Information  

Phuket is Thailand's only island province and is also the country's smallest province in terms of area.

 

Administration

Phuket is Thailand's only island province and is also the country's smallest province in terms of area. The island is divided into three administrative districts called Amphoe; Thalang, to the north, Kathu to the west and Muang in the south. The Provincial Governor is a civil servant appointed by the Interior Ministry in Bangkok, as are the “Nai Amphoe” or the District Chief. The cities of Phuket and Patong have their own city governments, with elected city councils, the leading members of which serve as mayor. Each district is subdivided into subdistricts called tambon , which are further subdivided into villages or muban .

 

Geography

Phuket is Thailand's largest island with 550sq km , roughly the same size as Singapore. It is l ocated approximately 867 kilometers south of Bangkok in the Andaman Sea off southern coast of Thailand. The islands total length, from north to south, is estimated at 48.7 kilometers and approximately 21.3 kilometers wide. Its natural resources comprise of rocky peninsulas, limestone cliffs, white powdery beaches, tranquil broad bays and tropical in-land forests. About 70 percent of its area covered with mountains which stretch from north to south and the remaining 30 percent being plains located in the central and eastern parts of the island. The island does not have any major rivers except for a total of 9 brooks and creeks. Mountain Range begins its slopes from the Kra Isthmus and extends till as much as 440 kilometers from their point of origin. The Mai Thao Sip Song, at an imposing elevation of around 529 meters above sea level, is regarded as the highest point on the island.

 

Phuket borders on Phang-nga Province to the north. The other 3 sides are encircled by the Andaman Sea. The island is connected to Phang-nga Province by Sarasin Bridge and Thep Krasattri Bridge lying between 7'45" and 8'15" north latitude, and from 98'15" to 98'40" west longitude

 

Phuket Economy

Since the 16th century , Phuket’s economy was depending on tin mining. It had been a major source of income for the island until late 19th century when the tin mining era has come to an end especially after 1985 when the price of tin fell by half. During the early 19th century, It was also a time for the second important industry on the island became established, that of rubber farming. Praya Rasda ("Kawsimbi") a Chinese grandee who governed Phuket from 1890 to 1909 is accredited with introducing the first rubber tree into Thailand in 1901; this became such a successful industry that Thailand is now the largest exporter of rubber in the world. Prawn farming has largely taken over the east and south coasts. Pearl farming also contribute major income to the island. In addition, Phuket's fishing port is at all time filled, and processing of marine products, mainly fish, makes a significant contribution to the economy.

 

With its natural resources- rocky peninsular, limestone cliffs, white powdery beaches, beautiful bays and tropical in-land forests have driven Phuket to become the most visited and most popular destination in Thailand. Since the 1980s the sandy beaches on the western coast of the island have been heavily developed into tourist attractions especially in Patong, Karon and Kata areas. Tourism has dominated Phuket Island's economy for the past two decades. Each year, over 3 million visitors arrive to enjoy Phuket's natural splendor and many amenities. As a result, constructions and real estate have become major factors driven Phuket's economy recently. They include massive public works projects, large office buildings and hotels, housing estates with hundreds of units, single family homes, and apartments.

 

Phuket Religion

The dominant religion of Phuket Island is Theravada Buddhism including Thai and Chinese who came here during the tin mining boom. There is also a significant portion of Thai Moslem's living in Phuket. If you travel south towards the border provinces in the area around Surin and Bang Tao Beaches, the population is almost entirely Islamic and Malay speaking making up approximately 35% of Phuket's population. Despite the smaller number of Muslims, Mosques actually outnumber Buddhist Wats on the island.

 

There are a number of Chinese temples across the island due to the large number of Chinese immigrants who came to work in the tin mines during the 19th century. Several Chinese shrines can be found around Phuket City.

 

Christianity is becoming increasingly popular among a small percentage of Phuket population. There is also a significant presence of Christian churches who enjoy modest support among the communities of Phuket. Missionaries have been in Thailand for over two centuries as well as an increase of immigrants from the west.

 

Population

As of June 13 2008, the general population of Phuket is estimated to be around 321,409 with 153,192 Male and 168,217 Female (source: Phuket Municipal Administration Office). Thais who have moved from their original homes in the mainland are the majority ethnic group of the population of Phuket. The Chinese who migrated to Phuket to work at the tin mines from the past are accountable for the second largest population. They account for almost 35% of the entirety of the population of Phuket. The Malaysia Muslims who had originally arrived into the town also account largely to the Phuket population. Sikhs and Hindus who migrated from India. However, the most important ethnic groups amongst the population of Phuket are the Sea Gypsies or the Chao Nam. They were among the earliest inhabitants of Phuket. They are nomadic tribes of people who traveled from coast to coast in search of fish and other natural resources. Nowadays most of them live in villages on land.

 

Tips and Important

Limousine service from Phuket Airport to the hotel - It is reported that the drivers of the limousine service at Phuket Airport are telling you that your booked or chosen hotel is not in operation, or something similar, and try to bring you to "a friends" agency or hotel instead. Don't fall for it as this is a scam of the limousine drivers to extort huge commissions from the hotels - which you have to pay for.

 

Always book your Hotel and airport transfer in advance , even if only for one night. It's much easier to shop for a deal once you've escaped the Airport Taxi Touts, because no Hotel will be able to offer you any special deal when you arrive in an airport taxi. Also, drivers employed by Hotels are generally more friendly and helpful.

 

If you don't have time to book in advance, simply order the taxi to go directly to the hotel of your choice and tell him you already have a booking. But this will sometimes create a problem for the hotel because if you don't have any documentation of your booking, the taxi driver will insist the hotel pay a commission anyway. They are very pushy and often times will volunteer to help carry your bags to reception so they can see if you produce documentation of a booking at check in.

 

Never discuss your travel details with Airport Taxi drivers , treat them exactly as what they are, a service which employs low class people to perform the job of bringing you from point A to point B. Never give a taxi driver any respect, they see that as a sign that you are weak and can be taken advantage of. It's important to remember, they demand a commission on every night you stay not just the first night. They even come back and check with reception to see if you checked out or stayed longer.

Please keep a note of the taxi's ID number in case you want to report any strange behavior and in case the driver asks the hotel to pay a commission after you check in, you can give that information to the Hotel.

 

Use the metered taxis if possible. Help them to get their business going, but please follow the same guidelines above as they also would like to get a piece of the hotel action

 

Before you go  

About Phuket

Festival update

History

Information

Administration

Geography

Phuket Economy

Phuket Religion

Population

Tips and Important

Transportation

 

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