Phuket is Thailand’s biggest city in the south and it has got so much going for it: Some of the best restaurants in Thailand, unforgettable sunsets, glorious beaches, fantastic luxury resorts, world-class shows, unique eco-tours, some of the best diving sites in the world and much, much more. These are just a few things that make Phuket a top pick among tourists, families, friends and couples.
Located in the sparkling waters of the Andaman Sea just 70 minutes flying time south of Bangkok, Thailand’s most popular beach destination has everything that you could possibly want on vacation: beautiful beaches, some of the finest resort hotels, international and Thai cuisine, temples, water sports, coral reefs, turquoise seas, scuba diving and liveaboards, and tropical sunshine – all in plentiful proportions.
The beaches are lovely, and the rock formations in the Phang Nga Bay are stunning. The food, backpacking options and the nightlife, Phuket tours offer such a verity that almost seems unbelievable. Though building sites, new road construction and traffic deface some of the island’s scenery, if you are looking for some quality diving and an action-packed time with plenty of nightlife, Phuket Island remains the place to be in Thailand.
The best time to travel to Phuket is from December through March, when the weather is not so humid. A cool breeze keeps you comfortable during these months. Temperatures range from 75F to 89F (24C to 32C). The hottest months are from April to May, with temperatures ranging from 80F to 95 F (27C to 36C). Months of June, July and August tend to be the period when there are heavy showers with sunshine in between. September-October is the rainy season.
Phuket Island has always been a crossroads and port of call on ancient sea lanes from Arabia, India and the West, with trade destined for China, and a refuge on the lee side in Phang Nga Bay for sea captains riding out the monsoon storms. During the last 100 years, Phuket has established its economic importance with the mining of tin and growing of rubber, although nowadays most tin mining activities have been replaced by tourism. The soil is rich and resplendent with myriad tropical fruits. Pineapples, coconuts, cashews and rubber are produced commercially, among others. Prawn farming is significant on the East and South coasts. Construction is also very big on Phuket with new hotels, housing estates and shopping centres along with road improvement projects to help eliminate traffic due to the tourism boom.
The residents of Phuket are Thais who migrated from the mainland, Chinese who arrived to work in tin mines, Muslims of Malaysian extraction that came to work in the rubber plantations and the Chao Leh or sea gipsies, one of the earliest groups to inhabit the island. The Chinese represent around 35% of the island’s population. They differ from those who settled in Bangkok and other regions of Thailand, in that they arrived mainly from the Hokkien region of China as did those now living in Singapore and Malaysia. The influence of the Indonesian and Malayan culture is also apparent in the ethnic makeup, language, art, and religion of southern Thailand. About a third of the Thai’s living here are Muslims. Concentrated mostly around Surin and a few other big villages, they work as rice and rubber farmers.