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.
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.
About 70 percent of Phuket is mountainous; a western range runs from north to south from which smaller branches derive. The highest peak is Mai Tha Sip Song, or Twelve Canes, at 529 meters, which lies within the boundaries of Tambon Patong, Kathu District. The remaining 30 percent of the island, mainly in the center and south, is formed by low plains. Streams include the Khlong Bang Yai, Tha Jin, Khlong Tha Rua, and Khlong Bang Rong, none of which is large.
Phuket's weather conditions are dominated by monsoon winds that blow year round. It is therefore always warm and humid. There are two distinct seasons, rainy and dry. The rainy season begins in May and lasts till October, during which the monsoon blows from the southwest. The dry season is from November through April, when the monsoon comes from the northeast. Highest average temperatures, at 33.4 degree Celsius, prevail during March. Lowest averages occur in January, when nightly lows dip to 22 degree Celsius.
TAT local office - Tourism Authority of Thailand Southern office : Region 4
73-75 Phuket Rd., Amphoe Muang, Phuket 83000 Thailand
Tel. (076) 211036, 212213, 217138 Fax. (076) 213582
Areas of Responsibility : Phuket, Phangnga and Krabi
The office is open daily throughout the year, from 8.30 a.m. until 4.30 p.m.
General - Bay - Cape - Beach
A great view of Phuket Town, the southern part of the island, and some of the offshore islands, can be obtained by going to the top of Khao Rang Hill, on the city's northwest. There are also several restaurants featuring spectacular views of the city, a health park for exercise enthusiasts, and a comfortable, expanse of grass for picnickers at the top with a bronze statue of Phraya Ratsada Nupradit the model Governor of Phuket during King Rama V's reign.
is about 8 kms. outside town. Take Vichit Songkram Rd., to the Bypass Rd., and turn left, and drive for about 10 mins. Wat Chalong will be on your left. This is where stands the cast statue of Luang Por Cham, who helped the people of Phuket put down the Angyee, or Chinese Coolie, Rebellion in 1876 during the reign of Rama V. There are also statues of Luang Por Chaung, and Luang Por Gluam. Other monks, who were abbots of the temple during later times, and who are the objects of respect and recipients of the offerings by Phuket people generally.
The beginning of the tin boom during the Nineteenth Century led to construction of many fine old mansions and shops still well preserved. The architectural style, typical of the region, is described as Sino-Portuguese and has a strongly Mediterranean chracter. Shops present a very narrow face on the street but stretch back a long way. Many, especially on Dibuk Rd., have old wooden doors with Chinese fretwork carving. Other streets, forming what might be called "Old Phuket", with similar structures are Phang-nga, Yaowarat, Thalang, and Krabi, and a walking tour of the area is easy and delightful. Some other old European-style buildings of note are the Provincial Hall (Sala Klang), the Phuket Courthouse (San Changwat), and Nakhon Luang Thai Bank.
More than one hundred species of sea life are on display at the aquarium, many of them taken from the water around Phuket. Open daily, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The aquarium is located at Cape Panwa, on the island's extreme southeast; admission is 5 Baht for children and 20 Baht for adults. A Songtaew (local bus) can be taken from the Talad Sot, or Fresh Market. Tel. (076) 391126.
Phuket Butterfly Farm and Aquarium
Tropical species of butterflies, other insects, and many kinds of marine life are on display. Located in Sam Kong about 3 kms. from downtown Phuket. Open daily, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.Tel. (076) 215616, 210861.
Thai Village and Orchid Farm
A show of Thai dance, handicrafts, culture, elephants and a demonstration of old time tin-mining takes place among the orchids. Located in Sam Kong, about 3 kms. from downtown Phuket. The morning showing starts at 11:00 a.m. the evening showing at 5:30 p.m. Tel. (076) 214860, 237400
A land reclamation project provided abundant new land now used for parks and public facilities at Sapan Hin, located where Phuket Rd., meets the sea in Phuket Town. In the circle is the Tin Mining Monument, shaped like a large drill bit, dedicated to the memory of Captain Edward Thomas Miles, the Australian who brought the first tin dredge to Phuket in 1909. The monument was built in 1969 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of tin dredging in Phuket. The Sport Center is located in the park.
Phuket Sea Shell Museum
Perhaps the world's most valuable collection of seashells has been put on display at Phuket Seashell near Rawai Beach on the island's southwestern shores. The emphasis is on shells from Phuket and Thai waters, which are among the most sought-after by collectors, however shells from every part of the world are featured. Wherever they originate, each shell in the Shell Museum is the best of its type--very often the only of its type. Displays have been created in a logical order, and visitors can see at once differing characteristics among related species. There are numerous rarities and freaks including the world's largest golden pearl (140 karats), large sections of sedimentary rock containing shell fossils that represent the earth's earliest life-forms, and a shell that weighs 250 kilograms. One of the world's great private museums, the Shell Museum is open daily from 8:00 a.m. till 7:00 p.m. For details call 381266, or 381274.
A large–scale nighttime amusement center on 350 rai (140 acres ) near the village of Kamala Bay,
4 kms north of Patong. Thai cultural traditions are mixed with the latest technology in "Las Vegas style". Magic elephants disappearing into thin air, gymnastics, musical fountains, and a circus are among the many attractions.