name literally means "city of the good people" and
is the former seat of the Sivichaya Empire. It is the largest
and most important province of the South, located 644 kms.
from Bangkok. It occupies an area of 12,891.5 square kilometers
bordering on Chumphon and the Gulf of Thailand to the north,
Nakhon Si Thammarat and Krabi to the south, Phangnga and Ranong
to the west and the Gulf of Thailand and Nakhon Si Thammarat
to the east.
Surat Thani once formed part, and may have
been the centre of the Mahayana Buddhist, Srivijaya Empire
which, steeped in legend and mystery, dominated the Malay
peninsula and much of Java some 1,500 years ago. Srivijaya
was best described by the itinerant Chinese monk I Ching after
a pilgrimage he made to India during the late 600s. Archaeological
discoveries at Chaiya indicate the former empire's splendour.
Geographic characteristics of Surat Thani
are high plateau and mountains covered with valuable woodforest
to the west and low basins in the central and eastern seashore
area. There are a tremendous number of islands along the coast
and two major rivers: the Tapi River and Phum Duang River.
It is administratively divided into 18 Amphoes and 1 King
Amphoe i.e., Amphoe Muang, Ban Na San, Ban Ta Khun, Chaiya,
Don Sak, Kanchanadit, Khian Sa, Khiri Ratthanikhom, Koh Phangna,
Koh Samui, Phanom, Phrasaeng, Phunphin, Tha Chana, Tha Chang,
Wiang Sa, Ban Na Doem, Chai Buri and King Amphoe Wiphawadi.