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Surat Thani is a city in southern Thailand. Known as the “city of good people”, it lies 651 km south of Bangkok. The city itself has a long history dating back to the 5th century. It’s the regional commercial center and the gateway to Koh Samui and its neighbouring islands Ko Pha ngan, Koh Tao and the Ang Thong archipelago.
Stretching across 280 square miles, the Khao Sok National Park in Khlong Sok houses some of the oldest rainforests across the globe. This Surat Thani attraction also boasts hundreds of species of wildlife, including gibbon and macaque monkeys, Asian elephants, and the great hornbill bird. It has been previously rumoured that the Khao Sok National Park also houses a small population of tigers. However, none have yet been spotted over the past few decades.
Visitors looking for more adventure can also partake in bamboo rafting along the virgin forest.
The Khao Sok National Park also encompasses the small village of Khao Sok and the man-made Cheow Lan Lake.
The Cheow Lan Lake is a reservoir with emerald green water at a constant temperature of about 28 degrees. The Cheow Lan Lake, which is situated inside the Khao Sok National Park, is surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and lush greeneries.
Tourists visiting Cheow Lan Lake can book a tour or participate in many outdoor activities, including visiting their shallow coral gardens, swimming, canoeing, jungle trekking, and wading through the water on a night boat.
The Surat Thani Night Market is considered famous across the whole province. The market’s name is partly due to its location, which is close to the city pillar shrine.
This night market is the perfect spot for tourists to visit if they are looking to drink beer or eat authentic Thai food. People looking to try out Thai street food will be treated to a variety of local delicacies at the city pillar shrine market. This includes Pad Thai, grilled fried fish ball, hot fried crispy mushrooms and flavoured rice noodles. Some stalls also sell Western food and products.
Built in 1954, the Surat Thani Train Station has become an integral part of Surat Thani’s culture. This train station is one of the country’s modern functional train stations located within walking distance of the nearest bus station or ferry service.
A large number of passengers from Krabi and Phuket pass through the Surat Thani station to access the city center or the way to the Andaman Coast.
Ko Samui is an ideal location for tourists looking to experience stunning sandy beaches and plenty of fun island activities. Ko Samui is one of the popular islands of Thailand that boasts budget and luxurious stays for a wide range of guests.
Tourists wanting to go to Ko Samui from the Surat Thani province have two options:
The fastest way to get from Surat Thani to Ko Samui, Ko Pha ngan or Koh Tao is by the Lomprayah Ferry, which departs directly from the city center. However, the boat leaves by schedule.
The most affordable way to get to Ko Samui is by taking the night ferry from Surat Thani. The ferry leaves every night at 11 p.m. and takes approximately six hours to reach the islands.
The Sonchana Farm and Elephant Sanctuary is located in the Phanom District of the Surat Thani province. The family-run farm prides itself in providing a community-based model of tourism that prioritizes the health of the elephants in their care.
Tourists visiting the Sonchana Farm and Elephant Sanctuary can bathe, feed, and help prepare medicinal meals for retired elephants. Guests can also experience cooking traditional Thai food using all-natural resources.
The Full Moon Party is an all-night beach party that occurs on the island of Koh Phangan, which is accessible from Surat Thani.
During a Full Moon Party, which happens almost every month, thousands of people come from all over the world to dance and partake in festivities until the morning.
The Full Moon Party first began in the mid-1980s when a group of 30 people gathered at the Paradise Bungalows to allegedly pay homage to the full moon. While no one really knows for sure how the party began, word of it spread, making it one of the biggest parties around the world.
Tourists hoping to go into town during the Full Moon Party should expect a huge crowd and high prices.
Muang Surat Thani, also known as Amphoe Mueang Surat Thani district, is the capital of the province. This district boasts the best night markets, national parks, boat cruises and oyster farms anywhere in the world.
The Monkey Training College offers tourists a first-class educational demonstration with trained monkeys as well as monkeys in varying stages of training.
