The island of Phuket, a Thai province in its own right, rests in the Andaman Sea just off the southwest coast of Thailand, joined with the mainland by two bridges. The country’s largest island, it’s famous for its beaches and water sports, its nightlife and its beauty and attracts tourists year-round from all over the world.
Phuket’s former wealth came mainly from rubber and tin, with its colorful and rich history based on its location on one of the major trading routes between China and India. Mariners made frequent mention of Phuket in the ship’s logs of the fabulous Dutch, English, Portuguese and French ‘China clippers’ which ruled the Asian seas for several centuries.
Nowadays, tourism is the major source of income for the island, only interrupted rarely as with the devastating tsunami which hit unannounced in 2004, causing death and destruction on a massive scale. Due to tremendous efforts by local people and volunteers from all over the world, the island was back up and running in a year. Hardly any traces of the disaster remain and a US tsunami warning buoy, properly installed in the Indian Ocean, is part of an early warning system.
Phuket has literally dozens of glorious beaches scattered around its coastline, with some dedicated to mass tourism and others remote and peaceful, often only approachable by boat. Phuket is all you want it to be, whatever your holiday preferences, with its contrasting attractions ranging from riotous full moon parties to quietly exploring the temples, mosques and quaint villages scattered across the island.
Most popular are its marine sports, with scuba-diving the favorite and jet-skiing, snorkeling, yachting, parasailing and sea fishing close behind. The centre of diving in the country, the island has a good selection of sites with fine reefs hosting a plethora of dazzling marine life and lots of reliable diving companies. Tiny, brilliant green islets lie offshore and a mountain range stretches from north to south, bordered by lush tropical forests.
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