approximately 862 kilometers south of Bangkok is Phuket, Thailand's
largest island, which is often dubbed as the pearl of the Andaman,
or the pearl of the south. Its natural resources- rocky peninsular,
limestone cliffs, white powdery beaches, tranquil broad bays and
tropical in-land forests contribute to making it the South's
wealthiest, busiest, most visited and most popular island and
in the tropical zone off the west coast of the southern part of
Thailand in the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean, the province
covers an area of approximately 543 square kilometers (excluding
small islets). It is estimated that Phuket Province covers an area
of approximately 590 square kilometers if its 39 other small islands
are included. The islands total length, from north to south, is
estimated at 48.7 kilometers and approximately 21.3 kilometers wide.
Phuket borders on Phang-nga Province to the north. The other 3 sides
are encircled by the Andaman Sea the place where many of the best
diving sites are located. The island is connected to Phang-nga
Province by Sarasin Bridge and Thep Krasattri Bridge.
on the island is easy, as there are only two seasons in a year - the
rainy season (May to October) and the hot season (November to
April). The low season of phuket is between September and October as
they are the wettest months. The best period for a visit, is from
November to February, when it is possible to see the clear blue sky,
feel the fresh sea breeze and marvel at the crystal clear water
while lying on powdery, palm-fringed beaches. Average temperatures
ranges between 23 C and 33 C.
Phuket's topology is exceptional with 70 percent of its area covered
with mountains which stretch from north to south and the remaining
30 percent being plains located in the central and eastern parts of
the island. The island does not have any major rivers except for a
total of 9 brooks and creeks.
Phuket is divided into 3 administrative counties namely Amphoe Muang,
Amphoe Thalang and Amphoe Kathu.
has a lot more to offer its visitors other than its natural heritage
sea, sand, sky, beach, forest, and world renowned diving sites.
Sino-Portuguese architecture casts its spell delighting travelers to
the city, while Phuket-style hospitality has never failed to impress
visitors from all walks of life. In addition, accommodations ranging
from world-class resorts to tropical-style bungalows have warmly
catered to the different needs of travelers. For seafood lovers,
there is a lot more to sample than just Phuket's famous lobster.
Altogether, these characteristics have made Phuket a truly unique
Most geologists believe that the area known as Phuket today was once
a cape that extended into the Andaman Sea. Geographical formations
gradually changed the capes location, finally detaching it from the
A famous Greek philosopher, Claudius Ptolemy, was the first person
who mentioned the cape in his book written in the year 157. The cape
was locally referred to as Jung Ceylon, which was located between
latitudes 6 N and 8 N (the present site of Phuket Island). Natives
called the place Cha Lang, which evolved to Tha Lang the name of the
main town to the north of the island.
As a perfect stopover sheltering traders from monsoons, Jung Ceylon
welcomed merchants from India, Persia, Arabia, Burma, China and also
Siam. During the 16th century, the island was also a popular trading
port for tin with Portuguese, Dutch, English and French traders
flocking to the island. This contributed to making the development
of mining so unprecedented. Chinese businessmen and miners later
migrated to Phuket and soon enjoyed thriving business wealth.
Apart from serving as a meeting point for traders from Europe,
Central Asia and China, Phuket also attracted ambitious immigrants,
especially those from Portugal and China, to work in the tin mines.
With its colorful history, visitors admire the Sino-Portuguese style
architecture in the city especially those buildings located along
the Thalang and Yaowarat Roads.
town was surrounded by Burmese troops who invaded the coastal area
in 1785. It was under the leadership of Chan, the widow of the
governor, and her sister, Muk, who united local residents and
successfully fought and drove the invaders out of Phuket. It took
over 30 days for the defending troops of Phuket, under the command
of Chan and Muk, to claim their victory. As a result of such heroic
deeds, noble titles were granted to Chan and Muk as Thao Thep
Krasattri and Thao Si Sunthon respectively. To honor them, a
monument was established at Tha Ruea Intersection, 12 kilometers to
the north of Phuket City in 1966. They are still highly respected by
Phuket residents even today.
However, 24 years later, the Burmese succeeded in seizing Thalang
causing many local residents to flee to Phang-nga and Krabi. In
1825, some of them returned to re-establish a town and established a
rice farming community. On the other hand, the area to the south of
the island (Phuket City today) was developed and became a tin
When Phuket was elevated to a town in 1850, it attracted more
immigrants from Thalang and nearby communities. In 1894, Phuket was
promoted to be a Monthon administrative unit under the supervision
of the central administrative body (located in Bangkok).
