Mu Koh Surin National Park

This group of five islands close to the marine boundary between Burma and Thailand in Khuraburi has so far been little visited because of its distance from the coast and the absence of any commercial activity or permanent population other than Sea Gipsies on the islands, all of which are a protected area. The shallow channel between the two principal islands - about two meters at high tide-has one of the most remarkable panoplies of coral reef life to be found anywhere. Scuba gear is by no means necessary to get a good look at the reefs, a mere snorkel and mask is sufficient, making this a perfect destination for those who would like to have the experience of diving but have no time for a scuba course.

Accommodations at the National Park are Spartan, but the modest inconvenience of roughing it will be amply rewarded by the experience supplied.

The five islands are
Koh Surin Neua, Koh Surin Tai, Koh Ri, Koh Kai, and Koh Klang. The two large islands, Surin Nua and Surin Tai (which mean, respectively, north and south) have ten bays in which coral gardens are found.

» The best known are:
Ao Mae Yai
The largest, with still waters and peaceful breezes.

Ao Luk
Which is on the southeast shore of Koh Surin Nua. Luk means deep, and this bay is so deep that the water turns a dark green. In the shallows of the bay, however, are some impressive corals.

The Singh (or Lion) tribe of Chao Lay (Sea Gipsies) have a settlement on Koh Surin Tai. These nomadic sea people continue in this modern age a very primitive way of life; time, for example, appears to be a vague concept as none of them knows his own age, nor can count beyond the digits on his fingers. On the other hand, they are quite skilled in their own ways, able to hew an ocean-going boat using only the most basic tools, catch fish by hand, and are famous for their talents as deep divers without benefit of scuba tanks. On the fifteenth night of the third lunar month they perform a religious rite similar to the Thai festival of Loy Krathong, a propitiation ceremony in which small models of the larger Chao lay craft are set adrift on the waves.

» Travel to the Surin Islands
can be initiated from several different points:
• From Khuraburi Pier, Ban Hin Lad. To reach Ban Hin Lahd, take the road (located at km. 110 on the Ranong-Takua Pa Highway) which splits from the main road at Ban Hin Lad School. Travel onward to the pier about 1 km. After embarking, travel to the islands takes 4-5 hours. Make a reservation for the boat trip in advance from the National Park Office Tel : (076) 491477-8, 595068.
• From Thap Lamu Pier in Thai Muang District. Travel time is 4-5 hours.
• From Kaper Pier in Ranong Province, or contact the Janson Tara Hotel which has boats leaving from Chan Damri Beach for trips to the Surins.

N.B. One reason why the Surins are still so beautiful is that they are rather out of the way. There is no regular boat service for travelers to the islands. Boats leaving from Khuraburi Pier are suitable for group tours, and cost in the range of 8,000 to 15,000 Baht to rent, depending on various factors. The situation at Thap Lamu is similar. It is sometimes possible for individuals to hitch a ride or pay a reasonable fraction of the rental cost on a boat chartered by a group. This method is by no means certain and should be an option only for the adventurous who have time to spare.
Perhaps the best way for individual travelers to visit the Surins is to join a dive trip out of Phuket that includes the islands on the itinerary. This typically lasts 4 or 5 days and includes visits to the Similans, the Richelieu Rocks (regarded by some as the very best dive site on Thailand's west coast), and Koh Ta Chai, a small island south of the Surins with notably good diving. Price for such a trip is 8,000 Baht and up, depending on the level of luxury, and includes meals, accommodations, equipment, and transportation. Contact one of the many dive shops in Phuket for further details.

» For those wishing to stay on the Surins
basic accommodation are available at a very modest price in the National Park. For details (and information for individual travelers about joining a group to the islands) contact the Visitor's Center (076) 491378. Information about weather conditions and current numbers of visitors can sometimes be obtained from the Park Office located on the islands by calling (076) 419028-9; phone service to these isolated islands is, however, problematic.

» Weather conditions can also be investigated by dialing the Weather Forecasting Service in Bangkok, Tel. (02) 3994566, 2601502

» Weather on the islands is best from November to April.

Article Source: http://phangnga.sawadee.com/attractions5.htm

Sri Phang-Nga National Park

lies in the districts of Kuraburi and Takua Pa, about 100 kms. from Phang-Nga Town. The National park is virtually all virgin forest, filled with wild animals, and is a great place to camp, to hike, and to botanies. Among the many waterfalls in Sri Phang-Nga:

Travel to the Sri Phang-Nga
from Takua Pa Town on the Petch Kasem Highway north toward Ranong about 26 kms. At km. 756 turn right and go on another 5 kms. to the Park.

Nam Tok Tam Nang
is about 4.5 kms from the National Park Office down a road, then on foot another 500 meters.

Nam Tok Tone Sai
lies down a road that splits off on the right near the entrance booth from the road leading into the Park. It takes about 15 minutes to reach on foot.

Nam Tok Tone Ton Teui
and a smaller called Tone Ton Teui Noy lie about 3 hours distant from the Park Office.

Koh Pra Tong
This is a large island that forms part of a spectacular natural harbor in Kuraburi District. Though the island is inhabited, the forests and other aspects of nature remain largely pristine. Many difficult to find animals are in the forests; there are fine, large freshwater pools, and perfect beaches.

Visitors to the island
can take a regularly scheduled boat from the pier at Kuraburi; travel time is about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Accommodations of various levels are available on the island.

Takua Thung

is an old tin mining district with a history stretching back perhaps a thousand years. In former times it was a landing point for visitors from across the Indian Ocean, and the end of the line for travelers coming across the Kra Peninsula.

Hat Tanoon
From Route 4 take the road leading to Phuket, Route 402, till you reach Pak Pra, the channel separating Phuket from Phang-nga. The beach on the Phang-nga side is called Haht Tanoon. Turtles come yearly to lay their eggs. Dangerous currents in the channel.

Nam Tok Raman
is 7 kms. down the same road as Wat Suwan Khuha. It is a medium sized year round waterfall surrounded by tangled forest.

