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Side Trip to Surin Islands and Khao Sok

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Side Trip to Surin Islands and Khao Sok

Hi,

My partner and I will be traveling to Khao Lak in early January, and we are hoping to do a side trip to the Surin Islands and then Khao Sok NP. Our hope is for the following itinerary:

Day 1: Depart Khao Lak, morning, for 3 day/2 night trip in Surin Islands

Day 2: Surin Islands

Day 3: Surin Islands, then return to mainland in afternoon

---Taxi transfer from Khuraburi to Khao Sok NP---

Overnight near Khao Sok NP

Day 4: Day trip in Khao Sok NP

---evening taxi transfer back to Khao Lak----

We are hoping to do this trip independently, but not sure if this is possible. So, a few questions:

1. Is it possible to do this trip independently, taking a taxi from our hotel in Khao Lak in the morning and finding a boat to the Surin Islands? If so, about how much would we expect to pay for a taxi from Khao Sok to Khuraburi Pier?

2. Once on the islands, is it relatively easy to find a boat through the national park service to go on a snorkeling trip to another island?

3. Is it possible to reserve a bungalow on our own?

4. Upon return to Khuraburi, is it possible to hire a taxi to take us to Khao Sok? If so, how much would we expect to pay, and how long would it take?

5. From Khao Sok, how much is a taxi typically back to Khao Lak (Le Meridien), and how long would it typically take?

6. Is it better/more economical to do a package tour to the Surin Islands? It could be an option for us, but we have found when traveling that we have been able to arrange things ourselves. Also, we know that we need to start on a Sunday, and the one tour operator we contacted does not have trips departing on Sundays.

Sorry for so many questions, but I couldn't quite find the answers when searching through the forum. Thanks in advance!

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Khao Lak
Khao Lak
Phang Nga Province, Thailand
The Surin Phuket
The Surin Phuket
2,216 Reviews
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Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park
Surat Thani Province, Thailand
Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort
Le Meridien Phuket Beach...
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Phuket, Thailand
Poulton Le Fylde...
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1. Re: Side Trip to Surin Islands and Khao Sok

You have far less options going to the Surins than the Similans simply because there are only two or three operators who do trips to the Surins, the most popular, experienced and reliable being Kuraburi Green View, operated from the Kuraburi Greenview Resort at www.kuraburigreenviewresort.com/index.html. Most tours booked independently use this excursion for day or overnight trips. We did the 3 day 2 night trip, staying in tents on the beach, bungalows also being available. If you contact Kuraburi through the website (not always the most reliable in returning Emails) they would advise better on transfers only but I really would question the advantage of doing it independently rather than a package. Although you are accompanying the rest of you party when snorkelling on the first day and you rejoin them on the last day, in between you are snorkelling from a longtail and the time on the island is your own. As for going to and from the Surins to Khao Sok and staying overnight there before returning to the Le Meridien that is perfectly possible.

Could I suggest that you contact Boss at Cheaper than Hotels Taxis in Khao Lak (who you might have seen many recommendations about on this forum). As well as straight taxi transfers he organises tours also. Explain what you are considering and see if he can accommodate you. Contact him on cheaper_khaolak@ymail.com

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Kuraburi Greenview Resort
Kuraburi Greenview Resort
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Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park
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Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort
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2. Re: Side Trip to Surin Islands and Khao Sok

I, too, have asked the same question about Surins independently last year, Arrandora was a mine of information and his advice was always helpful.

I second the use cheaper than hotel taxi as mentioned above, efficient, reliable, no hassle.

I wrote a small trip report last year on how did we organize the Surins ourselves, hope it helps:

we decided to at the Surin island bungalows, the cost is 2000TB per night, but you get comfortable bed, own shower, balcony and lockable room vs. tent where there tents are 20 cm apart from each other, approx 25 in a row, hard ground even when using the sleeping mat and no privacy The transportation was with Khuraburi Greenview

resort, which was reserved by our resort owner, who is Dutch, the resort is called Amsterdam resort, quiet little place near the beach in Khao Lak. He reserved the transportation and the bungalows for us (during the week, weekends are busy with Thai

people) the cost of the transportation was TB 1900,

We paid for the accommodation once we arrived to the island at the national park's office.

