after staying in Ko Phra Thong for two nights, we want to got to the Surin Islands for two nights. As we do not like to have a fixed schedule, we plan to go there without an organized tour. I read on this page that the speedboats leave at 09:00 am from Khuraburi . Is there a place where we can book the transport ahead -should we do this? The http://www.sabinatour.com is only available in Thai - so I do not get any information from there.
On Surin Islands we plan to stay in a tent on Ao Mai Ngam, we plan to rent a tent there as we don't have our own. Should we book this in advance or should we book this in advance (end of march)?
However, my main concern is to get from Ko Phra Thong to Khuraburi and catch the boat at 09:00.
Okay, to get to Ko Phra Thong you're going to also need to go through Khuraburi , so pop into one of the little travel offices (Tom and Am is the most popular) right across from the bus station there in the middle of this tiny town and tell them exactly what you want to do. You'll need to decide in advance where you're going to stay on Ko Phra Thong because the travel office will need to call them in advance to ensure that there's someone to pick you up when you arrive. They'll also most likely ask how best to get you out there and on your way to Ko Surin . Mr Chuoi's huts are bare bones but he's the most experienced one out there at organizing this stuff.
You should be able to take a local ferry or tiny banana boat to Phra Thong if you're there in the early morning, both of which leave from a different pier than the Ko Surin pier and arrive at the fishing village on the east side of the island (travel office will arrange your morning transport). However keep in mind that transport on Ko Phra Thong is by motorbike only so if you have a lot of luggage (or you're not around in the early morning) you'll need to pay for a private longtail to take you directly to your resort of choice and that will be pricey.
Ko Phra Thong is a sort of "touch and go" destination so the best bet is to simply show up and inquire at a travel office in Khuraburi so as to get the scoop on how the transport is being managed at that time. I'm confident it will work out for you as long as you're willing to pay for a private longtail if necessary.
Then to leave you'll probably want to take a private longtail in the early morning from Ko Phra Thong directly to the Ko Surin pier (it probably won't be exactly the same pier but it's very close, within walking distance) that will get you there in time to buy a ticket for the speedboat to Ko Surin at the tour office right across from the pier (it should be fine to buy it that morning but a Khuraburi travel office can arrange it in advance if you want).
Once at Ko Surin you won't need reservations for a tent, but make sure to tell the boat crew after you arrive that you want to stay at Ao Mai Ngam, which requires a short longtail boat ride from the main visitor center area and accommodation there.
By the way, if you're planning to stay at Golden Buddha Resort you should pretty much scratch the above and contact them directly - they have their own boats and I think they would figure everything out for you.
Both Ko Phra Thong and Ko Surin are spectacular but in totally different ways -- great choices.
Thanks again for the detailed answer Dluek! Sounds like a good plan. We will come from Ranong and we will try to arrange everything that day in one of the travel offices in Khuraburi. We plan to stay at Phra Thong Bay Bungalow. We will only have our Backpacks withus and we have been on Motorbikes or Scooters with that before, but to pay for a private Longtail should not be a problem either - and it seems to be the more relaxed way of getting there
Oh yes, Phra Thong Bay -- best location and most charming little bungalows. That beach feels like your own little corner of the earth. Great choice again, sounds like you're fully on top of it. Have a blast!
Hey thanks, I found out the name of the new budget/flashpacker place just about to be opened when I visited Phra Thong - Phra Thong Bay Bungalow.
I called it No Name because the owner wasn't sure what he would use at the time. Sure did look nice. Make sure you visit Mr Chioi's just up the track for a feed - had the best reputation for budget food on the island. Horizon Bar just across from your joint is a good place to hang before/after sunset, is popular with students from Blue Guru Diving a short distance to the south and can put on a pretty good feed too.
I used Tom and Am in Khuraburi to get to Phra Thong and the Surins but I did it in the opposite order to you. Tom and Am arranged transport to/from the northern pier for the Surins and speedboat to/from the island, we paid National Park access fee at the National Park office at the pier and arranged camping once at Ao Mai Ngam (paid all camping fees etc on leaving).
I think it would be easier to hire bikes/mopeds on Phra Thong - taking them from Khuraburi would maybe be possible (but not easy) on the public longtail ferry from the small mangrove pier south of the main Surins pier, but this only leaves once a day, timing seems tide-dependent and may not suit your arrival from Ranong. Anyway Tom and Am or who-ever (Barracuda Dive is another Khuraburi outfit does Surins transfers) will be able to advise.
Just a thought - Blue Guru Diving often visits the Surins - if one of their trips coincides with you dates this could be a great way to shortcut the trip out.