Chanthaburi (100 kilometers east of Pattaya, near Cambodia) is a center for cutting and polishing Burmese gems and is home to some large durian, mangosteen and rambutan plantations. Known as the Garden Province of Thailand, it was also the site of Thailand’s famous ruby and sapphire mines. Although the mines were played out long ago the area remains a center of the gem trade. The province of Chanthaburi is also blessed with rich, verdant forests and scenic waterfalls. The Chanthaburi River flows through the provincial capital, which has been occupied since ancient times. Quiet fishing villages and peaceful beaches are not far from town. Chanthaburi was occupied by the French during the end of the 19th century. Their influence can be seen in the architecture of many buildings within Chanthaburi town, including the largest Catholic cathedral in Thailand, which today caters to a sizeable Christian population, many of whom are ethnic Vietnamese.

Tourist Office and Website: Tourism Authority of Thailand , Rayong Office, 153/4 Sukhumvit Road, Tambon Taphong,Amphoe Mueang, Rayong 21000, Tel. +66 3865 5420-1 , +66 3866 4585, Fax. +66 3865 5422, E-mail Address: Accommodation: Both Chanthaburi city and some areas around the province have accommodation for visitors including luxury hotels, guesthouses, and home stays. Website:

Getting to Chanthaburi: As a province somewhat off the typical tourist route, Chanthaburi is best reached via private car or public bus. Once there, it may be easier to get around with your own car, but there are standard forms of local transport available for visitors: i.e. songtaews, motorbike taxis, and tuk tuks. By Car: From Bangkok, take Highway No. 34 (Bang Na-Trat) or the Motorway to Chonburi, then use Highway No. 344 (Ban Bung-Klaeng) and proceed to Chanthaburi along Highway No. 3. By Bus: Both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok’s Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai) to Chanthaburi every hour from 4am-midnight. For more information, contact the Transport Co. Ltd at Tel: 0 2391 2504; Choet Chai Tour Tel: 0 2391 4146; or Phonnipha Tour Tel: 0 2391 5179.

Sights in the Chanthaburi Area : Pilgrims pay respects to the Buddha’s footprint on the mountain peak of Khao Khitchakut in Chanthaburi. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the largest church in Thailand. It is located at Chanthanimit Road on the left bank of the Chanthaburi River at M.5, Santisook Road. There are fishing villages on the coast where tourists can explore Thailand’s coastal culture.

Chantaburi is especially famous for its red gemstone known as Siam Ruby. This jewel and also topaz and amethyst are commonly found at Amphur Taa Mai and Amphur Klung. Here, tourists will find many shops that sell gems and can learn the techniques of preparing them. The technique to get a nice gem is to heat it to more than 1,000 degree Celsius for 4 to 5 hours in order to get a clear and dark colored piece. In Chanthaburi town the geam dealers have traditionally been centered around Si Chan Road and Trok Kachang and Thetsaban 4 Roads off Si Chan Road.

The area known as Taa Luang is the old business quarter of Chantabun, situated on the west bank of Chantaburi River. This is where Chinese and Vietnamese have lived since the Rattanakosin Era. There are many old houses in the colonial style; a combination of Western and Chinese styles. The buildings are built next to each other in a curved line and decorated with carved wood. Many shops still preserve the old styles such as a hair salon that was built with wood, and a Chinese folk medicine shop. At Kung Krabaen Bay nature lovers can enjoy bird watching and see many species of flora in unspoilt mangrove swamps.


TRAT (between Chanthaburi and Cambodia) in the old days was known for its lawlessness because of its gem mines and nearness to Cambodia. Lately it has tried to improve its image and is now pushing itself as a mellower alternative to Phuket, Pattaya and Ko Samui. Lying eight kilometers off the coast is Ko Chang, Thailand’s second largest island. It is the main isle in a 52-island archipelago that lies off Trat. Here you will find Muko Chang Marine Park and nice beaches that have only recently been discovered by international travelers.