In 1902, Phraya Ratsada Korsimbi, a Sino-Thai businessman who
contributed to developing the modern city of Phuket was appointed
Governor of Phuket. He also helped to improve the welfare of local
residents and set up the market system in the countryside. In 1916,
Phuket became a province.
tin mining industry has gradually failed to generate economic growth
in Phuket, especially after 1985 when the price of tin fell by half.
However, with its natural resources, Phuket later emerged as a
tourist destination with great potential. This polished pearl of the
Andaman is truly a destination that provides visitors with memorable
The islands long history has shaped the distinctive Phuket of the
present with its diverse ethnic groups, culture, architectural
influence, and fine cuisine. With approximately 35 percent of the
population being comprised of Thai-Muslims, it is possible to see an
equal number of Wats (Thai temples) located next to Mosques.
How to get there
This is perhaps the easiest way to get to Phuket. Domestic airlines operate
several flights daily between Bangkok and Phuket. Some flights go to Phuket via
Samui Island with a 40-minute stopover. List of operators are as follows:
Phuket Air offers daily flights to Phuket and the journey takes only 1.20 hours.
Call 02 6798999 or visit
www.phuketairlines.com for more details on flights.
Bangkok Airways has daily flights connecting Phuket with Pattaya and Samui. For
more information, contact their Bangkok office at tel. 66 2265 5678.
Reservations can be made at tel. 66 2265 5555. Alternatively, browse its website
for more flight details.
Thai Airways International has numerous daily flights servicing the Bangkok-Phuket
route. In addition, they have regular flights connecting Phuket with Hat Yai,
Surat Thani, and Narathiwat Provinces. For more information, contact their
Bangkok office at tel. 02 628 2000 or book your seat online at
One-to-Go by Orient Thai operates a daily flight between Bangkok and Phuket. The
flight time is 1.20 hours. Call 1126 or visit
Air Asia also offers several daily flights connecting Bangkok and Phuket. The
flight time is 1.20 hours. Visit
www.airasia.com or call 02
5159999 for reservations.
Nok Air has several daily flights between Bangkok and Phuket with a flight time
of 1.20 hours. Visit
www.nokair.com or call 1318 to make your reservation.
Destination Air porvides first class seaplane transfers to and from Phuket
Internation Airport to resorts and hotels located in the Andaman sea. Popular
destinations are such as Ko Phi Phi, Krabi, Ko Lanta. Services commence in July
2006. Contact Bangkok Office of Destination Air at Tel: 0 2261 5323, Fax: 0 2261
5331 or visit
Getting to Phuket from abroad
There are several direct flights between Phuket and international destinations,
e.g. Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Penang, Singapore, and Sydney.
Dragon Air, Malaysia Airlines, Silk Airand Singapore Airlines also operate
international flights connecting Phuket with other destinations. Please call
airline offices for more details.
Transportation to and from the airport
Phuket International Airport is located approximately 30 kilometers north of the
city, tel. 076 327230. Taxis between Phuket City and the airport costs
approximately 400 baht but the fare to the beach ranges between 500 baht and 600
baht (The rate may decline now). Minivans charge approximately 80 baht /person
to town, but 120 baht/person to Patong, Kata and Karon Beaches. Phuket Limousine
(tel. 076 248596), located approximately 1 kilometer west of the city, operates
hourly shuttles to the airport from 6.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m.
Air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok's Southern Bus
Terminal for Phuket several times daily. Trips by air-conditioned bus, which
normally leaves in the evening, take about 13 hours.
Call 0 2434 7192, 0 2435 1199 or visit
From Bangkok, take Highway No.4 (Phetchakasem Road) through Phetchaburi,
Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Surat Thani and Phang-nga Provinces, then cross
the Thep Krasattri Bridge or Sarasin Bridge to Phuket Island. The total distance
is 862 kilometers and the travel time is approximately 12 hours.
There is no direct train service to Phuket. Travelers arriving by train must get
off at Phun Phin Railway Station in Surat Thani Province and continue by regular
bus to Phuket. For more information, call the State Railway of Thailand, 1690, 0
2223 7010, or 0 2223 7020.
