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Ko Surin

Getting there and away

Boat

Unless travelling with a dive operation (or your own yacht), Ko Surin is only reached by daily speedboats from the national park pier north of the town of Khuraburi in Phang Nga province. There are no public or national park arranged boats going to Ko Surin, so it's necessary to go along with a tour, the most popular and largest of which is Sabina Tours. Aside from selling all inclusive tours from one to four days in length, Sabina also offers open roundtrip tickets for 1,600 baht per person. This price does not include any food or accommodation, but it's a good option for those looking to see the islands independently. There are other tour companies, such as Greenview Tour and a host of dive operations that go to Ko Surin, but Sabina is the only operator offering the basic roundtrip tickets without any actual package tour. The speedboat from Khuraburi to Ko Surin takes 1.5 hours.

Ko Surin is open only from November 1 to April 30 each year, and Sabina runs speedboats everyday during this time, departing Khuraburi at 9:00 and returning at 14:00. Blue shirted Sabina staff and blue and yellow Sabina longtail boats are easy to find all around Ko Surin, so when ready to go home just let one of them know. The national park does not transport visitors to or from Ko Surin and when we asked, park officials didn't care to be bothered about finding the boat back to the mainland.

Note that many other travel companies offer day trips to Ko Surin from Khao Lak, Phang Nga, and even as far afield as Phuket, and many of these have been known to give travellers the impression that boats to Ko Surin depart directly from those locations. The reality, however, is that if you book from somewhere other than Khuraburi you should be prepared for a two hour or longer mini bus ride to the pier in Khuraburi in each direction, so you would be looking at a total of 4-5 hours on the road plus 3 hours on the boat just to get to Ko Surin and back. Also be prepared to pay more if booking tours from these more distant locations. That said, the better choice — especially if wanting to do a daytrip — is to get to Khuraburi first and book the trip from there. The exception to this rule is if you're going with a diving operation as these have their own boats and don't need to rely on the Ko Surin pier in Khuraburi.

Tom and Am Tour may be contacted at (086) 272 0588 or tom_am01@hotmail.com.
Sabina Tours may be contacted at (076) 472 216, (081) 737 5801, sabinatour@hotmail.com, or http://www.sabinatour.com.

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Getting Around

Once on Ko Surin, there are a few options for getting around the islands by longtail boat. The first is to charter a private boat, often from a local Moken longtail driver, for a negotiable 1,500 baht per half day or 2,500 for the whole day. Alternately, both Sabina Tours and the national park organise single group trips to many of the best snorkelling spots and the Moken fishing village. While Sabina's numerous boats depart at different times depending on interest, the national park typically sticks to a schedule, offering two trips daily at 9:00 and 14:00 with destinations changing each day. Inquire at the visitor centres or directly with Sabina staff for information specific to the day you're there. Also note that the national park boats are usually more crowded than Sabina's.

The cost for a half day snorkelling trip from the national park is 200 baht, and the cost for a single destination trip with Sabina Tours is also 200 baht. Tom and Am Tour also has one longtail boat offering tours around the islands, but we would not currently recommend this as the boat is very loud and appears to be in need of some upkeep.

It's also worth noting that it can be confusing deciphering who is working for the national park and who for Sabina Tours or other travel companies. The Sabina staff wear blue collared shirts and we found them to generally be more helpful than the national park staff. Any time we asked national park personnel for some help getting somewhere they acted as though we should stop bugging them. The Sabina staff, however, were friendly and very helpful throughout our stay.

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