Surat Thani

Surat Thani

Gulf coast island gateway

As the largest province in South Thailand, Surat Thani stretches from the brilliant white-sand shores of popular Gulf islands to forest-shrouded karsts found within 20 kilometres of the Andaman Sea. The provincial capital, commonly known as Surat, is a busy transport hub where locals unload fresh seafood as travellers hunt for ferry tickets.

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Named after a city in India, Surat Thani translates as “City of Good People”, though you might feel otherwise after dealing with some of the aggressive touts and shifty travel agents. Most travellers who pass through are heading straight to/from the very popular islands of Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao. Few spend more than a night in Surat, which many see as nothing more than a place to catch a boat. We think the scenic riverfront, great food and worthwhile day trips make it a destination in its own right.

Meet Surat Thani. : David Luekens.
Meet Surat Thani. Photo: David Luekens

The old Chinese-influenced Ban Don part of town features century-old Sino-European architecture that — with a bit of restoration — could be as picturesque as some of the heritage shophouses found in old Phuket town. The nearby Tapi riverfront, with its laidback night market and longtail boat pier, reminds us of Krabi’s better-known waterfront area. A boat trip into the Tapi’s tributaries will take you past old stilted houses, towering coconut trees and dense feathered palms that turn waterways ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,200 words.)

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