About Phuket

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About Phuket

Located approximately 863 kilometres south of Bangkok, Phuket is the Thailand's largest island and the Asia's most popular seaside destination. It lies just off the western coast of Southern Thailand in the Andaman Sea, which is part of the Indian Ocean. The island is separated from the Thailand's mainland by a narrow sea channel and connected by the 600-meter Sarasin Bridge to Phang Nga Province to the north. Soft white sandy palm-lined beaches, stunning secluded bays, crystal-clear blue waters dotted with smaller pristine islands, fantastic underwater scenery, luxuriant vegetation, gorgeous sunsets and breathtaking views make Phuket a truly tropical paradise that attracts each year over 10 million holidaymakers from all around the world. Famous as the "Pearl of Andaman", the exotic island offers an unbeatable combination made by calm and relaxing atmosphere, amazing natural beauties, rich cultural heritage, superb quality of services and the well-known Thai hospitality. Along with the multi-ethnic Bangkok, Phuket is the Thai resort that offers the widest choice of superb accommodation, prestigious international restaurants, luxurious spas, large shopping malls, lively outdoor markets, first-class entertainment venues, tourist attractions, international-standard championship golf courses, numerous recreational and sports activities, including Thailand's best diving sites. Ultimately, this world-class destination has everything to satisfy even the most demanding clientele. Phuket Island has a beautiful jagged coastline offering breathtaking tropical scenery. Overlooking the crystalline waters of the Andaman Sea, it is an astonishing succession of lush hilly promontories, steep rocky cliffs, stunning secluded bays, small hidden beaches, as well as stretches of white sand long several kilometres. Phuket Town is the capital and the largest city in Phuket Province. Situated about 30 km from the International Airport, the city overlooks a large well-sheltered bay on southwest coast of island. It is one of the oldest cities in Southern Thailand and boasts a rich and colourful history. Throughout the centuries, there have been many external influences on Phuket Town, both eastern and western, which can still be seen in many old homes built in the extravagant Sino-Portuguese style, mainly in and around Old Phuket Town. Phuket's most popular resorts and most beautiful beaches are situated along the western coast separated by rocky promontories, including Surin and Bang Tao to the north, Karon, Kata and Kata Noi in the center, and Nai Han and Rawai near the southern tip. Contrariwise, the eastern coast consists mainly of limestone shoals and has only a few muddy sandy beaches not suitable for swimming, but offers spectacular views of the small islands that adorn the horizon. Nestled in a well-sheltered bay on the island's western coast, Patong is the main tourist destination on Phuket Island and the center of nightlife and shopping. Mostly made up of hotels, world-class restaurants, shopping centers, entertainment venues and various tourist attractions, Patong is a true paradise for lively holidaymakers and hedonists of nightlife, with numerous high-class discotheques, pubs, Go-go bars and plenty of Beer bars lined up along and around the legendary and infamous Bangla Road. Karon is the second most popular holiday destination in Phuket Island, after Patong setting 6 km to the north, which houses the island's third longest beach at 3 km length. Surrounded by clear blue waters, the long strip of white sand is very wide and so, although rather busy throughout the high season, you will never feel as like it is too crowded. Generally quieter than the noisy nearby Patong Beach, Karon is particularly popular among families and couples, especially with Scandinavian and French tourists. Located approximately halfway between International Airport and Patong Beach, Ao Bang Thao is a large open bay on Phuket's west coast that hosts Bang Tao Beach that is the island's second longest beach. Also known as Laguna Beach, the entire central part of Bang Tao is occupied by the huge and luxurious "The Laguna Phuket Resort Complex", which is one of the most exclusive destinations on the island. Developed around an old abandoned tin mine, it houses five luxury upmarket resorts, hotels and expensive private villas situated around six picturesque lagoons and the 18-hole Laguna Golf Course. Bang Tao's quieter and rather undeveloped northern part is known as Layan Beach and is ideal for those seeking to get away from the crowd. Located just 20 kilometres south of Phuket International Airport, Baan Surin is a small coastal village with a quiet atmosphere. Just in front of village lies one of Phuket's finest and quieter beaches. Lined by beautiful palms and tall casuarina trees, the wide sandy strip is about 700 meters long and is rather popular with tourists and locals alike. Focused on high-end tourism, in the last decade the whole area has been filled with luxury hotels and accommodations, which in turn has created opportunities for high-end restaurants and wine bars. Nowadays the area is also known as "Millionaire's Row" due the wealthy VIPs and famous film stars that choose to stay in the luxury resorts located behind the Surin Beach's northern end or in the adjacent Pansea Beach. Kamala is a well-protected bay on island's western coast overlooking shallow blue waters. Surrounded by lush hills, it is one of the most beautiful and authentic places in Phuket Island that also houses one of the finest and quietest beaches on the island. In the last few decades, Kamala is quickly becoming one of Phuket's best destinations for family vacations, retirees and other long-term visitors who appreciate especially its fascinating natural beauty. Kata is an amazing bay on the island's southwest coast. It is split into two parts by a small promontory; the largest bay to the north is known as Kata Yai or simply Kata Beach, while the smallest to the south is called Kata Noi. Kata is a precious gem on Phuket Island, one of its most charming and popular seaside destinations that attracts and enchants many visitors throughout the year with its beautiful white sandy beaches surrounded by an incredible crystal turquoise sea. Mainly oriented towards family or couple holidays, Kata Yai and Kata Noi beaches during high season, from November to April, are very popular with sunbath lovers, swimmers and snorkelers. Located on the south-eastern tip of Phuket Island, Rawai is one of the quietest and most natural sides on the island. The seafront village develops alongside Wiset Road leading to Promthep Cape, about 46 km to the south of International Airport and 18 kilometres from Phuket Town. Rawai also houses one of the island's oldest fishermen communities. Known as Sea Gypsies or Chao Ley, they are a previously nomadic minority believed to be of Melanesian origin, which have lived wandering around the western coast of Malaysia and Thailand for hundreds of years. Nai Harn Beach extends along one of the most charming and quiet bays on Phuket Island, just to the north of Promthep Cape and next to Rawai fisherman village. Situated 48 kilometres to the south of International Airport and 18 kilometres from Phuket Town, the beach provides a stunning spot on the island's southern tip and is very popular among expats and locals, but large enough to never be too crowded and noisy. The white and fine sand stretches for almost a kilometre and is surrounded by quiet turquoise-blue crystalline waters, making it one of the best beaches in Phuket to swim and snorkelling during the high season. Phuket Island forms a province in its own right, the second smallest in Thailand, which also includes other 32 smaller islands, mostly uninhabited, scattered just off its coast. Most characterized by pristine white sandy beaches and stunning secluded bays, they are the perfect spot for snorkelling excursions or just to enjoy swimming and sunbathing on a small corner of tropical paradise. Phuket is the perfect jumping off point to reach all these islands and islets, as well as the other gems in the Andaman Sea like the fantastic Similan and Surin Islands, the world-famous Phi Phi Islands and the 67 islands enclosed in the wonderful Phang Nga Bay.Read More  