Rat Oupatam Temple (Wat Bang Riang)
Surrounded by thickly forested hills, this temple is noted for its cool, shady environment. Inside the temple are various important Buddhist artifacts including the Phra Mahathat Chedi Buddha Dhram Banleu on the Mountain's peak. This is shaped like a bell turned upwards with a base all around. Located in Tambon Bang Riang off Petch Kasem Rd., on the stretch between Tapput and Panom, 11 km. from the Tapput District office.

Takua Pa Town
has a very long history based on tin mining, and was in former times the most important town on the west coast of Thailand. Accommodations of varying levels are available.

Hat Bang Sak
is in Tambon Bang Muang. The beach is a long strip of fine white sand shaded by casuarinas trees and there are accommodations available for a stay. To get there,: take the Petch Kasem Road (Route 4) north toward Takua Pa Town. At kilometer 76-77 a road leads down to the beach about 1 km. onward.

Khao Lak-Lamroo National Park
covers parts of Thai Muang, Kapong, Takua Pa, and Phang-nga Town (Muang in Thai) districts, and lies about 33 kms. south of Takua Pa Town on Route 4.

Khao Lak
is a mountain beside the sea with a shrine dedicated to the wizard of the mountain. Khao Lak Beach is rocky. To get there, turn left (if you are proceeding north from Phuket) at km. 56-57 of Route 4. You will spot the temple just before entering Tai Meuang district. Accommodation available.

Laem Pakarang (Coral Cape)
The waves have deposited mountains of dead coral on this sandy beach, thus accounting for its name. Pine trees line the beach; perfect for camping and relaxation. Located off Petch Kasem Rd. about 5 kms. south of Takuapa on the stretch running between Takuapa and Kao Lak.

Tone Chong Fah Waterfall
A quiet, shady area, with a waterfall and stream that runs year round. Located not far from the turn-off to Laem Pakarang on the east side of Petch Kasem Rd. about 5 kms. south of Takuapa.

Thap Put
Nam Tok Tao Thong
Lies in Tambon Bo Saen of Thap Put, about 9 kms. from the District Office in Thap Put Town. To get there use the same road that leads to Sa Nang Manora Park, the Phang-nga Krabi Rd. (Route 4), but continue towards Krabi until you reach Mu 3 of Tambon Bo Saen. You will find a gravel road intersection where you turn and proceed down the gravel road about 11 kms.

Article Source : http://phangnga.sawadee.com/attractions3.htm

Similan Islands

Mu Koh Similan National Park

Similan National ParkMu Ko Similan National Park has been rated first by the U. S. publication Skin Diving of the top ten dive sites in the world. The Similan Islands in the heart of the Andaman Sea are indeed unparelled in their exotic beauty. If planning a visit, keep in mind that anytime between December to April is recommended, with the best month being March, because the monsoons are over and the water is clear.

The national park is established in 1982 and located in Ko Phrathong Sub-distreict, Khuraburi District, Phang-nga Province and covers 128 square kilometers, 80,000 rais, of area, 14 square kilometers of which is land composed of all the islands put together. Located along the western coastline of the Andaman Sea and in the Indian Ocean, rest these nine exotic granite islands created by upwellings of hot magma during the Teritiary-Cretaceous Period some 65 million years ago, then smoothed by glacial ice and the wave action of the sea.
Similan is really the Malaysian word for nine, as there are nine islands in the Similan group: Ko Bangu, Ko Similan, Hin Huwagralok, Ko Payu, Ko Ha, Ko Hok, Ko Miang, Ko Payan, Ko Payang, and Ko Huyong.

In 1998, the park boundary was expanded to cover Ko Tachai which is located further north of Ko Bon and the Similan group. Then the park area becomes 140 square kilometers.

Consists of numerous islands with high and steep granite mountain, beaches and rocks formation of many shapes. The shoreline of each islands are of inconsistent curves since they are situated in the outer part of the sea and are worn away directly by waves. Part of the water lies in the Andaman Sea and eastern side of the Indian Ocean while the shoulder of the continent borders the western shoreline of Phang Nga province and Union of Myanmar, paralleling the Nikobar Islands of India. There is no mud at all along the beaches, so the sands are very clean, white and very fine. Some islands do have hills in the area, which are usually quite tall with the highest top of 244 meters above mean sea level, while some islands are of flat area surrounded by sand dunes and coral reefs.

Summer begins in mid February and ends in May. Rainy season starts from mid May till October with North - Western wind. Average annual temperature is 27๐c with average of approximately 83% humidity all year round. Average annual rainfall is measured at 3,560 millimeters with evaporation rate of 1,708 millimeters per year. In rainy season, the national park will be closed during 16 May - 14 November every year for visitors safety.

Flora and Fauna
Types of forests can be divided into 3 main characteristics
Beach Forest –open forest with scattered plants at approximate height of not over 15 meters such as Terminalia catappa, Barringtonia asiatica, Callophyllum inophyllum. Small perennials and large shrub not exceeding 10 meters in height found are Xylocarpus gaugeticus, Herltiera littoralis, Hibiscus tiliaceus which is a smaller shrub found are Capparis micracautha, Breynia vitris-idaea Fischer, Pandanus odoratissimus. Grounds covering plants common in the area are beans, Vigna sp., Spilanthes sp., Ischaemum barbatum, Lophatherum gracile, Hoya parasittrica, Asplenium nidus.

Scrub Forest – habitat for shrubs which can develop on grounds with soil depth of not exceeding 30 centimeters. A few cacti can be found while more common shrubs found are Cercus spp., Dracaena spp., Memecylon caeruleum, Cleistanhus polyphyllus.

Primary Forest – habitation for perennials at a height of 20 meters or above such as Dipterocarpus costatus, Dipterocarpus boudii, Shores spp.,. Lower perennials at 15-20 meters in height are palaquium obovatum, Eugenia denaiflora, Wrightia sp., 10-15 meters in height are Hydnocarpus ilicifolius, Semecarpus curtisii, Diospyros wallichii. Bambusa sp., Calamus longisetus, Plam, Amydrium medium and Bauhinia glauca are also found with other creepers and parasites such as betel pepper, bauhinia and orchid.

