The province of Surat Thani is well known for its islands, fun in the sun, marine parks and jungle adventures galore. It is also the largest province in the south of Thailand and the gateway to the islands of the Gulf Coast of Thailand. The capital city of Surat Thani sometimes known as Surat for short is also called Surat Thani. You may notice this to be quite a common phenomenon in Thailand where the city of the province is also known by the name of the province! The meaning of “Surat Thani” in Thai is the “City of Good People” which was bestowed by King Rama IV. Tourist visiting the province of Surat Thani will find the place full of natural wonders for an adventurous holiday from the rich forested mountains in the west to the natural basins in the east and center of the province. Added on are the beautiful white sandy beaches of the many tropical islands that are well renowned holiday destinations worldwide and the most famous of these islands are Ko Samui and Ko Phang Ngah that is noted for the wild and fantastic full moon parties. There is also the pristine waters of the Ang Thong Marine National Park where coral reefs and marine life are in abundance providing the visitor with endless outdoor activities. Blessed with all these and more, the province of Surat Thani is a holiday-makers paradise and if you can afford it, might even be a permanent holiday all year round! For the history buffs, the province of Surat Thani was believed to be settled by prehistoric tribesmen from the indigenous Malay and Saemang origins which was later joined by the Indians and the Chinese. So if you are visiting Surat Thani, you will see quiet a mix of cultural influences from the religion of the people to the designs of temples and ruins in the province. Surat Thani went through a series of name changes before eventually settled to the present name as bestowed by King Rama IV. So part of the tours for Surat Thani will include the historical sites that are of significance to the development of the province. A visit to Surat Thani is ideal for those interested in eco-tourism especially for those interested in the agricultural aspects of tourism. For those who have never seen a rubber tree up close or are interested to know how rubber is harvested and processed, this is a good place to go and learn. If you fancy coconuts and the delicious candies they produce or just want to watch a monkey harvesting coconuts, then this is also the place for you! The province of Surat Thani is ideal for eco-tourism programs that deal with wildlife, agriculture and marine parks.
Surat Thani Top 10 Destinations
- Exclusive Safari Tour Half Day for those raring to go!
What would you do once you are in the province of Surat Thani with plenty of time to spare and wide open spaces to explore? One of the biggest attractions of the Surat Thani province is the many beautiful islands off the coast and none more is so popular than Ko Samui. Many of the activities visitors would indulge in when they visit Surat Thani will be based on the islands and National Marine Parks around these islands. Opportunities are endless here but one of the must do things while on Koh Samui is to get yourself a jeep! Try a Exclusive safari Tour Half day where you will be bouncing all the way to elephant treks, visiting coconut plantations (this is where you get a chance to see the agile monkeys at work and maybe even have a chance to go pluck some coconuts yourself), then explore the many splendid view points on the island that are guaranteed to take your breath away and finally, making your way into the interiors of the jungle path that brings you along to the highest waterfall on the island known as Namuang Waterfall which is approximately 80 meters high. The highlights of this expedition would be an opportunity to ride on the back of an elephant through the jungle and coconut plantation pathways and feeding them as you go along. Their playful nature as well as the experience on the whole, would be quite a delight plus the chance to maybe play with the monkeys or taste the fresh coconuts harvested off the trees would be a refreshing change. The drive and trek up to the waterfall will be a cooling affair after a long hard trek, so make sure you are rather fit for this. Off course the reward is a cool dip and swim in the fresh spring waters of the waterfall. This is a fairly rare experience as these jungle waterfalls are rather prehistoric. Reminds you of the movie “Blue Lagoon” only that you will not be so alone and private with several other tourists romping around.
