Phuket Travel Guide

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Thailand’s second smallest province and largest island is a real tropical paradise. White sandy beaches, vibrant nightlife, warm aquamarine waters and sumptuous seafood are just a few attractions that you will find on this idyllic island in the Andaman Sea, also known as The Pearl of the Andaman Sea. During times Phuket has been known under various names like Thalang and Junkceylon, but it is believed that the actual name is coming from the Malay word bhukit which means “hill”. Phuket lies off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea and, including some smaller islands off its coast, is one of the southern provinces of Thailand. The 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. The administrative region of Phuket is divided into three districts from which Thalang is the one located in the north of the island. Kathu is the smallest of the three districts and is located in the west between Thalang and Muang Phuket, the third district that covers the South of Phuket.
Phuket International Airport
With its 576 square kilometers it is just a bit smaller than Singapore, but it is the country’s largest island. History dates back more than 40.000 years ago, but it gets really interesting after the 17th century with the arrival of European and Chinese traders. Bird-nests, tin, pearls and ambergris were highly priced goods that fetched high prices, but unfortunately attracted pirates as well. In 1785 the Burmese showed some keen interest in Phuket and decided to invade. The Thai army was fighting elsewhere and this meant that the island was undefended. The local population was not impressed by the Burmese invaders and under the leadership of two sisters, Mook and Chan, they repelled the attack.
Phuket Old Town Sino-Portuguese Building
At the same time, a British merchant of the East India Company, Capt. Francis Light, wanted to make Phuket one of the Strait Settlements. After he received a firm “no” from the newly established government in Bangkok, he decided to move to Penang instead. From that moment on, Phuket’s history is a story of tin, rubber and tourism. The discovery of tin brought a huge influx of Chinese migrant workers and they changed the face of the island forever. The capital was moved from Thalang to Phuket Town and saw a rise in Sino-Portuguese buildings rivalling those from Melacca, Penang and Singapore. From the 1980’s Phuket appeared on the world tourist map and saw an increase of direct flights from all over the world.
Paragliding in Rawai, Phuket
Today Phuket has regained its status of a tropical paradise where one never gets bored. Even during the monsoon period, which lasts from May till October, there are plenty of things to do. Sunbathers obviously find their spot on one of the white sandy beaches while the thrill-seekers will go bungee jumping, fly through the jungles on ziplines, go on a jungle hike, improve their driving skills on the go-cart circuit or go to one of the many shooting ranges. Shopping-addicts will find their thing in the huge malls in Patong and Phuket Town or on one of the charming local markets and if you are hungry, Phuket offers you a variety of food from all over the world. If you don’t want to stay in your resort or friendly guest-house you can participate in one of the many excursions to local islands, jungle hikes or cultural visits. And if you get thirsty after all of this, you can go for a drink in the many bars, nightclubs or beach-clubs.

Phuket Districts

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Mai Khao Beach

Thalang District

Located in the north of the island, Thalang is well-known for its peaceful vibe as it is remote from the urban chaos. Thalang is the district connecting Phuket with its neighbour, Phang Nga, and includes six expansive sub districts, covering an area of 252 square kilometres. If you are looking for a calm, indulging and relaxing holiday destination, this area is the answer. You will find choices of accommodation from affordable local resorts to luxury 6-star hotels and private pool villas, which are surrounded by local food vendors as well as a wide range of international bistros, restaurants, bars and beach clubs.
Patong Beach Sunset

Kathu District

This attractive district offers a wide range of activities as well as interesting historical landmarks that attract millions of visitors every year. Kathu covers three big sub-districts including the world-famous Patong. The district is located on the west of the island and covers 67 square kilometres with wide smooth roads and shortcuts making it convenient to access the other areas of the island. While Kathu itself is to be considered a residential area with affordable housing and condominiums scattered throughout, the coastal cities of Patong and Kamala are more tourist-oriented, with a vast selection of hotels and resorts, international restaurants, nightclubs, and everything you would expect from a seaside town.
Karon Viewpoint

Muang Phuket District

Muang Phuket is the capital district covering an expansive area of 224 square kilometres that includes Phuket Town, Chalong, Rawai and Karon sub-districts. As you can see, this area offers a wide diversity from old charming town and the unique sea gypsy villages to beaches, clubs and bars. MuangPhuket attracts a large number of travellers who expect to explore the true touch of Phuket. You can find plenty of backpacker hostels as well as some high-end hotels in the MuangPhuket area, especially in Phuket town which is the best place to find local markets, small bistros that offer you the authentic taste of Thai Southern cuisine, and plenty of chic ’n cool coffee shops.

Attractions in Phuket

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Rawai Places Map

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Places in Phuket

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Rawai Places Map

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What's On in Phuket

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Rawai Events Map

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Explore Phuket

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Rawai, Muang Phuket
Phuket 83130
Thailand
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