Surat Thani Province

Ang Tong Archipelago National Park, Surat Thani

Among the 14 Southern provinces, Surat Thani ranks first in area, occupying over 12,800 square kilometres of flat and fertile land south of Chumphon and Ranong, with the Provinces of Nakhon Si Thammarat and Krabi bordering it to the south, and the Province of Phanga to the west. The Gulf of Thailand lies to the east, where the major and the most significant river, Tapee, flows out to the sea, forming the largest breeding ground of marine life in the country.
  • The Tapee River is the lifeline of the city, forming the main feature of the province, and also the livelihood of the people. It starts from Khaoyai, a high mounain in Thungyai District of Nakhon Si Thammarat and flows out to the sea at Ban Don Bay, with many tributaries and feeder canals, making the land on both sides rich and fertile, and the lifestyle of the people fascinating. Surat Thani is the city of canals, comparable to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The area at the mouth of the river is murky, with silts and fine sand, surrounded by mangrove forest, making up an ideal breeding ground for oyster, prawn, and othe marine products.

  • Oyster farms are comfortably sited in the area, involving minimum capital investment and no technology. With proper wooden pens submerged in the water for a period of time, oysters are ready for the market. Ban Don or Surat oysters are famous, fetching rewarding income for those making their homes in the many fishing villages along the waterways in the Province.
  • The Pagoda of the Holy Relic of Chaiya; The most important and sacred religious sites in the province is the Pagoda of the Holy Relic of Chaiya in Chaiya District. Built at the peak of the ancient Sri Vijaya Empire, the pagoda is a shining example of the elaborate religious structure in Mahayana Sect. The original shape and from of the pagoda have been maintained throughout more than 13 centuries. Standing 24 metres high on a square base, it was built in the design of a pagodatopped holy shrine, or "Mondop". The pagoda itself has a stupa top, in the form of a pile of rice-storks normally spotted along rice farms in Asia. The hollow huge structure was built long before the technique of brick and stucco was known to the world. It was known to house the holy relic brought to the region by the early religious missions that arrived to propaga te Buddhism. The pagoda has been made the symbol of the province of Surat Thani, the provincial court, various associations and the ecclesiastical circle there.

  • Samui island -- Foremost in the mind of vacationers, both local and foreign visitors is Ko Samui or Samui island, a major island off the west coast, 84 kilometres from the city. The district of Koh Samui, however, covers a group of island and islets numbering 48 altogether. The seabed is rich in tin, wolfram and iron ore. Samui and other islands serve as peaceful homeground for fishermen and miners and a natural habitat for seagulls and other birds, while the waters around the islands and rock formations provide perfect breeding ground for fish and other sea creatures.

  • Samui island has long been known for its high quality coconut and palms, grown everywhere on the island. Monkeys are trained to climb the high trees and pick the ripe coconut fruits, a fascinating feature for visitors to the island. There are two waterfalls, Hin Lard waterfall, two kilometres from the District office, and Na Muang waterfall, 12 kilometres away, adding substantially to the charms of the island. Among the palmfringed beaches, simple and well-maintained huts and bangalows were built to accommodate visitors and tourists at very affordable prices, with good seafood available in simple and friendly catering services.
    Do you like a splendid view of Samui island ? click here.

  • Angthong Bay -- Between the Samui island and the mainland Surat Thani, lies the Angthong Bay, literally the Golden Basin, which has become a Marine National Park. The scattering island and oitcroppings offer splendit island caves, magical limestone island s, azure-green water in the various lakes and inland waterways, and hundreds of beaches, large and small, filled with glittering white fine sand. Oddly-shaped islands and wonderous rock formations in the area are linked to a famous legend of Samui island involving a fierce battle between two rival lovers wellversed in black magic which turned various objects into stone and thus the wonderful isles and rock formations which are a feast to the eyes.

  • Suan Mokh -- A place that has become very popular for worshippers and visitors is Suan Mokh, a unique forest monastery founded by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, one of the most venerated lord abbots of the country. The senior mork, a native of Chaiya dedicated his life to the practice and furtherance of the Lord Buddha's teachings. A deserted temple in the jungle that he picked as his meditation site has grown into a Buddhist sanctuary, set deep into the forest, against the backdrop of peaceful hills, rich in trees and plants, and fed eternally by brooks. The venerable Buddhadasa and his disciples carefully deveioped the place with keen sense of conservation. From this peaceful temple in the jungle, Buddhadasa preaches to the outside world, in his clear and forceful language. His preachings and lectures became widely published, and were translated into many languages.

  • Pa-Ngan island -- A major island north of Samui island is Pa-Ngan island which is rich in nature beauty. A wonderful waterfall on the island named Tharn Sadet waterfall got its name from the royal visit paid by King Chulalongkorn the Great, Rama V, and was later frequented by King Rama VI, Rama VII, and the present monarch. The name of the island, as well as other islands in the group was adopted by major warships of the Royal Thai Navy.

    Shops at Amphoe Chaiya

    August 1-10, Rambutan Fair, ten days and nights of floats, fruits and trained monkeys celebrate the site in Surat Thani of the first rambutan tree.
    October 15-19, Chak Prra Festival is a famous festival in Surat Thani provinces in the south. The ceremony shows how people parade and put the Buddha's image onto the altar. The entire ceremony was re-enacted in Surat Thani's grand procession in the celebrations.

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