National park runs long boats to the snorkeling sites at 9am and 2 pm, the cost per person is 80 TB. Cost of the snorkeling gear rent is 80 tb per day The cost of meal at the parks' canteen is between 50-120 B per meal, the cost of beer is extra. Restaurant - food at the restaurant was good, nice variety, too. You have to purcahse "coupons" at the office, you pay with the coupons for the meal and at the end of the stay the office will exchange left over coupons back into TB. the price was TB 80 120 per main meal.

One note, the cell phone coverage- we had a local DTAC, but there was no coverage at the islands at all.

There is drinking water at large barrel at the HQ. Park has a Nature trail on their map, we tried it and it crosses several broken down bridges, which we climbed anyway, visits nice and quiet beach in front of the Royal navy's barracks and continues to a beach on the other side of the North Surin island.I would do the trip the same way I did it again

As it gave me more freedom choosing my meals, vs pre arranged meals by the Greenview's package deal (which according to the people who have do it this way, was

OK but often cold, and the same every night). And once pieced together it was cheaper than purchasing the package.

I would not book either the transfer (which was from Khao Lak all the way to Surin and back) or package with Greenview directly as they just tried to sell everythieng for higher price. Example- I was told by a couple who purchased their 3 day/2 night package from Greenviw that they paid 5400 Tb per person, after I returned from Surins, I had few minutes so I asked at the office of the Greenview resort at the Kuraburi pier for the cost of the same package (3 days and 2 nights) and was told it is 6200TB,when I pointed out the price difference, they told me OK you can have it for 5400TB. They are reliable tour operator and are trying to make as much money as the people are willing to pay. therefore it's nice to know the options, like for me to go though local resort who knows the price range and will get better price, in my case if I wanted to Amsterdam resort would have organized the same 3d/2n package through Greenview for 5600TB (the 200extra TB is fee for organizing it, which is perfectly fine if one is on tight schedule, wants exact dates and does not feel comfortable to prepay the same package directly to Greenview. Amsterdam resort reserved our trip and we paid for it once we arrived to Khao Lak)

Fw notes on the snorkwling at the Surins islands- the national park organizes the boat tours 2 a day for 80TB, at 9am and 2pm, the trip lasts approx. 2,5-3 hours included 2-3x snorkeling at 2-3 different stops. We were told the best season for snorkeling is Jan-Feb, when the sea is calm. The Surins were hit partially by Thunami i 2004 and even though the people at the national park will tell you that all the snorkelling spots are equally nice, I did not find this to be true.

the following is my review of those snorkeling sites I visited.

Ao Pak Kaad (South Surin Island) coral is damaged, ocasionaly nice spots, almost no fish

Ao Tao - coral much healthier and varied than Ao Pak Kaad, not too many fish

Ao Mae Yai - very colorful and healthy coral, variety of different coral species, several species of fish,

Hian Chong Kaad - very nice healthy coral, soft coral with nemo, the depth very low, easy snorkeling

Ao Suthep -coral very damaged, no fish

Ko Kland - coral in better shape than Ao Suthep, not very varied

Ao Chong Kaaad - coral mushroom like shape with fish

My favorite snorkeling sites (beauty of coral and fish) - Ao Mae Yai and Hian Chong Kaad

In addition to that there is a site (Ko Torinla) which is supposed to be very nice and supposedly one can see manta rays there in Jan-Feb, we had a bit too big waves in December when I was there so the national park cancelled the boat trip there.

some web sites that provided me the info on the Surin islands:

http://www.surin-islands.com/

ko-surin-diving.com/surin-islands-dive-sites…

www.thaiforestbooking.com/np_home.asp… (has a map of snorkeling sites)

http://www.kuraburigreenviewresort.com/

http://bangniang.freeservers.com/ (Amsterdam resort in Khao Lak)

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The Surin Phuket
The Surin Phuket
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Poulton Le Fylde...
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3. Re: Side Trip to Surin Islands and Khao Sok

Boleslav,

Thanks for that great report - the besty I have seen for independent minded travellers/snorkellers. I'm going to add it the FAQ - Where's best for SNORKELLING & DIVING from Khao Lak? for the benefit of future enquirers.

