largest province of the South located 685 kilometers from Bangkok is
Surat Thani the province with a name that literally means "City of
the Good People". A former capital of the Srivijaya Empire, the
province covers an area of approximately 12,891 square kilometers.
Surat Thani Province borders the Gulf of Thailand to the north and
east, Chumphon Province to the north, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Krabi
Provinces to the south, Phang-Nga and Ranong Provinces to the west
and Nakhon Si Thammarat Province to the east.
plateaus and forested mountains are located to the west of the
province, while there are low basins in the center and along the
eastern coast. This topography has created 14 river basins including
Tapee, Pum Duang, Tha Thong, Tha Krajai, Chaiya, Tha Chang which are
the most important basins. All rivers in Surat Thani flow east of
the province to the Gulf of Thailand.
numerous islands along the coast makes Surat Thani (often known as
Surat in short) a perfect hideaway for vacationers from around the
world. The ideal destination for many is the Penang-sized Ko Samui,
Thailand's third largest island, and its neighbour Ko Pha-ngan a
celebrated island that hosts the biggest beach full moon party.
North of Ko Pha-ngan is Ko Tao, renowned for its excellent coral
reefs. To top it all is the dazzling 250-square-kilometer Ang Thong
Marine National Park, where a stunning archipelago awaits to greet
visitors with their charming palm-fringed beaches, crystal clear
water and colorful coral reefs. The best time to enjoy one of these
islands to the fullest is from April to November.
History of Surat Thani
Thani is a city with a long history. Archeologists believe that it
was once a community of prehistoric tribes of indigenous people
including the Saemang and original Malays who built their
communities on the Tapee River Basin and Ao Ban Don. Later on, the
Indians migrated into the area and gradually spread out their
culture, as evidenced in the discovery of ruins of ancient
communities in Tha Chana and Chaiya Sub-districts.
the 13th century, the city became a part of and, as some historians
might claim, a center of the glorious Srivijaya Empire the kingdom
that dominated the whole Malay Peninsula and much of Java. It was
during this period that Mahayana Buddhist reached its height of
influence. The empires grandeur can still be admired in many areas
of Chaiya District.
the empire hit the bottom, it was divided into 3 main cities namely
Chaiya, Tha Thong and Khiri Rat. They were all under the
jurisdiction of Nakhon Si Thammarat until King Rama IV decided to
move Tha Thong City to Ban Don and required that it report directly
to Bangkoks administration. The name Ban Don was, at the time,
changed to Kanchanadit. It was with the establishment of the Monthon,
a former administrative unit, that all three cities were merged into
one under the name Chaiya. In 1915, King Rama VI changed the name
Chaiya to Surat Thani.
seal of Surat Thani says a lot about its history. Featuring the
pagoda of Phra Boromathat Chaiya, the seal is proof of the influence
of Mahayana Buddhist on Surat Thani. Phra Boromathat Chaiya is the
most revered and important historical place in the province. It is
believed that the pagoda contains Buddha relics.
Surat Thani is an important commercial and shipping hub for rubber
and coconut trading.
Koh Pha ngan
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.
How to get to Surat Thani
Distances From Amphoe Muang (Surat
Thani Town) To Other Districts:
|Ban Na Doem
Ban Na San
Ban Ta Khun
Surat Thani can be most conveniently reached by car from
Bangkok by taking Highway No. 4 to Chumphon Province via Phetchaburi and
Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces and then taking Highway No. 41 and Highway No. 401
directly to Surat Thani City.
Air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal to Surat Thani
Province everyday. Call the southern Bus Terminal tel: 0 2434 5557-8 or visit
Trains leave Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Railway Station 10 times daily from 12 p.m.
until 10.50 p.m. The trip takes approximately 12-13 hours. Ask for the train
from Bangkok to Phun Phin, the closest station to Surat Thani. For further
details, please call 1690, 0 2223 7010, 0 2223 7020 or visit
Surat Thani Railway Station is 12 kilometers from town. A bus service
between the station and the town is available.
Thai Airways International has 2 daily flights connecting Bangkok with Surat
Thani. The flight time is approximately 70 minutes. For more information,
contact their Bangkok office at tel. 1566, 0 2280 0060, 0 2628 2000 or get your
on-line e-ticket at
One-two-Go also operates flights to Surat Thani. For more information please
visit www.fly12go.com or
contact call center 1126.
Air Asia offer flights Bangkok-Surat Thani. For more information please visit
www.airasia.com or call 0
Seatran (077 275060, 136 Na Meuang Road) operates a bus/boat combination to Ko
Samui. The fee is 150 baht.
Phantip Travel (077 272230, 293/6-8 Talat Mai Road) offers tickets to Ko Tao
(500 baht), Ko Pha-Nhan (250 baht), and Ko Samui (140 baht). The operator is
Raja Ferry (07 314523, 077 371151 or 077 371206) who offers bus/boat
combinations to the islands.
Getting around the city
Apart from the local orange bus (9 baht / trip /
person),songthaews are another option to get around the city. It costs 10 baht /
trip / person. Samlors will cost approximately 20-30 baht. The orange bus
departs from the Phu Phin train station to the city every 10 minutes from 6.00
a.m. until 8.00 p.m. The same ride by taxi will cost approximately 100 baht.
Air-conditioned vans connecting the airport and town costs 70-80 baht / person /
trip. Tickets can be purchased at travel agencies or THAI office (077 272610).