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Getting There

By Plane -- From Bangkok, there are three choices. Thai Airways (tel. 02356-1111; www.thaiair.com) has two daily flights (trip time: 70 min.). Thai Airways' office is at 3/27-28 Karunrat Rd. (tel. 07727-2610), just south of town. Budget airline Air Asia (tel. 02515-9999; www.airasia.com) also has daily flights from Bangkok. Air-conditioned vans connecting the airport and town cost around 80B per person.

By Train -- Eleven trains leave daily from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong station (tel. 1690; www.railway.co.th) to Surat Thani (trip time: 13 hr.). Second-class sleepers cost 848B, and second-class seats run 578B. Surat Thani station is some 12km (7 1/2 miles) from town.

If you are connecting with the ferry, avoid the aggressive touts and look for representatives from the boat companies Songserm or Panthip (tel. 07727-2230), who provide buses to meet trains. Otherwise, you can grab a shared minivan to town for around 80B, or a taxi for around 200B.

By Bus -- VIP 24-seater buses leave daily from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal (tel. 02793-8111; trip time: 12 hr.; 660B). Note: These buses are safer than the cheaper private buses, where organized theft is endemic. Air-conditioned buses leave daily from Phuket's bus terminal off Phang Nga Road, opposite the Royal Phuket City Hotel (tel. 07621-1977; trip time: 4 hr.; 170B). The Surat Thani Bus Terminal is on Kaset II Road, a block east of the main road.

By Minivan -- Privately operated air-conditioned minivans offer affordable and regular services from Surat Thani to/from Chumphon, Ranong, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Had Yai, Phuket, and beyond. The best way to arrange these trips is via your hotel's front desk.

By Car -- Take Highway 4 south from Bangkok to Chumphon, and then Highway 41 directly south to Surat Thani (trip time: 12 hr.).

Visitor Information

For information about Surat Thani, Ko Samui, and Ko Pha Ngan, contact the TAT office, 5 Talad Mai Rd., Surat Thani (tel. 07728-8818), near the Wang Tai Hotel.

Orientation

Surat Thani is built up along the south shore of the Tapi River. Talad Mai (meaning new market) Road, 2 blocks south of the river, is the city's main street. The TAT office is on this same road but to the far west of town, en route to the bus and train stations. Ferry piers are on Ban Don, Na Meuang; out of town to the east is the Tha Thong pier. (Depending on your arrival hour, you can get transfers directly to the piers from the bus and train stations without going through town.)

Fast Facts

Major banks, exchange kiosks, and a branch of the post office lie along Na Meuang Road, close to Witeetad Road, in the center of town. The Taksin Hospital (tel. 07727-3239) is at the north end of Talad Mai Road. The tourist police (tel. 07720-0475) are with the TAT, on Talad Mai Road.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.