Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations anywhere in the country. Every year countless thousands of holidaymakers arrive from all over the globe, to enjoy its deservedly famous sandy beaches, natural environment, and abundant attractions in what is still best described as a tropical paradise.
The island boasts some pristine and unspoiled beaches, mountains and jungle, decorative Buddhist temples and shrines, impressive waterfalls and viewpoints, lively local markets, first class dining and shopping experiences, and quite simply an amazing nightlife. Besides these obvious charms, there are many unique and interesting cultural and historical attractions which might surprise visitors, and proves that the island is also steeped in quite a rich and diverse history.
Phuket, a large island in the Indian Ocean, is 867 kms. from Bangkok. It is the only island having provincial status, and was a regional headquarters as well, with a rich and colorful history.
Known as the Pearl of the Andaman, it derived much of its former glory and its enormous wealth from tin production, which in Phuket dates back over 500 year. Today, Phuket is the major tourist attraction of Thailand. The surrounding waters contain much varied marine life, and the town is notable for its Sino-Portuguese architecture. It is a very attractive island for sightseeing, with lovely seashores and forested hillsides. Its population of 1.6 million people ranks sixth among all provinces. Approximately 1.75 million Rai of the area is forest land. The main occupation here is rice farming. The average per capita income is 14,343 baht.
Getting to Phuket is simple enough, as it’s only around an hour’s flight away from Bangkok, and there are good road links north and south. There are many daily flights from the capital and abroad, and good bus routes that go practically everywhere within the rest of the country…for those that don’t mind 12 hours or more on a bus which can be quite an arduous experience. Getting around the island however is a piece of cake, as there are taxis, motorbikes, tuk-tuks and buses everywhere, so it’s easy to get out and explore lesser known beaches and secret coves, or just drive around and see where you end up as it’s not really possible to get lost. Many people choose to base themselves in Patong due to the convenience and extensive facilities and accommodation options, but with such decent transport links there’s really no excuse not to venture a little further afield.