California
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2. Re: Survin vs. Similan Islands for snorkel day trips?

Thanks STEVE from Oz,

BTW, how did you like the Ramada? We thought of staying there, as it claims to be handicapped accessible, but it looked like such a long walk from the rooms to the beach.. that we decided against. It's still quite reasonably priced compared to Le Meridien.

Definitely going to book via our hotel then, as I've read in the current LONELY PLANETS guidebook (which is pretty lousy as it contains very little info if you're not a backpacker--low end places to stay & eat but almost no excursion info) that sometimes booking via the hotel is cheaper... or equal in value.

As far as the speedboat goes, when you say a ladder, do you mean just a ladder, or is there a platform at the rear of the boat that you climb down to via a ladder? The latter is easier as a boatman can stand on the platform & help me up down/the ladder.

Our hotel said that Surin Island was better for snorkeling... I think that is because they go to beaches, which is, of course, easier for me.

Since we're staying in northern KL, it will be a drive, but not too bad of one.

BTW, did you bring your own snorkel gear? We were planning to bring ours, as I was wondering about the quality of the gear the boat has?

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Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort
Le Meridien Phuket Beach...
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The Surin Phuket
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Darwin, Australia
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3. Re: Survin vs. Similan Islands for snorkel day trips?

I can't say I can remember the boat ladder too well - I don't remember it being much of an effort to get on the boat, though I don't suffer from back pain, so I can't make any guarantees there. The deckhands were certainly able to assist people on and off, and there were a few fairly elderly passengers who were snorkeling.

Ramada was very nice, but I'm not the best person to ask when it comes to resort-style accommodation. I'd say I'm only just getting into an income bracket where I can afford these kinds of places, and they all seem great compared to what I'm used to!

I was at Ramada before it had really got up and running so the price was amazingly cheap. It did look like it would be quite accessible. It was right on the beach, and although some of the rooms were a bit of a way back, my room was still fairly close by (and it was a cheaper room). The pool was great and the food was good, but cheaper options were available nearby. There was a fantastic beachfront eatery about 500 metres north along the beach which had great, cheap food. Not sure if it had a name, but it had tables right on the sand lit up by candles at night. Hopefully it's still there!

If you're getting good information about Ko Surin, then I think that would be well worth the trip. The drive up would be interesting, and the islands wouldn't be quite so busy due to the further distance away from Phuket. I'll be back in Thailand in January, and would like to get to Surin to see how they compare. I might be pushed for time, though!

I didn't bring my own snorkeling gear - prefer to pack as light as possible! The gear they had was fine.

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The Surin Phuket
The Surin Phuket
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Southern California
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4. Re: Survin vs. Similan Islands for snorkel day trips?

Darwin Steve,

thanks a ton for your reply... BTW, I'm not elderly. *G* Just handicapped.

We do not go to KhaoLak (staying at the KL Orchid Beach) until mid-Feb.

If you are going in January & plan on going to the Surin Islands for a day snorkel trip (take the one hour speedboat), would you please email me when you return to let me know the particulars?

It would be so fantastic!

The size/safety of the boat. How one gets into the water to snorkel.

The food they serve. It's not a cheap excursion.

We have high end custom snorkel gear (my mask has corrective lenses) & my husband has vented fins that run the length of the fin w/ the vent in the middle, so it sweeps the water, and lets you swim like a seal... very fast which is good for strong currents, or like when we were in Quemea Fiji & he wanted to put a big space in-between his legs and a BIG reef shark! LOL!

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Phuket Orchid Resort & Spa
Phuket Orchid Resort...
755 Reviews
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The Surin Phuket
The Surin Phuket
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Phuket, Thailand
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5. Re: Survin vs. Similan Islands for snorkel day trips?

Darwin Steve,

This seems to be the ONLY tour operator to the

Surin Islands... I found them in the new LONELY PLANETS guidebook... they do one day snorkel tours.

surinislandtour.com/programtour-en/1day.html

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The Surin Phuket
The Surin Phuket
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Phuket, Thailand
6. Re: Survin vs. Similan Islands for snorkel day trips?

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