The streets of Surat Thani, despite the not-too-hyped tourist status, are always filled with travelers. Most of them are here for a short time, mainly the city is used as a transit point when traveling around the kingdom, because Donsak Pier is located in its vicinity, from where ferries leave for Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Phi Phi and Phangan. But if you have a couple of days left, spending them on Surat Thani is a good idea. At least in order to see how non-tourist Thailand lives, try local food and buy inexpensive souvenirs.
How to get to Surat Thani
There is an airport in Surat Thani that receives flights from Bangkok. About 20 Thai Layan Air, Air Asia and Nok Air depart daily from the capital’s airport to Surat Thani. They spend 1 hour 10 minutes in the sky, the ticket costs 640 THB. From Surat Thani Airport you can get to the city by bus for 100 THB or by tuk-tuk for 400 THB. For Thailand climate and geography, please check TopPharmacySchools.
Taxi from Bangkok Airport to Surat Thani costs 7500 THB.
The second option is via Phuket. At Phuket Airport, you need to take a bus to Phuket Town. Orange beads are to the left of the exit from the arrivals hall. After 1 hour 40 minutes they arrive at the old bus station, the trip costs 100 THB. From there, large comfortable buses leave for Surat Thani 5 times a day. Travel 4.5 hours, ticket will cost 195 THB. You can find the timetable at website of the carrier Panthip (in English).
A taxi ride from Phuket Airport to Surat Thani takes 3 hours and will lighten your wallet by 2800 THB.
Public transport is not the most popular way for tourists to travel in Surat Thani, given the relative cheapness of tuk-tuks and taxis. But if anything, look for orange buses plying around the city and its environs. It is better not to ride a bicycle or scooter without proper experience.
Surat Thani Hotels
Hotels are mostly clean and tidy, although even the most luxurious hotel is not immune from uninvited guests in the form of insects and lizards. The cost of living will not hit your pocket. A night in the “four” in a standard double room with breakfast will cost only 700-1000 THB. It’s not a problem to find a neat “three-ruble note” for 500-600 THB per night with breakfast. And in a simple 2 * hotel you can check in for 350-450 THB.
If you plan to stay in the city for a few days, you should pay attention to the apartments. Residents rent apartments for 300-600 THB. And you can plunge into the unknown world of Thai budget housing in a hostel: they ask for 180 THB for a bed in an 8-bed dormitory.
What to try
The culinary symbol of Surat Thani can be safely called “panang gai” – chicken fried in red curry paste and poured with coconut cream. From non-meat products, grilled seafood is a favorite: oysters, squid, lobsters and crabs, as well as “pad thai” – rice noodles fried in sauce with shrimp. For dessert, you can order “mamuang” – a traditional sweet made from glutinous rice with coconut milk and mango. And wash it all down with a shake of fruit and frozen milk or “sato” – Thai rice wine.
The meal will easily fit into 80-150 THB without alcohol per person.
Attractions in Surat Thani
Perhaps the main attraction of Surat Thani is the snow-white Temple of the Pillar (Talat, Mueang Surat Thani District, Surat Thani 84000). It is said to be one of the most beautiful shrines in all of Thailand. Ceremonies are held here dedicated to the spirit of Surat Thani, which, as the locals believe, lives within its walls. In the temple you can buy candles, incense and flowers, and if you are lucky, you can also witness the wedding procession.
In the northwestern suburb of Surat Thani is the Chaiya National Museum (155 156 Tambon Wiang, Amphoe Chaiya, Chang Wat Surat Thani 84110). Prehistoric and medieval artifacts covering all the most important periods of Thai history are stored within the walls of its two buildings. Descriptions are duplicated in English.
The night market pleases with a variety of lovers of Thai gastronomy (Tonpo Alley, Tambon Talat, Amphoe Mueang Surat Thani, Chang Wat Surat Thani 84000). Numerous stalls with meat skewers, noodle dishes, desserts and fruit juice – everything is very fresh and tasty.
And on the way to Donsak Pier, you can stop by the Monkey College (24 Moo 4, Tambon Thungkong, Amphoe Kanchanadit, 84290 Surat-Thani). Monkeys are trained here to collect coconuts – not all in a row, but only ripe ones. It is gratifying that monkeys are taught very gently, encouraging them with nuts and other goodies.