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What do you know about Phuket?

Elvis Elvis

Just as I had predicted, when I first visited in 1982, Phuket tourism has changed significantly. And then some!

The tourist infrastructure is very simple with only four international standard hotels (two in [Phuket] town and two on the coast).

Patong Beach is probably the most commercialized…very popular with young travelers who take advantage of the cheap cottage accommodation.

It is only recently that tourism has begun to play an important part in the economy of Southern Thailand…the next couple of years are likely to see a drastic increase in its significance”

Today the Phuket tourism industry attracts around 3 million visitors per year. There have been many factors that have helped this growth but here are the ones I believe are key:

Diversity

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island nestling in the south west corner of the country on the edges of the Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea. The size of the Province, which includes a number of small islands, is about 590 square kilometers (228 square miles).

Over the centuries its sheltered location made the island an ideal trading post for sea merchants. During the 16th Century in particular the island gained prominence as a popular trading port for tin and attracted English , Dutch, French and Portuguese traders to the island.

It was not long before tin mining become one of the two major wealth creators on the island (the other was rubber) and this in turn attracted Chinese businessmen and miners to the island. This immigrant influence can still be seen today in Phuket Town where there are a number of examples of Sino-Portuguese architecture.

Tin continued to help make Phuket one of the wealthiest islands in the region right up until the 1980s when the price of tin fell dramatically.

It was fortunate that coincidentally at that time the Phuket tourism industry was on the increase.

Well-developed infrastructure

Development on the island has mushroomed and Patong Beach, which I remember as a small beach-side collection of bars and restaurants congregated around a T junction at Patong Bay, is now more like a small bustling town with a road stretching right along the beach front and buildings several blocks deep. It is also the center of Phuket nightlife.

There is an excellent road system around the island which connects with the mainland across Sarasin Bridge and Thep Krasattri Bridge.

The island has very good health care including the Phuket International Hospital and the Bangkok Hospital in Phuket.

Scenic Beauty

The island has a mountain range stretching from north to south with some 70% of the island covered in jungle. There are a couple of National Parks but sadly most of the wildlife has been chased away by human development.

What do you know about Phuket?

Accessibility

Perhaps the most important factor in the growth of Phuket tourism is the sheer number of flights that arrive into Phuket every day.

There are frequent air connections not only from the Thai capital Bangkok to Phuket but also from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong and many others. Recent years have also seen charter flights and low cost carriers arriving into Phuket International Airport.

Accommodation

Last but not least is the incredible range of accommodation from guest houses to luxury resorts.

With so much information about the island’s accommodation already available on the web, this site focuses purely on luxury resorts, boutique hotels and villas reflecting my own personal preference. If you, like me, enjoy your creature comforts then I am sure you will find something here to suit.