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Surin Beach

Travel Guide

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Surin Beach lies a few kilometres north of Kamala, and has one of the most beautiful beaches on Phuket Island. A soccer field, and the remnants of a over-grown golf course have kept the hotels well away from the sand, and it's a shame that other beaches on Phuket haven't developed in a similar manner.

Situated on Phuket's western coast, Surin was badly hit by the Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami. Since the hotels are well off the beach the structural damage they incurred was fairly light when compared to hotels on other beaches like the west-facing Patong, where development went right to the beach. Less lucky though were the beachside shacks and restaurants -- they were obliterated.

The seaside seafood restaurants have re-built and some small but more permanent buildings have sprung up along the beach path -- chichi cafes, bars, souvenir shops, and even a tailor. A gaggle of vendors roam Surin Beach with goods like fake designer sunglasses and silk quilt covers hoping to make a sale to the presumably rich folks staying at the high-end resorts. The plus is that the guys selling soda and beer from big buckets of ice ask a lot less than your resort will.

The beach is wedged between two headlands -- Laem Singh to the south and Laem Son to the north. The latter is home to Pansea Beach and a couple of super-high-end resorts, while the southern headland has the lovely Laem Singh beach which can only be reached by boat or on foot. Both are within long-walking distance of Surin Beach so don't feel you're restricted to just the main strip of sand.

During peak season from November to April the crystal clear water is calm and suitable for swimming and snorkelling. The rocks at the far ends of the beach are good for spotting colourful aquatic creatures like the abundant parrot fish, although divers say that the coral reefs haven't fully recovered from the tsunami. Umbrella chairs can be rented on the beach and there's usually a speedboat for banana boat rides and water-skiing.

During the monsoon season the waves can be 3 to 4 feet high. They're perfect for a little bit of surfing, but can make swimming conditions treacherous. Surin Beach gets reasonable waves at both its northern and southern end, but watch out for the rocky section at the centre -- it's nasty. There are sudden drop-offs in the water's depth as well as rip tides, and Surin Beach claims a few lives each year. If there are red flags flying on the beach do not go in the water. There is no lifeguard on duty, so children should be watched very closely. For snorkellers you'd think the rocky headlands would be good for coral, but we saw very little. There is lots of fish though, so it is still fun for a frolic.

Surin has two parts to it -- the area that faces the beach which is given over to resorts and hotels and a small, more local section back over the hill where, just as the ocean slips out of sight, the prices drop off nicely. You'll find some cheap and cheerful eats back here, along with a supermarket and a couple of budgetish places to stay. You don't need to be paying top dollar to stay in Surin.

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Text and/or map last updated on 14th June, 2014.

Last reviewed by:
Stuart McDonald co-founded with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.

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