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Khao Na Nai Luang Dharma, Bild: Peerapat Lekkla / shutterstock

Surat Thani: More than just Koh Samui

If you are traveling in the south of Thailand, it is very difficult to get past Surat Thani. The city of 130,000 inhabitants is idyllically located on the Bay of Bandon on the Gulf of Thailand. The province of Surat Thani also includes the most popular and well-known Thai holiday island Koh Samui, which captivates millions of tourists from all over the world every year. Translated, the name “Surat Thani” means something like “city of good people”. In Thailand’s largest province, there are also numerous excursion destinations and attractions worth seeing away from Koh Samui and the other popular holiday islands.

Surat Thani: Life takes place in the city centre

Wat Khao Suwan Pradit, Surat Thani
View of the temple of Wat Khao Suwan Pradit, Image: Wirestock Creators / shutterstock

Life in the city of Surat Thani takes place mainly in the old town around the 165-kilometre-long Mae Nam Tapi River. Here, especially the many young holidaymakers will find numerous small and large shops as well as restaurants, discos, clubs and bars. Thousands of tourists and locals cavort here every evening, party until late at night and enjoy life. During the day, however, it is also worth taking a leisurely walk through the many narrow streets of the historic old town. You can’t miss the gleaming white city column “Lak Mueang Surat Thani”, which you can see from afar. It is one of the most popular photo motifs in the entire city.

Other popular attractions are the city’s many large and small temples, including Wat Dai Dhammaram. The large temple complex Wat Khao Suwan Pradit should also not be missed. From here you can enjoy a sensational view over the entire coast. And if you have enough time, you should also treat yourself to an exciting trip to one of the two Monkey Colleges during your stay in the region. Here, at the gates of the city, you can watch countless small and large monkeys being trained for their work on the huge coconut plantation.

Waterfalls, caves and exciting flora and fauna

Due to its favourable location in the middle of a large river valley, the entire region offers an extremely exciting and varied flora and fauna. For example, you should not miss the Khao Sok National Park, which is located about 100 kilometers from the city of Surat Thani. Characterized by dense jungle and rugged rocks, the national park, which is considered one of the largest and most spectacular national parks in the country, offers a beautiful cross-section of Thai nature. Among other things, you can explore numerous waterfalls and caves along the natural paths. In addition, many rare animals and plants can be seen here.

With a bit of luck, you can experience tigers or gibbons in their natural habitats, for example. Huge colorful butterflies and small bats can also be seen again and again. The large reservoir Rachabrapha and the associated recreation area is also always worth a trip. The coastal regions off Surat Thani in the Gulf of Thailand are characterized by numerous popular Thai holiday islands, which include the famous island of Ko Samui as well as Ko Tao or Ko Phangan. The islands are visited by millions of holidaymakers every year because they find everything they need for a relaxing summer holiday. In addition to the beautiful sandy beaches and romantic bays, the islands are also famous for their extravagant nightlife. In the northwest of Ko Samui is the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park. The 250 square kilometre marine park, which includes about 40 small islands and countless natural attractions such as the saltwater lake Tale Nai or huge colourful coral reefs. The park can be explored as part of guided day tours, among other things.

Best time to visit Surat Thani

Koh Samui, a Thai island
Koh Samui, Image: toiletroom / shutterstock

The best time to travel to Surat Thani is during the European winter months of December to March. During this time, warm to hot temperatures between 30 and 35 degrees Celsius are to be expected. Precipitation is rather unlikely during these months. During this time, most tourists are also guests in the region. From April onwards, the rainy season begins in and around Surat Thani with sometimes heavy rainfall and strong storms. But even during this time, the temperatures are extremely pleasant. So if you want to avoid the big tourist rush during this time, you can visit Surat Thani in the summer months, but you have to be prepared for intermittent rainfall. The water temperatures – including in the Gulf of Thailand – are a pleasant 25 degrees Celsius all year round