The largest province of the South, Surat Thani was once a provincial capital of the 10th century Indonesian Srivijaya Empire, and now covers an area of approximately 13,000 square kilometers of both low basins and high plateaus with forested mountains, as well as some of Thailand’s most famous islands including Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, and the Mu Koh Ang Thong Marine National Park.
The name of Surat Thani may mean "City of the Good People" but Surat Thani is also known as “the province of a thousand islands” -- many of which lay off the coast in the Gulf of Thailand, including the archipelago that contains Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, and the Mu Koh Ang Thong Marine National Park. Once the refuge of backpackers, the islands of Surat Thani are now some of the most visited places in Thailand; however, there are a number of historical, cultural, and natural attractions on the Thai mainland to make a stop in Surat Thani province worthwhile on the way to or from the islands.
The largest province of the South, located 685 kilometers from Bangkok, Surat Thani means "City of the Good People". A former capital of the Indonesian Srivijaya Empire, Surat Thani remains a vibrant city that is both a commercial and transportation hub and an area with many historical and cultural attractions. Surat Thani Province covers an area of approximately 13,000 square kilometers of high plateaus and forested mountains in the west of the province that diminish to low basins towards the eastern coast. This mountainous topography has created 14 river basins all of which flow east of the province to the Gulf of Thailand; similarly, almost all visitors to Surat Thani invariably head to the Gulf, where the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, and the Mu Koh Ang Thong Marine National Park are located.