The most unique vegetation found only on Ko Yai in the Andaman sea are sapodilla and Nguang Chang Talay while edible plants are Manilkara sp., Toumefotia argentia, Bouea oppositifolio, Lepisanthes rubiginosa, Diospyros wallichii, Neang and Copparis micracantha.

Marine and Wildlife:
Beneath the sea at Mu Ko Similan National Park lies a complex ecosystem commonly called the rainforest of the sea: the coral reef. The major residents of the reef are coral and the closely related sea anemones; of the Phylum Cnidaria, Class Anthozoa, which contains all radially symmetrical invertebrate animals. Corals and sea anemones exist as individual polyps living in either solitary or mostly colonial forms. The polyps of hard corals construct communal limestone homes which are built up into a multitude of shapes and sizes eventually giving rise to a coral reef. Soft corals have soft bodies made of large numbers of identical polyps connected by fleshy tissue (Zooxanthallae). These soft corals contain small algae within their tissues which are able to convert the sun's energy into food. This cooperative relationship is known as symbiosis and also exists in hard corals, clams and other marine organisms. There are several factors that support good environment for the reef i.e. temperature, salinity, light, wave and tide, sedimentation and nutrient. Therefore, healthy coral reef can be found easily in the Andaman Sea comparing to the Gulf of Thailand. In Andaman Sea, coral reefs are able to classified as deep water and medium water. For the deep water coral reef grow down to 30 m. Of course, in this case water allows enough light for the algae. This reef type is mostly found in Similan and Surin islands. For the rest area, medium water coral reef grow between 8-15 m beneath the surface.

Coral can also be classified to fall into these structural categories: massive, columnar, encrusting, branching, foliceaous, laminar and free-living coral. The hard corals found in Mu Ko Similian National Park are deep water species of mostly staghorn coral types (Acropora echinata) and the smaller cauliflower shaped types (Seriatopora histrix). Many other species of marine life co-exist within the coral reef: Gorgonian sea fans, flower-like soft coral, several species of crabs, spiny painted lobsters, squid, sponges, sea cucumbers and giant clams.

Above the sea surrounding each island lies Beach forest, which steadily becomes Tropical forest further inland. Important tree species include Manilkara sp. Cordia subcordia, and Tournefotia argentia. A survey conducted in 1992 revealed that 39 species of birds can be found on the nine islands. Resident species include the Brahminy Kite, and the White-breasted Waterhen, while migratory species include the Pintail Snipe, and Grey Wagtail. Temporary migratory species include the Barn Swallow, Cattle Egret, Watercock, and the Roseate Tern. The most commonly seen species include the Pacific Reef-Egret, Nicobar Pigeon, Pied Imperial Pigeon, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, and the Collared Kingfisher.

The environment of Mu Ko Similian National Park is obviously that of a small island, wherever you go, you are not far from the sea. Natural fresh water reserves are few, and as a result, large mammal species cannot exist. Surveys have revealed that 27 species of small mammals exist within the park, including 16 species of bats namely: the black-bearded tomb bat, the lesser false vampire bat, the intermediate horseshoe bat, the lesser bent-winged bat, and the hairless bat. 3 species of squirrels can be found including the gray-cheeked flying squirrel. 4 species of rats: the yellow Rajah rat, the ricefield rat, roof rat and noisy rat can be seen scurrying around as well. Finally, the more unusual but fairly common residents include the bush tailed porcupine, common palm civet, flying lemur and the bottlenosed dolphin. 22 species of reptiles and amphibians can be found in the park including the banded krait, reticulated python, white-lipped pit viper, common pit viper, garden blue lizard, hawksbill turtle, leather turtle, Bengal monitor lizard, common water monitor lizard, ornate froglet, common Asiatic frog, marsh frog, and the common bush frog. Finally, another most interesting species located in the Similans island is called the hairy leg mountain land crab. This crab is found in such large numbers you will be sure to see many just by walking around a bit. No matter where you are on the island, seeing this creature will be a reminder you are never far from water.

Article Source: www.sawadee.com

Koh Lanta / Koh Lanta Yai

Koh Lanta in Brief
Area: 152 sq.km. This island forms the most southern district of Krabi province. It was known long ago by its name in the Malay language, Pulao Satak, which means Long Beach Island. Later, so many Thais, both Buddhist and Muslim, came to live on the island that there seemed to be a million eyes, which is what some people think Lanta means in Thai. Others hold that the name is corrupted from Javanese "lan-tas", and means a fish grill (which is built of wood with a square grill on top where the fish are set in a circle).

Lanta Yai Island
is where the District & National Park offices are located. The island geography is mountainous and rugged, especially near the southern tip; some beaches are gravelly, others have fine white sands. A clan of Chao Ley, or "Sea Gypsies" are resident on Koh Yao Yai and they preserve many of their ancient customs and ceremonies; e.g. the setting of ceremonial boats adrift to bring good luck and prosperity on the full moon nights of the sixth and eleventh month. This and other features of their lives are open to view. To visit the island take a regularly scheduled ferry from Ban Hua Hin Pier in Tambon Koh Klahng, Bor Muang Pier in Tambon Sai Kao or Jao Fah Pier in Krabi Town.

Taleng Beng Island
This island is in some ways a smaller version of Phi Phi Ley; made of Limestone, honeycombed with caves, inhabited by the same swifts whose nests are made into soup. Small beaches and caves appear where the tide ebbs.

Hah island
A group of five islands. Hai Yai island has a field of grass on its ridgeline. Another island resembles in shape a sailboat; one has water that passes from one side to another beneath it. There are some corals in shallow waters.

Ngai island
A fine sandy beach and coral reef run down the east side of this island. It is perfect for diving. Regular ferries and charter craft are available from Pak Meng Beach in Trang Province.

Rok Nai Island
is composed largely of formidable cliffs. On the east side are a fine sandy beach and coral gardens growing around sea rocks. On the northern side are San Jao Bay and Thong Bay

Rok Nok Island
The southeast and southern ends of this island have fine sand beaches and shallow water corals. Also not to be missed are Man Sai Bay and Talu beach. Transport to the island is via charter from either Pak Meng Beach in Trang Province or from Lanta Yai Island. There are tents for rent, contact Lanta National Park Tel.: +66 (075) 629018-9.

