Information on Phuket
An introduction to Phuket
The largest island in Thailand, Phuket is a mountainous province located in the southern tip of the Andaman Sea. It was originally valued by 17th century Dutch and English explorers as a rich source of tin. The resulting mining industry drew thousands of Chinese laborers to the island. Today, their cultural influence can still be felt in the island's many shops, restaurants and temples.
Over 5.3 million tourists flock to Phuket each year to experience its scenic beaches and picturesque mountain ranges. The island has provided the setting for numerous films, including The Man With The Golden Gun and The Beach.
Geography & climate
Phuket comprises approximately 590 square kilometers, including 39 surrounding islands. Seventy percent of the land is covered by mountains, which stretch from the northwestern tip of the island to the southern edge. The remaining 30 percent is plains.
Phuket has a long rainy season in the late spring, summer and autumn months. For this reason, most travel guides recommend visiting Phuket between December and April, when the drier weather permits outdoor activities such as snorkeling, boating and hiking.
Phuket's most popular beaches sit on the western side of the island. These include Patong Beach, Karon Beach, Kata Beach, Kata Noi Beach and Nai Harn and Rawai on the southern tip of the island. The beaches north of Patong – Kamala, Surin and Bang Tao – tend to be less developed and more secluded.
Several coral islands lie just south of Phuket, with the Similan Islands on the northwest and the Phi Phi Islands on the southeast. All are popular with snorkelers and scuba divers looking to catch a glimpse of Phuket's diverse marine life.
Phuket also has a number of national parks that showcase some of the island's best beaches, forests, waterfalls and other natural attractions. Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, on the northern part of the island, is home to Phuket’s last virgin rainforest. Sirinath National Park encompasses a mangrove forest with a saltwater swamp.
Activities & attractions
Phuket has a wide variety of activities and attractions for the millions of tourists who travel there each year. Snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming and boating are among the most popular outdoor activities, though travelers can also experience more exotic attractions such as elephant rides, safaris and all-terrain vehicle tours.
Boxing is one of Thailand's most popular spectator sports and a growing favorite among Phuket travelers. The island also has an active nightlife, with countless bars, restaurants, discos and cabarets, as well as world famous full moon parties.
Flights to Phuket
Phuket has its own international airport located in the northern end of the island, and a number of major airlines offer daily flights to Phuket. It is also possible to reach Phuket by boat, with a ferries linking Phuket Town and Ko Phi-Phi three times a day.