From Surat Thani Province

Surat Thani literally means “City of the Good People” and is the former seat of the Srivijaya Empire. It is the largest province of the South, covering an area of 12,891 square kilometres and bordered by the Gulf of Thailand to the north and the east. Surat Thani is located 644 kms. from Bangkok. The topography includes a high plateau and forested mountains to the west, and low basins in the center and along the eastern coast. There are a tremendous number of island along the coast.

Surat Thani is administratively divided into 18 districts and 1 sub-district: Amphoe Muang Surat Thani, Amphoe Ban Na Doem, Amphoe Ben Na San, Amphoe Ben Ta Khun, Amphoe Chai Buri, Amphoe Chaiya, Amphoe Don Sak, Amphoe Kanchanadit, Amphoe Khian Sa, Amphoe Khiri Ratthanikham, Amphoe Ko Phangan, Amphoe Ko Samui, Amphoe Phanom, Amphoe Phrasaen, Amphoe Phunphin, Amphoe Tha Chana, Amphoe Tha Chang, Amphoe Wiang Sa and King Amphoe Wiphawadi.

Wildlife and Nature Education Centre

Khao Tha Phet Wildlife and Nature Education Centre This is some 6 kms. from town along the Surat Thani- Na San route (Route No. 4009). It covers an area of 1,162 acres. and houses a number of caged wild animals near the Centre. On Khao Tha Phet, Tha Phet, at 210 metres above sea level, stands a stupa named Phra That Si Surat which houses Buddha relics donated by the Indian Government some 40 years ago. The hilltop offers a panoramic view of Surat Thani Town and the Tapi River.

Phra Borommathat Chaiya

This ancient pagoda housing Lord Buddha relics is located in Amphoe Chaiya, 54 kms. north of the provincial capital, and dates back to the Srivijaya period over 1,200 years ago.

In the compound, there is the Chaiya National Museum consisting of two buildings. One exhibits stone and bronze sculptures discovered in the ancient city of Chaiya and the other exhibits artifacts of prehistoric down to historic periods from Dvaravati, Sri Vijaya, Lopburi, Sukhothai to Ayutthaya. Art objects and several other crafts are also displayed here. The museum is open daily between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. except for Mondays and Tuesdays.

Wat Suan Mokkhaphalaram

Better known as Suan Mok, the temple is on Highway No. 41 some 50 kms. north of the provincial capital. Suan Mok’s founder, Bhikkhu Buddhadhasa, is highly respected in Thailand, and internationally, and his ‘back-to-basics’ approach attracts Buddhist monks and lay meditators from many countries. A favourite sight for casual visitors is the ‘Spiritual Theatre’ which Buddhadhasa describes as a pictorial interpretation of Dharma. The building features an eclectic mixture of Thai, Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Tibetan and European-style murals and sculptures.

Ratchaprapha Dam

Ratchaprapha Dam or Chieo Lan Dam, built in 1982, is a rock with fat-clay core dam that is 94 meters in height and 761 in length. The reservoir (lake) covers an area of 185 square kilometers and boasts an electricity generating capacity of approximately 554 million kilowatt / hour. The lake offers an incomparably breathtaking view of limestone mountains and over 200 small islands.

Accommodations near the dam are available from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, Tel. 02 436-3179 or 77 311-364, 311-522. For those wishing to see the lake closer, boat rental service is also available. Contact 077 311522, or 02 2407405 ext. 5008 for more details. The dam is located 70 kilometers west from Surat Thani on Highway No. 401. Travel along the Highway, turn right at the kilometer 52-53 marker and proceed for another 12 kilometers along an access road until you see the extensive lake beyond the Dam.

Khao Sok National Park

This is largely jungle with undulating mountain ranges and rugged high cliffs. The park office is 1.3 kms. off the Surat-Takua Pa Road at Km. 109. Attractions in the park include Namtok Mae Yai which can be reached by car; Namtok Sip Et Chan (eleven-tiered waterfall), 4 kms. from the park office and other beautiful waterfalls and caves, mostly accessible by foot. Rare flora and fauna are found along nature trails. Dormitories, bungalows and raft-houses are available.

Monkey Schools

There are two monkey schools in Surat Thani: one is located in Amphoe Kanchanadit, some 13 kms. from Surat Thani along Highway No. 401 and the other is at Ban Khlong Sai, Amphoe Tha Chang, some 35 kms. along Highway No. 41. Visitors are advised to contact travel agents for full details.

Oyster Farms

Oysters bred in Surat Thani are substantially larger than those found elsewhere. Many farms are found around the estuarine areas of the Kradae Canal and the Thong River in Amphoe Kanchanadit. These farms can be reached by boat from the Tha Thong Quayside within 30 minutes.

Folklore Museum

Located approximately 300 meters from Chaiya City, at the intersection of Highway No. 41 and the side road of Wat Kaew (or Wat Long), the museum features numerous interesting historical objects. They include Bone China, pottery, shadow puppets, old instruments and a ceramic opium pillow. Admission fee is by donation. The Museum is open daily from 8.00 a.m. until 9.00 p.m.