Hin Dang
This submerged open water reef in the Andaman features a multiplicity of colorful corals to attract serious scuba divers.

Local festivals and Religious Rites
The Setting Adrift of the Chao Ley Boats
takes place on Lanta Island during full moon of the sixth and eleventh month in the lunar calendar. This is a religious rite performed by Sea Gypsies who gather on the beach near Ban Saladan Village. They dance their famous "rong ngeng" round the boats to be set adrift. Ceremonies feature singing and dancing; the reason for the festival is to bring prosperity and happiness to the participants, it is something hard to find elsewhere.

Krabi Berk Fah Andaman
This festival takes place in November and celebrates the opening of the tourist season in Krabi. Water sport competitions, cultural shows and good-natured fun are the schedule.

Getting to Koh Lanta
By air (to Krabi Airport)

By bus (to Krabi)

By car
From Bangkok take Route 4 passing Petchburi, Prajuab-Kirikan, Chumporn, Ranong, and Phang-nga Provinces before reaching Krabi; a total distance of 946 kilometers. An alternate route is to take Route 4 to Chumpom and then tum onto Route 4L. This leads through Lang Suan District of Chumpom to Chaiya and Wieng San Districts of Surat Thani; from there follow Route 4035 passing Ao Lur District of Krabi, back onto Route 4, and down to Krabi Town. This shortcut is just 814 kilometers, and is followed by the bus services from Bangkok. For information regarding bus transport, contact tel. (02)435 1195-6 (non-air conditioned buses);or tel. (02)435 1200(air conditioned buses).

From Phuket Take Route 402 to Route 4 and pass Tambon Koto Kloy of Takua Tung District in Phang-nga; Tap Puhd District, Phang-nga; and enter Ao Lur District of Krabi; the total distance is 185 kilometers. Regarding bus transport, tel.(076) 211 480.


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By train
From Bangkok Station take the train to one of the following stations: Trang, Putt Pin in Surathani Province, or Tung Song in Nakorn Sri Thammarat Province; from any of these places a bus may be taken onward to Krabi. Regarding train schedules and costs, contact the travel office of State Railway of Thailand, tel.(02)223 7010.

Until recently limited access has been the major restraining factor in the growth of Krabi's tourism industry. The nearest airport was 155km to the east in Phuket and the drive on what is a rather basic road took a good two hours. But all of that has changed with the opening of Krabi Airport (see issue7). Now the problem is no longer access rather accommodation. Currently Karbi has a total of 5,000 hotel bedrooms of which 3,000 are in the three to five star category. Several resorts are working flat out to be complete and open for the start of the high season in November as 1,000 bedrooms extra bedrooms are already fully booked and paid for by major Travel Agents allocation.

Article Source: http://krabi.sawadee.com/lanta.htm

Mu Ko Ang Thong Marine National Park

This comprises some 40 islands about 20 kilometres or two hours by boat northwest of Ko Samui. The park covers 250 square kilometres, of which approximately one fifth is land mass. The most attractive islands include Ko Wua Ta Lap, Ko Mae Ko, Ko Prayat, Ko Sam Sao, Ko Nai Put and Ko Wua Te. Most islands comprise limestone masses reaching heights of up to 400 metres, and fringed by beaches and rain forest.

An emerald saltwater lake known as Tha-le Nai (Inland Sea) on Ko Mae Ko is the park’s major scenic attraction, and entails a mildly strenuous climb. The resultant views are well worth the effort. Another popular venue is Ko Sam Sao where an extensive span of coral reef and a huge rock arch offer scenic fascination.

The park office is on Ko Wua Ta Lap where bungalow-style accommodation is available. Visitors wishing to stay overnight should make advance bookings and specify whether meal services are required, either through the Ang Thong Marine National Park office, 145/1 Talatlang Road, Surat Thani. Tel: 0 7728 6025 or 0 7742 0225.

Getting There: A ferry departs from Ko Samui’s Na Thon pier daily at 8.30 a.m. and arrives at Mu Ko Ang Thong at 10.30 a.m. The fare is 550 baht. On return, the ferry departs from the Ang Thong National Park at 3 p.m. Call 0 7742 2262-3 for details. A one-day tour package to Mu Ko Ang Thong is also organised by travel agents on Ko Samui.

Article Source : www.tourismthailand.org

Ko Nang Yuan

Ko Nang Yuan
The island is nothing but a group of three small islands located to the north of Ko Tao. Offering stunning and breathtaking views, the islands are connected by a three-way stretch of pure white powdery beach.

The island is nothing but a group of three small islands located to the north of Ko Tao. Offering stunning and breathtaking views, the islands are connected by a three-way stretch of pure white powdery beach.

The rich marine life at Ko Nang Yuan is similar to that of Ko Tao. With a wide variety of coral formations, the island is also an ideal diving and snorkeling spot. Accommodations and facilities are available with daily boat service to and from Ko Tao.

Ko Tao

Situated 60 kilometres off the coast of Chumphon but falling under the jurisdiction of Surat Thani, Ko Tao lies 45 kilometres north of Ko Pha-ngan and is only 20 square kilometres in area but it is known as the best diving site in the Gulf of Thailand. The turquoise water of Ko Tao is crystalline, coconut plantations still cover much of the landscape, and concrete roads are built along only a few beaches. Getting around the island is either by pick-up taxi or by boat. Motorbikes and mountain bikes are also available for rent to explore the island.

Attractions in and around Ko Tao include:
Hat Cho Po Ro or Hat Sai Ri – This small powdery beach provides accommodation. The Giant Clam Park nearby breeds the near-extinct giant clam and exhibits many aquatic animals. It is open daily.
Ko Nang Yuan - A coral island with a high viewpoint and long white sandy beaches.
Kong Hin Khao and Kong Hin Khiao – These overlaying rocks have submarine alcoves, whereby many fish frequent.
Kong Hin Chumphon – Many fish frequent this area on the northwestern part of the island. During breeding season in March – April, this area is closed from any fishing activities.
Ban Mae Hat – Pier, transportation terminal, diving schools and shops renting diving gear, concentrate in this economic centre of the island.
Kong Sai Daeng – Rarely seen black-eared shark frequent the red sandstone by the mouth of Thian Nok Bay.

