Phuket (; th|ภูเก็ต, , ms|Bukit or ''Tongkah'') is one of the southern provinces (''changwat'') of Thailand
. It consists of the island of Phuket, the country's largest island
, and another 32 smaller islands off its coast.
It lies off the west coast of Thailand
in the Andaman Sea
. Phuket Island is connected by the Sarasin Bridge
to Phang Nga Province
to the north. The next nearest province is Krabi
, to the east across Phang Nga Bay.
Phuket Province has an area of , somewhat less than that of Singapore
, and is the second-smallest province of Thailand. The island was on one of the major trading routes between India
, and was frequently mentioned in foreign ships' logs
of Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English traders, but was never colonised by a European power. It formerly derived its wealth from tin
and now from tourism
There are several possible derivations of the relatively recent name "Phuket" (of which the digraph ''ph'' represents an aspirated p
). One theory is it is derived from the word ''Bukit'' (Jawi: بوكيت) in Malay
which means "hill", as this is what the island appears like from a distance.
Phuket was formerly known as Thalang ( ''Tha-Laang''), derived from the old Malay "telong" (Jawi: تلوڠ) which means "cape". The northern district of the province, which was the location of the old capital, still uses this name. In Western sources and navigation charts, it was known as Junk Ceylon or Junkceylon (a corruption of the Malay ''Tanjung Salang'', i.e., "Cape Salang").
[Smithies, Michael (2002), Three military accounts of the 1688 "Revolution" in Siam, Itineria Asiatica, Orchid Press, Bangkok, ]
Phuket is the largest island in Thailand. It is located in the Andaman Sea
in southern Thailand. The island is mostly mountainous with a mountain range in the west of the island from the north to the south. The mountains of Phuket form the southern end of the Phuket mountain range
, which ranges for from the Kra Isthmus
swims off the Islands]]
Although some recent geographical works refer to the sections of the Tenasserim Hills in the isthmus as the "Phuket Range", these names are not found in classical geographic sources. Besides, the name Phuket is relatively recent having previously been named Jung Ceylon and Thalang. The highest elevation of the island is usually regarded as Khao Mai Thao Sip Song (Twelve Canes), at above sea level. However, it has been reported by barometric pressure readings that there is an even higher elevation (with no apparent name), of 542 meters above sea level, in the Kamala hills behind Kathu waterfall.
Its population was 249,446 in 2000, rising to 525,709 in the 2010 decennial census,
the highest growth rate of all provinces nationwide at 7.4 percent annually. Some 600,000 people reside on Phuket currently, among them migrants, international ex-pats, Thais registered in other provinces, and locals. The registered population, however, includes only Thais who are registered in a ''thabian ban'' or house registration book, which most are not, and the end of 2012 was 360,905 persons.
Phuket is approximately south of Bangkok
and covers an area of excluding small islets. It is estimated that Phuket would have a total area of approximately if all its outlying islands were included. Other islands are:
, Ko Maprao
, Ko Naka Yai
, Ko Racha Noi
, Ko Racha Yai
, and the second biggest, Ko Sire
The island's length, from north to south, is and its width is .
[Phuket Town Treasure Map](_blank)
Seventy percent of Phuket's area is covered with mountains which stretch from north to south. The remaining 30 percent are plains in the central and eastern parts of the island. It has a total of nine brooks and creeks but does not have any major rivers.
Forest, rubber, and palm oil plantations cover 60 percent of the island. The west coast has several sandy beaches. The east coast beaches are more often muddy. Near the southernmost point is Laem Phromthep ( th|แหลมพรหมเทพ, "Brahma's Cape"), a popular viewpoint. In the mountainous north of the island is the Khao Phra Thaeo No-Hunting Area, protecting more than 20 km2
of the rainforest
. The three highest peaks of this reserve are the Khao Prathiu (), Khao Bang Pae
, and Khao Phara
. The Sirinat National Park
on the northwest coast was established in 1981 to protect an area of ( marine area), including the Nai Yang Beach where sea turtle
s lay their eggs.
