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The Essential Guide to Surat Thani

The Essential Guide to Surat Thani [Top Things to Do + Tips]  

Surat Thani may not be a location you’ve thought about much—you’ll probably just pass through it on your way to Koh Samui or Khao Sok. You’d be surprised, though, as it can offer you a ton of fantastic things to do when in Thailand.

From parks to temples, we list down the best things to do in Surat Thani. Read on to learn more about this bustling transport hub!

Where is Surat Thani?

Surat Thani is a city and the capital of Surat Thani province. It’s considered the largest Southern province of the country so it’s not surprising that there are a number of great things and activities for you to do here during your trip.

There are numerous national parks in the area along with a few wildlife sanctuaries that you can check out if you’re an animal lover. This area is also steeped in history as evidenced by the ruins left by early inhabitants which you can explore on your trip!

A visit to Surat Thani isn’t complete without visiting one of the most celebrated parks in the entire country– Khao Sok National Park. This popular national park is surely worth your time thanks to the numerous activities available here for you to enjoy.

How to Get to Surat Thani

Plane: If you want to get to Surat Thani from Bangkok in the most comfortable, convenient way possible, you can take a plane from Bangkok to Surat Thani. You can get a flight for cheap if you book one during the low season (March to November).

The best part about this is that you can get to Surat Thani in around 1 hour and pay only around the same price as that of a train ticket. Be warned though– airline ticket prices can triple during peak seasons so plan your trip carefully if you’re on a budget.

Train: Travelling by train from Bangkok to Surat Thani has some advantages and disadvantages you might want to consider before booking your ticket. First, train prices are pretty affordable compared to plane tickets regardless of the peak or low season.

Second, trains are pretty comfortable compared to buses, especially if you book a sleeper one. You can sleep at night and stay up all day just enjoying the view from where you’re seated.

One big disadvantage of trains, however, is that the trip can be quite long. The fastest trains can take you 8 hours one way to get to Surat Thani while a standard train can take around 12 hours or half a day to get to your destination.

Bus: If budget is a big consideration, then you can also travel to Surat Thani by bus. Buses will usually take around 10 to 12 hours and will be comfortable to a certain extent.

For example, you can tilt the seats a bit on a regular bus if you want to sleep while travelling. However, you can also opt to take a VIP bus with comfier and fully reclining seats– these will cost more of course but it should be worth it if you’re after comfort!

How to Get Around Surat Thani

Car Rental: You can rent a car in Surat Thani through various car rental companies such as Hertz, Carrent, and Sixt. Competitive rates are also being offered here by smaller car rental companies so we suggest that you ask around for the best price.

To rent a car, you need to present your driver’s licence and your passport. Once you get your rental, you can drive around the city with ease and convenience, especially if you’re travelling around the province with your family or loved ones.

Songthaew: Surat Thani residents and locals will use Songthaews for their daily transportation and if you want to feel like a local, you can always take these to make your way around the province and within the city. 

They’re cheap and you can easily flag one down almost anywhere. These songthaews usually follow a specific route but if you ask the driver to take you somewhere specific, they’ll be happy to oblige (for a fee, of course).

Tuk-tuk: Considered an icon here in Thailand, Tuks-tuks are fun to take a ride in if you want to get around cities like the province’s capital. They’re also a bit faster compared to the standard songthaew. 

However, we highly recommend that you haggle or negotiate the price of the fare with the driver first to avoid any misunderstanding after you get to your destination. 

You can find most of these tuk-tuks around tourist areas, hotels, and bazaars so it shouldn’t be a problem flagging one. Plus, you can take pictures or selfies with one to share with your loved ones and family back home– a truly unique ride from Thailand!

Motorbike Rental: If you want to get around Surat Thani faster, then renting a motorbike might be your best option. Plus, it’s also cheaper than renting a car and is less affected by heavy traffic Thailand is notorious for.

What to Do in Surat Thani

Explore the Rajjaprabha Dam

Address: Khao Phang, Ban Ta Khun District, Surat Thani 84230, Thailand  

Contact details: +66 77 395 155  

Operating hours: 

  •  Open 24 hours

When you’re in Surat Thani, a trip to explore the Rajjaprabha Dam is truly a must! There are tons of things for you to see and do here and a visit to the location is truly worth it.

The views you’ll see in and around the dam are fantastic, with its emerald-green waters and wide open spaces featuring limestone cliffs and mountains. The clear blue sky is also amazing to behold from this spot and will give you perfect photo opportunities.

