Phuket – The Paradise Island of Thailand
One of the most beautiful places in Asia, and possibly the Eastern Hemisphere, is Phuket. The Island of Phuket is also one of the southern provinces of Thailand and it occupies the entire island. Roughly the size of Singapore, the island is connected to the mainland of Thailand by a bridge. Phuket, while once known for its tin and rubber, is now one of he most popular tourist areas in all of Thailand, getting most of its income from tourism.
As with most places that had European contact during the Age of Discovery, Phuket is no different. During the 17th century, the Dutch, English and French all arrived at the island to trade with the island thanks to its rich supply of tin. The island was eventually heavily controlled by the French, who were expelled in the 1688 Siamese Revolution. While they attempted to take the island back in 1689, their efforts failed within a few years. Things returned to relative normality for the island for the next century until the Burmese attacked in 1785. After a siege that lasted an entire month, the Burmese retreated. It was thanks to Than Phu Ying and her sister Mook that the attack failed. They were warned by a British East India Company captain that there was an attack coming. Ying, who was the widow of the recently-deceased governor, mustered what forces she could to defend the island. After the siege, both became local heroes and are still remembered to this day with statues on the island. Eventually, in 1933, the island became a province in Thailand, which it remains as to this day.
It is not hard to see why so many groups wanted this island; it is beautiful. The island has many mountains on it, with the Phuket mountain range running from the south to the north in the western part of the island. While the island is roughly 570 square kilometers, it has a stunning array of landscapes that will keep you exploring for years to come. Roughly 70 percent of the island is covered with mountains, while the remaining 30 percent of the island in the central and eastern areas is flat. The island has no major rivers, but there are nine brooks that provide water to thousands. Forests, along with oil and rubber plantations, cover 60 percent of the island, and sandy beaches can be found on the western coast of the island. Eastern beaches tend to be muddy, but you can still enjoy yourself there. Now, if you want to see one of the most stunning sunsets in the world, you would need to journey to the southern part of the island to see the sun set over the ocean at Brahma’s Cape.
Since Phuket is just north of the equator, it has amazing weather. The average high temperature of the island during the year falls between 29C/84F and 33C/91F. Average lows are what many in the northern hemisphere call highs, with temperatures ranging from 23C/73F to 26C/79F. Between November and April, you can expect things to be pretty dry. When May comes along, the monsoon season begins and rain can be expected from May until October usually.
Since the tin industry has faded to the background on the island, tourism has taken over as the biggest industry in Phuket. While in Phuket, you can expect to see a lot of tourist attractions and tourist centers. Since the 1980s, beaches have become heavily developed to accommodate tourists. This has not been for the bad though, as Fortune Magazine declared Phuket as one of the World’s Top 5 Retirement Destinations. The vast majority of the westerners who live in Phuket are retirees.
To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Travelnowsimply.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on May 8, 2010.