The island of Phuket has a very rich history which stretches back thousands of years. There are several possible derivations of the relatively recent name Phuket. A chronicle dating back to 1025 A.D. indicates that the island's present day name derives from the Tamil word "Manikram", meaning crystal mountain, which is equivalent to the Thai words "Phu", meaning mountain, and "Ket", meaning jewel. Other early accounts sometimes refer to the island as "bukit", which in Malay means mountain or hill; this is how the island would have appeared to passers by from a distance, as it does today. King Ramkhamhaeng named the island "Cha Lang", which evolved to "Thalang", derived from the old Malay word "telong" meaning cape. The northern district of the island, which was the location of the old capital, still uses this name. During the reign of Rama V the island was officially named as Bhuket, and in 1967 the spelling was changed to the present day Phuket. However for most of the part of the history, and especially on old European maps, it was known as Jung Ceylon or Junkceylon, which was an English corruption of the Malay "Tanjung Salang" meaning Cape Salang. Most geologists believe that the area known as Phuket today was once a cape that extended into the Andaman Sea before becoming detached from the Thailand's mainland over time due to natural calamities. Evidence of this has been found in the book written by Claudius Ptolemy, a Greek geographer and philosopher, in 157 A.D. He writes that to travel to the Malay Penninsula by ship, travellers must pass by a cape known as Jang Si Lang. Phuket was inhabited by various ethnic tribes in its early ages. Most were Negritos a people similar to the pygmies of Africa, but genetically closer to surrounding Southeast Asian populations. These first inhabitants were mainly hunters and gatherers, who sustained themselves on berries, nuts, fruits and meat that were naturally available on the island. The Moken people, also known as Chao Lay or Sea Gypsies, was another nomadic community that lived on the island mostly along the coast and throve on the rich underwater supplies of fishes and seafood. Throughout the centuries, there have been many external influences on Phuket, both eastern and western, and various dynasties dominated the island. According to some historians, Phuket Town was founded in the 1st century B.C. by colonists from India, when Malaya Peninsula was part of the Shivite Empire. Later, as Muang Takua-Talang, the island was part of the Srivichai and Siri Tahm empires. In the 13th century, Phuket came into the influence of the Thai people, namely the Kingdom of Sukothai and then the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. During the next two centuries, the island became an important port on the west of the Malay Peninsula where trading vessels made regular stops for supplies and purchases, such as natural pearls, ivory, gems, ambergris, caulk, hides, firewood, and spices. However, in the mid-15th century, Phuket was in decline due to pirates and often rough sea, which deterred merchant vessels from visiting the island. In the16th century, large deposits of tin were discovered in Phuket, which soon aroused interest from European traders. The Portuguese explorer Fernão Mendes Pinto was one of the first European to mention Phuket in any detail in the year 1545. In his travel accounts, the explorer referred seven times to the island as ‘Junk Ceylon’, the Portuguese name used for Phuket Island in his maps. In the 17th century, the Dutch, English and, after the 1680s, the French, strongly competed for the opportunity to trade with the island of Phuket. As a result, the Siamese King Narai decided that island's northern and central regions were governed by the Thais, and the southern and western parts were given over to the tin trade, a concession in the hands of foreigners. Afterwards, the king attempted to reduce Dutch and English influence, named as governor of Phuket a French medical missionary, Brother René Charbonneau. In 1685, King Narai confirmed the French tin monopoly in Phuket to their ambassador, the Chevalier de Chaumont. However, the French were expelled from Siam after the 1688 Siamese revolution, followed by an unsuccessful attempt to recapture the island later. Three hundred years ago Phuket also had Portuguese merchants and residents, who introduced chilli pepper and built homes and businesses in the Portuguese architectural style, which can still be seen in Phuket Town today. The most important and well known event in the history of Phuket occurred in 1785 when a Burmese invasion was repelled by local residents. The Phuket's military governor had just died and the island was unprepared for such an attack. Resistance was organized by two legendary women: Kunying Jan, wife of recently deceased governor, and her sister Mook. Legend has it that they persuaded the island’s women to pose as male warriors, and positioned them on the Thalang city walls. Since immediate reinforcement from mainland Thailand was not possible, disguising thousands more women into men, they marched along the various beaches of Phuket, wielding only makeshift weapons, to frighten the Burmese away thinking that they were outnumbered and stood little chance. After a month-long siege of the capital city, the Burmese were forced to retreat on 13 March 1785. The two sisters became local heroines, receiving the royal titles Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Si Sunthon from a grateful King Rama I. In 1966, The Heroine´s Monument was erected in their honour on the Thep Kassattri road, near the town of Thalang. As a result of the growing importance of tin, during the beginning of the 19th century, many Chinese laborers began to flock to Phuket, whose strong influence can be still seen in the region. Most Chinese arrived from Penang, Malaysia, and built extravagant homes in the Sino-Portuguese architectural style, mainly in and around Phuket Town, which became the main port on the island. The island's interior became predominantly Chinese, while the coastal settlements remained populated chiefly by Muslim fishermen. During the reign of King Chulalongkorn, Phuket became the administrative center of the tin-producing southern provinces called Monton Phuket. In 1933 Monthon Phuket was dissolved and, with the change in the Thai government system from absolute monarchy to a parliamentary system, Phuket was established as a province by itself.