The best period is from December to April. It is possible to travel to Ko Tao during the rainy season (May to October), though obviously, you should be prepared to run into showers and rainstorms.

Travel to Ko Tao by Boat

Ko Pha-ngan - Ko Tao
Songserm Express Boat leaves Ko Pha-ngan’s Thong Sala pier at 12 noon daily. Travelling time is 2 hours. The fare is 250 baht. Speedboats leave Thong Sala pier on Ko Tao at 8.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Travelling time is 1 hour. The fare is 350 baht

Ko Samui - Ko Tao
A boat departs from Ko Samui at 11 a.m. to Ko Tao via Ko Pha-ngan. The boat arrives Ko Tao at 1.30 p.m. The fare is 350 baht. Speedboats leave Maenam Pier on Ko Samui at 8 a.m. Travelling time is 1 ½ hours. The fare is 550 baht. Call Lomphrayah 0 7745 617 ot Songserm Travel 0 7742 0157 for details.

Surat Thani – Ko Tao
A night boat departs from Surat Thani at 8 p.m.and arrives Ko Tao at 8 a.m. The fare is 250 baht.

Article Source : www.tourismthailand.org

Ko Pha-ngan

Ko Pha-ngan

Another ideal destination for travelers who prefer less crowded, more private beaches set in a laid-back atmosphere. However, this is also a very hip place to be as the island hosts the world famous, and perhaps the biggest beach party on this planet the full moon party on Hat Rin.

Covering an area of 191 square kilometers, Ko Pha-ngan is located 20 kilometers directly north of Ko Samui, or approximately 100 kilometers from Surat. The best time to visit Ko Pha-ngan is from February to September. Interesting attractions include secluded and virgin beaches around the island, a hilltop temple called Wat Khao Tham which is ideal for meditation, Than Sadet Waterfall, and the Namtok Phaeng National Park. Renting a motorcycle to explore the island is recommended as there is a lot to see and do.

Boat Services to Ko Pha-ngan

From Ko Samui

There are approximately 10 daily transfers to Ko Pha-ngan. Boats depart between 7.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. The trip takes approximately 30 minutes to an hour, depending on weather conditions. Boats leave from Thong Sala Pier and Hat Rin on Ko Pha-ngan to Ko Samui Pier including Na Thon Pier, Mae Nam and the Big Buddha. The fare is approximately 115 baht to 250 baht / trip / person.

From Surat Thani

Surat Thani Pier operates a minimum of 6 daily departures to Ko Pha-ngan. Boats leave from 7.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. and arrive at Tha Sala Pier on Ko Pha-ngan. The fare ranges from 200 baht to 370 baht / trip / person.

From Ko Tao

Approximately 6 daily departures from Thong Sala Pier to Ko Tao are provided. They leave from 8.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. The fare ranges from 180 baht to 350 baht.

Getting around Ko Pha-ngan

Traveling around the island by rented motorcycle from bungalows is recommended. The cost is approximately 200 baht / day. For those who prefer truly Thai-style transportation, songthaew services are also available. The fare is 50 baht from Thong Sala Pier to any place on the island. Exceptions are on routes to Ban Khai (30 baht) and Ao Thong Nai Pan (80 baht). Car rental service is also available at approximately 1,000 baht / day.

Article Source : www.tourismthailand.org

Koh Samui - Thailand

History of Ko Samui

According to the evidence found on Samui Island, historians believe that it was first inhabited by man at most 1,200 years ago. In 1940s, the island was still isolated from the outside world. Those wishing to travel to Samui had to travel from Surat Thani for approximately 6 hours. As in-land transportation was not well established, it took several hours for people to walk through the lush jungles to the beach. It was only in the early 1970’s that Ko Samui became a dream destination discovered by backpackers.

With the development of infrastructure, an increasing number of travelers were attracted to the island. Samui’s concrete ring road was finished in 1973 by the order of the government. Passing beautiful beaches around the island and connecting sub-district areas, the road facilitated tourism. The Tourism Authority of Thailand explored the island in 1980 and realizing the high tourism potential of Samui, a plan to develop and promote tourism on the island was implemented. As a result, it has become and will continue to be a popular tourist destination in Thailand.

Today’s Ko Samui

Ko Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand, approximately 84 kilometers east of Surat Thani Province, or approximately 700 kilometers south of Bangkok. Known as the Coconut Island, Ko Samui is one of the most famous and popular attractions of Thailand. With an area of 247 square kilometers, Ko Samui is the third largest island of Thailand after Phuket and Ko Chang (of Trat Province). The topography of the island is that of a plain with a mountain range in the middle and 7 important streams. In addition, there is a 50-kilometer paved road that encircles the island. Moreover, the area of the island stretches to a group of 48 surrounding islets.

Despite the fast pace of development, Ko Samui has been able to maintain its charm its classical image of a tropical beach resort fringed by coconut trees. Travelers to the island can enjoy a mixed blessing of vibrant day and nightlife along side with tranquility which can easily be found across different parts of Ko Samui as the archipelago is a peaceful home for fishermen and a natural den for seagulls and other rare birds.

Hat Chaweng and Hat Lamai are Ko Samuis most beautiful and most popular beaches. Both have a huge selection of accommodations suitable for every budget. Please note that room rates increase during the high season, from December to July, when Samui sparkles. The nightlife of each beach is different: Hat Chaweng is better for couples, women and families, while single men are drawn to the beer bar culture of Hat Lamai. These resorts, as well as Na Thon (Samui’s main town), have communications, exchange and car/motorcycle hire facilities. Other beaches include Hat Choeng Mon, Hat Mae Nam in the north and Hat Na Thon, the island’s major seafront settlement where shops, restaurants and tour agencies are concentrated.

Apart from its many lovely beaches and tranquil bays, Ko Samui is also noted for its high quality coconuts that grow densely everywhere. The best time to visit Ko Samui is from February to April when the sea is calm. The Southern dialect and the standard Thai language are spoken while English is widely understood in tourist areas.

