Phuket, About Phuket Island

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About Phuket

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Located approximately 862 kilometers south of Bangkok is Phuket, pronounced “Poo-get”, which is often dubbed as the pearl of the Andaman. Thailand’s largest island is also its second smallest province covering an area of approximately 570 square kilometers (Including 32 small islets). The island measures, from north to south, 48.7 kilometers and from east to west, 21.3 kilometers. Phuket governance is divided into 3 districts, called ‘Amphur’; they are Amphur Muang, Amphur Thalang and Amphur Kathu. The province is bordered as follows :
To the north is the Pahk Prah Channel with Phang Nga Province on the other side. The two provinces are connected by two bridges right next to each other, the Sarasin Bridge and Thao Thep Krasattri Bridge. To the south and west lies the Andaman Sea and to the east is Phang Nga Bay, with its spectacular jungle clad limestone islands, including the ‘James Bond Island’ from the movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’.
The residents of Phuket comprise Thais who have migrated from the mainland, ethnic Chinese, Malays, and Chao Leh or ‘sea-gypsies’ who were the original inhabitants.
According to the census, Thai-Budd hists account for 71% of the popultion, Malays 24%, and the Chao Leh, 4%, make up the remainder. The figure for Thai-Buddhists also includes the Chinese who are almost completely assimilated. Some estimates put the percentage of ethnic Chinese at around 35%. The vast majority of the population resides in or around Phuket City in the east and the resort of Patong Beach in the west, creating a population distribution along an east-west axis.
In March 2007 the Phuket Provincial Administration office reported that there are 313,955 people registered as living in Phuket. However, the real figure is likely to be quite a lot higher as this data does not take into account those who live and work in Phuket but are
registered as being resident elsewhere, a fairly common occurrence. One must also add the seasonal workers and visitors, of whom there are a significant number all year round. Taking everyone into account, some estimates have calculated a figure as high as 500,000 during peak periods.
Since the early 1980’s the tourist business has been Phuket’s chief source of income. Hotels, restaurants, tour companies, and souvenir shops are much in evidence on the west coast. However, while once all-important tin mining has
About Phuket
ceased, tourism is by no means the island’s only activity. Agriculture remains important to a large number of people, and covers by far the largest acreage of the island. Principal crops are rubber, coconuts, cashews and pineapples. Prawn farming has largely taken over the east and south coasts but pearl farming is also important. Phuket’s fishing port is at all times filled and the processing of marine products, mainly fish, makes a significant contri-contribution to the economy. With so many healthy industries supplying income, the building industry has also become a major factor in employment. Construction encompasses massive public works projects, large office buildings and hotels, housing estates with hundreds of units, single luxury or family homes, and many apartments and condominiums.
Phuket has a lot more to offer its visitors other than just its natural heritage of sea, sand, sky, beach, forest, and world renowned diving sites. Sino-Portuguese architecture casts its spell delighting travelers to the city, while Phuket-style hospitality has never failed to impress visitors from all walks of life. In addition, accommodation ranging from worldclass resorts to tropical-style bungalows have warmly catered to the different needs of travelers. For seafood lovers, there is a lot more to sample than just Phuket’s famous lobster. Altogether, these characteristics have made this island a truly unique destination.
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