If swimming, diving and snorkelling in crystalline waters or simply staring out to sea on far flung remote beaches is your thing, the spectacular Surin and Similan islands of the Andaman Sea, to the northwest of Phuket, are sure to delight.


The five islands that make up Surin Islands Marine National Park can be visited for day trips from Kura Bhuri on the west coast to the north of Phuket. The islands are largely uninhabited, and if you want to linger, there are only basic bungalows and a campsite on Ko Surin Nua. Neighbouring Ko Surin Tai is also home to a small community of sea gypsies.

A dream for both snorkelers and divers, its most visited site, Richelieu Rock, is one of the best places on Earth to see Whale sharks.

Further out, and only reachable on a dive cruise, are the Burma Banks, with its three underwater peaks providing dizzying diving and close encounters with a variety of sharks, among many other creatures. Dive cruises also travel yet further into the amazing Myeik (Mergui) archipelago of Myanmar.


Renowned for its deliciously powdery beaches and superlative world class diving, the nine islands of Similan Islands Marine National Park are likewise sparsely populated. The islands can be visited in a daytrip from Phuket or, for diving, aboard a dive cruise.

With over twenty first-class dive sites, Christmas Point and Breakfast Bend on Ko Ba Ngu, and Fantasy Reef on Ko Similan are the favourite spots.