Tarutao National Marine Park



Ko Surin and Ko Similan

Posted By : chauthihoaithuong/ 5 0

Ko Surin and Ko Similan, 37 miles (60 km) off the west coast and 62 miles (100 km) apart, are the most remote islands in Thailand. Because of the southwesterly monsoon, from May to October they are virtually inaccessible. In season, however, the two archipelagos offer some of the best diving sites in the world and some of the most spectacular wildlife and scenery in Thailand.

The five Surin islands are virtually uninhabited, home only to a few sea gypsies and national park officials. There is a park dormitory on Ko Surin Nua, but most people camp on the islands.

The two largest islands, Ko Surin Nua and Ko Surin Tai, are heavily forested with tall hardwood trees. Sea eagles, monitor lizards, and crab-eating macaques are common sights. The surrounding sea offers an outstanding array of soft corals and frequent sightings of shovel-nose rays, bow-mouthed guitar fish, and whale sharks. However, overfishing has led to the depletion of the marine life of Ko Surin, and many divers maintain that the best sightings of sealife are around the Similans instead. Of the nine Similan islands 4, 7, 8, and 9 were damaged by the 2004 tsunami but are still open to tourists and divers. The name Similan is thought to derive from the Malaysian word sembilan, meaning nine, and the islands are numbered Ko 1 through to Ko 9. Ko 4 (Ko Miang) has the park HQ, a restaurant, bungalows, and campsite (with a supply of two person tents). Also important is Ko 9, where the ranger sub-station can be found. The interiors of these islands consist of crystal-white sand and lush rainforest, while the headlands are made up of distinctive, giant granite boulders the size of houses. Beneath these rocks are underwater grottoes and swim[1]through tunnels, which appeal to divers and snorkelers.

The sea bed is decorated with staghorn, star, and branching corals, and a range of fish, including manta rays, and giant sea turtles. Other, more threatening, fish include giant groupers, and poisonous stonefish, and lionfish. Sharks around the islands include black and white tips, leopard sharks, hammerheads, bull sharks, and whale sharks.

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