Tourist Office and Website: Tourism Authority of Thailand , Trat Office, 100 Mu 1 , Trat-Laem Ngob Road, Tambon Laem Ngob , Amphoe Laem Ngob, Trat 23120, Tel. +66 3959 7259-60, Fax. +66 3959 7255, E-mail Address:, Accommodation: Both Trat city and some areas around the province have accommodation for visitors including luxury hotels, guesthouses, and home stays. Website:

Getting to Trat: Trat and its island destinations can be reached via private car, public bus, or airplane from Bangkok. Once there, it may be easier to get around with your own car, but there are standard forms of local transport available for visitors: i.e. songtaews, motorbike taxis, tuk tuks, and public buses, and rental cars and motorbikes are easy to procure both on the mainland and on Koh Chang. By Air: Bangkok Airways has daily air services between Bangkok and Trat. From the Trat airport (not far from the ferry pier in Laem Ngop) there are numerous transportation options for transferring to Koh Chang, including minibus and rental car. Visit for more information. By Car: From Bangkok, take Highway No. 34 (Bang Na-Trat) or the Motorway to Chonburi, then use Highway No. 344 (Ban Bung-Klaeng) to Klaeng, where you must turn onto Highway No. 3 which leads to Trat. The total distance from Bangkok to Trat is 318 kilometers.

By Bus: Both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok's Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai) to Trat every hour from 6am to midnight. From Bangkok the buses to Trat cost 197 baht for 24-seat VIP air-conditioned service, 169 baht for 1st class air-conditioned service (132 baht for 2nd class), or 113 baht for regular bus service. The trip takes five to six hours by air-conditioned bus and about eight hours by regular bus. From Bangkok there are also direct bus and minibus services to the boat pier for Koh Chang that depart regularly from Ekkamai bus station (BTS Ekkamai) and Khao San Road. Simply make it clear you with to travel to Koh Chang rather than Trat. For more information contact the Transport Co. Ltd at Tel: 0-2391-4164, Choet Chai Tour Tel: 0-2391-2237, Chok Anukun Tour Tel: 0-2392-7680 and Suppharat Tour Tel: 0-2391-2331. To travel from Chanthaburi to Trat, the regular bus takes about 30 minutes. If one goes by taxi from Chanthaburi to Trat, it takes around 45 minutes.

Getting to the Islands Off Trat: Laem Ngop, about 20 kilometers from Trat, is main embarkation point for boats to Ko Chang and other islands. Numerous ferry services and private boat charters service Koh Chang and some of the larger islands surrounding it Ferries depart either from Ao Thammachat Pier or Koh Chang Centre Point Landings between 07.30am - 4.30pm, with travel times of approximately 30 minutes depending on weather and boat capacity. Private vehicles can be loaded onto the ferry. Please note that vehicles used on the island should be 4 wheel drive vehicles as road conditions are bumpy and there are steep slopes to be negotiated. From the landing on Koh Chang there are songtaew services to various points. Fares should be settled beforehand.

Islands Around Trat

Koh Mak (south of Koh Chang) is a large island that is blessed with several beautiful bays and beaches and coral reefs nearby that are still in perfect condition.The islanders make their living by growing rubber and coconut trees. The best time to visit is from November until late April. There are a number of accommodations and tourist facilities available. A passenger boat departs Laem Ngob daily at 3.00pm and returns from Koh Mak at 7.00am, traveling time is 3.5 hours.

Koh Kham (near Koh Mak) is an island endowed with natural wonders such as crystal clear seas, chie sandy beaches, coral reefs and most importantly, tranquility and privacy. Ideal for swimming and diving. Kham Island is the only island in the Trat area comprised of volcanic rock. The trip to Koh Kham from Laem Ngob takes 2.5 hours.

Koh Kradat (northeast of Koh Mak) was known in the past of its abundance of Kradad trees (paper trees); hence, the name of the island. This island is notable for the fact that it is the only island in Thailand to be issued a land title deed during the period of King Rama V as a measure to protect the island from French colonization. Koh Kradad is famous for its white long sandy beach and wonderful coral reefs. Kradad Island is like a nature park because there are thousands of deer living here freely. Some people call this island The Safari of the Gulf of Thailand.

Koh Rang is a small island at the west of Koh Mak does not have enough flat area suitable for setting up of any resorts and bungalows. However, Koh Rung is well known as the location for its birds nest concessions, sea turtle eggs and bat's dung. The main attractions at the island are the stone knolls and the magnificent deep-sea corals.

Tree Top Adventure Park allows you to experience breathtaking views and new sensations while cruising through the tops of trees. From one platform to another…from tree to tree… balance yourself through an assortment of games such as rope bridges, tarzan swings, flying skateboards, and giant zip lines. No matter how old you are, you will enjoy hours of fun and excitement!Our mandatory briefing will teach you how to use the slings, carabiners, pulleys, and harnesses safely. Plus, our adventure course is made, maintained, and certified by French experts. Join them to take an adventure with total safety in the beautiful forest of Koh Chang, Thailand.