The most popular (and overcrowded) tourist area on Phuket is Patong Beach
on the central west coast, perhaps owing to the easy access to its wide and long beach. Most of Phuket's nightlife and its shopping is in Patong, and the area has become increasingly developed. Patong means "the forest filled with banana
leaves" in Thai
. South of Patong lie Karon Beach
, Kata Beach
, Kata Noi Beach
, and around the southern tip of the island, Nai Han Beach
and Rawai. To the north of Patong are Kamala Beach
, Surin Beach
, and Bang Tao Beach
. These areas are generally much less developed than Patong. To the southeast is Bon Island and to the south are several coral islands. The Similan Islands
lie to the northwest and the Phi Phi Islands
which are part of Krabi Province
, to the southeast.
Under the Köppen climate classification
, Phuket features a tropical monsoon climate
(''Am''). Due to its proximity to the equator, in the year, there is little variation in temperatures. The city has an average annual high of and an annual low of . Phuket has a dry season
that runs from December to March and a wet season
that covers the remaining eight months. However, like many cities that feature a tropical monsoon climate, Phuket sees some precipitation even during its dry season. Phuket averages roughly of rain.
16th-18th century: European contact
explorer Fernão Mendes Pinto
arrived in Siam in 1545. His accounts of the country go beyond Ayutthaya
and include a reasonably detailed account of ports in the south of the Kingdom as well. Pinto was one of the first European explorers to detail Phuket in his travel accounts. He referred to the island as "Junk Ceylon", a name the Portuguese used for Phuket Island in their maps, mentioning the name seven times in his accounts. Pinto said that Junk Ceylon was a destination port where trading vessel
s made regular stops for supplies and provisions. However, during the mid-16th century, the island was in decline due to pirates and often rough and unpredictable seas, which deterred merchant vessels from visiting the island. Pinto mentioned several other notable port cities in his accounts, including Patani and Ligor, which is modern-day Nakhon Si Thamarat.
In the 17th century, the Dutch
and, after the 1680s, the French
, competed for the opportunity to trade with Junk Ceylon, which was a rich source of tin
. In September 1680, a ship of the French East India Company
visited the island and left with a full cargo of tin.
A year or two later, the Siamese King Narai
, seeking to reduce Dutch and English influence, named as governor a French medical missionary, Brother René Charbonneau
, a member of the Siam mission of the Société des Missions Étrangères
. Charbonneau remained as governor until 1685.
In 1685, King Narai confirmed the French tin monopoly in Phuket to their ambassador, the Chevalier de Chaumont
Chaumont's former maître d'hôtel
, Sieur de Billy, was named governor of the island.
However, the French were expelled from Siam after the 1688 Siamese revolution
. On 10 April 1689, Desfarges
led an expedition to re-capture Thalang to restore French control in Siam. His occupation of the island led to nothing, and Desfarges returned to Puducherry
in January 1690.
1785: Burmese invasion
Before the Burmese attacked Thalang in 1785
during the "Nine Armies' Wars", Francis Light
, a British East India Company
captain (and later founder of Penang
), who had been based on the island for some years, notified the local administration that he had observed Burmese forces preparing to attack. The island's military governor had just died, so the Burmese thought that it could be easily seized. Than Phu Ying Chan
, the widow of the recently deceased governor, and her sister Mook (คุณมุก) ordered the women of the island to dress as soldiers and take positions on the Thalang city walls. The Burmese called off their attack due to the perceived strength of the defences. Short of food, they retreated. After a month-long siege of the capital city, the Burmese were forced to retreat on 13 March 1785. The two women became local heroines, receiving the royal titles Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Si Sunthon
from a grateful King Rama I
of Phuket is a depiction of the Two Heroines Monument along Highway 402 in Phuket
. This commemorates the sisters The seal is a circle surrounded by a kranok pattern
and has been used since 1985.
