Surat Thani Tourist Attractions
Surat Thani lies on the Malayan peninsula in the fertile plain on the estuary of the Menam Ta Pi in the Gulf of Thailand. It was already inhabited during the Stone Age (numerous tools excavated) and in the first millennium the terminus of an important road from Ta Kuapa, which shortened the route to the South China Sea.
Following the construction of good roads the town developed into an important trading place between Thailand and Malaysia; it is a center for shipbuilding, fishing, mining and the timber industry. There are no particular sights but the countryside with dense tropical rainforest, mighty dolomite rocks and paradise-like islands is breathtakingly beautiful. The island of Koh Samui is an internationally famous tourist destination.By rail: from Bangkok-Hualampong (651 km (404 mi.), duration 12 hours; overnight train recommended, reservations necessary).By car: from Bangkok Highway 4, from Chumphon Highway 41 (644 km (400 mi.)). From Nakhon Si Thammarat Highway 401 (135 km (84 mi.)).By air: daily from Bangkok; also charter flights.By ferry: express ferry between Bangkok and Surat Thani (duration about 15 hours), reservations from travel operators.
Wat Dei Tamaram
One of the most noteworthy temples, even if it is modern, is the Wat Dei Tamaram on the Na Muang Road. It has a magnificent tall wiharn with richly decorated gables. Considerably older is a building in close proximity where the entrances are guarded by warlike demons. The activity around the temple site is interesting.
There are about 60 islands off the coast of Surat Thani. Many have beautiful beaches and idyllic fishing villages, almost all of them offer a variety of scenery with cliffs, dense vegetation, and tranquil bays edged with white sand.The three largest islands are Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan (an archipelago which has been declared a national park) and Koh Phaului. Nature provides the islanders with everything they need to live: bamboo, wood and palm leaves to build houses, fish, coconuts and vegetables.
Koh Toa is one of the many islands in the Gulf of Thailand, just a couple hour ferry ride from Koh Samui. The island has become popular with tourists, particularly those interested in diving or just looking for something a little quieter. Although less busy than islands like Koh Samui, Koh Toa offers everything for tourists with many hotels and restaurants, many of which cater to back packers.
SurroundingsThe journey between Ta Kuapa on the other side of the peninsula on Lake Andamanen and Surat Thani is through some of the most beautiful scenery in Thailand. The dolomite rocks soar out of the tropical jungle up to heights of 1000 m (3280 ft).There are also a number of attractions outside the town of Surat Thani.
Wat Suan Mo
On the outskirts of Surat Thani is the Wat Suan Mok, a meeting place for Buddhists from all over the world. Meditation courses are held here but places must be booked in advance. Information is available from the World Fellowship of Buddhists in Bangkok.
The port of Ban Dong (previously the name of the whole town) is a hub of activity, the markets are a colorful sight.