- Genital shaped rocks, prehistoric trees and crocodile fun on a Samui Extream Package
Raring to go in a humming 4 x 4 jeep early in the morning after a hearty breakfast is a great way to start the day. Feeling like a modern day safari explorer in a Samui Extream Package, make sure you have loads of suntan splashed on, a sturdy hat, comfortable clothes and shoes before setting out on your way! Begin your drive by making your way to the most unusual sight on Samui Island by the beach in south Lamai. Why? One look at the rock formations will have you giggling or howling in laughter when Mother Nature shows you her quirky side. These are the “Grandmother” and “Grandfather” rocks also known as Hin Tai and Hin Yai in Thai, which actually play down the shapes they portray. One is shaped like a man’s genital and the other like a woman’s genital, so you can expect quite a number of tourists who will also be there snapping away at photos of these two rocks in particular and making a comedy of themselves. Would be a good idea to join in the fun while you are there! Do make sure you have made advance bookings for the Samui Extream Package from your tour or travel agent in Thailand such as thaitourismguide.com so as to make sure the vehicle and guide is available for you when you arrive. Next is a drive to the five hundred year old Dipterocarpacae tree, which is said to be the oldest tree on the island. It is hard to dispute that from the size of the trunk and roots! The good part about having a jeep on hand is that you need not do much walking around, save for the sore butt at the end of the ride from all that bouncing around. From there, head on to the elephant and monkey shows and watch those deft little primates pluck coconuts from the coconut trees. Quite a remarkable sight and the envy of those who are afraid of heights. The elephants are no less any cuter and will sweep your heart away with their antics, and you get a chance to feed them their favorite snack too. An elephant trek is also on the tour itinerary so you get to actually ride an elephant on this trip. All this is before lunch, and then comes the topping and refueling time for that growling tummy of yours with a scrumptious traditional Thai lunch and whatever local fruits that are in season. The rest of your day will be spent visiting and swimming in the highest waterfall in Ko Samui, a drive up to the spectacular viewpoints on the island where you get a great sight of the surrounding area and the coast, and finally a visit to the “Secret Buddha Garden” before finally calling it a day and heading on back to the hotel!
- Hi ho, hi ho is off to sea we go to the Ang Thong National Marine Park with Kayaking and Snorkeling
You would shoot yourself in the foot if you miss the opportunity to visit the Ang Thong National Marine Park while in the province of Surat Thani. It is notably one of the most beautiful of marine parks in the whole of Thailand. Sea kayaking is very different from river or lake kayaking especially here where the water is super clear and you can actually get a very good view of life under the wave right from your kayak. The biodiversity of the marine park makes it one of the richest nutrient fed marine parks with teeming hard and soft corals, a diverse marine life and one of the rare opportunities to spot large shoals of fish, sea turtles and rays while kayaking. The best way to do this is to book a tour for the Ang Thong National Marine Park with Kayaking and Snorkeling package which will provide you will all the transfers from hotel to the site and back again. The kayaking and snorkeling tour package for the Ang Thong National Marine Park with Kayaking and Snorkeling also includes a hearty lunch and all the necessary equipment you will need. Too hot in the kayak, you could always just jump into the inviting water provided off course you know how to get back on. If not, just do the sensible thing, paddle back to shore and start snorkeling from there. Saves you all the hassle of trying to clamber back into the kayak like a whale on shore! You can always choose a life jacket along with your snorkeling gear if you are not so confident about the deep water or better yet, float around on a rubber tube for that added security. If you are too lazy, then just drift away on the tube but make sure you keep an eye on the shore!
Sometimes when we mention the word “museum” most of us will put up our hands and say “What, come all the way to a tropical paradise to go visit a museum?” Well, these two museums in Surat Thani are rather innovative and unique. The entrance fee is very cheap for one and the other is up to how much you want to donate. These two museums are the Chaiya National Museum and the Folklore Museum. Tours for these museums can be arranged with your tour gents and normally comes with a packaged tour of Surat Thani city. The Chaiya National Museum is a very petite, charming and nostalgic little museum that consist of two mid-sized buildings. Housed in these buildings are prehistoric artifacts of the various Thai eras such as the Dvaravati era all the way to the Ayutthaya era, some handicrafts which are indigenous to Surat Thani as well as the very interesting shadow puppets. These puppets are made from the hides of buffaloes, dried and shaved until it is firm and thin enough for carving out silhouettes. These silhouette images portray the myths and legends of ancient Thailand as well as stories from the Ramayana. The shadow puppets are controlled by a puppet master who is accompanied by a small musical troupe. It used to be a popular form of entertainment in the olden days when a stage with a white screen is set up in a village. The puppet master takes up the position behind the white screen with a light in the background that will cause a shadow of the puppet on the screen. Stories and legends are told this way a long time ago which is off course now replaced by the iPad, the TV, cable channels and the portable DVDs! The Folklore Museum on the other hand also has historical and prehistoric pieces on display but what sets it apart from the other museum is the Bone china pottery and the opium pillows. It wouldn’t take long for you to browse these museums and can be combined with some other tours of Surat Thani for an interesting day out that should be fairly entertaining if not eye-opening!