Getting to Ko Samui

By air
Bangkok Airways flies from Bangkok to Ko Samui 13 times daily. The flight takes about one hour and 10 minutes. It also offers daily flights between Phuket and Samui. For more information, call its Bangkok office, 0 2229 3456, 0 2229 3434, Samui office, 0 7742 2512 - 9 or Samui Airport Office 0 7724 5601-8.

By bus
Air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal for Surat Thani several times daily. The trip takes about 11 hours. For further information, call 0 2435 1199, 0 2435 1200 (air-con), 0 2434 5557 - 8 (non-air-con).

By car
From Bangkok, take Highway 4 (Buddha Monthon Road) through Phetchaburi and Chumphon Provinces and then drive on to Highways 41 and 401 to Surat Thani Province. From Surat Thani, visitors can take their cars to Ko Samui through a vehicle ferry at Donsak Pier. The trip takes 1.30 hours.

By rail
Several trains leave Bangkok’s Hualamphong Station for Surat Thani daily. The trip takes about 12 hours. Train / bus / ferry combination tickets are also available. For more information, call Hualamphong Railway Station, 0 2223 7010, 0 2223 7020.

From Surat Thani to Ko Samui

1.Express boat

1.1 An express ferry boat of Songserm Travel departs from Tha Thong Pier in Surat Thani at 8.00 a.m. and arrives at Na Thon Pier in Samui at 10.30 a.m. every day. For the return trip, the boat leaves Na Thon Pier at 2.00 p.m. and reaches Tha Thong at 4.30 p.m.

1.2 Express boats of Seatran Express operate three times a day between Ban Don and Ko Samui. Departure times are 7.00 a.m., 12.30 p.m. and 2.30 p.m. The trip takes two hours.

2. Ferry Boats of Seatran

Seatran Ferry, which can accommodate 60 cars and 400 passengers, operates several trips per day between Don Sak (Surat Thani) and Ko Samui, from 5.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. The trip takes about 1.30 hours.

3. Night ferry

A slow night ferry leaves Ban Don Pier nightly at 11 p.m. and reaches Na Thon Pier at Samui around 5 a.m. (6 hours). For the return trip, the boat leaves Na Thon Pier at 9.00 p.m. and arrives at Ban Don Pier at 4.00 a.m. (7 hours).

Getting around Ko Samui

Samui is an explorer’s dream to discover something new. Offering a wealth of diversity of landscape, vistas, flora and fauna, and yet small enough to seek adventure in its many out-of-the-way places, Samui is best seen by taking songthaews (red local bus) which operate around the island. The fare starts at 20 baht, depending on the distance of the destination.

By Taxi
For many reasons, the least suitable for exploring, but the safest and easiest way to get to the destination is to go by taxi. The official taxi service time is until 9.00 p.m. Visitors are recommended to negotiate strongly for the fare and keep in mind that negotiation should always be dome before boarding. Note that the fare at night will be escalated.

By a rented Jeep
Rented Jeep, 4WD, is available from many family-owned agencies and some well known large companies. The vehicle will serve as the basic means of transportation taking visitors around many hillside natural and man-made attractions which are easily accessible from the ring road. Some of these vehicles come with insurance, but the coverage is limited. Always ask for details first. The minimum price is from 800 baht.

By Motorcycle
A more flexible way to get around the island, rented motorcycle costs approximately 200 baht / day. Beware, as roads other than the main roads on Ko Samui are quite rough in some parts.

Getting to nearby Islands from Samui

1. Ko Pha-ngan

1.1 Na Thon Pier (Ko Samui) -- Thong Sala Pier (Ko Pha-ngan)

Songserm Travel Co. operates ferry boats and express boats between Na Thon Pier on Ko Samui and Thong Sala Pier on Ko Pha-ngan, four times a day. The trip takes about 45 minutes for express boats, and one hour for ordinary ferry boats.

1.2 Bo Phut (Ko Samui) -- Hat Rin (Ko Pha-ngan)

There is a ferry boat leaving Bo Phut for Ko Pha-ngan twice daily at 9.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. The return trips depart Hat Rin on Ko Pha-ngan at 10.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m.

2. Ang Thong Islands

Visitors can hire a boat on Ko Samui to Ang Thong. The charge depends on the boat size and number of passengers. The trip takes 1.30 hours. It is also possible to join a full-day excursion organized by tour operators in Ko Samui.

3. Ko Tao

Boat services for Ko Tao are available at Na Thon Pier of Ko Samui.

Article Source : www.tourismthailand.org

Hua Hin - Thailand

Hua Hin is a district in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province located 295 kilometers south of Bangkok and 90 kilometers from the provincial capital. It boasts a large market, and is full of food and souvenir shops as well as hotels. Beaches are located in the east of the province, and the main pier is on Highway No.4 at km.232. The beach at Hua Hin is 5 kilometers long, and full of white sand and clear water, ideal for swimming.

While Cha-am is a district in Phetchaburi, Cha-am Beach is beautiful as neighboring Hua Hin Beach. Located approximately 163 kilometers from Bangkok, 40 kilometers south of Phetchaburi and 20 north of Hua Hin.

And Pranburi located some 30 kilometers south of Hua Hin. There are several beach resorts in peaceful atmosphere.

Located on the sunrise side of the Gulf of Thailand, Cha-am and Hua Hin are quiet relaxed coastal towns, perfect for family vacations. In contrast to Pattaya, across the Gulf, these sister resorts lack the bustle of an international playground and instead afford a quiet escape.

Hua Hin
Both resorts boast long uncluttered beaches, while Hua Hin, larger than Cha-am, has the added attraction of a traditional fishing port. Neither place attempts to imitate the international scene and are content with an enduring Thai identity. Hua Hin, incidentally, is Thailand’s oldest beach resort, enjoying a vogue among Thai royalty and aristocracy since the 1920s.

The main joys of both resorts are a peaceful time lazing on the beach soaking up the tropical sunshine, the fun of a variety of water sports and a delight in relishing some excel­lent seafood dining.

