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went on surin trip yesterday....

Kent, England
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went on surin trip yesterday....

I know a few people are interested in how things are there so I thought I would post my thoughts in the hope it helps someone. I am going to break it down into the surin islands themselves and the actual trip.

The islands - I was really quite disappointed at the snorkeling spots we stopped at. Very dead, aside from a few blocks of acropora, no soft corals and quite a distinct lack of fish. Usually i take hundreds of photos in a snorkeling session, I think I took less than a hundred. Apart from schools of sargeant majors we spotted a few clown fish, some parrot fish, fox faces, few species of butterfly fish and the highlight was some huge Christmas tree worms and a pair of blueface angels but they were very deep. Otherwise, distinct lack of colour. If you have snorkeled the red sea or Maldives then you may feel deflated.

Lunch was fine, very basic and if you are fussy in any way,you might want to consider taking some snacks! After lunch we walked through the dining area to the camping beach and wow, the scenery and view there is stunning. A huge aquamarine lsandy lagoon fringed withwhite sandy beaches and forest. We declined the third snorkeling stop, thinking it was unlikely to be any thing special, and instead spent a few hours taking in the scenery and swimming.

The trip - arranged through khao lak vista, very good at answering queries, but was with kuraburi, who I gather are the main operator. I wasn't impressed with the trip unfortunately for a number of reasons. I'd underestimated the travel time (my own fault), we were first pick up at 7.10, not reaching the pier until just before nine. The boat was absolutely crammed, there was no room to move at all, a few people commented that they thought it was too full and I had to agree. The guide introduced himself but there was no safety briefing, no info on how to look for or follow in an emergency. I've been on many snorkeling trips before, but never one where staff don't get in the water with the guests! There were people every where, another group from a barracuda boat were at the first spot and it got difficult to tell who was who.

My main gripe, and i had to have a 'word' with the guide after the first snorkel, was the insane amount of people walking all over the coral and rocks. My husband has pictures of people just standing on bommies putting on fins and adjusting masks etc. As someone passionate about preserving the reef, I found this heartbreaking. Clearly a lot of these people could barely swim, let alone snorkel. Only after my intervention did the guide tell people NOT to walk on the coral,but most spoke no English!

The return trip was even worse, firstly the driver stopped twice at different 7/11s so kuraburi hotel guests could get their groceries, he then picked up another man,no idea who he was, and then the fun began! He took us to white sand beach, where we drove very slowly around the main road looking for........ la flora! We didn't know at the time,ending up at apsara where the guard told him 'bang niang'. So after a 25 minute detour we worked out he was looking for our hotel, the other guests on our bus were staying at mukdara so needed to be in the same place.

So we carry on down the highway......straight past the turning for bang niang! In signalling to the other Thai gent that we needed to turn right, but they ignore me.... Carrying on into bang la on!! Then we stop again, he asked for directions. We literally had to hand sign him to the main road of bang niang. the trip back from the pier took over 2.5 hours,it was dark by the time we back at the hotel. We had almost booked the Thai theme night here,good job we didn't as we would have missed a lot of it!

So, overall ,the islands are very beautiful and if you haven't got any decent reef experience, then its a great trip but a very,very long day. Personally, I would have liked to have stayed a night or two. To enjoy the beach and recover from the journey. I am sure there are better snorkelling spots that the bigger speedboats can't reach!

I will post photos when we get home.

Hope it helps!

Edited: 08 February 2014, 02:09
melbourne australia
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1. Re: went on surin trip yesterday....

Interesting report Jody

do you remember the "guides " name

quite surprised as Kuraburi have been super the 2 times we went with them

pity about the corals, was hoping some colour might have returned, as others have hinted .

still a great day out im sure except for the circus ending.

Enjoy

Kent, England
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2. Re: went on surin trip yesterday....

Hi procol,

I think it was Lan?

It just seemed a bit chaotic I suppose. Part of the problem is so many different nationalities, many having limited English. Some pictures could help?

There were a few nice coloured acros, lots of big colourful clams but as a reef environment, it was poor. Some will love it I'm sure, but I know a few of my fellow Maldives posters are heading yo KL soon and its not comparable.

I think it has potential for sure, but people standing on young corals won't help :-(

melbourne australia
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3. Re: went on surin trip yesterday....

Yes very surprised the Kuraburi guides allowed standing on the corals, a big NO NO, even if the boat was full to capacity. the staff should know better.

Poulton Le Fylde...
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for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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4. Re: went on surin trip yesterday....

How disappointing, particularly in relation to Kuraburi first allowing customers to stand in corals and second no guides entering the water. On our trips with Kuraburi neither of these has happened. My wife is a non- swimmer and one of the boys puller her around with a life ring and. I followed taking snaps as he knew all the best spots.

I think the mess up with transfers is more down to Khao Lak Vista than Kuraburi.

Koh Tachai is often referred to as the Maldives of Thailand but that is for its powder white beach and crystal clear water and fruit bats in the trees but there the similarity ends in terms of underwater life.

Edited: 08 February 2014, 04:30
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5. Re: went on surin trip yesterday....

Really interesting review Jody, thanks for that. The actual snorkeling part sounds similar to a trip we did from Ko Lanta 4 years ago. My husband has dived off the east and west coasts of Thailand and although had a great experience he says he's seen a lot more ocean life when snorkeling in the Red Sea. We've been to the Red Sea a few times but never the Maldives so hoping we get the wow factor at the islands. We'll definately keep your review in mind when looking to book a trip in March.

Are you going to do anymore islands trips? Or perhaps book a Red Sea hol for later in the year for your snorkeling fix!!

Kent, England
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6. Re: went on surin trip yesterday....

Unfortunately we head home on Monday so I think we will leave any further trips until 'next time'!

Fortunately we have Maldives booked for June and sharm booked for September so I have plenty of snorkeling time ahead!

norfolk
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7. Re: went on surin trip yesterday....

Hi Jody bit of a shame about the disappointment on your surin trip, think I will have to warn my husband.

Did you get any good feed back from any other diving trips?

I think I read somewhere that you can book a local island trip, Khoo NaYak, [KL house reef] and spend half a day swimming and snorkelling, may be worth a try?

Meant to be crystal clear waters and only about 30 mins away.

Think that is bookable with Green Andaman Travel.

Kent, England
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8. Re: went on surin trip yesterday....

La flora also offer a local snorkeling trip but I don't know of anyone who has done it to get any feedback.

I would expect some of the sites woukd be better for diving as there's less traffic over the coral than at the surface?

I've been wracking my brains to remember the trip to see if perhaps I had missed the guides in the water but we were last in on first stop and mid way through on the second and I never once saw any guides in the water, I don't even recall any of them looking wet, like they'd been in the sea. We were just pointed in a direction and told 45 minutes, but I don't think either stop was anywhere near that length of time.

The second stop was at nemo paradise (or similar) but hardly anyone saw nemo because they didn't know where to look. Sounds like we were maybe very unlucky then? It was a kuraburi badged driver who collected us but the return driver was plain clothes so could have been either.

melbourne australia
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9. Re: went on surin trip yesterday....

Khao Na Yak, I think is the name of this half day tour destination. did it april 2012.

don't expect too much, especially snorkelling wise, but an ok diversion if you want a half day out.

prices varied wildly, we paid from memory 2400 baht for 2

Perth, Australia
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10. Re: went on surin trip yesterday....

Standing on coral = Destructive and unsustainable tourism. A real shame.

Thanks for the report, Jody.

Cheers

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