Tree Top Adventure Park was created by Little World Co., Ltd., a company formed by a transnational group of individuals who love to travel and appreciate the unique activities that the world offers. As they are nature admirers, they also go ape over tree climbing. Their French experts have brought the know how and techniques to do this activity safely and with special care for the trees you climb. Enjoy rope and harness tree climbing so much and want to share the fun activities and amazing views that can experience from the top of the trees. It does not matter how old you are- their assortment of rope bridges, tarzan swings, and giant zip lines will bring you hours of fun and excitement. Hours and Contact Info: Open everyday from 8:00am -5:00pm. Contact: Tree Top Adventure Park Tree Top Adventure Park, 115 Mu 1 Tambon Ko Chang Tai, Amphoe Ko Chang, Trat 23170, Tel. 08 4310 7600. Emai:l,

Koh Chang

Koh Chang (east side of the Gulf of Thailand, near Cambodia, 300 kilometers and6 hours by bus from Bangkok) is a quiet island with clear water, nice, sandy, coconut-lined beach, some bars, resorts and restaurant and not much else. Once the quiet refuge of backpackers in the know, the island has grown in popularity as a tourist destination since 2000, when the Thai government hoped to develop the island as the next Phuket. Fortunately, as Koh Chang is nearly as large as Phuket, a decade of development that has seen the construction of an airport in Trat and numerous hotels and restaurants has done little to sully its appeal as an island of spectacular natural beauty. Bangkok Airways offer flights to from nearby town of Trat.

Ko Chang (Elephant Island) is Thailand’s second largest island. It is approximately 30 kilometers long and 14 kilometers wide, with a total area of roughly 217 square kilometers. Located in Trat Province not far from the Cambodian border, Ko Chang is 70 percent covered by unspoiled rainforest and the island’s permanent residents are only gradually becoming more involved in tourism as development has increased in the past decade. Drawn to Ko Chang’s pristine beaches and sparkling water, more well-to-do Thai and international travelers have been discovering Ko Chang and numerous luxury spas and resorts have sprung up to cater to them. Nonetheless, the island still has a wide variety of affordable accommodation options for budget travelers and families.

Koh Chang National Marine Park covers an area of 650 square kilometers, of which 70 percent is offshore, and includes dozens of unspoiled islands. On Koh Chang itself you will find arguably the best island rain forest in Southeast Asia. In addition to natural beauty, Ko Chang island is also home to a wide range of wildlife, including barking deer, king cobra, reticulated pythons, Javan mongoose, wild pigs, small Indian civet, monitor lizards, native birds, and even a number of elephants. As for activities, Ko Chang and the nearby islands that make up the national park are great for snorkeling, diving, camping, and jungle hiking.

Tourist Office and Website: 100 Mu 1 , Trat-Laem Ngob Road, Tambon Laem Ngob , Amphoe Laem Ngob, Trat 23120, 039-597-259-60, 039- 597-255. Accommodation: Most of the Koh Chang hotel and guesthouse options are located on the beaches along the west coast of the island, namely Haad Sai Khao (White Sands), Klong Prao, Kai Bae, Bailan, Lonely Beach, and Bang Bao towns and beaches. The majority of tourists stay at Hat Sai Khao, Hat Kai Muk, Hat Ta Nam, and Laem Bang Bao, all of which are linked by a single road running down the west coast. There are a wide variety of accommodation options to choose from, including budget beach bungalows and luxury spa resorts.

Getting to Koh Chang: Koh Chang, in Trat Province, is located approximately 315 kilometers east-southeast of Bangkok, not far from the Cambodian border. Visitors can travel to Koh Chang by ferry boat after arriving in Trat via air, air-conditioned bus, taxi, car, or motorcycle. Once upon Koh Chang there are songtaew taxis and both motorbike and mountain bike rentals for exploring the island. By Bus: Buses directly to Centerpoint Pier in Laem Ngop, Trat depart from the Ekkamai Eastern Bus Terminal in Bangkok at 745 am and 945 pm. The journey takes approximately five hours. Return service departs Laem Ngop at 2 and 4 pm. In addition, there are 1st class and 2nd bus class services from both the Ekkamai Eastern Bus Terminal and the Mo Chit Northern Bus Terminal that connect Bangkok with the provincial capital of Trat, from which visitors must take a 30 minute songtaew to the port at Laem Ngop, where the boats depart to Koh Chang. By Air: As the owner of the airport in the provincial capital of Trat, Bangkok Airways is the sole air carrier for service to Trat and Koh Chang. There are two flights a day from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport to Trat. One should be aware that even after the roughly one hour flight from Bangkok to Trat, visitors must still get a 30 minute transfer to the ferry pier at Laem Ngop and take a 45 minute ferry to Koh Chang.