Located approximately 863 kilometres south of Bangkok, Phuket is the Thailand's largest island. It lies just off the western coast of Southern Thailand in the Andaman Sea, which is part of the Indian Ocean. The island is separated from the Thailand's mainland by a narrow sea channel and connected by the 600-meter Sarasin Bridge to Phang Nga Province to the north. Phuket Island covers an area of 543 square kilometres excluding the other 32 small islands and islets, mostly uninhabited, scattered just off its coast. It is estimated that Phuket would have a total area of approximately 576 square kilometres if all its surrounding islands were included. The island has a shape of an irregular pearl, with a length of 48.5 km, from north to south, and a maximum width of about 21.3 km. Seventy percent of Phuket's area is mountainous with a western mountain range which stretches from north to south from which smaller branches derive. The remaining 30 percent are plains in the central and eastern parts of the island. There are many high hills, some rising above 500 meters. The highest elevation of the island is usually regarded as Khao Mai Thao Sip Song, or Twelve Canes, at 529 metres above sea level, which lies within the boundaries of Tambon Patong, Kathu District. However, it has been reported by barometric pressure readings that there is an even higher elevation, with no apparent name, of 542 meters above sea level, in the Kamala hills behind Kathu waterfall. Phuket has a total of nine streams, including the Klong Bang Yai, Klong Ta Jin, Klong Ta Rua, and Klong Bang Rong, but does not have any major rivers. Forest, rubber, and palm oil plantations cover 60 percent of the island's surface. There are also mangroves and tropical rainforest in Khao Phra Thaew National Park and Sirinat National Park. Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife Sanctuary & Forest Reserve protects more than 23 square kilometres of virgin island rainforest in the north-east of island. Because of its royal status, it's better protected than the average national park in Thailand. Tigers, Malayan sun bears, rhinos and elephants once roamed the forest here, but nowadays resident animals are limited to humans, wild boars, monkeys, slow loris, langurs, gibbons, civets, flying foxes, cobras, pythons, squirrels and other smaller creatures. Established in 1981, the Sirinat National Park is on the northwest coast of island and protects an area of 90 square kilometres of terrestrial and marine areas. The park includes four main beaches: Hat Nai Thon, Hat Mai Khao, which is the Phuket's longest beach, Hat Sai Kaeo and Nai Yang Beach where sea turtles lay their eggs. Phuket's best beaches are along the west coast of the island, including Surin Beach and Bang Tao Beach to the north, Karon Beach, Kata Beach and Kata Noi Beach in the center, and Nai Han Beach near the southern tip. The east coast has smaller beaches that tend to be a little muddy. Near the southernmost point of island is Laem Phromthep, or Brahma's Cape, the Phuket's most popular viewpoint.

