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Surin or Koh tachai for a day trip snorkling?

Wagga Wagga...
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Surin or Koh tachai for a day trip snorkling?

I have been reading all the reviews and still cant work out which of these day trips - Surin or Koh Tachai would be less crowded (on the boat and when we get to the snorkling sites?

We did a day trip from Phuket to Phi Phi a few years ago and it was so crowded in the boat and on the beach that I am hesitant to do another boat trip. We will be staying at Mai Khao lak resort. Can anyone help me please?

Poulton Le Fylde...
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for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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1. Re: Surin or Koh tachai for a day trip snorkling?

Neither trip, in my experience, is crowded either on the boat or on the island but you are not comparing like with like with Phi Phi which has a large number of visitors staying there as well as day trippers. The Similans, Koh Tachai and Surins are mainly day tours with some visitorsstaying one or two nights. But having said that none of the tours to the Similans we have been on have been crowded either. There is no doubt that boats from Phuket belong to the "pack 'em in tight" group and there are lots of them, either coming from Phuket or transferring to the pier from Phuket. The same applies to Phi Phi from Phuket.

The number of boats to Tachai is tightly controlled by the National Park Authority with only 3 or 4 being allowed each day. It is not as widely publicised so tends not to be so full (and long may it remain so!). The Surins is too far for a day trip from Phuket and so again receives far fewer boats and visitors.

We used Love Andaman for Koh Tachai (website at http://www.loveandaman.com/ is being redesigned so you will be redirected to Facebook) who deliberately did not fill their boat but the tour is also offered by Kuraburi Greenview, who we used for the Surins and are the specialist operator for there. Both were excellent.

Wagga Wagga...
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13 posts
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2. Re: Surin or Koh tachai for a day trip snorkling?

Thank you so much for your information!

Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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100 reviews
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3. Re: Surin or Koh tachai for a day trip snorkling?

You may be interested in this short video of baby sharks taken at the Surins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcHlfUKXzFw

4. Re: Surin or Koh tachai for a day trip snorkling?

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Removed on: 12:52 pm, November 16, 2012
Edited: 12:52 pm, November 16, 2012
Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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100 reviews
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5. Re: Surin or Koh tachai for a day trip snorkling?

SPAMMER. Please report!

Phuket, Thailand
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6. Re: Surin or Koh tachai for a day trip snorkling?

Sorry to report that the Surin Islands are seriously overrated for snorkeling. We just got back from a 2 day trip with the objective of snorkeling. But after the first day we decided not to do any snorkeling the next day. The condition of the coral we saw is bad, as if heavily fish bombed. I've scuba dived all over SE Asia...Sipadan, Maldives, Philippines, Borneo and know what great reefs look like. I cannot recommend Surin to anyone who has experience snorkeling on healthy vibrant reefs.

Edited: 8:29 am, November 18, 2012
Vancouver, Canada
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52 posts
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7. Re: Surin or Koh tachai for a day trip snorkling?

Oh dear, that is seriously disappointing to hear. My boyfriend and I were really looking forward to it as we hear it was top notch.

Phuket, Thailand
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6 posts
30 reviews
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8. Re: Surin or Koh tachai for a day trip snorkling?

If you've never snorkeled on a tropical coral reef you might find Surin acceptable. But I'd give it a 3 out of 10, max.

There's some serious misrepresentation going on about Surin Islands. Some sources say the shallow channel between the north and south islands is the "best snorkeling in Thailand"....yet the group never snorkeled down it and were told to stay out of it. My wife and I tried snorkeling off the beach on that side of the island but it was just sand.

If you stay at the park on the north island there's a 100 yd long beach on the south side occupied by noisy longtail boats. On the opposite side of the camp is the 100yd long beach facing with channel with nothing to see but sand. There's dozens of tents near both beaches. I think they're just cramming folks in to rip them off for $500 for a couple of days of disappointing snorkeling and nothing else to do...no kayaking, no real place to hike, nothing. The food at the dining hall was good...that's the only positive thing to report. Avoid Surin...its a ripoff, IMHO. However, I hear Richelieu Rocks SE of Surin is good but for scuba diving only. Sorry for the bad report, but am just telling it like I see it.

Edited: 12:29 am, November 20, 2012
Poulton Le Fylde...
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for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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9. Re: Surin or Koh tachai for a day trip snorkling?

Because some may have experience of better snorkeling sites neither makes the Surins a misrepresentation nor certainly a rip off. No-one advertises tours or trips to the islands for anything but access to snorkel or dive sites. Nowhere, to my knowledge, are activities like kayaking or land based activities, promoted so anyone booking a trip or going independently shouldn't have that expectation. The best snorkeling is away from the beaches and that is where organised tours take you and where reports including recent ones have been good. The quality of the reefs in some areas has suffered because of the increased water temperature and certain areas were closed, not just at the Surins. Experienced local operators have found or been directed to other sites.

Sorry your trip didn't meet your expectations but that doesn't necessarily mean it won't for the many others who will go there.

Phuket, Thailand
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6 posts
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10. Re: Surin or Koh tachai for a day trip snorkling?

Sorry, but I'm gonna contradict you. Went out there with a group for 2 days of snorkeling. After a disappointing first day we did not go with group on the 2nd day...it was that disappointing. The kind of damage we saw was not bleaching, but mechanical damage such as I've seen caused by fish bombing. Not something that will regenerate in a year or two. I think it will be a disappointment to anyone who has ever snorkeled or dived on a pristine tropical reef.

I suggested kayaking or hiking as a possible alternative to the sub-par snorkeling.

Edited: 1:25 am, November 20, 2012