How Surin Beach Looks Like Now

August 19, 2016

PHUKET, THAILAND-- Before May 2016, this is what Surin Beach looked like. As per what I heard from the locals and patrons of this beach, it painted me a picture of a beachfront that's similar to Boracay, where the hippest bars, restaurants, and clubs are lined up along the shoreline. Take your pick, choose where you want to spend your hard-earned cash for expensive food and cocktails.

How To Get There
Like my recent trip to Bangkok, I never got to learn how to commute in public vehicles such as buses or their version of jeepneys/multicabs. Partly because I couldn't find one that plies the same route, but mostly because of the convenience that Uber/Grab brings. Of course, you can always take a taxi too, but it will be priced a little bit more.

Surin Beach is located at the western part of Phuket, and conveniently in the middle of hotel clusters along the beach. The main highway you'll go through is the 4025. Just enter "Surin Beach" on your app, or tell the taxi driver and he would know. Coming from the east coast and at a 19-km ride, the fare was around 300 Baht.    

(Note: Uber was discontinued in Phuket. Use Grab instead.)

When I got there, the picture in my head was such a huge contrast to what I saw. There were no rooted buildings, no loud electronic music, and no fancy restaurants. It wasn't Boracay-like at all. It was Nacpan beach, but with a lot more people who are just there to bask under the sun.

Straight from the paved road onto the sand, I saw a couple getting their prenuptial photoshoot at the far left, some surfers catching the waves, and ladies getting their massage on makeshift massage mats for cheap. (Well, relatively cheap that is. Phuket is expensive!) Right away, I got approached by a local named Om. He offered to rent out one of his beach mats at 100 Baht for the whole day. He also held a cardboard with reasonably priced beverages written on it. With a good English he said, "I'll be walking around here. If you need a drink, please buy from me."

Om saying that was like a trigger. He then continued to tell the story of how he and a lot more people, who were once employed as staff for the now defunct establishments, now don't have jobs. And although the beach is considerably much more beautiful now, he's very concerned about how he'll feed his family of four. The guy has two kids to think about. He then explained that the Thai government wanted to return the beach to its original, virgin state, and there was nothing they could do. The establishments, including the popular Catch Beach Club, were all torn down on the last two weeks of April 2016.

As much as I empathized with him, walking on that beach even with the glaring sun was very therapeutic. It was nice hearing just the sound of the waves, and people, mostly kids, laughing as they played in the water. If you'll ask me to choose, I'd pick an undeveloped beach over a party beach any time.

One important thing to remember would be to BYOB (Bring Your Own Baon). There won't be any restaurants, but there will be mobile stores and people peddling drinks. Since I didn't come prepared, I had to be creative with my nourishment for the day. I eventually bought a total of two coconuts and one local beer from Om, bought a corn from a BBQ stand at the roadside, and lucked out on a chicken noodle soup cart. Weird food combination for the beach, but I really couldn't be choosy at that point.

Food Expenses
Coconut x 2                 = 120
Beer x 1                        = 70
Grilled Corn x 1           = 20
Chicken Noodle Soup = 50          
                                       260 Baht

Depending on how you see it, the food situation there would be something you'd either be pissed off, or be glad about. I choose the latter. (Plus again, 260 Baht for lunch and snacks is already relatively cheap for Phuket.)

Nothing much to do here but to just enjoy the calm. I tried reading a book but didn't get past five chapters. The breeze was already tempting me to doze off so I did what every tourist with a roaming data plan was doing: I went to the coconut trees near a mini shrine to catch some Pokemon. I reached that pokestop, and saw five people doing the same thing. Out of nowhere, Om butted in and asked, "Is that Pokemon Go? A lot are playing at this area. *points to the shrine*"

Of course, my phone being itself, the battery died on me. I was happy about it though because then I could walk around Surin Beach to take photos. I did two rounds from the right end to the left end of the beach and vice versa. Then, I walked over to the makeshift massage area and got a full body massage (400 Baht) while facing the beach. And at last, I finished my second roll of film, right in time to catch my flight back to Singapore on a high note. This was not what I was expecting, but it turned out to be a way better experience. Personally, I'd like for this beach to stay this way. Kudos to the Thai government for choosing preservation over profit. It's very rare these days. 

Ending this post with more photos from my photo snapping rounds. Hope you get charmed with them as I did. #filmisnotdead

All photos taken using Pentax Spotmatic film camera and Fujifilm Superia 400 film. 

You Might Also Like