Covering an area of 570 square kilometres, Phuket Province is the second smallest province of Thailand after Samut Songkhram. Located off the west coast of Southern Thailand, in the Andaman Sea, it consists of the island of Phuket, the country's largest island, and another 32 smaller islands, mostly uninhabited, scattered just off its coast. Phuket provincial population in preliminary count of the 2010 census was estimated at 525,018 inhabitants, including some 115,881 foreigner expatriates representing 21% of the population. During the high season, from December to January, the number of people on Phuket Island rises to over one million, as tourists, mainly from Western Europe, China, Russia, and the United States flock to Phuket at Christmas holidays. Administratively, Phuket Province is divided into three districts, Amphoe in Thai language: Mueang Phuket, Kathu and Thalang. The three districts are further subdivided into 17 sub-districts, Tambon in Thai, and 103 villages, Muban. Amphoe Mueang Phuket, which is the capital district, extends in the southern part of the island. It is further divided into eight sub-districts: Talad Yai, Talad Nuea, Ko Kaeo, Ratsada, Wichit, Chalong, Rawai and Karon. Located in the northeast of this district, Phuket Town is the capital of Phuket Province. It covers the sub-districts Talat Yai and Talat Nuea, and is the largest city in the island. In 2007, the city had a population of 75,573 inhabitants. It is the economic hub of the island and also houses the two bus terminals of Phuket as well as the Rassada Pier, the island's main jetty. Amphoe Kathu extends in the west of Phuket Island. The district is divided into three sub-districts: Kathu, Patong and Kamala, which are further subdivided into 14 villages. Amphoe Thalang covers the the north of Phuket Island and was the original center of Phuket province. The district is divided into six sub-districts: Thep Krasattri, Si Sunthon, Choeng Thale, Pa Khlok, Sakhu and Mai Khao, which covers the extreme north and houses the Phuket International Airport.

Like all the Southern coastal region of Thailand, Phuket Island has a tropical monsoon climate featuring practically only two seasons: the Dry Season and the Monsoon Season, otherwise known as the Rainy Season. However, due to its proximity to the equator, the climate as a whole is warm and humid throughout the year and there is little variation in temperatures. Phuket has an average annual high temperature of 30° C and an average annual low of 25° C. The Dry Season runs from mid-November to mid-April, when the monsoon blows north-west. Characterized by the constant sunny weather, this season brings bearable heat from November until January. The temperatures from mid-February to April tend to rise while condensed clouds gathering throughout the day offer refreshing short rains in the evening. This is definitely the best time of year for beach lovers as you could go in the ocean almost at everyday of the months. The temperature does vary depending on the month. November, December and January have average between 27° C and 32° C, while the temperature rises between 29° C and 35° C in February, March and higher in April. On the Andaman coast, where Phuket is located, the Rainy Season runs from mid-April to mid-November when in the area the monsoon blows south-west. Phuket is subjected to more continuous and intense rains from May to June and from September to late October, although climate change causes significant variations. However, as can be said for the term “Dry Season”, the term "Rainy Season" can be slightly misleading. While the rain during this season can be very intense with furious storms and showers, sunny are also not uncommon during this time as well. Average temperatures during this season range between 27° C and 32° C and the humidity increases to over 70% with peaks that reach 90%. Overall, the Andaman Coast is the one with the highest rainfall: about 2400 mm for year, compared to the central and northern regions of Thailand, both of which experiencing on the average about 1,400 mm per year.

