The Wang Tai Hotel is far and away one of the nicer spots to stay in Surat Thani. It is by the river and a bit away from the chaotic stretch of the main road by the bus station. The Sunday night market is located just behind the Wang Tai Hotel, and it isn’t that far from the shopping centres or the main transport connections.
Well Run Hotel
The Wang Tai Hotel is very much an Asian hotel catering predominantly for Thai people because Surat Thani is not itself a popular destination for foreign visitors. The hotel is well run: the staff are pleasant, the rooms are OK and the hotel food compares well to your other options in the city. It is not luxurious, and not priced as a luxury option, but the standard is definitely good enough to put the hotel comfortably into the 3 Star Hotel category.
There is a pool, a gym, a restaurant with good Thai food and passable Western dishes, and a cafe in the lobby selling great coffee at very cheap prices. The reception staff do not speak a lot of English but enough to sign you in and give you the room.
Location of the Wang Tai Hotel in Surat Thani
‘Wang Tai’ means ‘Southern Thai Palace’. It is located on the Tapee River in Surat Thani town centre not far from the night ferry pier on Taladmai Road. Taladmai is the main road in Surat Thani. A couple of kilometres away on the same road you will find the main transport companies (Songserm, Seatram and Phantip) that will take you onward to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.
Route map from Wang Tai Hotel to Phantip Travel Office
The ever reliable Phantip Travel Company provides bus and boat connections to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan departing from their office in Surat Thani town centre on the Talad Mai Road. This company takes passengers to the ferry pier at Donsak to connect with the car ferry services to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Buses to the pier for ferries to Koh Samui depart daily at 08.30, 09.30, 10.30, 11.30, 12.30, 13.30, 14.30, 15.30 and 16.30 and tickets cost 250 THB per person.
- Distance from Wang Tai Hotel to Phantip Travel office: 2.2 kilometres
- Walking time from Wang Tai Hotel to Phantip Travel office: 27 minutes
- By tuk tuk from Wang Tai Hotel to Phantip Travel office: 7 minutes
The Wang Tai hotel is great value for money
The rooms are value for money. They have air-conditioning, hot water in the bathrooms, mini-bar and TV. The carpets are in a good state although the furniture is a little worn. The views are great from most rooms. You get a direct view down the river to the small suspension bridge in the centre of town which is lit up every night. The only real downsides are the limited range in the mini-bar (no alcoholic drinks and no fruit juice) and there are only a handful of English language film TV channels. No internet in the rooms either although it is provided free in the lobby. Other than that I was very happy with my two night stay. The people are friendly here and they have things organised well enough to look relaxed. For me, this is the best of the hotels in Surat Thani. The 100 Islands Resort is, admittedly, a bit smarter and more expensive, but I like the atmosphere a lot better at the Wang Tai better.
About Surat Thani town
For a long time tourists rarely stayed in Surat Thani, and only ever did so because of an early or late transport connection. Even less frequently did they stray very far from their hotel. To put it bluntly before very recently there was never a lot to do in Surat Thani. Things are now changing.
Surat Thani now has a couple of shopping centres, a Sunday night river side market, better restaurants and better bars, many with live music. This development has nothing to do with tourists, it has sprung up to cater for a local community growing in affluence and sophistication.