When talking about attractions of Surat Thani province, I believe that all travel lovers would think of many beautiful islands, namely Samui, Pha Ngan or Aang Thong islands national park, or the famous Cheow Lan dam...
Actually, I also get the same images on my first thought, however, going to Surat Thani this time, I want to find some 'Unseen' places as well as some tasty food that few people have been mentioned... Okay, if you are ready, let's go to discover our 'Unseen Surat Thani' mission together...
To get the most out of the trip, we have to start from early morning, so I get up early to appreciate the Tapi river, the longest river in Southern Thailand, and considered as the main river of Surat Thani. I am lucky to stay at the resort next to the river, so I can fully feel its freshness and beauty. And the weather could be much better during winter.
Well, in fact, you can also rent the long-tailed boat to float along the Tapi river to enjoy its fresh atmosphere. But like I said, I am lucky to stay next to it already, so I can just appreciate it from where I am, lucky me :)
This set of photos was taken at Naraya Resort, aside Tapi river and not far from Surat Thaini downtown at 08:00.
For breakfast here at Surat Thani, after researching and having tried some already. If I have to choose only one place, I would recommend fresh made noodle restaurant that is close to the city's prison area. The fresh noodle is served in set with 4 different kinds of unlimited soup as well as a set of unlimited fresh vegetables. These 4 soups include Nam Prik (chili soup), Nam Ya (herbal fish soup), Kaeng Tai Pla (the fish curry), and Keng Pa (vegetables curry with no coconut milk). In case, if you want to have Green Curry, it's additional 30 THB to that of 40 THB per set of fresh noodle. And what I like the most about this restaurant is that a plenty of meat fish is served in each soup.
After breakfast, a short drive will take you to the front of the city, so I would like to take you to visit and worship the Surat Thaini
city pillar Shrine. You can both worship to the scared shrine respected by the locals and capture the beautiful architecture of the area.
A seafood is a must for Surat Thani, especially 'big oyster'. There is a saying that if you miss having them, then you have not yet arrived at Surat Thani... In fact, many famous 'Lumpoo' seafood restaurants are available near the area called 'Pak Nam' (where river meet the sea area). However, I always go to another district of Kanchanadit, which is a 25 Km. off the city. And this time I also choose to go there, at "Kiang Lae" seafood restaurant.
The place is accommodated with a spacious and comfortable parking lots for many seafood restaurants' customers in the area.
Well, with 2 people, we can't order much. So here is what we have: Somtum Pooma (papaya salad with blue crab), steamed crab and grilled crab (we want to see which kind is tastier), river prawns grilled and of course, fresh oysters.
After tasting, I have to say, this is another time that I'm so happy and not disappointed for driving down here at all. The taste is so good, the seafood is so fresh. Little by little I taste that yummy shrimp and crab meat, and one bite after the other, just so delicious!
P.S., I can't decide which one taste better between steamed crab meat and grilled crab meat. Steamed crab meat is sweetened while grilled crab is also filled with good smell. In all, I personally like both of them.
On the hot afternoon, after lunch, what can be better than a cup of fresh coffee? After asking around, local people recommend me one cute coffee shop with may different variety of rich cakes at the 'Bang Baimai' area. The shop is quite easy to find, you just need to continue driving for about 2-3 minutes from the city pillar Shrine bridge and it will be on your left.
This Bang Baimai (leaves) shop is named after the district, decorated in chic style for chilling relaxation time. A menu is variety, so we have hot latte and iced milk tea,green bean lava cake and read bean cake, which is a bit too sweet. But the crepe cake is so soft when touching with the tongue and the taste is just so good ...
In fact, the coffee shop also offers À la carte, but we are already full so didn't try any.
Our next program is going to explore Nasan district ... Well, for this district, you probably familiar with Nasan rambutan which is a long time well-known brand for Surat Thani. Besides that, who would know that Nasan district also have several many beautiful natural attractions. Part of them is located under the shady and peaceful national park on high mountains and still abundantly rich in its nature. Originally, I was going to explore Kamin cape since it's not far from the main road and its beautiful stalactites and stalagmites seen from the internet. However, once we arrive, the staff inform us that we probably cannot take photo inside due to lost of electricity for more than a year and only flashlight will be used. In that case, photos will not be possible... So we have to change to our second destination, that is Dat Fa waterfall, and its about 10 km. from the main road.
The view along the way before reaching the waterfall, still abundantly rich in its nature.
The Dat Fa waterfall is part of Tai Rom Yen National Park. It consists of 10 level waterfalls, and from the fourth level onwards need to be guided by the staff for safety reason... Unfortunately with the limited time, we only got to explore 3 levels.