During the reign of King Chulalongkorn
(Rama V) from 1 October 1868 to 23 October 1910, Phuket became the administrative centre of the tin-producing southern provinces. His reign was characterized by the modernization of Siam, governmental and social reforms, and territorial concessions to the British and French. As Siam was threatened by Western expansionism, Chulalongkorn managed to save Siam from colonization.
In 1933 ''Monthon
Phuket'' (มณฑลภูเก็ต) was dissolved and Phuket became a province.
On 26 December 2004, Phuket and other nearby areas on Thailand's west coast suffered damage when they were struck by a tsunami
caused by the Indian Ocean earthquake
. The waves destroyed several highly populated areas in the region, killing up to 5,300 people in Thailand, and two hundred thousand more throughout the Asian region.
Some 250 were reported dead in Phuket, including foreign tourists. Almost all of the major beaches on the west coast of Phuket, especially Kamala, Patong
, Karon, and Kata sustained major damage, with some damage caused to resorts and villages on the island's southern beaches. Thailand's hardest-hit area was the Takua Pa District
of Phang Nga Province
north of Phuket, where a thousand or more Burmese workers building new beach resorts died.
In December 2006, Thailand launched the first of 22 tsunami-detection buoys to be positioned around the Indian Ocean
as part of a regional warning system. The satellite-linked deep-sea buoys float offshore, roughly midway between Thailand
and Sri Lanka
As with most of Thailand, the majority of the population is Buddhist
, but there is a significant number of Muslim
s (20 percent) in Phuket, mainly descendants of the island's original sea-dwelling people. Among the Muslims, many are of Malay
descent. People of Chinese
ancestry make up an even larger population, many of whom are descendants of the tin miners who migrated to Phuket during the 19th century. Peranakan
s, known as "Phuket Babas" in the local tongue, constitute a fair share of Chinese community members, particularly among those who have family ties with the Peranakans of Penang
Phuket provincial population in the preliminary count of the 2010 census was counted to be 525,018 people, including some 115,881 expatriates, or 21.1 per cent of the population. However, it is admitted this is inaccurate since The Phuket Provincial Employment Office currently records for more than 64,000 Burmese, Lao and Cambodian workers legally residing on the island. The Thai census figure for 2015 shows a population of 386,605 persons.
The number of people on Phuket island swells to over a million during the high season, as tourists, mainly from Western Europe
, and the United States
flock to Phuket around Christmas.
Phuket is divided into three districts (''amphoe
''), which are further divided into 17 subdistricts (''tambon
''), and 103 villages (''muban
As of 26 November 2019 there are: one Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (') and 12 municipal (''thesaban'') areas in the province. Phuket has city (''thesaban nakhon
'') status. Kathu and Patong have town (''thesaban mueang
'') status. Further 9 subdistrict municipalities (''thesaban tambon
''). The non-municipal areas are administered by 6 Subdistrict Administrative Organisations - SAO (''ongkan borihan suan tambon'').
File:Phuket from space.jpg
File:Karte Golf von Thailand - Phuket.png
thumb|View of File:Sri_Panwa_Phuket,_Vichit,_Thailand_(Unsplash).jpg.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Andaman Sea">File:Sri Panwa Phuket, Vichit, Thailand (Unsplash).jpg">thumb|View of [[Andaman Sea
from luxury Pool villa hotel
[[Tin mining was a major source of income for the island from the 16th century until petering out in the 20th century. In modern times, Phuket's economy has rested on two pillars: [[rubber tree]] plantations (making Thailand the biggest producer of rubber in the world) and [[tourism]].
Since the 1980s, the sandy beaches on the west coast of the island have been developed as tourist destinations, with Patong, Karon, and Kata being the most popular. Since the 2004 tsunami
, all damaged buildings and attractions have been restored. Phuket is being intensely developed, with many new hotels, apartments, and houses under construction.
In July 2005, Phuket was voted one of the world's top five retirement destinations by ''Fortune Magazine''.
In 2017, Phuket received about 10 million visitors, most of them foreign, with China the leading contributor. Tourists generated some 385 billion baht
in revenues, nearly 14 percent of the 2.77 trillion baht earned by the nation as a whole.
