Phuket Regional Info (App Version)
Phuket is the largest of the 1000s of islands that are found scattered around Thailand’s coastline and is a magical blend of everything a holidaymaker or expatriate could dream of. Discover and embrace swaying palm trees, white sand beaches, restaurants galore and exhilarating nightlife.
The history of the island is steeped in trading and tin mining while today, tourism has become the economic mainstay and has brought many a visitor with some never leaving. Phuket is quite simply paradise. Beyond Phuket are quieter Khao Lak, rugged Krabi, still sleepy Koh Lanta and the islands of Phang Nga Bay.
Phuket is known as the 'Pearl of the Andaman' (Sea) primarily due to its sun-sea-sand destination. The Island has 36 beaches with the nicest and sandiest located along the west coast.
Many internationally renowned movies have been filmed in Phuket and have made some regions famous several of which are the James Bond film 'The Man with the Golden Gun', set in Phang Nga Bay and 'The Beach', the movie that made Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Ley famous.
'Pooket', as it's pronounced, has a long history: it was on a major trading route between India and China, rubber and particularly tin mining have contributed to economic development and prosperity and nowadays the Island is a popular tourist destination.
Buddhism is practiced by most of the population with Islam being more popular in the rural areas. The ethnic diversity of the area is a mix of indigenous Thais, Thai-Chinese, ethnic Malays and sea gypsies.
The unique and spectacular topography of the area includes limestone cliffs notably in the Phi Phi Islands, Krabi and Phang Nga Bay while the evergreen rainforest in Khao Sok National Park is the oldest in the world.
Thai, some English spoken in predominately tourist areas.
Phuket lies 7 degrees north of the equator and has year-round temperatures ranging between 21-34°C. November to April brings sunny weather and from May to October, wet weather prevails. Water temperature varies between 26-28°C. An almost perfect mix of sun and sea, idyllic islands, beaches and activites, Phuket and the area have become increasingly popular with scuba divers: chartered boats and liveaboards cruise to the Similan Islands, Phi Phi Islands and elsewhere given favourable weather. The area is also idyllic for yachting and there are four marinas to berth at and the area hosts four international regattas.
'Greater Phuket' comprises six regions: Phuket, Khao Lak, Phang Nga Bay, Koh Phi Phi, Krabi and Koh Lanta.
Khao Lak to the north of Phuket with its long and sandy beaches, is a relatively quiet and inviting area. The area suffered the worst of the damage of the 2004 Tsunami that devastated the shores of Thailand although it has totally recovered today. Khao Lak is the most favoured jump off point to the diving and snorkelling destination, the Similian Islands.
Limestone monoliths punctuate the waters of Phang Nga Bay Marine National Park, home to a variety of flora and fauna plus 'James Bond Island' and the Muslim village on stilts. It is well worthwhile exploring the magnificence of the bay through a private yacht charter or a sea canoe excursion tour.
The Phi Phi Islands are comprised of Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley. Rising majestically from the Andaman Sea 48kms south east of Phuket, Phi Phi Don with its sandy beaches, budget and luxury accommodation, restaurants and abundant nightlife is the only inhabitable island while the smaller sheer limestone walled island of Phi Phi Ley sees sightseeers and snorkelers during the daytime.
Krabi boasts a stunning landscape of beautiful sandy beaches several of which are accessible only by longtail, and sheer rocky cliffs crowned with jungle and coconut trees. Avid rock climbers come to scale the craggy limestone karsts prominent in Krabi.
Koh Lanta, the 'Island of long beaches', is the least developed destination of the area and tourism remains in its infancy. The beaches are the most obvious attraction to visitors yet one can find a natural charm and appeal with Old Lanta Town and the national park in the south being interesting things to see.
It no secret that Thai food is a favoured cuisine for many people. Influences range from subtle Chinese flavours, hot and spicy southern dishes, traditional Royal Thai cuisine and the seafood of the Andaman Sea. There are cooking schools in the area where one can learn some basics. Restaurants serving many types of international cuisine are readily found.
Phuket enjoys a 'healthy' nightlife with Patong and particularly Soi Bangla, being the centre of the late night action.
Festivals can be beautiful, wacky and often noisy. The Vegetarian Festival is one of self-mutilation whereas Songkran or the Thai New Year, is an occasion to throw water and have fun.