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Phuket

Phuket

Phuket (Thai: ภูเก็ต,) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. It consists of the island of Phuket, the country's largest island, and another 32 smaller islands off its coast. It lies off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. Phuket Island is connected by the Sarasin Bridge to Phang Nga Province to the north. The next nearest province is Krabi, to the east across Phang Nga Bay. Phuket Province has an area of 576 square kilometres, somewhat less than that of Singapore, and is the second-smallest province of Thailand. It formerly derived its wealth from tin and rubber, and enjoys a rich and colorful history. The island was on one of the major trading routes between India and China, and was frequently mentioned in foreign ship logs of Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English traders. The region now derives much of its income from tourism.
Phuket Overview
Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and is the size of Singapore, 48 km long and 21 km at the widest part. Phuket lies in the Andaman Sea on Thailand’s Indian Ocean coast located 867 kilometers south of Bangkok. Phuket is blessed with magnificent coves and bays, palm-filled, white beaches, small surrounding islands, hospitable people and great seafood. Also delightful Chinese-Portuguese architecture, numerous sporting and leisure opportunities, a lush tropical landscape – which helps to create a nice atmosphere for a truly memorable Thailand trip. The most famous beaches are Patong, Kata, Karon, Kamala and Nai Harn Beach. Phuket islands are ideal for sailing, diving, snorkeling, golfing and all kinds of sports and entertainment you could wish for. You can also take a trip with a submarine to discover the colorful marine life below the surface. There are plenty of accommodations, ranging from standard bungalows to 5-star hotels.
 
Phuket’s former wealth derived from tin and rubber, and enjoyed a rich and colorful history. The island was one of the main trade routes between India and China, and is frequently mentioned in foreign ship company logos. It is a very attractive island for sightseeing, with beautiful beaches and wooded hillsides. Its population of 1.6 million people ranks on place 6 among all provinces. Approximately 2.8 million square feet of the area is forest. The main industry today is rice cultivation. The average income per head is 14,343 Baht.
 
But in recent times, Phuket’s main income was tourism, which has transformed the island into Thailand’s wealthiest province. One might expect that the prices are a bit higher than on the mainland. Western Phuket was hit hard by the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in December 2004, but there is almost no evidence left on the damage.
 
Phuket is very popular as a tourist destination and most of the beaches on the west coast of Phuket town in the southeast and the airport in the north.
Phuket History
Located on trading routes between India and China, Phuket was subjected to foreign influences long before many other parts of Thailand. Ships would anchor in the safe harbours of Phuket and wait for the northeast monsoon winds which would allow them to proceed to India.
 
The interior jungle was inhabited by indigenous tribes until they were displaced in the 19th century by tin miners. The coastal areas were inhabited by Chao Leh, sea-gypsies who made their living through piracy and fishing for pearls. Although threatened by development, Chao Leh villages can still be found along the coast of Phuket and neighbouring islands.
 
Phuket first became part of a Thai state during the thirteenth century when Thai armies from Sukhothai wrestled control of the island from the Sirivijaya Empire based in Sumatra.
Phuket climate and best time to visit
The best time to visit Phuket is between November and April when weather conditions are ideal for beach activities, such as swimming and boating. The six months between May and October are monsoon season, and although accommodation prices are much lower this time of year, the water conditions can be dangerous
Phuket Transportation
Driving to Phuket
Phuket is located approximately 867 km from Bangkok, with a journey time of approximately 10 hours. There are many car rentals in Bangkok, both international companies such as Avis and Budget to local businesses. Driving in Thailand is quite nice outside town.
 
Trains to Phuket
There are no trains to Phuket which is unfortunate because the trains in Thailand are both a cheap and convenient way to travel. But you can take a train from Hualamphong in Bangkok to Phun Phin near Surat Thani, where you can take a bus to Phuket.
 
Bus to Phuket
Going to Phuket by bus from Bangkok takes about 14 hours. You can find a bus from the Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai) in Thonburi. There are several types of buses. With a few hundred baht more you can buy better place.
 