If you’re a nature lover, you also enjoy the activities Rajjaprabha Dam has to offer. Here, you can go exploring the surrounding waterfalls, do some paddle boating, swim, trekking, or join a night safari to enjoy the wildlife of the area. 

Pro tip:

  • To fully enjoy what Rajjaprabha Dam has to offer, we recommend that you stay in any of the hotels near Khao Sok National Park. You can stay for around 2 to 3 days to give you enough time to do all the things there are to do here.

Trek through Khao Sok National Park

Address: Phanom District, Surat Thani, Thailand   

Contact details: +66 77 395 154 

Operating hours: 

  •  Monday to Sunday, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Khao Sok National Park is one of the most popular tourist spots in Thailand and one you shouldn’t miss. It features a ton of activities to do and sights to see that you’d be missing out on a lot if you don’t check out what it has to offer.

Thanks to the location’s lush greenery, you can trek through the jungles of the park and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the woods. If you want to do some water activities, the park also allows you to do some kayaking and canoeing.

The park also has Cheow Lan Lake which has floating tents that you can rent overnight for some glamping. Imagine waking up to the fantastic views and amazing scenery around the lake!

While trekking through the park you might also be fortunate enough to spot some wildlife! You might see some unique ones such as the mouse deer, tapir, and the Gaur, so make sure the kids are paying attention if these critters do show up.

Lastly, the park has an ethical elephant camp where you can interact with these majestic beasts. You can observe and even pat them to get that unique experience of touching one of the most awesome animals on the planet!

Pro tip:

  • The trip from Surat Thani to the park will take you around 2 hours and 30 minutes. You have different options to get to the site but we recommend just taking the bus if you’re on a budget as that will only cost you around 250 THB.

Immerse in local culture at the Khao Na NiLalang Dhamma Park

Address: Ton Yuan, Phanom District, Surat Thani 84260, Thailand  

Contact details:   N/A

Operating hours: 

  •  Open 24 hours


You may want to visit somewhere peaceful and calming while in Southern Thailand. If so, then Kaho Na NiLalang Dhamma Park might be the ideal location for you in Surat Thani.

It’s surrounded by the beauty of Mother Nature which makes the site extremely serene and perfect if you want to do some deep thinking or meditation. However, the main attraction here is its elevated pagoda which you can find on a peak 300 metres above.

This pagoda is home to the remains of the Buddha and you’ll also see a Phuttawadi inside. It’s a gate designed using the Kao Yot architectural style and is perfect if you want to take pictures for some memorable and unique social media posts.

Pro tip:

  • Try to visit the site early in the morning so you can see the sea of mist. It’s basically morning mist that forms around the elevated rock formation where the pagoda is located, making it appear like the structure is levitating or floating. 

Marvel at the clear waters of Khlong Nam Sai

Address:  Khlong Nam Sai, Aranyaprathet District, Sa Kaeo 27120, Thailand

Contact details:  N/A

Operating hours: 

  •  Monday to Sunday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM


One of the most breathtaking sites you can visit when in Surat Thani is the crystal clear waters of Khlong Nam Sai. What makes this site unique is that compared to the clear blue waters of the Andaman Sea, this canal actually has clear emerald-green waters.

It’s awesome to look at and take pictures of, especially if you happen to visit the site when the rays of the sun are directly hitting the canal’s waters. There are also areas here where the waters are so clear and shallow that you can make out the sand below.

You can also look for some areas here where you can swim. Most tourists will take a kayak and proceed downstream where the canal connects to Khlong Rut– a popular swim spot where you can enjoy the refreshing waters of Khlong Nam Sai

Pro tip:

  • There are tours being offered going to  Khlong Nam Sai to make the most of your day, we recommend booking one with the additional ATV ride around the canal. Most of these tours will also throw in some lunch for you to enjoy! 

Experience local living at Ko Raet

Address:  Don Sak, Don Sak District, Surat Thani 84220, Thailand

Contact details:  N/A

Operating hours: 

  •  N/A

Koh Raet is a small island that will give you a different perspective of Thailand. It’s got a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere that can offer you and your family a glimpse at how the locals live in the rural areas of the country.

The views from this small island are fantastic with lush greenery around and the clear blue waters of the sea surrounding it for you to enjoy. 

After a relaxing day of sightseeing, you can then immerse yourself further into the local culture by trying out their local cuisine. There’s also a cooking class here that you can enrol in to learn from some of the best local chefs in the country.