Cheers

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Khao Lak
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4. Re: Side Trip to Surin Islands and Khao Sok

thank you, I am blushing

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Side Trip to Surin Islands and Khao Sok

Many thanks to you, Boleslav and Arandora, for your very helpful replies. This is our first time visiting Thailand, and we can't wait to explore the islands!

A few additional questions for Boleslav:

1. Do you recall approximately how much it cost for the taxi from the Amsterdam Hotel to the Kuraburi Pier?

2. Was 1900THB the cost of the ferry, round trip, per person?

3. Can you reserve a specific bungalow, and if so are there any with views out to the sea?

Thanks again for the terrific links and thorough replies. This is very useful information!

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Poulton Le Fylde...
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6. Re: Side Trip to Surin Islands and Khao Sok

governor-piedmont,

As this is your first trip to Thailand I wouldn't want you to think that the Surin Islands are ones often depicted in picture postcards. Although lovely, there is only 1 of the Surins that is inhabited, and that only in the Dry Season by support workers and day/overnight trippers. There is only the restaurant used by tours or those staying with very limited menu and a small souvenir desk. Apart from breakfast, lunchtime and evening it is deserted except for workers. Whilst there is a trail to a viewpoint and one stretch of beach where tents are pitched, it is remarkable only for its relatively unspoiled naturalness. It is merely a base for snorkeling and diving trips unlike many other islands which either have resorts and a few restaurants on them or "deserted" ones say off the coast of Krabi which feature in trips for the mainland. The infrastructure is only that which needs to support this activity and sanitation is very "simple" shall we say. The beauty and the attractions are underwater rather than on land.

Sorry, if you have researched all this.

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The Surin Phuket
The Surin Phuket
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7. Re: Side Trip to Surin Islands and Khao Sok

1. Do you recall approximately how much it cost for the taxi from the Amsterdam Hotel to the Kuraburi Pier?

The 1900 TB is for the whole journey, kuraburi will pick you up from the hotel in Khao lak, drive you to the Pier and then speed boat ride to Surin,

2. Was 1900THB the cost of the ferry, round trip, per person? Correct

3. Can you reserve a specific bungalow, and if so are there any with views out to the sea? the view is partial, obstructed by the trees, you may ask Kees from Amsterdam resort to try to reserve a specific bungalow, but I simply do not know, if you will get what you want.

Have a look at my pictures on this web site: …blogspot.com/2010/01/surin-islands.html

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Khao Lak
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8. Re: Side Trip to Surin Islands and Khao Sok

Thanks, Arandora.

We do know that the experience in the Surin Islands will be a bit "rustic," and that is totally fine for us. (We'll have a bit more luxury when back in Khao Lak.)

I guess my question is more about whether there will be the possibility to spend some time just relaxing on a small white sand beach cove for an afternoon, and swim or wander around a bit instead of doing one of the snorkeling sessions. Just to mix it up, we might not want three solid days of snorkeling. There's also something tempting about a peaceful afternoon on a white sand beach in crystal clear waters, which it sounds like we may not have in Khao Lak. Is this possible to do in the Surins? Or are the Similans better in that regard? (We were imagining that the Similans would be more crowded, and therefore less peaceful.)

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The Surin Phuket
The Surin Phuket
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9. Re: Side Trip to Surin Islands and Khao Sok

it's possible, just follow the natural trail (the bridges are in falling apart stage) till you get in front of the army barracks, it's peaceful there, nice beach, no people.

or you may continue on the trail all the way to the end and it leads to another beach, but there are tents there

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10. Re: Side Trip to Surin Islands and Khao Sok

Thinking of spending 1 day in Ko SImilian and 2 days 1 night on Surin island.

Is it worth going both islands or just go for the best one Surin? How far is from the Khuraburi to Khao Sok NP?

Not sure we should take 1 day tour in Surin isalnd and back to Khao lak and then go to Khao Sok NP on the following day.

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The Surin Phuket
The Surin Phuket
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Khao Sok National Park
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