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Snorkel Surin Islands & Richelieu Rock

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Snorkel Koh Torinla
Snorkel Turtle Ledge
Snorkel Richelieu Rock
Snorkel Packages


Stop press - we no longer recommend this trip due to coral bleaching.

The snorkelling here used to offer Thailand's most abundant marine life, but things have gone horribly wrong. In Jan 2011 the Thai National Parks authority issued a ban on diving and snorkelling in almost all of the Surin Islands snorkelling spots. Some snorkel and dive operators still take customers there, which is a pratice that we strongly disapprove of.

Koh Surin Marine National Park is located 80km due west of Ranong Province along Thailand’s west coast. Together with nearby Richlieu Rock it is currently one of Thailand's two best snorkelling destination, due to shallow depths, generally clear visibility and an abundance of marine life, from the very small to the largest fish in the world, the mighty whale shark.

These fabulously colorful, teeming reefs start at depths of only 1.5 meters. The experience of this underwater ecosystem is therefore much more intense than at the nearby Similan islands, where the reef starts at a depth of 6 meters.

The Surin Marine Park showcases some 200 coral species, including fire corals, brain corals, mushroom corals, staghorn corals, multi-coloured soft corals and ruby-red gorgonian sea fans.

The coral is home to over 800 species of fish such as puffer fish, lion fish, butterfly fish, angel fish, moray eels, barracuda, sailfish, rock lobsters and a myriad of crustaceans.


The largest island is Koh Surin Nua which has an area of 19 sq. km and a highest point of 240m above sea level. To its immediate southwest lies the slightly smaller Koh Surin Tai; between the two is a strait only 200m wide, which can be crossed on foot during low waters.

There is basic accommodation available on the islands, but it is not worth making the round trip transfer unless you intend to stay the best part of a week. Most people snorkel the Surins on a day-trip from Khao Lak.



Snorkel Surin Islands - Koh Torinla

The eastern area has a small garden of magnificent sea anemones which are hosted by pink skunk and Clark’s anemonefish. Small groupers and coral trout shelter beneath many fine flower corals. Beyond these gardens are numerous smooth porous corals and schools of bicolour parrotfish, blue-spotted groupers and pairs of Emporer angelfish, all tentatively looking for a meal, whilst trying to avoid becoming one themselves.
The rocks in the shallower waters host hermit crabs, urchins and cleaner shrimps, and are rich with colourful featherstars. This is one of the few locations in Thai waters where large numbers of bumphead parrotfish are still frequently seen.


Snorkel Surin Islands - Turtle Ledge

The site was awarded its name from the frequent sightings of turtles. The higher portions of the reef-slope have numerous gardens of carpet anemones, below which are solitary magnificent sea anemones inhabited by a variety of anemonefish.

Clusters of stag and elkhorn corals shelter giant clams and encrusting sponges from the predation of bullethead parrotfish. Green turtles are frequently encountered here.


Snorkel Richelieu Rock

As Richelieu Rock is the only food source in the immediate area, it is an excellent site for encountering large pelagics. Rainbow runners, great and chevron barracuda, trevallies, tuna and jack are all frequently seen. Lucky snorkellers will see whale sharks.
Richelieu is a wall around a main outcrop, which is surrounded by smaller pinnacles whose peaks range in height from 3m to 10m below the surface.
Around the colourful corals, even at snorkelling depths, is a wide diversity of marine life: residents include schooling bannerfish, a variety of snappers and lionfish, Moorish idols, Titan triggerfish and even shovelnose rays. Snorkel Richelieu Rock for bearded scorpionfish, stonefish, moray eels, seahorses, shrimps, crabs and nudibranchs.


Surin and Richelieu Snorkel Packages

Snorkel Surins & Richelieu - Day-trip
Snorkel Surins & Richelieu - 2 days / 1 night trip
Snorkel Surins, Koh Tacai, Koh Bon & Richelieu Rock - 3 days / 2 nights


Click here for more tours, and hotels, available in Khao Lak.




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