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Emergency & Information
Ambulance and Rescue Call Center: 1554
Medical Emergency Call Center: 1719
Fire Call Center: 199
Police - General Call Center: 191
Phuket Tourist Police Call Center: 1155

Tourist Police
Address: 100 / 31- 32 Chalermphakeat R9 Road, Phuket Town
Tel: 1155 to speak to a Thai or English language officer 24 hours a day
Tel: 08 7008 5970 or 08 7987 3701 for assistance with translations

Phuket Immigration Office
Address: 482 Phuket Road, Phuket Town
Tel: 076 221905 Fax: 076 212108 Patong Branch 076 340477
Email: d6_phuket@immigration.go.th / info@phuket.immigration.go.th

Tourism Authority of Thailand Southern Office
Address: 73-75 Phuket Road, Phuket Town
Tel: 076 212213
Email: tatphket@tat.or.th

Hospital & Health Care
Bangkok Phuket Hospital - Address: 2/1 Hongyok Utis Rd, Phuket Town Tel: 076 254425
Phuket International Hospital - Address: 44 Chalermprakiat Ror 9 Rd, Phuket Town Tel: 076 249400-6
Patong Hospital - Address: 57 Sai Nam Yen Rd, Patong Tel: 076 340444
Vachira Phuket Hospital - Address: 353 Yaowarat Rd, Phuket Town Tel: 076 361234
Mission Hospital Phuket - Address: 4/1 Thepkasattri Rd, Phuket Town Tel: 076 237220
Thalang Hospital - Address: 358 Moo 1 Thepkasattri Rd, Thalang Tel: 076 237220-6
Wattana International Clinic - Address: 78/7 Soi Wattana Clinic, Patong Tel: 076 340690

Consulates in Phuket
Austria - Address: M.4, Virathongyok Rd, Tambon Wichit Tel: 076 248334-6
Italy - Address: 68/198 Maneekraam Soi 9/1, Chalong Tel: 076 381792
Denmark - Address: 59/148 Moo 7, Sai Yuan Rd, Rawai Tel: 076 5185246
Morocco - Address: Plaza Sakdidat Rd, Phuket Town Tel: 076 225111
Finland - Address: 93-93/1-9, Phuket Rd, Phuket Town Tel: 076 330530-4
Norway - Address: 9/17 Moo 6, Thepkasatri Rd, Phuket Town Tel: 076 230130
French - Address: 96/15-16 Moo 1 Chalermprakiat Rama 9 Rd, Kathu Tel: 076 288828
Sweden - Address: 25/50 Maeluan Road, Talad Nua, Phuket Tel: 076 380000
German - Address: 100/425 Chalermprakiat R. 9 Rd, Phuket Town Tel: 076 610407
United King. - Address: 55/1 Bandon-Cherngtalay Rd, Thalang Tel: 076 318188
Ireland - Address: 79/6 Moo 4 Soi Suksan, Rawai Tel: 076 281273
USA - Address: 29 Soi Karon Nui, Karon Tel: 076 342270

Police Stations
Phuket Provincial Police Headquarters
Address: Yaowarat Road, Phuket Town
Tel: 076 212046, 076 212194
Phuket Tourist Police
Address: 100/31-32 Bypass Road, Tambon Rasada, Phuket Town
Tel: 076 355015, 076 254693
Phuket Traffic Police Station
Address: Yaowarat Road, Phuket Town
Tel: 076 220919, 076 212115
Kathu District Police Station
Address: Tambon Patong, Kathu, Phuket
Tel: 076 342719, 076 342721
Chalong Sub - District Police Station
Address: Tambon Chalong, Phuket
Tel: 076 381247, Fax. 076 381930
Cherng Talay Sub - District Police Station
Address: Tambon Cherng Talay, Thalang, Phuket
Tel: 076 270043
Kamala Sub - District Police Station
Address: Tambon Kamala, Phuket
Tel: 076 385310
Marine Police Division 5
Address: Phuket Road, Phuket Town
Tel: 076 211883, 076 214368
Muang District Police Station
Address: 1 Chumporn Road, Phuket Town
Tel: 076 216856, 076 212115
Tah Chat Chai Sub - District Police Station
Address: 22 Moo 5, Tambon Mai Khao, Phuket
Tel: 076 311242, 076 311368
Thalang District Police Station
Address: Thepkrasattri Road, Thalang, Phuket
Tel: 076 311123
Thung Thong Sub - District Police Station
Address: Tambon Thung Thong, Kathu, Phuket
Tel: 076 321182, 076 321516


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