The first half of 2019 saw a dip in the number of tourists visiting Phuket, driving lower hotel occupancy rates leading to increased price competition. RevPAR
(revenue per available room) is down. A decline in the number of tourists, combined with an oversupply of hotel rooms, is the root of the problem. Despite falling numbers, the Tourism Authority of Thailand
(TAT) claims that tourism revenues have risen by 3.1% in the first half of 2019.
It is unclear how many hotel rooms Phuket has available. Oxfam says it has 60,000 hotel rooms for its 9.1 million annual visitors.
The ''Bangkok Post'' in September 2019 reported that Phuket has 600 hotels with 40,000 rooms.
Three weeks earlier it said that Phuket had 93,941 hotel rooms available, excluding villas and hostels, with an additional 15,000 projected to become available by 2024.
Phuket International Airport (HKT)
commenced a 5.7 billion baht (US$185.7 million) expansion in September 2012, scheduled for completion on 14 February 2016. The airport will increase its annual handling capacity from 6.5 million to 12.5 million passengers, and add a new international terminal.
There is currently no rail line to Phuket. Trains run to Surat Thani 230 km away.
s are a common mode of transport on Phuket. Phuket's songthaews are larger than those found in other areas of Thailand. Songthaews are the cheapest mode of transportation from town to town. They travel between the town and beaches. There are also conventional bus services and motorbike taxis. The latter are found in large numbers in the main town and at Patong Beach. Traditional tuk-tuks
have been replaced by small vans, mostly red, with some being yellow or green. Car taxis in Phuket are quite expensive and charge flat rates between towns. Privately run buses are available from the airport to Phuket Town and major beaches. It is often recommended by locals to take the ride-share company, Grab.
Phuket's Bus Station 2 BKS Terminal is the long-distance arrivals hub for buses to and from Bangkok and other major Thai cities and provinces. Located four kilometres to the north of Phuket's town centre and port, the complex is large and modern, linking with transportation by tuk-tuk, metered taxi, motorcycle taxi, songthaew, or local bus to the island's beaches and resorts. There are daily scheduled buses from private and government-run companies going to Phuket from Bangkok's Mo Chit and Southern terminal stations.
The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand
(MRTA) announced in 2018 that bidding to construct a 60 kilometre-long, 23 station tram network in Phuket will commence in 2020. The 39 billion baht tram is part of the government's Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) plan which ensures it will be fast-tracked. The planned route stretches from Takua Thung District
in Phang Nga Province
in Phuket. Phase one will connect Phuket International Airport with Chalong, about 40 kilometres. It will take three years to complete.
There are daily ferry boats that connect Phuket to neighboring islands Phi Phi
and Koh Lanta
. Ferries depart daily from Rassada Pier and Tonsai Pier, with service expanding each year.The average price for a one-way ticket ranges from 300 THB to 1500 THB.
6 hospitals exist in Phuket. The main hospital in Phuket operated by the Ministry of Public Health
is Vachira Phuket Hospital
, with smaller hospitals at Thalang and Patong. 3 Private hospitals exist which are Phuket International Hospital
, Bangkok Hospital Phuket
and Mission Hospital Phuket
Human achievement index 2017
Since 2003, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Thailand has tracked progress on human development at sub-national level using the Human achievement index
(HAI), a composite index covering all the eight key areas of human development. National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) has taken over this task since 2017.
football club participates in Thai League 3
Lower Region, the third tier of Thai football league system. The Golden Sloop (Thai:เรือใบสีทอง) plays their home matches at Surakul Stadium
*Two Heroines Monument (อนุสาวรีย์วีรสตรี), is the monument in Thalang District, a memorial statue of the heroines Thao Thep Kasattri (Kunying Jan) and Thao Sri Sunthon (Mook)
, who rallied islanders in 1785 to repel Burmese invaders. As the island's governor had just died, the organization of Phuket's defense against the Burmese invasion of 1785 was conducted by his widow, Thao Thep Kasattri. With her sister's help, they assembled what forces they had, then disguised local women as male soldiers, a ruse to swell the ranks of the defenders. After a month's siege, the Burmese invaders became exhausted and withdrew. King Rama I awarded Kunying Jan with the royal title of Thao Thep Kasattri.
