You can do a snorkel tour to Surin Islands with Kuraburi Greenview Travel who do an excellent trip.
Here is a link to my JBR a few years ago to the Surin trip with Kuraburi. Not much changes and I still do this trip every year as it is so good.
Here is a link to their website www.kuraburigreenviewresort.com/tours.html
Another day snorkelling tour that is growing in popularity is to Koh Tachai which comes under the Koh Similans National Park Authority and is promoted in places as "The Maldives of Thailand". There are only about 3 boats per day allowed to go there and snorkelling from the gorgeous white powdery beach is one of its main attractions while the more adventurous go to more sites from the boat.
Similan and Surin are only open from November to May in high season.
All tours are bookable in Khao Lak. Ruk Talay Travel also do these tours here is a link
Of the 3 main tours available the best one in my view for non or limited snorkelers is Koh Tachai. Whilst there is one snorkel from the boat before you reach the fabulous powder white beach and wade in through the crystal clear waters you can stay there for the rest of the trip, just walk the beach, swim, sunbathe, have lunch, go in search of the huge Chicken Crabs and catch the boat back after all the snorkelers have finished.
See here for trip report from last December tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297914-i10908-k… and here for the correct link to our pics.
Whilst the Similans are beautiful there is less time to enjoy beach life as the tour boat moves to different islands and snorkelling spots.
Similarly whilst the Surins offers IMO the best underwater experience, the one island where you stay for lunch only and a short walk is not as attractive as the others. It will also be the longest day as it takes just over an hour to the departure pier at Kuraburi rather than 20-30 minutes for the pier for Koh Tachai and the Similans.
Thanks very much for your help - sorry for the late reply.
Who can I book the Koh Tachai with ?
Will be staying at Thai Life in Takua Pa for 5 days from June 7 2013
Also keen to do a trip that does not involve diving. Any more thoughts from anyone?
Also does anyone know of any Thai cooking courses for my 21 year old son and his 19 year old girlfriend? (my idea, not his!)
We are visiting our 18 year old who is volunteering for 2 months at a school. 21 year old a bit concerned that he may be bored. Any thoughts re any activities/trips warmly received.
Thanks Sally from Australia
Thai Life is a unique and beautiful resort but is very remote if you have no car. Beautiful beach but be be careful in June if you intend to swim in the ocean as it can get very rough. There are no tour shops nearby so you will need to go to Khao Lak, either Bang Niang or Bang La on, about 20 minutes and 25 minutes respectively south by taxi. I'm sure though that the resort will have recommendations for tours available taking into account the season and your preference for non-diving tours which are not likely to be on offer because of the ocean conditions anyway. Khao Sok and Cheow Lan Lake to the north and Phang Nga Bay to the south are options well worth considering. Khao Lak based Green Andaman Travel offer both and will include transfers from and to Thai Life in their tour arrangements. See http://www.greenandamantravel.com/
Is your son volunteering by chance at the Hands across the Water Orphanage which is not far from Thai Life? If so it is worth a trip with him (by prior arrangement) to this wonderful place and see the great work they are doing.
Also, very close to you are:
* The Tsunami Memorial at Ban Nam Khem - the main site commemorating the tragic events of Boxing Day 2004
* The site of the fishing boats Red Angel, which was driven ashore by the Wave and caused death and destruction in its wake and the Blue Angel, also driven ashore but from which a Burmese seaman rescued a Thai father and his son fleeing the Wave, Both are sited side by side as stark reminders of two very different episodes.
* Koh Kho Khao - the ferry across to KKK (a 10 minute ride) - is also down the road past the Tsunami Memorial. It will be very quiet over there but you could go across as a foot passenger on the main vehicle ferry which departs every hour or on one of the longtail boats which depart when they have passengers. Have a meal or a drink at the restaurant overlooking the pier and watch the fishing boats or hire a taxi to take you for a ride around the island.
Thank you so much for such a prompt and detailed response. I'll re read your ideas and I have no doubt that your thoughts will be very helpful. We're very much looking forward to our trip and for my partner and myself (oldies) will be happy to have a very relaxing, non stressful time and do a couple of small trips. My son- the 21 year old, is another matter!!
Again thank you for taking the time to respond it is very much appreciated
Not sure of the name of the orphanage my son Will has been at, or the name of the school where he began teaching today. Have just sent a message to ask him.
Again thank you for all of your helpful advice.
Wherever he is he will enjoy volunteering in Khao Lak. We've enjoyed the company of volunteers on many occasions and great fun at Quiz Nights were the "oldies" and "regulars" enjoy taking on the "kids" especially when free drinks are the prize! LOL