Getting Around in Koh Chang isn’t particularly difficult as there are only two major roads on the island: one on the east coast and one on the west coast, both of which run parallel to the sea. Other smaller roads branch off these main roads to provide access to individual beaches and various attractions, namely, Keereephet, Klong Neung and Klong Phu waterfalls. By Motorbike: Getting around in by motorbike is convenient and inexpensive, around 150-200 baht/day. Visitors can either hire their own motorbikes or get around via motorbike-taxi. As the island has some particularly steep and dangerous hills it is best to drive with extreme caution and dress in appropriate attire, including closed toes shoes and helmets, the latter of which are required by law. By Rental Car: It is possible to hire a car or four wheel drive truck on the island. As Koh Chang has some particularly steep and dangerous hills it is best to use a 4x4 if you wish to rent a car. By Songtaew: The easiest way to get around the island is via songtaew, a pickup truck with padded benches in the rear. Songtaews provide service along the two main roads and can be used as public transport or can be hired privately for a half or full day. By Long-tail Boat: For beach hopping or visiting nearby islands, long-tail boats can be hired for half day or full day excursions.

Sights in Ko Chang: Koh Chang Noi and Laem Chang Noi lie to the north of Koh Chang. The sea between Koh Chang Noi and Laem Chang Noi is abundant with corals. Koh Ngam is an enchanting island with a very narrow sand dune that forms a gorgeous contour holding the northeast and southwest section of the island together. The almost kidney-shaped island would look like 2 separate islands from afar. Besides holding the island in one piece, the sand dune creates 2 crescent-shaped lagoons which are only 50 meters apart. For the more adventurous, a rope-guided hike up the rocks to a 100 meter-high hill on the southwest side of the island is both challenging and rewarding. Koh Ngam is situated southeast of Koh Chang and is comprised of twin mountains linked by huge rocks with a huge sand knoll at the middle.The little bay formed by the lines of the mountain stretching into the sea makes the island a splendid and serene site worth visiting. Accommodations are available.

Koh Hood

Koh Kood (Just south of Koh Chang) is far quieter and less developed than neighboring Koh Chang, Koh Kood is a pristine island ideal for a relaxing beach holiday. A rather flat island covered almost entirely with native forest or coconut and rubber plantations, Koh Kood has a number of pristine beaches with crystal clear water. Koh Kood is located near the Cambodian border and consequently has an ethnically mixed population of roughly 2,000 residents that is slowly transitioning from an exclusive plantation and fishing economy to an incipient tourism oriented one. Development of accommodation on Koh Kood has focused on attracting a middle and upper class Thai clientele that is drawn by the island’s beauty and tranquility. Both 4-5 hour slow boats and one hour speedboats from Laem Ngob and Dan Kao Piers in Trat Province provide service to the island though nicer resorts have their own boat service.

Despite being the fourth largest island in Thailand, Koh Kood has managed to remain an unspoiled slice of tropical heaven. Located in Trat Province, Koh Kood is the southernmost of the Koh Chang island chain. With gorgeous beaches and little other infrastructure it’s a resort destination that caters to those looking for a quiet beach paradise, with soft sand, crystal clear water, and little else. Relaxing is the predominate activity on this island, whose unspoiled nature and leisurely local lifestyle are the prime attractions. Snorkeling or exploring the islands beaches and forests are activities for the more adventurous, although boat trips to nearby islands for sightseeing, snorkeling, and scuba diving are also options. A small fishing village, located at Ao Salat on the Northeast of the island, provides an opportunity to experience island culture.

Koh Kood Warnings: 1) Koh Kood has malaria infected mosquitoes and visitors should bring a supply of mosquito repellent with DEET. 2) There are no banks or ATMs on the island, so make sure to bring sufficient funds or use the ATM on the mainland near the pier prior to departure. 3) Trat airport is the most convenient airport for access to Koh Kood. 4) The best time to travel to Koh Kood is between November and February although the monsoon rains are moderate even during the rainy season months. 5) In the low season, between April and November, there is limited boat service to the island as tourist arrivals are less frequent.

Koh Sai Kaow (near Ko Chang) is famous for its Talay Waek or the Seperated Sea. Like the better known one at Koh Kai, Koh Tub and Koh Mor in the Andaman sea near Krabi, this new Talay Waek has a white sand ridge that separates the sea, but it is not far from Bangkok, in the eastern sea around Koh Chang. Visit a perfect mangrove forest at Baan Pred Nai, Amphur Muang, Trat.

