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โอ้ละหนอมายเลิฟ..ภูเก็ต

 

Koh Tao Travel Guide

The 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.



High 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.

The 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

Surat 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.

In 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. 

When 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.

The 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.

Today, Surat Thani is an important commercial and shipping hub for rubber and coconut trading.

 

Ko Tao


     Situated 60 kilometres off the coast of Chumphon but falling under the jurisdiction of Surat Thani, Ko Tao lies 45 kilometres north of Ko Pha-ngan and is only 20 square kilometres in area but it is known as the best diving site in the Gulf of Thailand.  The turquoise water of Ko Tao is crystalline, coconut plantations still cover much of the landscape, and concrete roads are built along only a few beaches.  Getting around the island is either by pick-up taxi or by boat.  Motorbikes and mountain bikes are also available for rent to explore the island. 


Attractions in and around Ko Tao include:
     Hat Cho Po Ro or Hat Sai Ri – This small powdery beach provides accommodation. The Giant Clam Park nearby breeds the near-extinct giant clam and exhibits many aquatic animals. It is open daily.
     Ko Nang Yuan - A coral island with a high viewpoint and long white sandy beaches.
     Kong Hin Khao and Kong Hin Khiao – These overlaying rocks have submarine alcoves, whereby many fish frequent.
     Kong Hin Chumphon – Many fish frequent this area on the northwestern part of the island. During breeding season in March – April, this area is closed from any fishing activities.
     Ban Mae Hat – Pier, transportation terminal, diving schools and shops renting diving gear, concentrate in this economic centre of the island.
     Kong Sai Daeng – Rarely seen black-eared shark frequent the red sandstone by the mouth of Thian Nok Bay. 

     The best period is from December to April.  It is possible to travel to Ko Tao during the rainy season (May to October), though obviously, you should be prepared to run into showers and rainstorms.

Travel to Ko Tao by Boat

Ko Pha-ngan - Ko Tao
     Songserm Express Boat leaves Ko Pha-ngan’s Thong Sala pier at 12 noon daily. Travelling time is 2 hours.  The fare is 250 baht.   Speedboats leave Thong Sala pier on Ko Tao at 8.30 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Travelling time is 1 hour. The fare is 350 baht

Ko Samui - Ko Tao
     A boat departs from Ko Samui at 11 a.m. to Ko Tao via Ko Pha-ngan. The boat arrives Ko Tao at 1.30 p.m.  The fare is 350 baht.   Speedboats leave Maenam Pier on Ko Samui at 8 a.m.  Travelling time is 1 ? hours.  The fare is 550 baht.  Call Lomphrayah 0 7745 617 ot Songserm Travel 0 7742 0157 for details.

Surat Thani – Ko Tao
A night boat departs from Surat Thani at 8 p.m.and arrives Ko Tao at 8 a.m. The fare is 250 baht. 


For travel from Chumphon to Ko Tao, please click www.tourismthailand.org/attraction/chumphon-86-4208-1.html

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
Chai Buri
Chaiya
Don Sak
Kanchanadit 
Khian Sa
Khiri Ratniyom 
Ko Pha-ngan
Ko Samui
Phanom
Phra Saeng
Phunphin
Tha Chana 
Tha Chang 
Wiang Sa
Vibhavadi
50
41
71
112
68
61
18
61
55
100
84
80
68
12
78
37
68
70
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.
kms.

 



By Car

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.



By Bus

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 www.transport.co.th



By Train

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 www.railway.co.th
Surat Thani Railway Station is 12 kilometers from town. A bus service between the station and the town is available.



By Air

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 www.thaiairways.com 

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 2515 9999



By Boat

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).

 
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