Flights to Phuket
Going to Phuket by air could not be easier. Phuket has an international airport with a number of routes and charter flights from Europe and throughout Asia. But most of the visitors would still fly to Bangkok first, where there are more than a dozen domestic flights to Phuket daily.
 
Getting around the island is not as convenient or cheap as you might think. Unless you live in a crowded area like Patong or Karon, it will not always be possible to catch a tuk-tuk. Buses run only a few times a day and usually not to the main beaches. Taxis are provided by your hotel and are probably the easiest solution, followed by renting a car or motorcycle.
Things to do and see in Phuket
Phuket offers a wide range of attractions for its guests during their Thailand trip:

- Phuket Beaches such as Freedom Beach, Karon Beach, Kata beach, etc. 

 
Phuket Butterfly Garden and Insect World
 
Phuket Aquarium: Located on Cape Panwa, this tropical aquarium offers a variety of fish and coral.
 
Crocodile Farm: See the staff at Chana Charoen Road tame crocodiles and alligators in front of you.
 
Phuket FantaSea: This is called the Disneyland of Southeast Asia. It is the ultimate in night entertainment in Phuket.
 
Chalong Temple: Visit the ancient temple in Phuket monk who helped people during the Chinese uprising.
 
Waterfalls: Discover the largest waterfall in Thailand, especially during the rainy season. The largest measures 10 meters and is located just 22 kilometers off Phuket.
 
AC’s Phuket Fishing Park: A large, freshwater fishing experience. There are many species from three different continents, Arapaimas, red tailed catfish, alligator beak, Siamese giant carp, piranhas, sharks, Siamese and many more. Equipment and local guide included.
 
Prom Thep Cape: literally translated to “God’s Cape”. Prom Thep Cape is one of the island’s most spectacular natural landmarks and far to the south about 2 kilometers from Rawai Beach, with high cliffs and stunning views, Prom Thep Cape is best known for its dramatic sunsets, which regularly attracts audiences. Near Cape top you will find a small and interesting shrine, which contains a number of wooden elephants.
 
Orchid Farm and Thai villages: The place is situated about 3 km from Phuket Town and is a place for culture lovers. The village has a breathtaking classical Thai dance performances, sword-fighting, Thai boxing and shows elephants. Handicrafts and traditional mining methods are also presented. Orchid farm outside is also worth visiting.
 
Phuket’s viewpoint: here you can see the bays Kata Noi, Kata and Karon, and also Poo Island. It is one of the islands with the best view. For visitors, there is a large public sala, or shelter and sale of food, drinks and souvenirs in the area when the weather is good.
Phuket Travel Tips
Shopping in Phuket

Patong Beach Road
This is the main shopping street for tourists. All the way along the beach south of Soi Bangla and down to a couple of small alleys are stalls and shops selling cheap designer, beachwear, watches, some electrical products and souvenirs. A lot of stalls and shops are open during the day, but the street is really more alive at night.
 
Bangla Road (Patong)
Basically a continuation of stalls and shops along the beach, packed with beer bars. As with the bars so is shopping in the evening, during your Thailand trip.
 
Shopping Malls
Central Festival and Jungceylon is the largest shopping centers on the island and has shopping and entertainment in Phuket to a whole new level. The shopping complex has a variety of shops, restaurants, cinemas and other entertainment. On a smaller scale, you theOcean Department Store and Robinsons. These are definitely worth checking out, especially if you are looking for clothes during your Thailand trip.
 
Supermarkets
Tesco Lotus and Big C in Phuket City and Carrefour (part of Jungceylon) in Patong is Phuket’s department store. Apart from the usual things you’d expect to find in a supermarket, such as food, fresh produce, food and toiletries, these have everything you can imagine including cheap clothes, furniture, furnishings, electronics, and all at very reasonable prices.
 
After Phuket town, Patong, so the next best place to do your shopping on Phuket.
 
There are shops, tailors, and of course, road base.
 
Patong Department stores & shopping centers
The main shopping center is the big Jungceylon which is located on Rat-U-Thit Road in central Patong. There are department stores, supermarkets, restaurants and lots of shops selling branded goods, fashion products, electronics, souvenirs and sports equipment. The large three-story building also includes a four-star hotel, nightclub and cinema.
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