Khao Aung Ru Nai Wildlife Sanctuary (3 hours east of Bangkok) is a 200,000-acre reserve with Asian elephants, gaur, barking deer, and tigers. A species of freshwater crocodiles, thought to be extinct in thw wild, was found here.


RANONG (568 kilometers south of Bangkok and 200 kilometers north of Phuket) is situated where Thailand, Myanmar and the Andaman Sea ll come together. It is known for its hot spirngs, mangrove forests, dense tropical greenery, picturesque waterfalls and coastal areas dotted with small island. From Ranong it is possible to take a day trip into Myanmar. A short boat ride across the Chan River brings one to Kawthoung which in the days of British Burma was known as Victoria Point.

Ranong is a rainy province filled with pristine natural beauty that serves as a gateway to southern Myanmar. It is the most northerly province on Thailand’s Andaman coast. Because it is affected Indian Ocean monsoons as well the rainy season to the east it has a long rainy season, which lasts for 8 months each year. As a result the mountains are covered with dense forests. The city of Ranong is a major fishing and trading port. It was originally settled by the Hokkian Chinese, and their strong influence remains evident in the town. Colorful longboats ferry produce and people across the narrow divide that separates Thailand and Myanmar. The traffic is even heavier these days since a casino opened at Victoria Point in Myanmar. Just outside of Ranong town are the famous Ranong hot springs, where an arboretum and various first-class hotels cater to visitors eager to benefit from the medicinal properties of the mineral waters.

Ranong also features 62 islands, many fine beaches, unspoiled forests, and refreshing waterfalls, many of which are incorporated in national parks or wildlife sanctuaries. It lies on the narrowest point on the Malayan Peninsula. May through October are the rainiest of all Ranong’s Rainy Months. For a real off-the-beaten path Thai island, Ranong’s Phayam is one of the least visited in Thailand.

Tourist Office and Website: Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chumphon Office Areas of Responsibility: Chumphon, Ranong, 111/11-12 Thavisinkha Road, Tambon Thatapao, Amphoe Muang, Chumphon 86000 (Temporary Office), Tel. +66 7750 1831-2, +66 7750 2775-6, Fax. +66 7750 1832, E-mail Address: Accommodation: Both Ranong city and some areas along the coast have accommodation for visitors, including luxury hotels, guesthouses, beach resorts, and bungalows. Website: ;

Getting to Ranong: By Car: Ranong can be reached from Bangkok by taking Highway No. 4 via Petchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Chumphon, a total distance of 568 kilometers. By Bus: Both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal to Ranong everyday.. For a current schedule and further information, please call the Southern Bus Terminal at tel: 0 2435 1199, 0 2435 1200 or the Ranong Bus Station at tel: 0 7781 1548 or visit There are also buses from the Ranong Bus Terminal to nearby provinces including Chumphon, Surat Thani, Phang Nga, and Phuket. By Air: There are currently no regularly scheduled flights to Ranong. Ranong airport is 20 kilometers south of town, off Hwy 4 but is serviced only by small charter aircraft.

Sights in the Ranong Area: Hot Springs and Raksawarin Public Park (2 kilometers east of the provincial office) have been a popular tourist spot ever since King Rama V visited Ranong in 1890, and named the road to the hot springs 'Chon Ra-u', meaning 'hot water'. Koh Phayam (two hours by boat from the Ranong Pier) is famous for both its long fine white sandy beaches and for the cashew nuts which are grown on the island. Getting There: To get to Ko Phayam, visitors can charter boats from Ranong Pier for about 1,000 baht per trip. Visitors can also charter speedboats from Ko Phayam Resort. Prices range from 2,000 to 4,000 baht, depending on the size of the boat. Reservations can be made by calling 0 7781 2297, 0 1323 0436

Ban Phon Rang Hot Springs (in the Ngao Waterfall National Park) are surrounded by natural beauties, such as towering mountains, dazzling streams and aromatic flowers, which will make your hot spring experience enjoyable and delightful. The blooms of tropical pitcher plants Dendrobium Formasum, a kind of wild orchid which is the symbolic flower of Rayong are spread out throughout the entire area. Raksawarin Thermal Springs are regarded as a spa for natural therapy. As they are closer to downtown than any other thermal springs, the place is bustling with tourists. Laem Son National Park (turn off 58 kilometers from Ranong) covers 315 square kilometers, including 20 islands and the longest protected shore in Thailand. On much of the coast are dense mangroves, home to a variety of birds, crab-eating macaques and deer.

