Phuket Island lies off the West coast of Southern Thailand in the Andaman Sea; it is the largest island approximately 890km from Bangkok, the same size as Singapore at 550sq km.
The economy of Phuket is tourism dominated the island for two decades. In Phuket history, its economy was based on tin mining. The main religion is Theravada Buddhism. Thai Muslims are approximately 35% of Phuket population.
How to get to Phuket
The majority of tourists arrive to Phuket International Airport. Any, it’s also easy get to Phuket by road.
By Air it’s the simplest way to get to Phuket by flights. Phuket international airport serves lots of scheduled and charter flights arriving from Europe and Asia, and many daily flights from Bangkok. There are currently some low-cost airlines providing cheap flights to Phuket.
By Bus From Bangkok, it takes approximately 14 hours. You can be on board at the Southern Bus Terminal in Thonburi. Prices are reasonable and for your better convenience, you may spend a bit to take more comfortable buses.
By Car It takes about 10 hours to reach Phuket. The distance from Bangkok to Phuket is 867 km.
By Train There is no train between Bangkok and Phuket but you can get to Surat- Thani and take a bus or van to Phuket. Trains are slow, but cheap and quite comfortable.
The name “Phuket” is derived from the Malay word “bukit” it means hill. In the previous time, this island was named “Junk Ceylon”. Later, it was known as Thalang after the name of the main town on the island. Until late in its history when the administrative centre was moved to a mining town in the centre of the island, it was called Phuket.
The Battle of Thalang
In 1785, Phuket was attacked by the Burmese as part of their invasion to Thailand. The wife of the governor, Lady Chan, along with her sister Lady Muk, rallied the people and broke the Burmese siege. Today, their statues can be seen at the circle of Thalang district, a few kilometers north of Phuket City.
The weather in Phuket is divided into two seasons, dry and rainy. Temperatures all year round range between 25 - 34°C (77 - 93°F). Dry season begins in December and lasts until March. And this season marks the high season for tourism in Phuket when the climate is characterized by gentle breezes, clear blue skies and calm sea. For the rainy season, it begins in June and ends in October. This is Phuket low season.
Phuket Events & Festivals
Phuket celebrates many important events and interesting festivals throughout the year. If your visit to Phuket, you should check when those will occur, you will be unforgettable and impressed with the festivals.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival:
The Vegetarian Festival takes place at the ninth Chinese lunar month, which falls in late September or early October. It’s the Phuket's most famous festival. The nine day- rituals are performed to purify both body and mind. During the festival, participants go on a strict diet and practice not to consume animal products. Also, there are processions through the streets where supplicants perform self-mortification such as piercing the cheeks and tongue with knives and objects. Another impressive event includes walking on burning coals and climbing ladders with knife-edged rungs.
Loi Krathong takes place on the full moon night in November. Krathongs, made from small lotus-shaped boats woven from banana leaves, are used to float on water. The Krathongs contain flowers, incense, candles, coins and offerings to thank the Mother of Water for providing water for them to use. Many people go to Saphan Hin to launch their Krathongs, some go to the beaches especially Patong beach, a very popular place.
2009 King's Cup Regatta - 28th Nov to 5th Dec
The King's Cup Regatta is organized in the first week of December as it was inaugurated to honor the King's birthday, which is annually on 5th December.
This event takes place to celebrate the start of the high season at Patong Beach. There will be displays of traditional Thai performances on three stages on the beachfront. There will be lots of stalls selling food, beverage, handicrafts, local products, fireworks displays and parades.
Songkran festival: 13th - 15th April
Thai people annually celebrate the Thai New Year during 13-15 April. The holiday is best known for splashing water on each other as a New Year blessing. Many people roam the streets armed with high pressure water pistols or stand by the side of the road with buckets and hoses, ready to splash any passer-by with water blended with powder or perfume. Traditionally, Songkran festival is the day of cleaning and renewal. Thai people perform religious rituals during Songkran such as cleaning Buddha images, making donation to the monks and poor as well as going to a temple to pray. Many people return home during the holiday and pay respect to their elders by sprinkling scented water over their hands too.
Por Tor Festival
It’s the Chinese ancestor worship festival which takes place in the seventh Chinese lunar month when the Chinese believe that the spirits of the dead are released from the underworld. The Chinese in Phuket make food offerings to satisfy the spirits and to pay their respects. The offerings are made from Turtle-shaped cakes representing longevity. For more information on all events and festivals in Phuket, you can contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand address 73-75 Phuket Road, Tambol Talad Nuea, Muang, Phuket 83000 , Tel: 076 211 036, 076 212 213.
Phuket Public Holidays
On public holidays, government offices and most commercial offices will be closed. Bars and pubs are also obliged to close on royal and religious holidays.
New Year's Day
HM the Queen's Birthday
HM the King's Birthday
New Year's Eve
* Thai Buddhist holidays are based on the lunar calendar.
