สุราษฎร์ธานี (Surat Thani) is often shortened to Surat, the name means city of good people. The title was given to the capital city by King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) and is therefor in the Central Thai language. This makes the province the sole province in Southern Thailand with a name not in Southern Thai language (Pak Thai or Dambro). The largest of the southern provinces covers almost the whole width of the narrow peninsula.
The centre of the province is the coastal plain of the Tapi River. In the west are the limestone mountains of the Phuket range which are karstified and have numerous caves. To the west running north-south along the border are the hills of the Nakhon Si Thammarat mountain range. Also, limestone and karstified. The only show cave is located in an isolated karstified hill at the foot of theis range. The area was already inhabited in prehistoric times by Semang and Malayan tribes. There are numerous caves with archaeological remains.