Surin (Southern Thailand)
Surin Beach still has a small village atmosphere, but this is gradually changing as more and more major housing developments and hotel projects get underway. Accommodation is not cheap and the best prices are around 500 baht in the low season.
The beach itself has clear water and beautiful white sand, and is lined with tall casuarina trees and small Thai style restaurants. While one of the quieter beaches in Phuket, hawkers can still be a minor nuisance, although most are just content to walk about without actively getting in your face.
Just north of Surin is Pansea Bay (หาดพันทรี Hat Phan-si), a mouth-wateringly scenic enclave dominated by two deluxe resorts: Amanpuri and the Chedi. Film stars or VIPs like to stay there, as they can get away from the crowds. There are just a few restaurants and shops nearby.
Surin Beach is about 20 minutes away from Phuket Airport. An airport co-op taxi costs 450 bath, while a metered taxi may do the trip for as little as 300. For the way back, the local taxi mafia wants 600 baht.
Blue-and-white songthaews trundle past along the main road to Phuket Town and Kamala Beach, but there are no direct connections to Patong. Tuk-tuks lying in wait at the intersection in front of the beach demand a non-negotiable 350 baht for the trip.
Surin can be easily covered on foot, and you can even walk to neighboring Bang Tao beach if feeling energetic. You can also rent motorbikes from stalls near the beach, with prices starting from 200 baht/day.
The only sight in Surin is the temple (wat) down by the beach.
The thing to do in Surin is to chill out at the beach, which is nicely separated from the hotels and the main road by a disused golf course turned into a park. The beach is lined from end to end with restaurants and cafes, which will happily rent you a sun lounger and umbrella for around 100 baht/day.
Surfing: Surfing here can be good, but all of Phuket is not consistent for surfing waves. Something to do in between relaxing. There are surfboards and bodyboards to rent on the beach or from the Saltwater Dreaming Surf Shop back on the main road.
Snorkeling: You can snorkel here in the dry season from October to April. around the headland at the northern end and out to the headland at Pansea Beach.
There is a 7-Eleven in the village center, as well as a few overpriced minimarts on the beach and the hotel strip.
Along the beach road there is a large array of simple restaurants offering denatured, totally spiceless Thai food and simple international dishes for tourists, but the specialty is seafood. In the last few years there has been a new wave of redevelopment on the beach road resulting in some international standard restaurants. There are currently a few more restaurants under construction. Most restaurants have bathrooms and showers that guests can use after having been on the beach.
Cheap eating options in Surin are quite limited, but there's a decent noodle stall in front of the 7/11 (evenings only) and a few stalls at the parking lot next to the beach.
Surin beach can become quite dangerous in the monsoon season due to its steeply sloping beach, and many unwary swimmers have lost their lives here; however this has not deterred the local surf enthusiasts and when the waves are right you'll see many Thais on surfboards. The safer parts of the beach have been marked off with floats.