During the high season, travelers may opt to get to Phuket from Ko Phi Phi and
Ko Lanta (both are in Krabi Province). Few ports in Phuket provide this service
with fares ranging between 300 bahts and 500 baht. The trip may take 1.5 to 2
hours, depending on weather conditions.
Getting around Phuket
Car Rental Service
Avis Car Rent Airport Tel: 0-7635-1243, Kata Beach Resort Tel : 0-7638-1530-3
- Boomerang Travel & Tour 71/13 Patak Road, Chalong Bay Tel: 0-7638-1690
- Dusit Laguna Hotel Bang Thao Beach Tel: 0-7632-4322-9
- Hertz Car Rent Thawon Palm Beach Hotel, Karon Beach Tel: 0- 7638-1034-7
- Holiday Inn Patong Beach Tel: 0-7634-0608
- K.M. Travel Phangnga Road Tel: 0-7621-0893
- Le Meridian Karon Noi Beach Tel: 0-7634-0480-5
- The Metropol Hotel Montri Road Tel: 0-7621-5050
- Pansea Surin Beach Tel: 0-7632-4017-20
- Patong Merlin Patong Beach Tel: 0-7634-0037-41
- Pearl Village Nai Yang Beach Tel: 0-7632-7006
- Phuket Arcadia Karon Beach Tel: 0-7638-1038-40
- Phuket Airport Tel: 0-7632-7258
- Phuket Cabana Patong Beach Tel: 0-7634-0138-4
- Phuket Car Center Takua Pa Road Tel: 0-7621-2671-3
- Phuket Island Tel: 0-7638-1010
- Phuket Yacht Charter 5/3 Chao Fa Road Tel: 0-7621-6556
- Phuket Horizon Car Rent 235/4 Yaowarat Road, Tambon Talat Nua, Muang
District Tel: 0-7621-5200
- Pure Car Rent Opposite Thavorn Hotel, Ratsada Road,
Tel: 0- 7621-1002
- Via Rent A Car 70/85 Rat U-Thit, Patong Beach Tel: 0-7634-0160
It costs approximately 20 baht / person / trip to travel around Phuket City.
Alternatively, motorcycles can be rented from rental agencies located on Rasada
Road or from several operators along beaches. The cost may vary from 150 baht
300 baht / day, depending on the number of cylinders.
Songthaeo and Tuk-Tuk
Songthaeos are operated along Ranong Road to several
destinations on the beaches. The cost varies from approximately 20 baht to 25
baht / person / trip. Normally the service is provided from 7.00 a.m. until 5.00
Tuk-Tuks can be chartered to the beach however, the rates which can be
negotiated are higher at 200 baht to Patong Beach, 230 baht to Karon and Kata
Beaches and 300 baht to Nai Han and Kamala Beaches. However, Tuk-Tuks drive
around the town at the rate of 20 baht.
Visitors can call 076 232157-8 to get a metered taxi that
will take them anywhere in Phuket. The metered fare will include a 20 baht
Getting to nearby provinces
There are regular bus services (VIP, air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned) to
neighboring provinces such as Krabi, Phang-nga, Chumphon, Ko Samui (bus/boat),
Nakhon Si Thammarat, Ranong, Surat Thani, Satun, Hat Yai, Takua-Pa and Trang.
Departures are from the Phuket Bus Terminal off Phang-nga Road. For more
up-to-date schedules and fares, call Phuket Air-conditioned Bus Station, tel. 0
Taxis & Vans
There are shared taxi and van services between Phuket and other nearby
provinces. Fares of both are generally around double the fare of an ordinary
bus. The stations of both taxis and minivans are also on Phang-nga Road.
Some domestic airlines operate flights from Phuket to Surat Thani, Nakhon Si
Thammarat, Trang, Hat Yai and Samui. For more details, check with your travel
agent or the TAT office.
Getting to nearby islands from Phuket
Boats to nearby islands can be found at the following
An old local port, it is from here that long-tail boats depart for nearby
islands such as Ko He, Ko Racha Yai, Ko Mai Thon, Ko Lon, etc. The chartered
price depends on the distance.
The largest port of Phuket that has all kinds of boats, including cruisers of
tour companies which organize package tours to other islands.
Located near Phanwa Cape, the port is only for cruisers and container ships.
Boat Lagoon Port (Ao Sapam) The port is for traveling boats of tour companies.