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Destination Guide in Thailand

Surat Thani

Attractions

  • Nai Bang Area (ในบาง) Nai Bang is an alluvial plain around the mouth of the Tapi River which is crisscrossed with networks of canals. The canals are lined with mangrove forest alternating with traditional southern-styled houses, behind which are coconut farms and orchards.

    Khao Tha Phet Nature and Wildlife Study Centre (สถานีพัฒนาและส่งเสริมอนุรักษ์สัตว์ป่าเขาท่าเพชร) This centre is located on a hill called Khao Tha Phet. The hilltop offers commanding panoramic views of Surat Thani town and the Tapi River. Phrathat Si Surat, a candle-like stupa on the hill, contains Lord Buddha's relics donated by the Indian government.

    Monkey Schools (สถานที่ฝึกลิง) In the southern provinces, monkeys work for humans in the harvesting of coconuts. Expert climbers, they show quick skills that are a boon to farmers.

    Oyster Farm (ฟาร์มหอยนางรม) Surat Thani people take so much pride in their big and delicious oysters that they have become a part of the province's motto. Most oysters are raised around the mouth of Kradae and Than Thong canals.

    Ban Khlong Sai Monkey Training Centre (ศูนย์ฝึกลิงบ้านคลองทราย) Located in front of Wat Ampharam, Mu 3, Tambon Khlong Sai, Amphoe Tha Chang, the centre trains monkeys to pick up coconuts.

    Wat Suan Mokkhaphalaram (วัดสวนโมกขพลาราม) Suan Mokkh's founder, the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, was highly respected both locally and internationally. His 'back to basics' form of Buddhism, mirroring that led by the Buddha's earliest disciples more than 2,500 years ago, attracted many Buddhist monks and lay meditators from many countries.

    Phra Borommathat Chaiya (พระบรมธาตุไชยา) Constructed along Mahayana Buddhist's beliefs of the 7th Century, the great chedi is reputedly the best preserved Srivijaya artwork in Thailand. The stone chedi has 3 receding tiers, each of which are decorated with small stupas. The Buddha's relics are enshrined inside the chedi.

    Wat Wiang, Wat Kaeo and Wat Long (วัดเวียง วัดแก้ว และวัดหลง) These 3 temples are supposedly contemporaries of Wat Phra Borommathat Chaiya. The seated Buddha statue protected by naga, made in 1183, and a sand stone, Chaiya-styled, Buddha statue were found at Wat Wiang. Wat Kaeo and Wat Long have Chaiya-styled brick chedi on indented square bases.

    Phumriang Village (หมู่บ้านพุมเรียง) This Muslim fishing village is famed for its hand-woven silk cloth in red, yellow and black. Buddhist Thais in the village weave hats from leaves.

    Namtok Vibhavadi (น้ำตกวิภาวดี) The petite waterfall enjoys bucolic surroundings and attracts a lot of local people during weekends.

    Wat Khao Suwan Pradit (วัดเขาสุวรรณประดิษฐ์) This temple was founded by Luang Pho Choi, one of southern Thailand's most revered Buddhist ecclesiastics. The hilltop 45-metre pagoda contains Buddha relics and commands striking coastal views of Ban Don district.

    Rock Fish Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์ปลาหิน) This museum was established in 1992 by Mr. Kitti Sin-udom, an old fisherman who spent more than 10 years in stone carving work. More than 1,000 life-like sculptures of marine fish found in the gulf of Thailand are on display.

    Khao Sok National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาสก) As part of the largest moist evergreen forest in Southern Thailand, the park is rich with diverse flora including certain families of lotus, white palm, and fern. Khao Sok is also one of the best bird-watching spots in Thailand. Attractions in the park include:

    Ratchaprapha (Rajjaprabha) Dam - The complete of this dam in 1988 gave birth to a huge inland lake of about 168 square kilometres, which is adorned with hundreds of islands and islets

    Tham Nam Thalu – Much preparation is needed to visit this cave, as the trail is rather physically demanding.

    Tang Nam – Streams chiseled across 2 ridges to create this striking gorge. Many people came to pay respect to this place, around which the venerable Buddhadasa Bhikkhu's ashes were traditionally showered.

    Namtok Than Sawan – This scenic waterfall is 3 kilometres from Tang Nam.

    Namtok Sip Et Chan – This 11-leveled waterfall originates from Bang Len canal. The first level is largest and most picturesque

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    San Yang Roi Trail – This 2-kilometre trail begins at the park headquarters and runs along the mountain shoulder past streams, waterfalls and moist evergreen forest. A trail to a rarely seen plant called Bua Phut at Bang Luk Chang Mountain.

    Khlong Phanom National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติคลองพนม) comprises high limestone mountains connected with Khao Sok National Park. Attractions in the park include Kiriwong and Chong Yung waterfalls and several caves full of stalactites and stalagmites.

    Kaeng Krung National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติแก่งกรุง) Its mountainous area is covered by fertile moist evergreen forests, where some rare and endangered species such as tree-ferns can be found. Attractions in the park include hot springs, Bang Hoi Waterfall and Khlong Pa Waterfall.

    Tai Rom Yen National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติใต้ร่มเย็น) The 425 - square kilometre - forest areas in Kanchanadit, Ban Na San and Wiang Sa were designated National Park in 1991. The diluting mountains of the Nakhon Si Thammarat Range are mostly covered with moist evergreen forest and exotic and rare flora and fauna. Attractions in the park include:

    Namtok Tat Fa – The perennial 13-leveled waterfall is highest in Surat Thani. The 4th level is most attractive with its 80 metres high cliff.