Monkey Training College was established in 1957 when Mr. Somporn began teaching monkeys how to climb trees and harvest coconuts.
The Tapi River offers tourists a quiet escape from the urban hustle and bustle. Guests visiting the Tapi River are immediately greeted by the lush, rural landscape surrounded by tropical flowers, dragonflies, and coconut orchards.
The Tapi River is easily accessible via a boat trip from the Ban Don pier.
The Chaiya District is a small town with few accommodation options available for travellers. But what it lacks in accommodations, it makes up for its famous salty duck eggs.
The eggs, which is considered a local delicacy, are preserved in sea salt and rice husks. This food item is mostly served in spicy salads.
The Tonpo Alley in Surat Thani is a short stretch of road that houses a night market where vendors sell all sorts of products. It could be anything from souvenirs to authentic Thai taro balls.
Surat Thani Thailand is a province that is a popular gateway to the southern coast and surrounding islands in the Gulf of Thailand like the Ang Thong Islands. Other things to do in Surat Thani include seeing Tham Khao Wang Thong, an impressive cave located in Khanom district with its iron and copper walls, stalagmites and stalactites, Wat Phra Borommathat Chaiya an eye-catching white and gold Chaiya temple from the 8th century, Khanom Beach and other beaches around Khanom bay are less touristy and great for relaxation. Believed to be as old as 160 million years and covering a huge 739 square kilometres, Khao Sok National Park features rich rain-forests, wildlife sanctuaries, limestone structures, and the scenic Cheow Larn Lake in the heart of the park where you can stay overnight in a floating bungalow.
From Lomprayah Tapee River in Surat Thani city, you can take a 1.5-hour ferry to Koh Samui Nathon Pier and then transfer to the ferry heading to Koh Phangan Thong Sala Pier. Another option is to take a ferry from Don Sak pier in Surat Thani which is the closest pier to the nearby islands. The ferry to Koh Phangan is direct and takes about 2.5 hours. There are no direct buses from Surat Thani train station to the pier. Instead, you could take a taxi with the trip duration being around 1 hour and 15 minutes, or alternatively catch the public bus from the main Surat Thani station to Surat Thani Talad Kaset station (40 mins) then transfer to the bus heading to Don Sak pier which takes one hour.
Surat Thani city offers a selection of budget mid-sized hotels, guest houses, flashpackers rather than large resorts.
November through to February is the cooler season and best time to visit, with clear blue skies, light winds and sunny days.
Multiple domestic carriers operate flights between Bangkok and Surat Thani. Flight time is 1 hour 15 minutes. By train, the trip takes approximately 9.5 hours to reach Surat Thani city from Bangkok. Taking a bus is slightly longer at around 10-11 hours of travel time. To self-drive or go by taxi, the overland trip takes about 9 hours.
Surat Thani city means City of Good People and dates back to the 5th century. Surat Thani city has a bustling night market popular with visitors to try all kinds of exotic treats. Wat Phra Borommathat Chaiya is an ancient white and gold Buddhist temple believed to have been constructed around the 7th century and contains a relic of the Buddha. The city also contains an impressive white pillar shrine that was built as a guardian to the region. A popular practice to do when visiting the shrine is to pray or make a wish and tie a piece of coloured cloth around any of the four pillars surrounding the shrine.
Surat Thani airport services both domestic and international flights. Surat Thani International Airport is a busy southern Thailand airport, connecting many travellers to the region.
The distance from Bangkok is approximately 415 km. and you can travel either by plane, train or bus. The overnight train via Chumphon will take 11 hours or take a train via Surat Thani for 19 hours, the bus takes around a 9-hours, or take a 3.5-hour flight. All these options will include a ferry ride from Koh Samui or the mainland to the island.
There are some international flights will arrive into Surat Thani but these are mainly from other countries in Asia such as Malaysia or China.
The guidelines for foreigners wanting to come to Thailand updates regularly, depending on the country’s current COVID-19 situation. For more information, you may visit the website of Thailand’s tourism authority or you can view our COVID-19 travel guide page.
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