Surat Thani Province

Surat Thani Province

Looking at Surat Thani on a map, you can see that it is the largest province of southern Thailand. Most tourists know about it thanks to the Don Sak district, from whose piers ferries and boats go to the islands of Samui, Phangan, Tao and dozens of other small ones scattered across the Gulf of Thailand and administratively part of the province.

Despite the fact that the mainland part of Surat Thani is not of great interest among tourists, it is not without its attractions.

Surat Thani Province: General Characteristics

Surat Thani resembles Thailand in its silhouette: a small part has access to the sea, but the main area goes inland. The resemblance is not limited to the exterior.

Ratchaprapa dam viewpoint

This territorial peculiarity determines the peculiarities of the development of the region. Surat Thani at 95% is not a tourist province, just as about the same 95% is not a tourist province in Thailand.

The backbone of the economy is:

  • coconut and gewean plantations;
  • mining and fishing in the north of the province;
  • timber industry.

If we leave out the islands, we see that Surat Thani is a completely ordinary province of Thailand with its traditional way of life. People here do not live for the tourists or to make money from visitors. This state of affairs has its advantages, in particular: low housing and food prices and "Thainess" in everything.


If we talk about the geographical location of Surat Thani, it is very convenient. Krabi, Phangan and Phuket are 3-4 hours away by land.

It takes about 2.5-3 hours to get to the islands (including the road to Don Sak, waiting and ferry). There is an airport in Surat Thani (30 km from the city) and a railway station (15 km from the city).

All this makes the province an important transport hub of southern Thailand, which connects not only domestic destinations (e.g., Surat Thani-Bangkok), but also international ones (e.g., from Surat Thani by plane to Kuala Lumpur or by train and ferry to Penang).

Surat Thani sights

Surat Thani has traditional Thai attractions:

  • historical and cultural;
  • Religious;
  • nature reserves.

Among the historical and cultural sites of interest is Sriwichai Hill, located in Phunphin, one of the central Amphe. The place is related to the period of Thai history, when the territory of modern Surat Thani was part of the ancient Malay kingdom of Sriwichai (more than 1400 years ago). Still find artifacts from that time. The ruins of the ancient temple Wat Long and the Phra Borom That chedi in northern Chaiya are also of interest to those who are interested in antiquities.

watt long

Despite the fact that no structures from the Srivijaya period have survived, reconstructions of religious monuments and temples from the last centuries are carried out mainly in the traditional style for that culture. The architecture of Srivijaya is different from that seen in the rest of Thailand: it resembles those structures found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Sumatra.

From this point of view, the temples and other places of worship in Surat Thani are of educational interest. Among them are:

  • Phra That Srisurat (Amphe Mueang, near Surat Thani);
  • Suratthani City Pillar Shrine (city center);
  • Wat Suan Mokkhaphalaram (Amphé Mueang, 50 km north of the city).
  • Wat Khao Suwan Pradit (Amphe Don Sak);

Surat Thani TempleWat Khao Suwan Pradit

The Tai Rom Yen National Park is a major natural attraction. Here you can see the cascading 13-level waterfall Dad Fa, the fourth threshold of which falls from a height of 80 meters. The huge limestone Khamin Cave surprises visitors with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.

In Surat Thani there is a unique school for monkeys (Monkey Training College). Animals from the surrounding forests are trained to pick coconuts.

The main subtlety in training is that the animals must be taught to pick not all coconuts in a row, but only the ripe ones. It lasts from 3 to 6 months, depending on the ability of each individual. All monkeys in the school are divided into three classes: elementary, intermediate, and advanced.

monkey training

The "Educational Institution" is open to tourists. It is located in Kanchanadit Amphas, about 10 km east of Surat Thani.

How to get there

Surat Thani is one of the most accessible provinces in terms of transportation. From Bangkok to the local airport there are more than 10 flights a day. Travel time is 1 hour. 10 minutes. There are a dozen trains and even more buses to the south from the country's capital. Travel time by land is about 10 hours.

Surat Thani is not only connected to Bangkok. There are bus, rail and air connections to most major cities in Thailand and even neighboring Malaysia.

For example, to get to Penang, take the train from Bangkok via Surat Thani to the end station in Butterworth, Malaysia (a 12-hour journey) and then continue to the island by ferry. The flight from Surat Thani to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, is operated by AirAsia daily (1 flight). The flight time is 1 hr. 40 min.

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