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PHUKET

(source from http://www.phukettourism.org)

 

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 island, is surrounded by 32 smaller islands that form part of the same administration, with a total area of 570 square km. Measured at its widest point, Phuket is 21.3 km; at its longest, 48.7 km.



It is bounded thus:


 North
 Lies the Pak Prah Strait, spanned by two bridges running side-by-side, the older Sarasin Bridge, and the newer Thao Thepkrasatri Bridge.
 South  Is the Andaman Sea.
 East  Is Phangnga Bay   (In the jurisdiction mainly of Phangnga Province).
 West  Is the Andaman Sea.
 

Geography

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 Thao 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.

 

Beach

Each of Phuket's many beaches is blessed with a character and charm very much of its own. From busy fun beaches offering a range of water sport activities, to secluded coves of fine white sand backed by verdant hillsides and visited by little more than the bubbling surf of the Andaman, there is bound to be at least one to suit the mood and mindset of every visitor to the island.

 
  Patong Beach
(15 km from town)


Phuket's most developed beach offers numerous leisure, sporting, shopping and recreational options along its 3-km long cresent bay.

Windsurfing, snorkelling, sailing, swimming and sunbathing number among the many popular daytime activities.

Patong is equally well known for its vibrant nightlife, among which seafood restaurants feature prominently.
 
Kata Beach
(20 & 17 km from town)


Beautiful Kata is a scenic gem, its clear water flanked by hills, and picturesque Bu island sits offshore.

Kata retains a village feel at its northern and southern ends and is perhaps more family-oriented, its beach more peaceful than Patong.
 
 
  Surin Beach
(24 km from town)


Evergreen trees line this small, curving bay, beneath the foothills north of Kamala. Surin is home to Phuket's first golf course, a nine-hole course laid out more than sixty years ago during the reign of King Rama VII. It is now largely in disuse except as a park.

The steep incline of the beach, turbulent water, and big waves make Surin a dangerous place to swim.
 
Rawai Beach
(17 km from town)


The palm-fringed beach is best known for 'sea gypsies,' a formerly nomadic fishing minority believed to be of Melanesian descent.
 
 
  Promthep Cape

Promthep Cape is a headland forming the extreme south end of Phuket. "Prom" is Thai for the Hindu term, "Brahma," signifying purity, and "Thep" means 'God.'

Local villagers used to refer to the cape as "Leam Jao", or the God's Cape, and it was an easily recognisable landmark for the early seafarers traveling up the Malay Peninsula from the sub-continent.

 
Bangtao Beach

Bangtao is a large open bay with one of Phuket's longest beaches. It was once used for tin mining, but has since been developed into a luxury resort. Most of it is occupied by the Laguna complex, a massive five-hotel development with golf course. There are, however, accommodations available outside Laguna at the bay's south end.

Dry season swimming is excellent, and at the bay's north end is a smaller bay, almost completely enclosed, at the mouth of which is some fine coral. Plenty of places to eat, tour companies, and other tourist facilities are available either at Laguna or in the nearby town of Choeng Thale.
 
 

 

Islands around Phuket

 

 
 

Phi Phi Islands

Of the two islands, Phi Phi Don is the larger and more developed. The smaller, Phi Phi Le, recently took the title role in the film adaptation of The Beach - starring opposite Leonardo Di Caprio.

Despite misinformed protests and bad press regarding environmental damage to the island during filming, Phi Phi Le is, in fact, in better condition now than before filming began. International environmentalists report that the removal of two tons of tourist rubbish before filming could begin, did not adversely affect the island's delicate ecological balance.

 
Similan Islands

From the north to the south, the archipelago comprises Koh Bon, Koh Ba Ngu, Koh Similan, Koh Payu, Koh Miang (actually two islands), Koh Payan, Koh Payang, Koh Ku Yong. Except for park officials and occasional tourist groups, these petite islands are mostly uninhabited.

The waters around the islands are home to a considerable variety of fish and crustaceans, and other marine life flourishes. The water in the area is as clear as glass and makes an excellent deep water dive site.
 


 
 

Coral Island

Koh Hey, off Phuket's south coast, is so well known for its coral reef that it is often referred to simply as Coral Island. In addition to the splendid reefs there are two fine beaches on the north and west of the island.

