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Grography and history

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Surat Thani has become an increasingly important tourism and transport hub over recent years due to its close proximity to the exotic islands of Koh Samui (Samui island), Koh Pha-Ngan and Koh Tao.

While the city of
Surat Thani itself is largely unremarkable, Koh Samui and Koh Pha-Ngan typically conjure up images of picture postcard tropical sunshine, white sandy beaches and clear and warm waters, while Koh Tao and the lesser known Koh Nang-Yuan are renowned for their beautiful coral reefs.

The province also boasts Marine National Park, a 250-square kilometer marine reserve which includes 40 smaller islands within its boundaries.


History

Archeological evidence dates Surat Thani to prehistoric times. Among the earliest inhabitants living on the Tapee River Basin and Ao Ban Don were Malays and Semang (Mani). Indians migrated to the area and signs of their influence can still be seen today in ruins located in Tha Chana and Chiya sub-district. Some historians believe the city was once capital of the Srivijaya kingdom, which dominated the Malay Peninsula and much of the island of Java from the 3rd until the 13th century. When the empire finally fell, the area was split into three cities – Chaiya, Thatong and Khiri Rath.

Thatong and Khiri Rath were administered by Nakhon Sri Thammarat, while Chaiya was administered from Bangkok. In 1899, they were remerged into one province named Chaiya. The court of the Monthon (country sub-division, early 20th century) Chumphon was moved to Bandon, which received its new name Surat Thani, meaning “city of decent people” on July 29, 1915 during a visit by King Vajiravudh (Rama VI). In 1933 the monthon was dissolved, so the province became a first level administrative subdivision.

 

Geography

Covering an area of 12,891 sq km, Surat Thani is southern Thailand’s largest province. The province lies along the eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand and is about 685 km from Bangkok. Surat Thani is bordered by Chumphon province to the North, Nakhon Sri Thammarat and Krabi to the South, Phang-Nga to the West and by Ranong to the northwest.  Insert photo: anthong3

High plateaus and forested mountains are features of the West of the province, while the central and east coastal areas are low basins, which form six major river basins: Tapee; Pum Duang; Tha Tong; Tha Krajai; Chaiya and Tha Chang. These all flow into the Gulf of Thailand.