Hat Surin is a pleasant beach, with occaÂsionally heavy surf, south of Ao Bang Thao and separated from it by a cape. When the water is calm, there’s fair snorkelling here; lounge chairs and beach umbrellas can be rented for 50B. Surin is popular with local Thais, who come for nibbles at the dozen or so seafood stands above the beach. Just to the east, in Bang Thao Village No 2, is one of southern Thailand’s most beautiful mosques, Matsayit Mukaram, a large, whitewashed, immaculate structure with lacquered wooden doors.
Places to Stay To sleep close to the water, you need to hit the cape at Surin’s northern end and shell out big bucks at one of the exÂclusive resorts â€” the Amanpuri and the Chedi â€” that sit on Pansea Beach, a secluded offshoot of Hat Surin.
Surin Sweet Apartment (( 0 7627 0863, fax 0 7627 0865; rooms in low/high season 600/8008) is set well back from the central section of the beach. It looks awful from the outside, but management is friendly and the rooms are large and clean, with tile floors, air-con, balconies and rare shower curtains.
The Chedi ( 0 7632 4017, fax 0 7632 4252; rooms in low season US$190-495, in high season US$350-675) has tennis courts, a beachside pool and many water sports on offer. LodgÂing is in cottages, many with teak floors and private verandas. Rates skyrocket durÂing the December to January holidays.
Amanpuri Resort (( 0 7632 4333, fax 0 7632 4100; rates US$700-8200) plays host to Thailand‘s celebrity traffic, with each guestgetting a 133-sq-metre pavilion or
private two- to six-bedroom villa home (with live-in maid and cook); the staff-to-guest ratio is 3’/z to one. It was designed by the architect who did the former Shah of Iran’s Winter Palace. Rates come down in the low season, but are still up there. The resort offers six tennis courts, a spa, Thai and Italian restaurants, and about 20 watercraft for sailing, diving and overnight charters.
Getting There & Away A regular sawng- thaew between Phuket‘s Th Ranong and Hat Surin costs 25B per person and tdk-tfik charter is 250B to 300B.