Author: Lee Seaton Published 05th February 2018
Phuket, a rainforested, mountainous island in the Andaman Sea, has some of Thailand’s most popular beaches, mostly situated along the clear waters of the western shore. Phuket is the largest of all the Thai islands and is located approximately 863 kilometres (536 mi) south west of Bangkok.
The population of Phuket is a modest 600,000 people living on the island. As seventy percent of Phuket's area is covered with mountains which stretch from north to south it may make it feel like a lot more people are living there. This can increase to over a million people of the island during the high season as people from all over the world head here for some winter sun.
Religious make up of Population
As with most of Thailand, 80% of the population is Buddhist. This is much lower than other parts of Thailand due to the number of decedents of Muslim sea dwelling ancestors, who were the original inhabitants of the island.
History of Phuket
Phuket has a rich history as tin-mining country. This was the main economic product of the Island from the 16th Century. In the early 20th century, Governor Phraya Rassada Nupradit invited European mining companies onto the island in exchange for major improvements to the islands infrastructure. This resulted in rapid improvements to the road and canal networks.
Modern Day Phuket
Modern day Phuket now relies on two main pillars to grow its economy. The other lesser known economic aspect that Phuket relies on is its rubber tree plantations. With the large number of plantations throughout the island, Phuket is making Thailand one of the largest producers of rubber in the world.
The main one that you will know is its tourism. Due to the number of stunning beaches the island has become home to many high-end seaside resorts, spas and restaurants. Phuket has something for any taste and budget, with hundreds of hotels to choose from, a wide choice of dining and partying options.
The most popular (and overcrowded) tourist area on Phuket is Patong Beach on the central west coast, perhaps owing to the easy access to its wide and long beach. Most of Phuket's nightlife and its shopping is in Patong, and the area has become increasingly developed in recent years.
Unfortunately Phuket was one of the worst hit locations during the 2004 Boxing day tsunami. Some 250 people were reported dead in Phuket, including foreign tourists, and as many perhaps as a thousand Burmese workers building new beach resorts in the Khao Lak area. The Tsunami decimated large parts of Thailand’s western coastline and Phuket was one of the locations that was most impacted upon. By February 2005 the damange from the tsunami was cleared meaning life on the island could begin to return to normal.
Thailand is known for its warm weather and Phuket is no exception to this. The average temperature for the year is 32.5 °C or 90.5°F. The hottest months are March, April and May. As with any tropical location though there will be rainfall at some point. The main months for heavy rainfall are September and October. During this time you can expect around 22 out of 30 days to have rainfall occur. That being said, December, January and February see the highest number of daily hours of sunshine, making this one of the most visited times of year.
Take a look at some of our recommendations below for some of the amazing things to see and do whist on your vacation to Phuket.