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.
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
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
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
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).