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 center 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 splendor.
characteristics of Surat Thani are high plateau and mountains
covered with valuable wood forest 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
Festivals & Events
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.
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 organize
dazzling land and waterborne processions of revered Buddha images
(to symbolize 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