Surin Islands

Surin Islands (70 kilometers off the west coast Thailand, 150 kilometers southwest of Ranong, and 150 kilometers northwest of Phang-nga) is an archipelago in the Andaman Sea near the maritime border of far southern Myanmar and southeast Thailand. The islands occupy a total area of approximately 84,375 rai out of which about 20,594 rai is an on land area. The Surin Islands reportedly have greatest variety of corals while the Similans have the greatest variety of fish. Sea gypsies are still active in the waters off the islands.

Surin Islands National Park is a marine national park that embraces five islands: Surin Nuea, Surin Tai, Kai (Torrinla Island), Klang (Pachumba), and Ri (Satok Island). The most important and largest islands are Surin Nuea Island and Surin Tai Island. The Protection of National Park provide resorts, the facility is located at Surin Nuea Island. The shallow corals at this national park are various and stunning offering a perfect place to experience snorkeling. As well as the marine attractions, the park is covered with 141.25 square kilometers of rich forests. The central part of Pha-yam Island is covered by mountains, and forests. There are many animals, such as birds, monkeys and boars. The locals earn a living from coconut, rubber and cashew nuts. The shore is embraced by coves, reefs and sandy beaches.

Travelling around the area of Surin Islands National Parks can be separated into four choices. 1) The first choice is experiencing how beautiful and natural the islands are. Tourists can walk from the Protection of National Park to Mai Ngam Beach. This is a good choice for tourists who love camping. 2) The second choice is snorkeling around large shallow corals at Mae Yai Bay, Chong Kad Bay, Suthep Bay, Pak Kad Bay, Torrinla Island, and Pachumba Island. Surin Island National Park offers long-tailed boats for tourists to go snorkeling. These can be found at Bon Bay. 3) The third choice is visiting the Mokan local community of fishermen at Sai En Bay and Bon Bay. The Moken people emigrated from Myanmar before these islands became a national park. Formerly, they lived on boats around Chong Kad Bay. 4) The last choice is diving around Richelieu rock where tourists can see numerous species of fish and corals. The most thrilling thing is the chance to see big whale sharks.

Location and Contact: Surin Islands National Park, Kuraburi District, Phang Nga Province, 82150 or call: 0 7647 2145, 0 7647 2146 or 0 7649 1378

Accommodation: At the island, there are resorts, tents, and restaurants around Chong Kad Bay. At Mai Ngam Bay, there are just tents available. Getting There: Catch a boat at Kuraburi Pier. If leaving from at Ranong Province, take route no. 4. The pier can be found before Kuraburi District. About nine kilometers at 721 kilometers , turn right for about two kilometers. Then, take a boat (various kinds of boat available). It is about 1.5-2 hours costing 1500 baht for the round trip. Website: Official Thailand National Park website, Use Google translate /

Mu Koh Surin National Park

Mu Koh Surin National Park (70 kilometers off the west coast Thailand, 150 kilometers southwest of Ranong, and 150 kilometers northwest of Phang-nga) was proclaimed a national park in 1981. and includes islands with beautiful coral reefs in the shallows and various schools of fish of different colours. It offers ideal spots for snorkelling to admire coral reefs in the shallows, especially at Koh Torinla and Koh Pachumba. An ideal spot for scuba diving is the Richeliu Rock, 10 kilometers to the southwest of Koh Surin. This is a site of fertile undersea nature, habitat of various kinds of fish, colourful corals, and where whale shark, the kind Giant of the Sea, is frequently encountered. The most suitable period for a visit is between November and April whereas from May to October is the period of monsoons when there are heavy rainfalls and windy wavy sea.

Koh Surin Nuea and Koh Surin Tai are two attached islands separated by a water channel. There are both large and small bays scattered around the islands, all with distinctively beautiful beaches and sea water. Koh Surin Nuea is where the Park’s Ranger Station is located. There is a Tourist Service Centre, bungalows, camping site, and long-tailed boats for rent to visit various islands. Ao Chong Khat is located south of Koh Surin Nuea and has a camping spot on a clean white sandy beach suitable for swimming. There are also coral reefs and various kinds of fish such as the colourful parrotfish and wrasse.

Ao Mae Yai is also south of Koh Surin Nuea and offers a bay of calm sea. It is the largest island in the Surin Archipelago with coral reefs in the shallows. Ao Sai En is situated east of Koh Surin Nuea, with boat people known as Chao Le or Mogen People living their simple and folk way of life. They believe in Indian icons carved out of wood which are regarded as their sacred items. During the full moon day’s period of April every year, they will gather to pay respect to their revered spirits for 3 days.

