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Surat Thani is a city on the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand. At approximately 125,000 residents, it is the eighth largest city in Thailand. It is also the capital of Surat Thani Province.
Surat Thani Airport (URT) is about 20km west of the city in the Phun Phin District. Thai Airways, Air Asia, and Nok Air operate daily flights to and from Don Mueang International and Suvarnabhumi Airports in Bangkok. There are also direct flights to Chiang Mai and Kuala Lumpur on Air Asia. Phantip Travel on Taladmai Rd has a bus service connecting with all flights to the airport from Surat Thani. The price one-way is 100 baht.
The Surat Thani train station, despite its name, is located in Phun Phin, about 15 km west of town centre. Most comfortable are the overnight trains from Bangkok, which arrive in early morning.
There are regular orange non aircon buses to the left as you walk out of the station. A taxi to the city center from the train station is 160baht, however on exiting the station most touts will try to push the same taxi for 300baht.
The new Surat Thani (long distance) bus terminal is located a bit outside the city (about 5 km); however if you plan to go directly into the city, it is usually possible to ask for a stop before. If you are coming from Phuket, it takes about 6 hours to reach Surat Thani. The bus station is actually located close to the four way intersection of the main north/south road, and the road into town in one direction, and to Phuket and the train station in the other.
This city is a little difficult to work out. There are three bus stations, and an airport and train station both roughly 15Km distant. You usually come along the road into the city from the train and distant (new) bus station. The road crosses a river,and then becomes Taladmai Rd.
What to see
Monkey Training College, 24 Moo 4, Tambon Thungkong, Amphoe Kanchanadit, 84290 Surat-Thani (8 km from town, in the direction to Don Sak.). An interesting place to visit. The owner trains monkeys to become coconut collectors. The training is done in an animal-friendly fashion. No punishments are given, only rewards.
Kampan, Amphur Rd. A romantic garden setting makes Kampan a great spot for a dinner date. It's classy and not too expensive. Massaman curry with chicken, 80 baht.
Sweet Kitchen, Bandon Rd.. Ideal location across from the pier, they serve Thai food and foreign food. The pasta with curry is delicious, and they even have mashed potatoes and ice-cream milkshakes.
Tanyapon, Talad Mai soi 43 (Go down Talad Mai past Thaksin hospital on the left. Soi 43 will be on the right. Go down until you see the Thai sign on the left, about 100 meters (there is no English sign).
Madube, Chalokrat Rd.. Go down Chalokrat Rd. towards Highway 401. Go past the Kickoff Stadium on the left and keep your eye peeled for the crescent moon banner on the left. A Muslim restaurant where they serve a variety of curries and rotis.
Good Health, Amphur Rd.. On Amphur Rd. towards Donnok Rd., right past the intersection of Amphur Rd. and Chalokrat Rd. They serve a variety of Thai foods, but use less oil and no MSG in an effort to make healthier food. They also serve good salads, which can be rare to find. Another favorite among expats.
Earth Zone, Chalokrat Rd. On Chalokrat Rd., a little east of the intersection with Amphur Rd. A charming restaurant with a great vibe and atmosphere. They have a large menu with delicious drinks and cocktails. The food is a bit pricey relatively speaking, but the food is good.
Vegetarian, Namueang St. There is more than one vegetarian restaurant on Namueang Rd. Look for the yellow banners with red Thai writing. One vegetarian eatery across from the fire station offers a range of traditional Thai curries, soups and snacks as well as a range of its own unique bottled juices.
Night Market, Tri Anusonn Rd at Namuang Rd. Walk the block and pick up whatever treats catch your eye, or grab a table at one of the restaurants and watch the market scene as you dine. Freshly juiced fruits, corn on the cob, squid-kebabs, fried chicken, saffron rice, pad Thai, sushi plus much, much more.
Night Pier. A popular spot for tourists to eat and drink beer before boarding the night boat to Ko Tao or Ko Pha Ngan. Lots of food carts selling seafood and noodles and standard Thai fare at only slightly elevated prices. If you walk further down the road toward the bridge, you'll find fruit vendors galore.