A travel guide to Surat Thani, Thailand providing Surat Thani tourism and travel information with hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants, shopping, tours, things to do and more.
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Surat Thani travel guide


Overview

Surat Thani or Surat as the locals call it is the largest of Thailand's southern provinces. Surat Thani, directly translated, means City of Good People and these good people have the good fortune of living in 'the province of a thousand Islands'. The three most popular islands and indeed the most lucrative for the good people are Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

The market area of Surat Thani is competing with the city for its name, and has many locals referring to the whole city as Ban Don – even though Ban Don actually only refers to the market. This might have something to do with the importance of Surat Thani as a commercial centre for Southern Thailand. Surat Thani is 650 km below Bangkok, the weather is warmer, the people are really friendly and the food is spicy!

Most people only spend a few hours or so in Surat Thani, using it mainly as a place to change modes of transport - off a boat onto a bus or off a bus into a boat. This is a pity as the less commercial feel of Surat Thani compared to, for example, Krabi, is reason enough to spend a day speaking to the locals, relaxing on the beaches and getting to experience the Thai way of life.

The 45,000 people in the central area of the city are being quickly affected by modernisation. There are two streets that act chiefly as the modern commercial zone housing banks and large shops, while the market still enjoys its place in the old section, close to the river. There is a lot to see in the area. For example the Khlong Phanom and the Angthong National Marine Park are fantastic places to relax for a few hours. Hunt free areas such as Nong Thung Thong and Khao Tha Phet have also been established. There are a number of wildlife sanctuaries as well as waterfalls, caves, hiking trails and forests in Surat Thani – it is definitely a great place for a nature holiday! The only sad thing about this area is the demand for land to build tourist destinations. This means that in a few years, if you cannot afford top dollar, you might not get the chance to spend the night.

Like the rest of Thailand, Surat Thani is also very involved in festivals. One of the biggest festivals celebrated in the area is the Chak Phra Festival. Held in October this festival celebrates the return of Buddha. This festival is held all over southern Thailand, but the biggest display is in Surat Thani. During the festival floats are built and decorated in vivid Thai designs. They are then dragged around town on land and on the water. The floats on the water are designed to carry Buddha on his return. Other big festivals in Surat Thani include the Fruits Festival which celebrates the first planting of the Rambutan trees, the Songkran Water Festival (Thai New Year) on the 13th of April every year, and the Loy Krathong festival which honours the goddess of water.

Definitely a place worth spending the night at least...

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