Phuket, formerly known as Tha-Laang or Talang, is one of the southern provinces of Thailand. Neighbouring provinces are from north clockwise Phang Nga and Krabi, but as Phuket is an island there are no land boundaries. The island is served by Phuket International Airport, located in the north of the island. Phuket Hotels – The Palms, Kamala Beach.
The ph of “Phuket” is an aspirated a soft “f”, so the name is pronounced roughly “Puck-get”. The name Phuket is apparently derived from the word Bukit in Malay which means mountain or hill, as this is what the island appears like from a distance.
Before that its old name was Ta-lang: The word is derived from the old Malay “Telong” which means “Cape”, which is still in use for one of the main districts in the Phuket area.
Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand, located in the Andaman Sea off southern Thailand. The island is mostly mountainous with a mountain range in the west of the island from the north to the south. The mountains of Phuket form the southern end of the Phuket Mountain range, which ranges for 440 km from the Kra Isthmus. The highest elevation of the island is Mai Thao Sip Song (Twelve Canes), at 529 m above sea level. Phuket Hotels – The Palms, Kamala Beach.
70% of the island is covered by forest. The western coast has mainly white sandy beaches, while on the east coast the beaches are more often muddy. Near the southernmost point is Laem Promthep (Brahma’s Cape), which is a popular sunset viewing point.
In the mountainous north of the island is the Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary, protecting more than 20 km² of rain forest. The three highest peaks of this reserve are the Khao Prathiu (384 m), Khao Bang Pae (388 m) and Khao Phara (422 m). The Sirinat National Park on the northwestern coast was established in 1981 and protects an area of 90 km² (68 km² marine area), including the Nai Yang beach where sea turtles lay their eggs.
Phuket is one of the most popular tourist areas in Thailand, with most of the hotels and resorts being located on the central western coast of the island. Most of Phuket’s nightlife, and also its cheap shopping is located on the west coast. Patong, one very busy area means “the forest filled with banana leaves” in Thai.
With all of the popular beaches found on the west coast of the island, they are (from North to South) Bang Tao, Surin, Kamala Beach, Patong, Karon Beach, Kata Beach, Kata Noi Beach, and around the southern tip of the island, Nai Harn Beach. Most beaches are generally much less well developed than Patong is, and are sought out by individuals, families and other groups with a preference for more relaxed and less crowded environs than that found in Patong.
Phuket Hotels – The Palms, Kamala Beach.
Tin mining was the major source of income for the island since the 16th Century. Chinese businessmen and Chinese workers were employed in the mines. Most were Hakka Chinese, and their influence on Phuket culture and cuisine can still be felt today. With falling tin prices, the mining has now all but ceased. Nowadays, Phuket’s economy rests on two pillars: rubber tree plantations (making Thailand the biggest producer of rubber in the world) and tourism.
Since the 1980’s Phuket has become one of the major tourist attractions of Thailand, and most of the sandy beaches on the western coast of the island have been heavily developed into tourist centres, with Patong, Karon and Kata being the most popular ones.
An ideal family location to select is the beautiful Kamala Beach, which is Phuket’s only real village and beach destination. Originally a small fishing village, it has slowly developed over the years, but it still has much of its original charm. Add the regular local market, together with plenty of shops, bars, restaurants, Kamala is proving to be a favourite with tourists from around the world.
Phuket along with its stunning beaches, and picture-perfect landscape, has seen an increase in tourists that has been amazing. Since the 2004 Tsunami, all damaged buildings and attractions have been completely restored, and Phuket is now more popular than ever, with its year round tropical climate, it is one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
If you have not yet visited Phuket, then maybe now is the time to do so. There are many bargains to be had from Phuket Hotels, who are offering some really low accommodation rates in order to try to boost tourism during the current world recession. Don’t forget to check out the great value serviced apartments that are now starting to appear in Phuket.