If you want something more physically active, Koh Raet also offers some snorkelling and diving sites for you to try out. Soneva Kiri’s Solar Reef Garden is one spectacular snorkelling site you may want to check out if you want a truly unique dive experience.

Pro tip:

  • If you want to stay overnight on the island, there are a couple of homestays you can rent. We highly recommend this as Koh Raet offers some of the best sunrise and sunset views in Southern Thailand.

Be amazed by the Buddha’s Footprint 

Address:  Tambon Na Mueang, Ko Samui District, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand

Contact details:  N/A

Operating hours: 

  •  Monday to Sunday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Here’s another unique site and experience you shouldn’t miss when in Surat Thani– seeing the Buddha’s footprint at Wat PhraPhutthabat Si Surat! This is one of the many footprints found around Thailand and is one sight that will give you goosebumps.

Imagine staring at one of these footprints in such a tranquil and meditative area. While these footprints are claimed to either be naturally formed or man-made, doing so will give you that sensation that you’re at peace and one with nature.

What makes this site special though, is that the footprint was registered by Thailand’s Fine Arts Department, marking this location as a genuinely religious and cultural spot!

Your trip to see the footprints will also be a pilgrimage of sorts. To go up and see the Buddha’s imprint, you’d have to walk around 367 staircases which we think shouldn’t be an issue especially if you really want to see this spiritually enlightening site!

Pro tip:

  • Since you’ll be doing a bit of walking and climbing here, we recommend that you wear comfortable shoes. Make sure that they are grippy too, as the concrete steps leading up to the footprints may be slippery when wet.

Experience the majesty and tranquillity of Phra That Si Surat

Address: Makham Tia, Mueang Surat Thani District, Surat Thani 84000, Thailand 

Contact details: N/A

Operating hours: 

  •  Monday to Sunday, 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM 

Phra That Si Surat is a sacred location you need to visit if you want to experience tranquillity and a sense of history while in Surat Thani. You’ll see a couple of interesting artefacts here such as its unique stupa and a kiam tree which you shouldn’t miss.

Walking through the woods leading up to the mountain is certainly one thing you should do when you’re in this location. Your climb may be a bit steep, but the views surrounding the moss-covered steps are amazing thanks to the trees and shrubs around the area.

After that steep mountain climb, you’ll get some of the views of Surat Thani from the top of the mountain. You’ll also get to see one of the most unique stupas in all of Thailand– the Phra That Si Surat stupa.

It’s shaped like a pillar or a candle and if you walk around the grounds surrounding the stupa, you’ll find that this place carries a great cultural significance for the locals. 

In fact, there’s even a special tree (Khiam) planted on the location just to commemorate how special this place is. If you happen to visit from March 26-27, you can also witness the parade of Phra That which aims to strengthen the locals’ belief in Buddhism!

Pro tip:

  • There are also stalls here that sell some street food and rent out bicycles for you to ride around the grounds surrounding the stupa. Take in the views of the city as you cruise around your rented bike and make the most of your trip!

Take in the sights of Don Sak

Address:  Don Sak, Don Sak District, Surat Thani 84220, Thailand

Contact details: +66 81 535 3209 

Operating hours: 

  • Open 24/7 (Area around the statue)
  • Monday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (food stalls and market)


You’ll marvel at the golden statue you’ll see once you reach the Buddhist Park of Phuttha Utthayan Maharat. The statue is that of Luang Pu Thuat, a Buddhist Monk from ancient times whose meditative pose will surely grab your attention!

It’s a huge statue with very detailed features, making it the perfect background if you want to take pictures of the park. The area is also nestled within the confines of a large pond decked with trees in a large open garden– perfect if you want a peaceful stroll.

If you do get hungry or just crave some local street food, then you can check out the food stalls on either side of the path leading to Luang Pu Thuat’s statue. You can score great finds here on local food, desserts, beverages, and even local trinkets or souvenirs.

Pro tip:

  • The area around the statue is open 24 hours but we recommend visiting the site once the market is open. 
  • While the views are quite fantastic no matter the time of day, it’s best for you to check out this site when you can actually buy some food or beverages if ever you get hungry or parched while walking to the location.

Witness oyster farming at Sinmana Farmstay

Address:  73 Moo 3, Plaiwat Subdistrict, Kanchanadit, Surat Thani 84160, Thailand

Contact details: +66815977575  

Visiting hours: 

  • By reservation

If you’re a fan of seafood, specifically oysters, the Sinmana Farm is one Surat Thani destination you must visit. It’s a farm stay that encourages the natural culture of oysters and is said to produce some of the biggest oysters you’ll ever see in Thailand.