Ao Luek is to the southeast of Koh Surin Nuea and offers coral reefs in the shallows, seaweeds, anemones, sea fans, schools of clown fish, and various kinds of colourful fish. Ao Chak is to the north of Koh Surin Nuea and offers a white powdery beach and snorkelling spot to admire coral reefs in the shallows.

Ao Mai Ngam is to the west of Koh Surin Nuea next to the headquarters bay. It is a large bay with a long curving beach, beautiful coral reefs, and various kinds of colourful fish. Moreover, there is Ao Mai Ngam Nature Trail through an evergreen forest along the beach, with nature interpretation signs along the 2-kilometers route, taking approximately 1 hour. Along the route, various species of wildlife and flora such as mouse deer, flying lemur, and rare birds like Nicobar pigeon and pied imperial pigeon can be seen.

Ao Bon is located east of Koh Surin Tai and inhabited by another group of the Mogen or Chao Le people. Ao Tao is located east of Koh Surin Tai and a habitat of a large number of sea turtles near the coral reefs. It offers a snorkelling spot to view soft corals and sea fans. Ao Phak Kat is to the south of Koh Surin Tai and offers a snorkelling spot to view staghorn coral reefs, and also a scuba diving spot. Ao Suthep is to the north of Koh Surin Tai and offers a snorkelling spot to view beautiful coral reefs.

Koh Pachumba or Koh Klang is situated north of Koh Surin Tai and offers clean white powdery beaches and intact coral reefs where Manta rays, various species of fish, and lobsters which are rare to be seen are so abundant that the bay is called Ao Mangkon after the Thai name of lobster, Kung Mangkon. It is also a spawning site for sea turtles. Koh Khai or Koh Torinla is south of Koh Surin Tai. To the east of the island, there is a very long stretch of coral reefs that are still in perfect condition and ideal for scuba diving.

Location and Contact: Tambon Khura. Amphoe Khura Buri, Phang-nga 82150, Tel. 0 7649 1378, 0 7649 1582, 0 2562 0760. or the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Flora, Bangkok, Tel. 0 2562 0760 or visit Accommodation: The Park provides 16 bungalow rooms, each room for 2 persons, at 2,000 Baht / bungalow. A tent for rent is also available at 300 – 450 Baht / night. A camping site fee of 40 Baht / night will be charged for visitors bringing their own tents.
Admission: 400 Baht for adults and 200 Baht for children. Getting There: A boat is also provided to view around the islands 2 times daily at 60 Baht / person. Diving gear is available at 150 Baht. Website: Official Thailand National Park website, Use Google translate /

Travelling in Mu Koh Surin National Park

Travelling to Mu Ko Surin can be initiated from several different points: A) Khura Buri Pier is the nearest point to Mu Ko Surin. Khura Buri is some 125 kilometers north of Phang-nga. A boat trip takes around 3 hours. There is no regular boat service for travellers to Ko Surin. Boats leaving from Khura Buri are suitable for group tours. For more information Contact: 1) Diamond coral Tours at tel. 0 7649 1055; 2) Kuraburi Green View Travel at tel. 0 7640 1400, 0 7642 1360 or visit ; 3) Mantapoint at tel. 0 7648 5745, 08 1273 9279 ; 4) Rung Arun Tours at tel. 0 7649 1142 ; 5) Sabina Tour at tel. 0 7649 1867,08 1737 5801.

Amphoe Kapoe Pier is in Ranong Province. The trip takes 7 hours. Visitors may contact Chansom Tara Hotel (tel: 0 7783 5317-9) which has boats leaving Chan Damri Beach for trips to Mu Ko Surin. Note: The best way for individual travellers is to join a trip out of Phuket that includes Mu Ko Surin on the itinerary. This typically lasts at least 3 days and includes visits to Mu Ko Similan.

By Car: from Amphoe Mueang Phang-nga , take Highway No. 4 (Phetchakasem Road) toward Amphoe Khura Buri and turn left at km. 721, 6 kilometers before reaching Amphoe Khura Buri, for 3 kilometers. The Park’s direction sign will be seen on the right. By Bus: the Transport Company Limited operates air–conditioned buses from the Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal on Borommaratchachonnani Road once a day, leaving Bangkok at 8.00pm and arriving in Amphoe Khura Buri at 8.00am, taking a total of 12 hours. For further information, please call the Bangkok Office, Tel. 0 2894 6122, Amphoe Khura Buri Office, Tel. 0 7649 1218. Lignite Tour Company Limited operates a daily bus leaving Bangkok at 7.05pm and arriving in Amphoe Khura Buri at 5.00am For more details, please call the Bangkok Office at Tel. 0 2435 5016, 0 2435 7428, Phang-nga Office, Tel. 0 7641 2300, 0 7641 2014, Takua Pa Office, Tel. 0 7644 1107.

