Overview of Phuket
Located approximately 862 kilometers south of Bangkok is Phuket,
Thailand's largest island, which is often dubbed as the "Pearl of the
Andaman", or the pearl of the south. Its natural resources- rocky
peninsular, limestone cliffs, white powdery beaches, tranquil broad bays
and tropical in-land forests contribute to making it the South's
wealthiest, busiest, most visited and most popular island and province.
in the tropical zone off the west coast of the southern part of Thailand
in the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean, the province covers an area of
approximately 543 square kilometers (excluding small islets). It is
estimated that Phuket Province covers an area of approximately 590 square
kilometers if its 39 other small islands are included. The islands total
length, from north to south, is estimated at 48.7 kilometers and
approximately 21.3 kilometers wide.
Phuket borders on Phang-nga Province to the north. The other 3 sides are
encircled by the Andaman Sea the place where many of the best diving sites
are located. The island is connected to Phang-nga Province by Sarasin
Bridge and Thep Krasattri Bridge.
on the island is easy, as there are only two seasons in a year - the rainy
season (May to October) and the hot season (November to April). The low
season of Phuket is between September and October as they are the wettest
months. The best period for a visit, is from November to February, when it
is possible to see the clear blue sky, feel the fresh sea breeze and
marvel at the crystal clear water while lying on powdery, palm-fringed
beaches. Average temperatures ranges between 23°C and 33°C.
Phuket's topology is exceptional with 70 percent of its area covered with
mountains which stretch from north to south and the remaining 30 percent
being plains located in the central and eastern parts of the island. The
island does not have any major rivers except for a total of 9 brooks and
Phuket is divided into 3 administrative counties namely Amphoe Muang,
Amphoe Thalang and Amphoe Kathu.
has a lot more to offer its visitors other than its natural heritage sea,
sand, sky, beach, forest, and world renowned diving sites. Sino-Portuguese
architecture casts its spell delighting travelers to the city, while
Phuket-style hospitality has never failed to impress visitors from all
walks of life. In addition, accommodations ranging from world-class
resorts to tropical-style bungalows have warmly catered to the different
needs of travelers. For seafood lovers, there is a lot more to sample than
just Phuket's famous lobster. Altogether, these characteristics have made
Phuket a truly unique destination.
Most geologists believe that the area known as Phuket today was once a
cape that extended into the Andaman Sea. Geographical formations gradually
changed the capes location, finally detaching it from the mainland.
famous Greek philosopher, Claudius Ptolemy, was the first person who
mentioned the cape in his book written in the year 157. The cape was
locally referred to as Jung Ceylon, which was located between latitudes 6
N and 8 N (the present site of Phuket Island). Natives called the place
Cha Lang, which evolved to Tha Lang the name of the main town to the north
of the island.
a perfect stopover sheltering traders from monsoons, Jung Ceylon welcomed
merchants from India, Persia, Arabia, Burma, China and also Siam. During
the 16th century, the island was also a popular trading port for tin with
Portuguese, Dutch, English and French traders flocking to the island. This
contributed to making the development of mining so unprecedented. Chinese
businessmen and miners later migrated to Phuket and soon enjoyed thriving
Apart from serving as a meeting point for traders from Europe, Central
Asia and China, Phuket also attracted ambitious immigrants, especially
those from Portugal and China, to work in the tin mines. With its colorful
history, visitors admire the Sino-Portuguese style architecture in the
city especially those buildings located along the Thalang and Yaowarat
town was surrounded by Burmese troops who invaded the coastal area in
1785. It was under the leadership of Chan, the widow of the governor, and
her sister, Muk, who united local residents and successfully fought and
drove the invaders out of Phuket. It took over 30 days for the defending
troops of Phuket, under the command of Chan and Muk, to claim their
victory. As a result of such heroic deeds, noble titles were granted to
Chan and Muk as Thao Thep Krasattri and Thao Si Sunthon respectively. To
honor them, a monument was established at Tha Ruea Intersection, 12
kilometers to the north of Phuket City in 1966. They are still highly
respected by Phuket residents even today.
However, 24 years later, the Burmese succeeded in seizing Thalang causing
many local residents to flee to Phang-nga and Krabi. In 1825, some of them
returned to re-establish a town and established a rice farming community.
On the other hand, the area to the south of the island (Phuket City today)
was developed and became a tin trading center.
When Phuket was elevated to a town in 1850, it attracted more immigrants
from Thalang and nearby communities. In 1894, Phuket was promoted to be a
Monthon administrative unit under the supervision of the central
administrative body (located in Bangkok).
1902, Phraya Ratsada Korsimbi, a Sino-Thai businessman who contributed to
developing the modern city of Phuket was appointed Governor of Phuket. He
also helped to improve the welfare of local residents and set up the
market system in the countryside. In 1916, Phuket became a province.
tin mining industry has gradually failed to generate economic growth in
Phuket, especially after 1985 when the price of tin fell by half. However,
with its natural resources, Phuket later emerged as a tourist destination
with great potential. This polished pearl of the Andaman is truly a
destination that provides visitors with memorable experiences.
islands long history has shaped the distinctive Phuket of the present with
its diverse ethnic groups, culture, architectural influence, and fine
cuisine. With approximately 35 percent of the population being comprised
of Thai-Muslims, it is possible to see an equal number of Wats (Thai
temples) located next to Mosques.
Tourism of Thailand