5. A trekking we will go on an Elephant Trek
Explore the tropical rainforest from the highest ride in the world, on the back of your own elephant! The 60 minute Elephant Trek will bring you to some of the most interesting sights within the rainforest such as the waterfalls and deep into the jungle or even coconut plantations that fringe these jungles. It is like Mowgli from Jungle Book taking a ride on his elephant from the Walt Disney cartoon. The only thing is the elephants don’t talk. The tour package for a 60 minute Elephant Trek is suitable for children and adults alike and kids will be thrilled to have an opportunity to have just such a ride. They can also play with the elephants and feed them bananas or any other fruit that you bring along. The best time for an elephant trek is in the morning when it is not too hot and the tropical jungle is alive with all the natural wildlife. If you are lucky you might have the opportunity to spot some of them as well as the flora that are indigenous to these tropical rainforest. Make sure that you book your tour for a 60 minute elephant trek in advance especially during peak season. You can do so through your preferred travel agent in Thailand that offers such tours. Remember to bring along some treats for these lovable mammals who would be most happy to have them! Also do dress sensibly to keep cool and comfortable during the ride. This is not just an educational but also a fun ride and normally on such tours, they also do include picture opportunities with other animals but all for a fee off course! If your child is below three years old, there is no fee for the child and you can enquire about this fromthaitourismguide.com who would be more than pleased to advise you.
6. Bungee jumps, canopy walks, rock climbing and flying above the tropical rainforest
Having an adrenaline rush and need a quick fix? If you are not the type of holiday tourist that is contented to sit on the back of an elephant or visit museums and just ride on a tourist bus, the province of Surat Thani has other more “addictive” activities for those who just can’t get enough of adrenaline in their blood. Check out the high action packedtours for Bungee Jumps or if that is not enough try the tours for zip lining in Surat Thani or even the tours for rock climbing in Surat Thani. You will not be disappointed. The province of Surat Thani is rich in tropical rainforest with old humongous trees and plenty of limestone cliffs as well as man-made provisions for that all time bungee jump on a tropical island. The rainforest of Surat Thani are perfect for the sport of canopy walking and zip lining which is an activity that is fast catching on. Thetours for canopy walks and zip lining in Surat Thani requires that you walk some distance up hill in the tropical rainforest to reach the zip lining and canopy walk sites. The walk up is a great time for you to observe the flora and fauna along the jungle pathways before you come screaming down the zip line! Off course in order to get to the top of the tree line canopy you would be required to climb them first but this does not mean making like a monkey. The tree platforms are well facilitated with stairways that allow you to do so and platforms are interspersed between trees in various points of the rainforest for you to experience a canopy walk and to zip line to the lower grounds. So in the end, you still get to join in the cacophony of jungle voices by adding yours to the symphony while zip lining! Bungee jumping can be experienced on the island of Ko Samui where a platform has been rigged behind the rows of pubs along the popular night life sector of the island. The exact location is behind the Reggae Pub in Ko Samuiwhere an innovative group of thrill seekers has seen fit to provide that quick adrenaline fix for those who can’t wait and you can check out the bungee jumping experience on Ko Samui for tour related to this experience. Assuring you of their high British safety standards you might want to give it a try and then head on later for a drink to brag about it at the many pubs! Be sensible and don’t drink while or before bungee jumping unless you want to clean the mess yourself! The limestone cliffs all around Surat Thani and the islands provide an ideal playground for those who love to scale high walls like Spiderman. There are numerous tour operators on Ko Samui who can arrange atour for rock climbing in Ko Samui or Surat Thani in different experience levels. All these activities are not for those who are afraid of heights which are very obvious unless you have a great desire to overcome it and want to spend your holidays doing just that!
If you want to experience a local festivity while in Surat Thani, make sure you mark these down on your calendar before you plan your trip. There is nothing quite like a Thai festivity that is not only extravagant and colorful but also sometimes mystical. For those who want to catch the perfect weather conditions in Surat Thani before moving on to the islands, October would be a good time. Tourist to Surat Thani will get to experience the Chak Phra Festival which happens at around mid-October when it is the end of the Ok Phansa season, which is the Buddhist Rain Retreats. This colorful event sees a long procession of devotees pulling and pushing along a huge Buddha image on the streets and in the water along the Tapi River. This is where you will get to see some of the famed Thai long boats with fifty oarsmen at the helm rowing away in a sort of race in these highly decorated vessels with Buddha images and statues on board. Check with your Thai travel agents such as thaitourismguide.com for the exact dates before you plan your travels to Surat Thani. Another festival you might not want to miss or should attend when you are in Surat Thani around August is the famedRambutan Fair in Surat Thani. The rambutan is a widely grown fruit of this province and produces some of the sweetest and most succulent rambutans compared to any other province. The rambutan is a small fist sized fruit that is sometimes in red or green and has hair-like protrusions with a hard skin that keeps a succulent juicy inner pulp with a singular wooden seed. This fruit can sometimes be found canned in a supermarket shelf but the best flavor is eaten fresh off the tree. This festival is celebrated with float processions, monkey agility demonstrations, food fairs and fun fairs in the town of Surat Thani. Off course the highlight of the whole fair is the rambutan fruit which will be in abundance all ready for the eating!