aGetting to Thap Lamu Pier: From Bangkok, take the Bangkok – Ranong or Bangkok – Surat Thani bus and get off at the Lam Kaen T-junction, Amphoe Thai Mueang. Then, take a motorcycle to Thap Lamu Pier. From Phang-nga provincial town, take the Phang-nga – Thap Lamu Pier bus, leaving Phang-nga Bus Terminal, or the Bangkok – Surat Thani or Bangkok – Ranong bus, to Lam Kaen T-junction. Then, take a motorcycle to the pier. From Amphoe Thai Mueang, take a songthaew minibus running on the Thai Mueang – Thap Lamu route, Phuket – Takua Pa bus, or Phuket - Surat Thani bus from the market on Phetchakasem Road and get off at Lam Kaen T-junction. Then, take a motorcycle to the pier.

Ferry and Charter Boat: Visitors travelling in groups may contact a ferry or charter boat at: 1) Khura Buri Pier, Amphoe Khura Buri, 60 kilometers from the Park, taking some 4 hours. Contact Mu Ko Surin National Park at Tel. 0 7649 1378 and Khura Buri Green View Resort, Tel. 0 7649 1477 - 8. 2) Thap Lamu Pier, Amphoe Thai Mueang, taking about 4 hours. For a ferry, visitors may contact any travel agency nearby.

Koh Phra Thung

Koh Phra Thung (accessible from the Surin Islands) and neighbor islands contain nesting sites for four species of sea turtle. They are also home to Naycrates conservation project for sea turtles. The nesting season extends from id December to late March.. The number of nest has been reduced by 85 percent in the last 20 years.

Ko Phra Thong (or Phra Thong Island) is situated in Mu Ko Ra- Ko Phra Thong national park. It has satellites on the Andaman Sea - including Ko Ra, Ko Kho Khao, Ko Pling, Ko Pho Ta, Ko Luk Tum, Ko Tung Na Dam to and a group of 37 small islands scattering around a mangrove swamp. Ko Phra Thong is perfect for those who love a tranquil retreat. Not only is the natural beauty so spectacular, but under the water is also well worth a look. A gorgeous beach, crystal clear sea water and a coral reef awaits your visit. Additionally, there are ferryboats to Ko Ra in the northern part of the island.

Ko Phra Thong is given the name ‘Safari in the midst of the Andaman’ because the main geographical feature on the island is a vast plain. In addition to this, there is a beach stretching along the west coast, and mangrove swamps on the northern and eastern part of the island. It comprises grassland, a melaleuca forest and a peat swamp forest that is home to a large variety of animals. Such an atmosphere reminds tourists of an African safari, the habitat of various animals, and this makes the island incomparably fascinating.

The broad area of Ko Phra Thong is a plain without any hills. The eastern side is an adjoining area of mangrove swamps; whilst the plain in the west is mainly occupied by a secondary forest of melaleuca trees alternating with spacious fields like an African savannah. Apart from this, there are several kinds of exotic plants, and more importantly, it is the habitat of various mammals, such as sixty wild deer, boar, dusky langur, macaque monkeys, palm civet, otter, armadillo, pallas squirrel, grey-bellied squirrel, flying fox, flying lemur and island mouse. One of Thailand’s endangered bird species, and dugongs, a very rare mammal in Thai territorial waters are frequently reported to be seen by the locals of Ko Phra Thong and Ko Ra.

This area is suitable for camping as well. Campers find it an ideal place to pitch their tents and spend the night observing various nocturnal lives of animals, mainly deer and boars. After enjoying nature and spectacular wildlife trekking, for those who like seaside or water activities, the beach, which lies, from the north to the south of the island is recommended. When the tide of the sparkling blue sea goes out it reveals a white, long and sandy beachfront for various seaside activities. In the area where the beach is close to mangrove swamps, ecological diversity is a compensation for the unclear water. Getting There: Take state highway number 4 from Bangkok to Kura Buri district, and then catch a motorbike or a minibus to Kura Buri pier, the main port that takes you to the Surin islands. By the tourist information centre on the Surin islands sits Nang Yon pier. It provides ferries from the Surin islands to Ko Phra Thong which takes only 30 minutes.

Image Sources:

Text Sources: Tourist Authority of Thailand, Thailand Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books and other publications.

Last updated August 2020

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