*Thalang National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ ถลาง) is near the Two Heroines Monument. In 1985, on the 200th anniversary of the Thalang War, the Thalang National Museum was established. The museum contains a permanent exhibition of life in old Phuket, ancient artifacts, remains discovered on the coast, and materials used during war with Burma.
(หาดกะรน) is the second largest of Phuket's tourist beaches, approximately from town. Large resort complexes line the road behind the shoreline, but the broad beach itself has no development. The southern point has a coral reef stretching toward Kata and Poo Island. There is also its smaller sister beach, Karon Noi.
*Kamala Beach, Hat Kamala is a large beach approximately north of Patong Beach. The beach is undeveloped with coral reefs on the north side and surfing in the low season. It is a tourist beach in the high season and a sleepy seaside Muslim village in the low season. There is a market on Wednesday and Friday nights, as well as a weekly Saturday market.
*View Point (จุดชมวิว) is midway between Nai Harn and Kata Beaches. Kata Noi, Kata, Karon, and Ko Pu can be viewed from this point.
*Laem Phromthep (แหลมพรหมเทพ) (Phromthep Cape) is a headland forming the extreme south end of Phuket. "Phrom" is Thai for the Hindu term "Brahma
", signifying purity, and "thep" is Thai for "God". Local villagers used to refer to the cape as "Laem Chao", or the God's Cape, and it was an easily recognizable landmark for the early seafarers traveling up the Malay Peninsula
(วัดฉลองหรือวัดไชยธาราราม) is where stands the cast statue of Luang Pho Cham, who helped the people of Phuket put down the Angyee, or Chinese Coolie Rebellion, in 1876 during the reign of Rama V. There are also statues of Luang Pho Chuang, and Luang Pho Cham, abbots of the temple
during later times.
*Phuket Pearl Farm located about one kilometer offshore from Phuket's east coast close to coconut island. Phuket Pearl Farm can be accessed only by boat.
*Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Conservation Development and Extension Centre (สถานีพัฒนาและส่งเสริมการอนุรักษ์สัตว์ป่าเขาพระแทว) is a center for study of the environment. Its duty is to promote and distribute wildlife within Khao Phra Thaeo wildlife park. The park is forested and also conserves a number of wild animals that would otherwise have gone extinct in Phuket.
*The Big Buddha of Phuket, พระพุทธมิ่งมงคลเอกเนาคคีรี (Phra Phutta Ming Mongkol Akenakiri or Ming Mongkol Buddha), is on the peak of a mountain near Muang Phuket, or Phuket town (ภูเก็ต). The image is 45 m in height and covered in white Burmese marble.
*Phuket Butterfly Garden and Insect World, สวนผีเสื้อและโลกแมลงภูเก็ต is one of the very few remaining butterfly gardens in Thailand.
*Old Phuket Town
in Phuket town, around Thalang, Dibuk, Yaowarat, Phang Nga, and Krabi Roads. The architecture is Sino-Portuguese-style.
*Phuket Aquarium attracts around 300,000 visitors each year. Established in 1983 as part of the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC), it is a research and monitoring station within the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR).
*Aquaria Phuket opened on August 24, 2019, featuring more than 51,000 aquatic animals from more than 300 species. The aquarium, with a combined water capacity of seven million liters, has both saltwater and freshwater animals and is located at the Central Phuket Floresta shopping complex.
