Thailand Mu Ko Surin National Park Surin Islands of Thailand
Moken village Koh Surin on the Mu Ko Surin National Park Surin Islands of Thailand

Set in the far northern reaches of Thailand's Andaman Sea, Mu Ko Surin Marine Park covers a pair of islands with healthy reefs in between.

Most of the islands is off-limits to tourists, but the spectacular Mai Ngam Beach is open with soft khaki sand and crystalline water that stays calm thanks to towering headlands. Harmless black-tip reef sharks stop by for a feed at low tide, and sea turtles are commonly spotted.

Tours can be arranged on the mainland or through park staff, but a visitor might prefer to support the Moken boat drivers, indigenous to the islands. Based in a village that can be visited on the marine park's southern island, the Moken are a nomadic tribe of sea dwellers found in both Thailand and Malaysia. Their wooden spirit poles which represent their ancestors, and banana-shaped boats, give the islands the local character that's missing in most Thai marine parks.

Thailand with kids

Popular – and lesser-known – places to visit in Thailand with the family

If you're coming to Thailand with kids I'm sure the obvious contenders will already be on your radar: the temples of Bangkok, a cooking class in Chiang Mai, maybe an elephant sanctuary, one of the islands, and call it a wrap. Yes, these are all worthy additions to a family-friendly trip to Thailand, but take my advice: I've been living in and writing about Thailand since 2011 and I can tell you there is so much more to the country that doesn't make the standard "top 10" lists and travel brochures. If you're even vaguely interested in getting off the beaten path and seeing some of the 'real' Thailand with the kids, this guide is for more

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