Koh Hey is part of a marine preserve, but accommodation, restaurants, various watersports and diving are all available. Boats leave from Rawai and Chalong. Package tours are also available.

 

Rang Yai Island

Lying off Phuket's east coast, this small island has been developed for the soft adventure tourist. Among the many activities are snorkeling on the coral reefs, sea kayaking, mountain-biking, playing miniature golf, and visiting the island's pearl farm.

How to get there: Boats may be hired from Laem Hin Pier at Phuket Boat Lagoon. Package tours are providede by Richy Island Tour (Tel: (076) 238163) and other tour agencies.

 

 

 

Raya Noi Island

This island, 10 km from Raya Yai, is the result of coral reef build up, and there are more rocks than beaches. In a small bay on the west is a boat anchorage. The waters at Raya Noi are emerald green, and the fishing there is famous, but swimming is not recommended.

How to get there: Hire a charter boat at Ao Chalong or Rawai, or go to a travel agent for details on package tours to the islands. By long-tailed boat the travel time is about two hours. Larger boats operated by tour companies will make the trip in about one hour. Travel to Raya Islands is restricted to dry season and periods when the monsoon is not blowing.

  Diving
Phuket diving sites number among the very best to be found. In fact, the readers of the top diving magazine voted Phuket diving among the top ten in the world. Diving Phuket's warm clear blue waters is best from mid-October to May, when the calm seas and rain free days make Phuket diving off Ko Kaew Noi, Ko Rajali Yai, Shark Point a truly unique experience.  


 
Phi Phi Island diving is also one of the highlights for any serious dive itinerary, Phi Phi Island diving takes the diver to one of the most famous diving sites in the world, and facilities for Phi Phi Island diving are among the best for such a site.
 

 

Diving Khao Lak will introduce the diver to many new varieties of fish and coral. Khao Lak diving is a relatively unspoiled diving site offering much natural scenery and diving Khao Lak means entering into one of Thailand's premier marine national parks.

Scuba companies diving Phuket offer full training courses and equipment hire, so that experienced and amateur divers can experience diving Phuket waters without needing to worry about bringing more than their underwater cameras.

 

Local Shopping


All of Thailand is known for its fantastic shopping, and Phuket is no exception. Particularly fine examples of handicrafts from around the country are available at the tourist markets and speciality shops of the beach centres, Phuket Town and at Canal Village in the Laguna Phuket complex - which also boasts its own branch of Jim Thompson's, the Thai silk specialists.

Phuket is also the source of several of the country's finest gift and souvenir products including cultured pearls, neilloware, pewterware, ornaments and dried seafood, (see "What to Buy"). Specialist shops dealing in souvenir products can be found on Rasada, Phangnga, Montri, Yaowarat, and Tilok-U-Thit roads, in Phuket Town, Thepkrassatri Road, north of town and at the beach centres of Patong, Kata, Karon and Rawai.

Among the best buys the island has to offer are Batik - crafted by the island's numerous artists into tee-shirts, dresses, wall hangings, and bed covers - beachwear and easily-affordable made-to-measure cotton, linen and silk clothing - courtesy of the island's many tailors. Thalang Road, in Phuket Town, is home to many cloth merchants, offering excellent deals on a wide selection of cloth, which the island's tailors will be happy to convert into the fashion statement of the customer's choosing.

Phuket's rapidly developing infrastructure has also allowed for a considerable growth in shopping opportunities. Several large department stores are located in Phuket Town, Thalang and Patong and two giant supercentres - Tesco Lotus and Big C - have recently opened on the Bypass Road, north of Phuket Town, offering easy shopping for long stay visitors and yacht charter tourists.


Department stores :

Ocean Department Store Thaweewong Rd., Patong.
Ocean Plaza Soi Bangla, Patong.
Ocean Shopping Mall Tilok-U-Thit Rd., Phuket Town.
Robinsons Tilok –U-Thit Rd., Phuket Town.
Phuket Shopping Center Rasada Rd., Phuket Town.
Wang Talang 13/1 Vichitsongkram Road T.Vichit.