*Thao Thep Krasattri and Thao Si Sunthon Fair (งานท้าวเทพกระษัตรี - ท้าวศรีสุนทร) is held on March 13 every year to commemorate the two heroines who rallied the Thalang people to repel Burmese invaders.
or Nine Emperor gods Festival (Hokkien Chinese language
: 九皇勝會，''Kiú-Hông Sēng-Huē'' or 九皇爺, ''Kiú-Hông Iâ'') Phuket Chinese people Call 食菜節，''Tsia̍h-tshài'' (เทศกาลกินเจ(กินผัก-เจี๊ยะฉ่าย)) is held on the first day of the 9th Chinese lunar month (end-Sep or early-Oct). Phuket islanders of Chinese ancestry commit themselves to a nine-day vegetarian diet, a form of purification believed to help make the forthcoming year trouble-free. The festival is marked by several ascetic displays, including fire-walking and ascending sharp-bladed ladders.
or ''Phóo-tōo Festival'' (Hokkien Chinese language
: 普渡節） Full name is ''Û-lân-phûn Sēng-Huē'' (Hokkien Chinese language
: 盂蘭盆勝會）) is held on the middle day of the 7th Chinese lunar month. Intrinsic to the Ghost Festival is ancestor worship. Activities include preparing food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss paper, a papier-mâché form of material items such as clothes, gold, and other goods for the visiting spirits. Elaborate meals (often vegetarian) are served with empty seats for each of the deceased in the family. Other festivities may include, buying and releasing miniature paper boats and lanterns on water, which signifies giving direction to lost souls.
*Phuket King's Cup Regatta (งานแข่งเรือใบชิงถ้วยพระราชทาน) is held every December. The Kata Beach Resort hosts yachtsmen, largely from neighbouring countries who compete for trophies.
*Laguna Phuket Triathlon (ลากูน่าภูเก็ตไตรกีฬา) is held each December. The triathlon (a swim, a bike race and a run and a fun run) attracts athletes from all over the world.
*Phuket Travel Fair (เทศกาลเปิดฤดูการท่องเที่ยวจังหวัดภูเก็ต), starting 1 November, is usually called the Patong Carnival, from the place where celebrations occur. Colourful parades, sports events, and a beauty competition for foreign tourists are major activities. A popular festival, the Patong Carnival opening drew over 30,000 foreign and Thai tourists.
*Chao Le (Sea Gypsy) Boat Floating Festival (งานประเพณีลอยเรือชาวเล) falls during the middle of the sixth and eleventh lunar months yearly. The sea gypsy villages at Rawai and Sapam hold their ceremonies on the 13th; Ko Si-re celebrates on the 14th; and Laem La (east of the bridge on Phuket's northern tip) on the 15th. Ceremonies, which centre on the setting small boats adrift similar to the Thai festival of Loi Krathong, are held at night and their purpose is to drive away evil and bring good luck.
*Phuket Bike Week is the biggest motorcycle event in Asia. Motorcyclists with their motorcycles and visitors from many countries join this event in every year. The event highlights include a motorcycle exhibition, bike parades "Ride for Peace", custom bike contests, live entertainment, Miss Phuket Bike Week competition, bike accessories and apparel from local and international venders.
Twin towns and sister cities
Phuket Province has a number of sister cities
. They are:
, France (1989)
: Las Vegas
, United States (1997)
, China (1997)
: Port Blair
, India (2005)
, China (2005)
, Russia (2006)
, China (2016)
, China (2018)
File:Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon.jpg|Monument to Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon in Phuket
File:KataNoiBeach.jpg|Kata Noi Beach
File:"Big Budda" Phuket 2014 february - panoramio (4).jpg|Big Buddha monument overlooking Phuket
File:Palm tree at dawn, Patong beach.jpg|Patong Beach
File:Koh hae, Thailand.jpg|Ko Hae Island
File:Promthep Cape 04.jpg|Phromthep Cape and Kaeo Yai Island
File:Phuket 2014, december - panoramio (4).jpg|Mai Khao, Thalang District
Reports (data) from Thai government are "not copyrightable" (Public Domain), Copyright Act 2537 (1994), section 7.
* Forbes, Andrew, and Henley, David''Phuket’s Historic Peranakan Community''
Category:Islands of Thailand
Category:Provinces of Thailand
Category:Strait of Malacca