    Tham Khamin or Tham Men – Exotic stalagmites and stalactites can be admired in this cave. The walkway is well-lit and fit with stairs when needed, to ensure maximum safety.

    San Yen – The eastern range, about 40 kilometres long and 1,000-1,300 metres high is fertile with rare flora, fauna and wildlife.

    Namtok Mueang Thuat – The 7-leveled waterfall has a large basin.

Festivals / Events

  • Chak Phra Festival.When Buddha return to earth from heaven and was greeted by crowd.Chak Phra annually take place immediately after the end of 3 month rain retreat about October.It is celebrate in many south but in Surat Thani is the biggest.It is Chak Phra Festivals on land and on the Tapi River.Before Chak Phra Day,on the night there are build the screen of Buddha's story around the city and celebrate its all day all night. On land,the splendidly adorned floats are pulled across the town by the participants. At the same time,on watera float decorated in colorful Thai design of a float made to carry the Buddha image.Chak Phra Festivals then concludes with and exciting boat race and treaditional game.
  • Rambutan and Thai Fruits Festivals The rambutan trees were first planted in Surat Thani in 1926 by the Chinese Malay Mr. K. Vong in Ban Na San. An annual rambutan fair is held in beginning of August. Surat thani's Rambutan is the best in Thailand.
  • Boon Sad Dean Sib Festival (Southern Treditional) It is held on the full moon of the 10th month in traditional calendar (about August). Many people will go to the temple and remember for the ancestor.Friend and relations will come back home and go to temple altogether.Treditional people can made sweetmeat for this festival.
  • Surat thani Songkran festival, Thai New Year (water festival) @Surat Thani is celebrated every year on 13 April at Bandon bay street and around the town and Ko Samui is celebrated on 13-15 April at chaweng beach lamai beach and around the island street.
  • Surat Thani Loy Krathong Festival on the Tapi River.It is held on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar this usually falls in November. During the night of the full moon, many people will release a raft like this on a river.
  • Bull Fighting (กีฬาชนวัว) This ancient popular sport on Ko Samui was once held on large undercorated terrain in coconut fields or farms. Now, permanent stadiums in various districts take turns hosting the monthly bull fighting.

Ko Samui

Ko Samui island of Surat Thani Province (or Koh Samui, Thai: เกาะสมุย), or often, simply Samui as it is referred to by locals, is an island off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus in Thailand, close to the mainland Surat Thani town. It is Thailand's third largest island, with an area of 228.7 km2 and a population of over 50,000 (2008). It is rich with natural resources, white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees.

Lifestyle

Although Ko Samui is in southern Thailand, where Islam has a strong influence, the original inhabitants of the island, known as 'Chao Samui', are predominantly Buddhist. In the past, most of the locals made their living in the coconut farming business. Nowadays, however, most work in jobs related to tourism.

Many locals have become wealthy from selling off land they have owned for decades. As a result of the extensive development of the island, many Thai-Chinese have come to Samui from the capital of Bangkok (Khung-Thep). Most of the manual labor needed to keep up with the island’s growth has been provided by people native to the country’s poorer north-eastern region. As a result, there is a wide cross section of economic classes on the island.

The south of Thailand is a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai Chinese, Muslims and traditional sea-faring gypsies. Ko Samui does not seem to suffer from the religious tensions in communities along the southern border of Malaysia and Thailand, and in general the locals live in harmony. Outside of the tourist areas, the Thai language is spoken with a thick Southern dialect which is even difficult for northern Thais to understand.

With this broad mixture of cultures, Ko Samui is always celebrating some tradition or another, including western.

Events and festivals

  • Buffalo Fighting Festival One of the best-known festivals on Ko Samui is its Buffalo Fighting Festival, which is held on special occasions such as New Years Day and Songkran. Unlike Spanish bull-fighting, the fighting on Ko Samui is fairly harmless. The fighting season varies according to some ancient customs and ceremonies. The buffalo are beautifully decorated with ribbons and gold-painted leaves. Before the contest which lasts just two rounds, monks spray them with holy water. The winning owner typically takes home millions of baht in prize money.
  • Ten Stars Samui Art Party A recurring cultural event bringing together art lovers, local Thai and international artists and their new, original artworks. These bi-monthly events, hosted at various high-end resorts and other 5-star venues on the island, focus on building the art community on Ko Samui with presentations by featured artists.
  • Bowling Championship This is an annual bowling event held in May every year.
  • Avis Samui Tennis Open The annual amateur tennis tournament held in July.
  • The Fisherman's Village Festival This five-day festival is celebrated with fun, music and food. The music is usually played by well-known artists and food tents sell inexpensive cuisine provided by local hotels.
  • Triathlon Event The International Triathlon Union organizes this event every year. This event in Ko Samui draws more than five hundred participants from around the world. The event attracts competitors and visitors as well as locals. This event actually has never taken place and was promoted via a website only.
  • Samui Regatta The Samui Regatta is a sailing tournament, held every year. The tournament is internationally known and competitors come from as far away as Australia, Singapore, Japan and China. This event, for boats of all sizes and shapes, began in 2002.
  • Full Moon Party (Ko Phangan) Had Rin Beach on nearby Ko Phang-ngan was once a secret haven for a few backpackers who could only get to the beach by boat. Now, it is packed with bungalows, bars, pizza joints and even a 7-11 and every month on full-moon, a huge all-night event is held with rave music played by international DJs to thousands of party-goers.

 

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