The first level of the waterfall is quite small, full of teenagers having fun sliding from the top to the below water (due to age not so suitable, so I didn't play, hehe)
This level is also not big, the highlight is that there are many fish in the water.
The third level waterfall.
This is the highlight of the first three levels, most of tourists also take some rest here. The height of the waterfall should be around 10-15 meters and you can also sit inside the waterfall for some music videoing time, hehe.
If I have more time, I think it's worth exploring other levels. And the best time to visit here is probably during the end of raining season to the beginning of winter where everything is still greeny and the water's current is not too strong.
And here are some Kulapapruek flowers (pink shower tree) on the way to the waterfall, beautifully in their full blossom time.
Blooming time is in the same period as Sakura in Japan.
After hiking to those levels of waterfall, our energy is quite gone, it's time to charge up. We then try another famous Surat Thani restaurant, "Pating noodle" (aunt abandon noodle)... Formerly, this restaurant was opened at Donsak district, quite a way off the city, they later moved into the city. I heard each dish is gorgeously huge and so I have no choice but to try.... And I truly recommend you to eat it in a group of people, it will be more fun to share and eat together. Eating alone, your stomach could be exploded... This restaurant is well-known for its plenty of fresh seafood for your pleasure in each dish, let it be shrimp, squid, mantis shrimp, or crabs.
The biggest dish is called " Kuaitiew Judnak Jompalung" (big sized noddle dish), it is 299 THB for 2-3 people.
This is the menu and the price.
When I researched for some beautiful photo shooting places in downtown Surat Thani, I Google the word 'Pak Num Surat Thani' to search for good location for sunrise and sunset photo shooting. Then one bridge really caught my attention, and the more I searched the more I felt in love with the place. This bridge is really distinctive and elegant and it is also the bridge across the Tapi river. So I decided to get a sunset photo shooting at this bridge...
And it's not disappointing me at all . The bridge indeed looks tall and elegant, and the sunset is really breath taking... I notice that this place is also a relaxing place for the local people because I see many people come for biking and some would stop over to appreciate the view.
But, you have to be careful for the trailer trucks, they are quite a few on the bridge. Do not get run over by it when you are too into your photo shooting or appreciating the view ...
View from the bridge is also very stunning.
Our dinner is at Lucky restaurant (Pattakarn Lucky). As I was trying to search for some non-seafood restaurant, many friends on Facebook recommended here, so here I am. Well, in fact this is not a luxurious or 5 star restaurant as the name suggested, but it has been opened for a long time and it was called like that since the old time. The parking is sufficient but it may not be so on the busy day...Too bad that I'm still full so I didn't get to experiment special eye-catching or fancy menus. Anyway, I think the overall taste is indeed delicious.
The next program, I have no photo to share but it is my favorite and the most impressed one of the trip. It is the boat riding to see fireflies along the Klong Roisai tour. You will be boarding in front of the city where a lot of fruits being sold. Since the boat is not always park there, you need to call for reservation in advance. (Phone number will be posted around the electricity pole, I took a photo and intended to share here but I think I accidentally deleted it T_T )
Normally, with more tourists, the price is 50 THB/person, since it's just me and my friend, we pay 300 THB.
The boat starts to take us to the main stream of Tapi river before eventually going through the secondary stream, where many houses start to fade away replacing with more darkness... Actually, the best time to go for fireflies boat riding trip is in the dark night so you can clearly see the fireflies. However, it's also different kind of good with the waxing moon time as we can also see tress and the atmosphere under the dim light...
When we come to mangrove apple trees area, the fireflies appear themselves and the boat starts to slow down to pass every mangrove apple tree... At this point, I try my best to video tapping to record this breath taking stunning view, but it's too dark so the video isn't as good as expected... And after a while, the boat stops still at one mangrove apple tree with the most fireflies. Honestly, the numbers of fireflies are so much, way much more than I have imagined. Think about the light on the Christmas tree, it's exactly like that, except this one is more lively.
Unable to share much, but let me show you some evening view of Tapi river where we boarded that boat.
Back from the boat riding tour, I walk along the Tapi river to the walking street which opens every Saturdays... Near to that market,there are still some Chinese lighting characters and Christmas related lighting characters (I think they have decorated them since New year) ... On the walking street, you will find economic fashion clothes, accessories and many snacks. It is crowded with tourists and local people who come out for dining, shopping, and sightseeing. This is another must not miss activity if you are here on Saturday night.
This trip, I was using Google Map searching for places, especially restaurants location, and I was lost many times. So please be careful if you also rely on Google Map.This is because the pin point in Google Map was not where the place is actually situated, may be the restaurant has not updated the new location to the Google so the information was still misleading. I have used wongnai website instead, and it provided more accurate location. (I would like to express my big thanks here too).