Phuket Local Food
Phuket has a lot of tasty and special local food. Many restaurants in Phuket serve those dishes. Some selected popular menu is listed below:
Kanom Jeen Phuket: Noodles served with a spicy curry sauce, the original sauce is made from fish. Some famous shops in Phuket Town are on Tungka, statun, and Pahtiphaht Roads.
Nam Phrik Kung Siap: A mixture of red-onion, chili and smoked shrimps taken with various fresh vegetables.
Lo Bah: Fried sausages served with fried tofu and spicy sweet or sour sauce. You can find it on Poonphol Road and on the way to span Hin - Phuket Town.
Oh Tao: Oysters fried with eggs, flour, and taro root. Try it at Sapam village, the shop near the Ban Bang Niao School on Takua Tong Road.
Tao Sor: Phuket Spring rolls - Chinese crepes. There are two tastes -sweet and salty.
You can buy it on Soi Suhn Utit, Yaowarat Road in Phuket Town and Khun Mae on Thep Krasatri Road in the Sapam village.
Oh Aew: A dessert made of banana-flour and a little seaweed. Try it on Ranong Road at the entrance to Soi Lorong and on Vichit Songkram Road near the entrance of Soi Lorong
Pineapples: Pineapples in Phuket are the most delicious, sweet and firm.
Phuket Travel Tips
Do’s & Don’t s
When you visit any countries, it is very important to respect local people and their customs. Thailand is not different from others. Although, Thais people are tolerant and hospitable, you should be aware of a few simple acts to avoid accidentally offending people you meet.
Entering to temples
It is important to dress and behave correctly when entering to Buddhist temples in Thailand. You should not wear beach clothes, shorts and sleeveless clothes. Women should not touch monks or hand anything directly to a monk.
Wai – Thai greeting
Thai people greet each other by pressing their palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a 'wai'. The younger will wai the older.
Head & Feet
The head is the highest part of the body. Don't touch someone on the head without their permission. On the other hand, the feet are considered the lowest part of the body. Therefore, do not to use the feet for pointing at anyone or anything.
You should take off the shoes before entering a Thai home.
If you are travelling abroad, you should have travel insurance. Though quality medical care is much cheaper in Thailand than in the other countries especially the West. You also should check what policy covers for medical expenses.
Thailand Passport & Visa
The tourists must have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond their intended length of stay. For many tourists, it is not necessary to apply for a visa, if you come from a country that is eligible for a Visa Exemption, and are not in the country for more than 30 days. Other tourists are able to apply for a Visa on arrival costing 1,000 baht and valid for 15 days. For those wishing to stay longer in the country for tourism or leisure, it’s strict to apply for a 60-day Tourist Visa from the Royal Thai Embassy or consulate in the country where you live.
Thai language guide
Most Phuket people understand some English words. Thai children learn English at school, and are able to speak English. However, if you would like to make your conversation with Thai more convenient, you may learn some simple Thai words.
At the end of sentences, males use the polite particle “khrup” and females “Kha”. These words can also be used to answer in the affirmative or negative sentence.
Hello / Goodbye
sawat dee (khrup / kha)
khop khun (khrup / kha)
Sorry / Excuse me
khoa thot (khrup / kha)
chai (khrup / kha)
mai chai (khrup / kha)
How are you?
sabai dee mai?
I'm fine / not well (ill)
sabai dee / mai sabai
I (don't) understand
(mai) khao jai
It doesn't matter
mai pen rai
I don't want
I am happy
Mee kwam suk
Phuket features a large island with a variety of beautiful beaches. Most beaches are located on the west coast of the island. The quieter beaches are found along the northwestern coastline of the island.
Bang Tao Beach is one of Phuket's longest beaches at 8km. long.
CapePanwa is located on the south of Phuket City where lush hills lie and offer wonderful views.
Chalong features a large bay with a pier, the main departing point for diving and fishing trips. There are some renowned seafood restaurants along the seafront.
Kalim Bay nestled the north of Patong is quiet and relaxed. Anyway, the beach is not good for swimming because it is quite rocky.
Kamala beach is a few minutes drive from Patong and a good place for a relaxing & secluded getaway.
KaronBeachis one of Phuket's longest beaches.The wave is quite high and lots of hotels and restaurants are open here.
Kata beach is separated into Kata Yai and Kata Noi. Both beaches have stunning views and a good beach for surfing.
Mai Kao Beach, a long and deserted stretch of sand is situated north of the airport.
Nai Harn Beach, one of the Phuket’s magnificent beaches is relatively undeveloped.
Nai Thon beach, about 15km. south of the airport is still quite and undeveloped. But it is a nice place to sit on the beach or swim.
Nai Yang beach is a long curved bay fringed with tall casuarinas trees, a good place to picnic.
PatongBeach is the Phuket's busiest hotel area; Patong has a great selection of bars, discos, restaurants, shopping centers and stalls along the beach.
RawaiBeach is popular for Thais who like to eat seafood and enjoy cool views of the islands from the shore and boats chartering to nearby islands.
SurinBeach is a fairly undeveloped beach, a good beach to swim and enjoy some local seafood right on the beach.