They’ll teach your group how to properly raise and cultivate oysters to get that great size and taste this farm is known for. Afterward, you can do some oyster tasting with the owner of the farm himself and possibly do some karaoke.

Of course, you can do all these while admiring the vast ocean surrounding this location. It’s located in the middle of the ocean which makes it a great viewing point if you want stunning views of that clear sky and blue waters.

Pro tip:

  • To get to and from Sinmana Farm, you have to take a shuttle boat from Kanam. However, if you want to fully experience what the farm has to offer, we recommend staying overnight.

This site offers accommodations for up to 100 guests so if you choose to stay overnight, you’ll get the full experience – plus a chance to see that amazing Surat Thani sunrise and sunset!

Enjoy the activities offered by the Ban Phum Riang Community 

Address: Chaiya District Surat Thani Thailand

Contact details: N/A 

Operating hours: 

  •  N/A


Culture is oozing from the Ban Phum Riang Community so it’s one place you need to be if that’s your thing. The residents of the community work together so well that you’d be surprised to find that they’re actually a mix of Muslims and Buddhists.

Despite their differences, they create some of the best silk embroidered products you’ll ever see in Thailand. They’re also quite unique as you’ll see a lot of intricate floral patterns with a lot of blue and silver hues.

The best part, however, is that you can actually watch the locals weave these silken products. If you already picked one you liked, you can then purchase it from the market right beside their workshops.

Pro tip:

  • During the low tide, you can also join the locals to pick clams from Ko Set Island. It’s just a 30-minute boat ride from the Ban Phum Riang Community and is a great way for you to experience their local way of life!

Best Places to Eat and Drink in Surat Thani

Day & Night of Suratthani

Address:  484H+FF4, Tambon Makham Tia, Mueang Surat Thani District, Surat Thani 84000, Thailand

Phone:  +66 77 405 795

Pricing: $$$


After enjoying a full day of Surat Thani activities, you can check out this Western fusion restaurant. It offers great Italian and American dishes such as steaks and pasta while you sit and relax in the restaurant’s modern and stylish interiors!

Day & Night of Suratthani also offers some cocktails and drinks that you can order from their bar. Enjoy a cold one with your loved ones or friends before going back to your planned itinerary!

Skyhill Bar Restaurant and Skykoff

Address: 47/9 Soi Chong La, Wat Pradu, Mueang Surat Thani District, Surat Thani 84000, Thailand

Phone: +66 91 526 5888

Pricing: $$


If you can’t get enough of the beautiful countryside views of Surat Thani, then drop by Skyhill Bar Restaurant and Skyoff. Most of the items you can order here are Thai cuisine which are not only healthy and delicious but also expertly served to clients.

These include sauteed veggies with fresh shrimp, green papaya salad, and crispy fried fish – an assortment of flavours where you can’t really go wrong!

Phet Tapee Suki 

Address: 93, 43 Chalokratt Rd, Tambon Bang Kung, Mueang Surat Thani District, Surat Thani 84000, Thailand

Phone: +66 99 304 4456

Pricing: $$


Hot pot fans will enjoy what Phet Tapee Suki has to offer especially since the restaurant can provide you with some of the freshest and varied ingredients in Surat Thani. Some of these ingredients include fresh meat, crunchy veggies, and savoury broth.

Don’t forget to try out their desserts too! Their bingsu is to die for with a texture that’s so divine that it melts in your mouth!

Som Tam Sai Ying Thai Restaurant

Address: 140/11 Moo 3, Tha Kham, Phunphin District, Surat Thani 84130, Thailand

Phone: +66 93 572 6896 

Pricing: $$


Som Tam Sai Ying Thai Restaurant is a unique establishment serving some delicious local fare but with a twist– it has a playground where you can bring your kids to play and enjoy. It’s an amazing place for your entire family for some good food and good times!

Wangwa Hope Restaurant

Address: 712/15, Khao Phang, Ban Ta Khun District, Surat Thani 84230, Thailand  

Phone: +66 81 903 5287 

Pricing: $$


Here’s another Western and local cuisine restaurant that deserves your attention when in Surat Thani! Wangwa Hope Restaurant serves great pizzas, juicy grilled chicken, fresh green salads, and some out-of-this-world Pad Thai to satisfy your cravings!

Plus, the second floor of the restaurant offers a sweeping view of the area which is another opportunity for you to take in sights, relax, and savour your meal while enjoying the splendour of Surat Thani.

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