|Surat Thani Tourist Information|
The name literally means "city of the good people" and is the former seat of the Sivichaya Empire. It is the largest and most important province of the South, located 644 kms. from Bangkok. It occupies an area of 12,891.5 square kilometers bordering on Chumphon and the Gulf of Thailand to the north, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Krabi to the south, Phangnga and Ranong to the west and the Gulf of Thailand and Nakhon Si Thammarat to the east.
Surat Thani once formed part, and may have been the centre of the Mahayana Buddhist, Srivijaya Empire which, steeped in legend and mystery, dominated the Malay peninsula and much of Java some 1,500 years ago. Srivijaya was best described by the itinerant Chinese monk I Ching after a pilgrimage he made to India during the late 600s. Archaeological discoveries at Chaiya indicate the former empire's splendour.
Geographic characteristics of Surat Thani are high plateau and mountains covered with valuable woodforest to the west and low basins in the central and eastern seashore area. There are a tremendous number of islands along the coast and two major rivers: the Tapi River and Phum Duang River. It is administratively divided into 18 Amphoes and 1 King Amphoe i.e., Amphoe Muang, Ban Na San, Ban Ta Khun, Chaiya, Don Sak, Kanchanadit, Khian Sa, Khiri Ratthanikhom, Koh Phangna, Koh Samui, Phanom, Phrasaeng, Phunphin, Tha Chana, Tha Chang, Wiang Sa, Ban Na Doem, Chai Buri and King Amphoe Wiphawadi.
to see & do sights & experiences
Phra Boromathat Chaiya
An ancient pagoda, located in Wat Phra Boromathat Chaiya, Amphoe Chaiya, housing Lord Buddha relics. The structure is believed to be constructed during the Sivichaya period over 1,200 years ago.
Chaiya National Museum
Located at Wat Phra Boromathat Chaiya, Tambon Wiang, Amphoe Chaiya. It is a historical and archaeological museum. The first building puts on exhibition stone and bronze sculptures discovered in the ancient city of Chaiya, for example, sculptures of the God Vishnu and Bohdisattva Avalokitesvara. The second building exhibits artifacts of protohistoric down to historic periods from Dvaravati, Srivijaya, Lop Buri, Sukhothai to Ayutthaya. Art objects and several other crafts are also displayed here. Chaiya National Museum is open daily between 09.00-16.00 hrs. except for Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission is 10 Baht each.
Suan Mokkha Phalaram
This is otherwise known as Wat Than Nam Lai (Monastery of Flowing Water), a monastic community located in a beautiful and peaceful natural park where Buddhists go for meditation practice. There are several teaching pavilions which many paintings and poems illustrating moral teachings known in Thai as "Entertainment Houses for the Soul".
Khao Thaphet Wildlife and Nature
Nam Tok Wiphawadi
or Nam Tok Ban Nai
or Chieo Lan Dam
Khlong Yan Wildlife
Mu Koh Angthong
Koh Tae Nai
Koh Tao and
Koh Nang Yuan
& events what's happening on the local scene
This annual fair is held in August. The first rambutan tree was planted in Surat Thani in 1926, and this fair celebrates the delicious fruit, which now grows widely in the area. Highlights include exhibitions of local products and ornamental plants, floats adorned with rambutan and other fruits, and demonstrations of trained monkeys who harvest coconuts.
Chak Phra Festival
This festival is held in October every year. Surat Thani celebrates the official end of the annual 3-month Buddhist Rains retreat (Phansa) with the Chak Phra Festival (literally ‘the procession of hauling the Buddha image'). The tradition stems from the belief that the Buddha ascended to Heaven during Phansa to preach to his mother. The festival marks the Buddha's return to Earth, and is an occasion for religious merit-making and general celebrations. Local people organise dazzling land and waterborne processions of revered Buddha images (to symbolise the Buddha's return to Earth) and boat races on the Tapi River where long boats, each manned by up to 50 oarsmen, are ebulliently raced. Religious devotion, spectacle and merriment combine to make Surat Thani's Chak Phra Festival a memorable annual event.
|Local flavor from food to handicrafts
Located on the southern coast of Thailand, Surat Thani's soil and climate is ideal for agriculture. Farming and fishing are two major occupations of the province where fruit trees, rubber plants, coconuts, rice as well as several other field crops are grown. These occupations attract enormous amounts of income to Surat Thaini. Rambutan or Ngo in Thai, especially the so-called Ngo Rong Rian, is the most important and an economic crop of Surat Thani. Thanks to its prominent characteristics; namely, the large size, the beautiful shape and color, and the sweets, crunchy and easily-stoned flesh, the Ngo Rong Rian can sell at a higher price than other kinds of rambutan. Grown within a total area of approximately 60,000 rai, Ngo Rong Rian is a major earner of the provincial income worth not less than Bt 1,000 million each year. In order to reiterate the importance of the rambutan, the Surat Thani Provincial Administration has, therefore, organised the "Surat Thani Rambutan Fair" annually crop contests which begin in 1979. The fair has continued to be held as an annual event of the province. Previously, the event has been held the province's annual crop contests which first took place in 1969 having realised that Ngo Rong Rian has attracted enormous income as well as a reputation for Surat Thani, the organising committee of the contests, in 1979, changed the event into the "Surat Thani Rambutan Fair" in order to make Ngo Rong Rian more widely known to the public.
The origin of "Ngo Rong Rian"
Rong Rian, a Thai word for school , is the name of the most renowned rambutan of Surat Thani Province. Back in 1926, Mr. K. Wong, a Malaysian-Chinese, moved from Penang in Malaysia to operate a tin mine at Ban Muang Kae, Tambon Na San, Amphoe Ban Na San. He brought with him some rambutan seeds, which were first grown in Tambon Na San not too far to the north of his house