When to visit - Where to stay
Hua Hin is an enjoyable holiday destination all year round, although 1 period from November to April is marked with high winds and big waves. A wide range of accommodation is offered, from small guest houses to luxurious resort. See more information to Climate & Weather.

Due to its popularity as a vacation spot, Hua Hin offers all sorts of souvenir items, from dolls, ornaments, a decorations crafted from sea shells and coconuts, to Kommapat woven clothe pineapple products, dried fruits, and aloe vera.

Local Products
In addition to plenty of dried seafood, Prachuap Khiri Khan offers various food products made from pineapples, coconuts, bananas and aloe vera. Typical “Khomaphat” printed cotton is a famous souvenir available at Hua Hin.

Hua Hin Railway Station

Hua Hin Railway Station Built in the reign of King Rama VI, this is one of Thailand’s most beautiful train stations of which the local people are very proud.

Klai Kangwon Palace
King Rama VII commanded this summer palace to be built in the year 1926 to the north of Hua Hin. The palace consists of 3 Spanish style mansions facing the sea.
It is open to the public daily from 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.

Khao Takiap
This hill is only 4 kms. south of Hua Hin. There is a road leading to the top where a temple is situated. The nearby Khao Takiap beach offers mostly bungalow accommodation. To get to this beach, visitors may take a local minibus from Hua Hin.

Khao Krailat
The temple of the Thamayut sect houses an impressive collection of religious art. To get there, take the bus from the Dechanuchit Road station which departs every 20 minutes from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm daily. The fee is 5 Baht.

Khao Tao
Khao Taois 1 3 kilometers south of Hua Hin, and can be reached by the Hua Hin-Pranburi bus, disembarking at the Khao Tao intersection. Motorcycle services to Hat Khao Tao are also available. Next to the hill is two quiet beaches called Hat Sai Noi and Hat Sai Yai, which are the locations for some bungalows and fishing villages.

Suan Son Pradiphat or Sea Pine Tree Garden
This beachside area belongs to the Army Welfare Office and is open to the public. It is at Km. 241, some 8 km. south of Hua Hin. Accommodation is available.

Ko Singto
800 meters off Suan Son beach, is popular for fishing, sailing and diving. Boat rentals can be made at Khao Takiep village. Another peaceful spot is Suan Son Pradiphat beach 9 kilometers south of Hua Hin, where the fine white beach is lined with bungalows and food shops. Buses to this area depart from Dechanuchit Road station every 20 minutes. The fee is 5 Baht.

Namtok Pa La-U
63 kilometers from Hua Hin along Highway 3219, can be reached by songtaeo at about 800 Baht for a round trip. Spending a night there requires permission from the Pa Huai Pa Lao Sanctuary Office of Kaeng Krachan National Park or at the Forestry Department. This waterfall is located within a yearlong verdant forest where various kinds of birds and butterflies are found, especially in the morning. It is composed of 11 tiers of rocks, some of which can be reached along a trekking trail parallel to the stream.

Hua Hin Arts and Crafts Centre
This is located on Naepkhehat Road in Hua Hin. There is an old typical house, more than 80 years old. It has a collection and exhibition of many contemporary works of Thai artists, as well as old furniture and many pictures about Hua Hin in the past.

Sam Roi Yot National Park
Sam Roi Yot National Park This park is located 63 km south of Hua Hin. It occupies an area of 98 square kilometers with undulating ranges of limestone mountains, mangrove swamps, and beaches. It is also home to various kinds of local and migrating birds, which are plentiful from November to February.
With a large number of ridges, Khao Sam Roi Yot (or the mountain of 300 peaks) stands as a landmark for seamen and also provides a good shelter for ships during a storm.
To get to the park, follow the direction signs marking the remaining distances of 38 and 15 km. at Km. 256 and Km.286.5, respectively.

Attractions within the park

Hal Sam Phraya,
located 3.5 km north of the park office, is a beautiful beach lined with pine trees. Accommodation is available.

Tham Kaeo
is situated some 23 km. from Pran Buri or 15 km north of the park office. This cave is full of stalactites and stalagmites. Oil lamps can be rented at a nearby village for exploring the cave.

Tham Sai,
is 9 km north of the park office. Exploration inside the cave takes about half an hour. Oil lamps can be rented at nearby Khung Tanot Village.

Hat Laem Sala
Hat Laem Sala is located 16 km north of the park office. It can be reached by boat or walking across a hill from Bang Pu Village. Walking up a beachside mountain for a while, visitors will arrive at a famous cave called “Tham Phraya Nakhon”. The cave has a big hole through which a shaft of light reaches and permits the growth of various kinds of plants. Phra Thi Nang Khuha Kharuhat. a Thai style pavilion, lends the most attractive sight to the cave and has become the symbol of Prachuap Khiri Khan. It is a four-porched building first constructed in Bangkok in 1890 during the reign of King Rama V, then dismantled and moved to the cave where it was reconstructed, Its gable tops were raised by the King himself.

In addition, there is a viewpoint on Khao Daeng, 400 meters from the park office and Ban Khao Daeng , a canal-side village, which is the starting point for a boat trip to watch wild birds.

Khao Chong Krachok
This hill is located in the north of Prachuap Khiri Khan. From the foot of the hill, up 395 steps, sits a much revered monastery. The stupa here contains the relic of Lord Buddha. The hill also offers a spectacular view of the town and the southern seacoast.

Ao Manao
This beautiful curved bay is under the care of the Royal Thai Air force. It is some 5 km south of the town. This area used to be a battlefield between the Thai and Japanese armies during Second World War. Accommodation should be reserved in advanced at the 53rd Squadron, Tel: (032) 611017, 611031 ext.2146.

Wa Ko
This locality has had historical importance since the reign of King Rama IV. The King made a trip to Wa Ko to witness the full moon eclipse. A long white sandy beach lined with pine trees offers a pleasant atmosphere. It is located at Km. 335 of Highway No. 4,12 km south from the town.

Khao Hin Thoen Stone Park
This is located to the west of the town. Travel along Highway No. 4 till Km. 331-332, then turn right and drive for another 8 km. Among large stones placed by nature in the area, there are narrow walks leading to wide rocky fields on the mountain top overlooking the view of the city and the sea.

