|What To See
+ Chiang Mai
In The Know
Did You Know?
The island of Phuket lies in the Andaman Sea just off the coast of Phang-nga Province and is joined to the mainland by a short causeway. At 810sq km, it is Thailand's largest island and has developed in the last 25 years into one of the most luxurious and elaborate beach resorts in the whole of Southeast Asia. The name Phuket derives from the Malay word bukit (hill) and is pronounced 'Pooket'.In past centuries, Phuket was an important entrepôt on the eastern shore of the Bay of Bengal, handling shipping and dealing with sailors from the Arab and Malay worlds, India, Burma, China and, of course, Siam. By the 16th century, it was also well known to Europeans, as first Portuguese and Dutch, then English and French, sailed there.
Phuket enjoyed an unprecedented surge in wealth when tin was found in large quantities just offshore. Miners and businessmen arrived from the provinces of south China, adding a considerable Sinitic element to the island's already mixed population.
It was not until about 1975 that Phuket's potential for tourism was finally realised. Although more expensive than almost any other resort in Thailand, it is still reasonable by international standards, especially in view of its beauty and amenities.