Surat Thani is a city located in southern Thailand, mostly known as a jumping-off point to other attractions rather than for its own activities.
To answer the question of whether the city is worth visiting, it’s best to look at your own itinerary.
For travellers on a tight time frame, Surat Thani is probably best suited as just a transportation hub and entryway to the popular islands on the Gulf of Thailand (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao) or the Andaman coast (Krabi, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi).
However, for those with a bit of time to spare it may be worth setting aside some time to get a glimpse of the ‘real’ Thailand that is slowly becoming buried by tourism.
That’s why Surat Thani’s location also makes it a great spot for day trips to explore the surrounding areas.
Also read: Top 5 Things to Do in Surat Thani
How to get around in Surat Thani
One of the main reasons why travellers come to Surat Thani is due to it’s transport links, so it’s no surprise that getting around is fairly easy.
Once you’re in the city, Surat Thani is a relatively easy city to walk around or even more fun, hire a bicycle for 100 baht/day. If you prefer the bike to do all the work, then you can also hire a motorbike for around 300 baht/day.
Equally, there are plenty of tuk tuks, songthaews and taxis roaming the streets, waiting for their next customer.
How to get to your next destination from Surat Thani
Most people arrive at Surat Thani train station, located 14 kilometers from town. Here, you’ll find plenty of travel companies offering you transportation for your onward journey.
You’re nearly there if your destination is one of the islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Most travel companies offer a package deal with a bus taking you to a nearby port, either Donsak or Tapee River, followed by a boat journey to your chosen paradise.
Surat Thani railway station
If you’re planning to stay the night, Surat Thani has taken the stress out of travelling with their orange buses. Costing just 20 baht, they will take you from the train station into town. For those with a big enough wallet, a taxi will set you back around 140 baht for the same journey.
Surat Thani Airport
If you’ve chosen air travel to get to Surat Thani, the cost to get from the airport to town is slightly higher. The bus ride takes around 40 minutes and will cost you 100 baht, whilst a taxi can cost somewhere in the region of 1500 baht!
Surat Thani to the Gulf of Thailand (Koh Samui, Koh Phanghan and Koh Tao)
See here a quick overview of travel times to the Island in the Gulf of Thailand from Surat Thani:
Surat Thani – Koh Phangan (2 hrs 30 min)
Surat Thani – Koh Samui (3 hrs)
Surat Thani – Koh Samui (4 hrs)
Surat Thani to the Andaman coast (Krabi, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi)
For those looking to head west, hop on a bus and enjoy the blur of Thailand as you pass through unsullied countryside.
See here an indication of travel times to the destinations around the Andaman coast
Looking for that true Thai culture and welcoming feeling? Garden Homestay is definitely the best choice for you! The hosts are known to be extremely friendly and enjoy spending time with guests, showing them around town and taking them to the sights. A wonderful Asian style breakfast is included each morning of your stay and the homestay is centrally located.
Set centrally in Surat Thani, the Blu Monkey Hub and Hotel Suratthani is within walking distance of the night market. The hotel features an onsite restaurant, air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, and private bathrooms. A buffet breakfast is available every morning and the staff is happy to provide guests with directions and information about the area. This hotel is known for its extremely comfortable beds.
Enjoy the stunning river views from the terrace at this centrally located cottage in Surat Thani. The outdoor swimming pool is the perfect place to cool down after exploring the area and the cottage gardens. There is also a shared lounge, free wifi and free bike rentals for guests to enjoy. Delicious continental breakfast is included with your stay.