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Thoughts on Surat Thani

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I have been visiting Surat Thani for a few days this week and just a few observations which I hope will invite comments from expat residents or other visitors.


1) The people here seem much nicer and friendlier than in my 'home' Bangkok. I have been greeted warmly just about everywhere and many have even attempted a bit of English ! The school kids at Kho Lamphu park swarmed me and wanted to talk and had a zillion questions for the foreigner.


2) I have rarely heard the dreaded "farang" word all week. Perhaps they are just more polite and wait for me to be out of earshot but in BKK i hear it 20 times a day.


3) My Thai which is only passable seems to be much better understood by locals here. In Bangkok I often get stares, silence, or just ignored when I speak Thai but here no issue with their understanding...which I think proves what I suspected all along....BKK locals were just being rude because they did not want to deal with me.


4) The town itself seems very run down, even Central Business District is beat up, many vacant buildings and it seems like a real economic depression is hitting this town, which is ashamed because they could be so much more than that with the transit of travelers thru here to Koh Samui every day.


5) There does seem to be an effort to spruce the depressed areas up with a new "Day/Night" Plaza near the night market and a new night market being built on Talad Mai road, but it seems on a Friday night as I walked home (around 9 PM) the place was like a cemetery.


6) The hotels available in town are almost universally run down and badly in need of a refurbishment. Like they were built to 1983 specs and never changed after that. Sad really because the people here are very warm and approachable.


Any and all comments welcome.

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I think you've just about hit the nail on the head.  The entertainment district is a couple of kilometres away but doesn't consist of much.  There is a big Central Mall 5 km out of town. At night, the port-side is quite quaint, as is the night market.  The people are very friendly as you say.  The roads seem dangerous- whether any more so than the rest of Thailand I can't say.  One bonus is the climate, as it is typically a few degrees cooler than Bangkok.  Being near the coast and a big river mouth, there is invariably a cool breeze in the evening.  The main city has a public hospital, and a private one. 

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