Phuket is one of the biggest provinces in Thailand, and is also the country’s largest island. It can be found west of the mainland, and is connected via two bridges, with easy motorway access to Bangkok and other major cities. The closes provinces to Phuket are Krabi and Phang Nga, and in the past the island has generated wealth from exporting rubber and tin, and it also enjoys a colourful, diverse and rich history that tourists are regularly educated about upon entering the island.
Heavily populated by tourists throughout most of the year, Phuket offers amazing beaches, great local hospitality and spectacular food. Many people used it as a stop-over before they travel to the other places in the region, like Koh Phi Phi or Ko Pha Ngan, where most of the major island parties are held. If you’re looking to visit Phuket during your trip to Thailand this year, let’s take a look at some top tips on travelling the island, and some great things to do too.
2004: The Tsunami
December 26th, 2004 – the date that changed the island of Phuket, and many others in the region, forever. Boxing day all over Thailand was spent mourning the thousands of men, women and children that were buried and swept away by the Indian Ocean tidal wave. Over 300 people were reported dead in Phuket alone, and much of the infrastructure was destroyed, delaying much needed aid to the island. Due to many illegal workers not being registered on the island, experts believe the death toll was much higher.
The entire west coast of Phuket was swept out to sea, and the beautiful beaches that once attracted millions of tourists to the island every year were no more. Thankfully however, thanks to lots of financial aid from all over the world, much of the tourist infrastructure was back in place in Phuket by the end of 2005. By 2006, nearly all the businesses were operating again, although many islands in the area are still experiencing the lasting effects of the wave.
Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay is one of the most beautiful places on the island, with stunning beaches and glorious views out into the calm and tranquil bay. As the limestone cliffs descend down into the warm and clear water, fishing boats bring in their daily catches, and tourists soak up the sun on the shoreline. There are some fantastic tours that leave from Phang Nga bay every day, and they take you snorkelling around some of the marine life hotspots.
Old Phuket Town
No matter where you travel on holiday, there’s nothing better than having a look around the local markets. These places are full of culture and entertainment, and most of the time you’ll end up leaving with a great bargain! Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, Old Phuket Town if full of funky and vibrant shops to have a wonder around, and there are some wonderful places to dine too.
When it comes to travelling to Thailand, your flights will most likely be your biggest expense. Make sure you get the best deal around and save money on your flights by booking at www.cheapflights.com.au/flights-to-phuket.