8. Bouncing along on a Koh samui ATV Quad bike and riding the cable car on Ko Samui
This is an adventure for those who much prefer something a little more sedate. No doubt riding on a ATV Quad Bike in Ko Samui may sound dangerous but it is actually quite relaxing and enjoyable. The Koh Samui ATV Quad Bike adventure starts in the morning and is suitable for children and adults alike. Kids can ride in behind their parents and there is insurance coverage included for all riders provided you do not try any funny stunts while riding and damaging not just yourself but also the vehicle! Lessons are provided for you prior to the ride so that you will know how to handle the bike in a proper manner so do pay close attention! You can ask your tour operator on Ko Samui about the Koh Samui ATV Quad Bike Adventure tour package prior to your arrival and book the vehicle in advance especially during the peak holiday seasons. These rides will bring you to interesting terrains that are of different skill levels. How would you like to get a perfect view of the tropical forest on the island of Ko Samui as well as the beautiful scene of the coastline all in the comfort of a cable car ride including transfers from your hotel in Ko Samui to the site? Sounds good to spend a few hours to grab a chance for such a scene? Then try out the Ko Samui Cable Ride that has three sessions a day. You can say that this is one way to get a panoramic view of the island in the most comfortable manner. Check with your tour agent if you can combine this tour with some othersightseeing tours around Ko Samui to make it a fun-filled day for yourself and those traveling with you just to keep them occupied!
- Whizzing about the waters in your own private speed boat on Mathew Private Speed boat charter Koh tao & Koh Nangyuan
If you have the cash to spare you can always take out a tour by Mathew Private Speed boat charter Koh tao & Koh Nangyuan where you have the luxury of a pilot and guide to bring you anywhere to these two places for a private time! The ultimate of all holiday tourist dreams, you have the comfort and safety of such a tour package when you have the time and money to spend! You can arrange for a greatprivate island hopping trip that comes with all the trimmings such as a picnic lunch and drinks to entertain you the whole day. Don’t worry about the boat driver; he will know how to while his time away. A private speed boat charter will give you all the freedom to decide how much time you would like to spend in one place without having to wait for other people’s decision or follow a tour routine. This leaves you with more time to spend in a place of your choice among the two islands while you frolic around in private! The private speed boat tour package includes all insurance, snorkeling equipment and life jackets but entrance fees to the marine national parks, lunch packaging, island visit fees and hotel transfers are not included so please make sure you check the pricing before signing on!
10. Local delights of Surat Thani
Some of the off beaten things of interest to do in the province of Surat Thani may not be your average tour destinations but they are also not any less fascinating. Surat Thani produces a lot of very interesting produce such as Kai Khem Chaiya which is the local salted egg. These eggs are highly delicious when eaten with rice or congee. Tours to these types of places would be by special enquiry under the eco-tourism sector for Surat Thani. You can visit many other types of produce producing industries including the oyster farms, rambutan fruit plantations, silk worm farms where they produce some of the finest silk in Thailand and you can buy some of these produce directly from the factories. Other eco-tourism places also include the pearl harvesting farm in Surat Thani where Surat Thani produces some mid-sized and small sized pearls. Coconuts are also vastly harvested in Surat Thani but there are not many people who can actually climb the coconut trees to harvest the nuts so the next best alternative is to employ the help of the nifty little primates, the monkeys. There is aMonkey School in Surat Thani that trains these little primates to go pluck coconuts and being very much like children, they love their antics as ell and are rather playful. You can watch them at work and play in the Monkey School. Each trained monkey has an owner who cares for the little creature much like a part of their own family and you can sometimes see that close bod between trainer and primate! Do remember to check out these unusual tours of Surat Thani while you are in the province. As diverse as the province of Surat Thani may be, so it is with tourism in the province of Surat Thani. As with any other Thai province, temples are one of the highlights here with such places as the Wat Suan Mokkhaphalaram which is a monastery located in the rainforest and is considered one of the few rainforest temples in Thailand. Other temples include Wat Khao Suwan Pradit that is a 45 meter high hilltop pagoda, Wat Khao Tham where foreigners like to go for meditation and Wat Maduea Wan where it is claimed that a replica of Buddha’s footprint is located. There are also many national parks all around the province which is rich in biodiversity from the flora to the fauna. Then there are also visits that can be made to villages such as Ban Chalok Lam which is famous for their dried seafood especially squid. Kids will enjoy the farm and animal shows such as the snake farm (which is not for those who are squeamish), the Samui Buffalo Village, Butterfly and honey farm, Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo, Crocodile Farm and Monkey Training Center.