Phuket is Thailand's largest island, and is approximately the size of Singapore. Phuket nestles in balmy Andaman Sea waters on Thailand's Indian Ocean coastline 867 kilometres south of Bangkok. Phuket formerly derived its wealth from tin and rubber, and enjoyed a rich and colourful history. The island was on one of the major trading routes between India and China, and was frequently mentioned in foreign traders' ship logs. The Portuguese, French, Dutch and English traded with Phuket. Other visitors were less friendly. Phuket's most famous monument is the memorial statue of the heroines Thao Thepkasattri and Thao Sisunthon, who rallied islanders in 1785 to repel Burmese invaders.
Phuket is blessed with magnificent coves and bays, and powdery, palm-fringed beaches; sparkling island-dotted seas; sincerely hospitable people; superb accommodation and seafood; delightful turn-of-the-century Sino-Portuguese architecture; numerous sporting and leisure opportunities; a lush tropical landscape -- all of which combine to create a delightful ambient for truly memorable holidays.
|Location and Boundaries|
Phuket is an island connected by bridges to southern Thailand's Andaman Sea coast, in the Indian Ocean, lying between 7'45" and 8'15" north latitude, and from 98'15" to 98'40" west longitude on the map. Phuket, Thailand's largest islands, is surrounded by 32 smaller islands that form part of the same administration, with a total area of 570 square kilometers. Measured at its widest point, Phuket is 21.3 kilometers; at its longest, 48.7 kilometers. It is bounded thus :
|Phuket has two major seasons: the Rains Season from May through October, and the Hot Season from November through April. There are many sunny days throughout the Rains Season: showers customarily last little more than 2 or 3 hours. September is the wettest month. The best months are November through February. Average temperatures range between 22 and 34 degrees Celsius.|
The compact provincial capital serves mainly as a dormitory and commercial and shopping centre. Splendid colonial-style residences built by late 19th-century tin and rubber barons, and shophouses from the same period, with shaded walkways, provide distinctive character.
The Thai Village
Thalang National Museum
|Phuket's glory is its magnificent
coastline. Beaches range from gentle crescents of white sand with calm
waters to rocky headlands pounded by raging surf. Counterclockwise, from
Phuket's northern tip, where the Sarasin Bridge connects the island with
the mainland, Phuket's major beaches (and temples and botanical gardens)
are as follows:
Beach (40 kilometres from town)
Nai Yang Beach (30 kilometres
Wat Phra Thong
Ton Sai Waterfall
Pansea Bay, Surin Beach, (24 kilometres from town)
Sing Cape & Kamala Beach
Patong Beach (15 kilometres
Karon & Kata Beaches
(20 & 17 kilometres from town)
Nai Han Beach (18 kilometres
Rawai Beach (17 kilometres
Chalong Bay (11 kilometres
Phanwa Cape (10 kilometres
There are now 4 challenging, 18-hole golf courses in Phuket, including the Phuket Country Club (Tel: (076) 321-038-40)in Kathu, Blue Canyon (Tel: (076) 327-440-7) in Thalang district nears the airport, the Banyan Tree Club (Tel: (076) 324-351-60, 324-358) at Bangtao beach and the Phuket Century Country Club (Tel: (076) 321-929, 321-933-4) ain Kathu. All courses offer reasonably priced golf club rentals, green fees and caddy services.
Deep Sea Fishing
|Excursions & Tours|
|Phuket is the ideal place from
where to visit popular attractions in neighbouring provinces, either on
day tours or as overnight excursions. Principal destinations include:
Phi Phi Islands
|Cultivated pearls, batiks and pewterware are Phuket's best known products. Shops specializing in such products are found on Rasada, Phangng, Yanwarat, Montri and Tilok Utit 2 roads in town, and on tourist beaches such as Patong, Kata, Karon and Rawai.|
|How To Get There|
Thai Airways operates daily jet flights between Bangkok and Phuket. There are further domestic connections with Surat Thani and Hat Yai. Phuket also enjoys international connections with Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan a Hong Kong and Australia.
Bangkok Airways offers direct flights linking Phuket with Ko Samui, the principal island in the Thai Gulf.
Air-conditioned coaches and non-airconditioned buses leave Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal every day. For further details, please contact Bangkok 435-1200, 434-3233, 435-3018.
Please note that all pleasure boats and yachts arriving at Phuket must stop first and register with their Immigration Office and Customs Office, and with the Harbour Office within 24 hours of arrival
|Travel within Phuket|
Phuket offers convenient
intra-island transport services. Tuk-tuks serve within municipal area
or can be hired to go to other places; rates are dependent on distance
Travel to other neighbouring provinces
|Phuket Vegetarian Festival
is held from the first through the ninth nights of the ninth Chinese lunar month; that is, in September or October. It was first celebrated in 1825, when a troupe of actors enacted these rites toward off a plague. Vegetarian food is eaten by participants and white clothes worn during the period of the fest. Selfmutilization is practiced by those whose bodies become the temporary residence of powerful gods. Parades of worshippers brave fireworks while carrying images through the street; others walk on fire or climb bladed ladders. Participants number in the thousands.The whole forms one of the most bizarre festivals in Thailand.
Por Tor Festival
This is an ancestor's festival of the ethnic Chinese that falls on the seventh Chinese lunar month, which is the same as the ninth lunar month of the Thais. Special foods, flowers and candles are presented to the ancestor's altars. Cakes in the shape of turtles are made from flour. This is done because turtles live to great age and it is believed that by making such offering worshippers may extend the length of their lives. It is an important merit-making festival.
Thao Thep Krasatri-Thao Sri Suntorn Festival
is held on 13 March yearly in memory of the two heroines who led the defense of the island against the Burmese in 1785.
Turtle Release Fair
is held on Songkran, the nationwide Thai water festival, on April 13. It is also the National Fisherman's Day. Baby turtles are released into the sea at various locations.
Chao Le Boat Floating Festival
falls during the middle of the sixth and eleventh lunar months yearly. The fest is held at the Chao Le, or Sea Gipsy, villages in Phuket. The Rawai and Sapam villages hold their ceremonies on the 13th; Sire village celebrates on the 14th; and the village at Laem La (east of the bridge on Phuket's northern tip) celebrates on the 15th. Ceremonies, which center around the setting adrift of small boats similar to the Thai Festival of Loy Krathong, are held at night and their purpose is to drive away evil and to bring good luck. Fingernail clipping and strands of hair are put in the little boats before being released, along with little dolls fashioned from wood. Afterwards, the villagers perform their famous dance round their own boats, called the Ram Rong Ngeng.
Tourist Season Opening Festival
is usually called the Patong Carnival in English according to from the place where celebrations occur, and is held on November 1. There are many stalls with merchandise and food, parades, sports event, and a beauty competition for foreign tourists. The fest is held to cement solidarity among the government, the private business sector, and the people.
Phuket King's Cup Regatta
was first held in 1987 in honour of His Majesty's 60th birthday. The King of Thailand is a noted boating enthusiast and yachts come from around the world to participate in the competition, which is the largest and most popular in Southeast Asia. It is held yearly on the anniversary of His Majesty's birthday, 5 December. Site of the regatta is Nai Han Bay.
Laguna Phuket Triathlon
This annual year end event sees the world's top triathletes and hundreds of amateurs competing for prize money and placing on the world triathlon circuit. The course, which includes swimming, bicycling, and running through the beautiful natural surroundings of Laguna Phuket in Tambon Choeng Thale, takes from two-and-a-half to five hours to complete.