Dan Singkhon
This Myanmar-Thailand border pass is located in Tambon Khiong Wan, 4 km from Khao Hin Thoen Stone Park. It used to be a strategic line for military movement in the past.

Hat Wanakon National Park
This park is 22 km south of Prachuap Khiri Khan. and another 3.5 km on an access road. It offers a 7-km. long beach lined with sea pine trees. For accommodation, contact the Faculty of Forest Affairs, Kasetsart University, Tel: 579-0520.

Namtok Huai Yang National Park
This park covers a forested area on the Tanaosi Mountain Range. Follow a sign at Km. 351 of Highway No. 4 and drive along a 7-km. access road to the park office. Namtok Huai Yang near the park office is its main attraction. The waterfall is composed of 5 small cascades situated among recreational surroundings.

Ao Mae Ramphung
This is a scenic bay in Amphoe Bang Saphan. Travel about 75 km south of Phrachuap Khiri Khan to Km. 399, turn left and continue for another 17 km via Bang Saphan Market. Accommodation and seafood restaurants are available.

Ao Bo Thonglang
This is located 4 km beyond Ao Mae Ramphung along a beach road. There is a clean and white sandy beach suitable for swimming.

Ko Thalu, Ko Sang, and Ko Sing
These three islands suitable for fishing can be reached within 20 minutes by boat from Ban Pak Khiong, 3 km east of Bang Saphan.


Hat Hua Hin (ชายหาดหัวหิน) Hua Hin Beach extends some three kilometers southwards from a rocky headland until a southern headland where a Buddhist temple clings to the cliffs.

Hua Hin Railway Station (สถานีรถไฟหัวหิน) This is Thailand's most beautiful train station. The wooden building used to be a royal pavilion in Sanamchan Palace, Nakhon Pathom province. It was rebuilt at Hua Hin in 1968.

Nightly Street Market (ตลาดโต้รุ่งหัวหิน) a popular shopping market allowing people the opportunity for shopping, native-style seafood cooked on the spot and to witness local people’s lifestyle.

Khao Takiap (เขาตะเกียบ) This hill, 4 kilometers from Hua Hin town, supports Buddhist temples and offers a commanding view of the resort, particularly early in the morning.

Khao Hin Lek Fai (เขาหินเหล็กไฟ) Situated 3 kilometers west of Hua Hin district, Khao Hin Lek Fai or Flint Mountain is 162 meters high. On the mountaintop, there is a public park and scenic spots from where the scenery of Hua Hin and its surrounding area is visible.

Khao Tao (เขาเต่า) 13 kilometers south of Hua Hin, there is a 1- kilometer branch road on the left which leads to the spot with two beaches called Hat Sai Noi and Hat Sai Yai.

Namtok Pa La-u (น้ำตกป่าละอู) This 11-tier scenic waterfall, some 60 kilometres west of Hua Hin, is located within a yearlong verdant forest where various kinds of birds and butterflies are found, especially in the morning.

Spirit Houses of Brassiere Beach were, according to legend, built to appease the spirit of a fisherman’s daughter who was once torn to pieces and her breasts fell into the sea. She was killed because she was desired by too many men. Until this day, the locals still hang brassieres to the spirit houses, but now they just pray for good luck.

Wat Huay Mongkol was home to the immensely popular monk Luang Phor Thuat was famed for his ‘miracles’. Commissioned by the Queen of Thailand, Wat Huay Mongkol houses the largest statue of Luang Phor Thuat in Thailand in a park-like setting. 10. Suan Son Pradiphat Beach, 8 km south of Hua Hin, is a peaceful location which is owned by the Army Welfare Office.


Popular activities in Hua Hin include: fishing, eco-cruising, kite-boarding, fitness, martial arts, elephant camping, Thai massage, spa, cooking courses, trekking, walking, cycling, diving, snorkeling, creative arts, water sports, pony-riding and golf.

Some foreign tourists go to Hua Hin and learn something like Thai cooking or Thai boxing.


Hua Hin is a popular place for shopping including contemporary art handicrafts, hand-woven printed cotton, silk fabric silk weaving, embroidery, basket making, pottery, wood carving, gemstones and jewelry (including sapphires and rubies).

Local Products

Hua Hin’s most famous local product is Khommaphat printed cotton which can be made into shirts, handkerchiefs, wraps, even elephants or fish, as well as decorative pieces such as pillows, bags and fans. Other local products include hand-woven cotton and a traditional Hua Hin-style duster.


Scattered around the town in small clusters are foreign-orientated beer bars. There are also the usual discotheques, karaoke bars, live music venues, hotel bars and even a lady-boy cabaret (known locally as Super Joes).

Events & Festivals

Hua Hin has three important events; they are:

Thailand’s International Kite Festival is during March, April and May and features stunt kites, big kites, little kites, high tech kites, traditional Thai kites, and displays of international kites.

Hua Hin Jazz Festival June is the time of the year when 'jazz on the beach' happens at the annual Hua Hin Jazz Festival. The popular event attracts world class jazz musicians from Thailand and all over the world.

Hua Hin Vintage Car Rally Hoteliers, the Vintage Car Club of Thailand, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand annually sponsor a 'parade' of vintage and classic cars starting at the Sofitel Central in Bangkok and ending in at the Sofitel Central Hua Hin Resort. The cars, with drivers and passengers decked out in 1920's attire, make the 225km promenade in December of each year. The festivities culminate with a 1920's party at the Sofitel, which appropriately is a Victorian-style structure built in the 1920's.

Local Food

There area lot of decent eateries in Hua Hin. Hua Hin is famed for its fresh seafood which is in abundance at the Night Market, restaurants and hotel restaurants. Naresdamri Road is a favoured place due its inexpensive restaurants while serving up romantic sea-views. This area is the site of the Hua Hin Fishing Harbour and in the early morning, fresh-out-of-the-water seafood can be snapped up.

Medical Health Care

Hua Hin has a lot of medical centers but the main medical facilities provided are at:

* San Paulo Hospital
* Hua Hin Hospital
* Hua Hin International Polyclinic

Published At : http://huahin.sawadee.com/ , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hua_Hin