General Information about Phuket

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Phuket is the biggest island of Thailand, the only one to be a Thai province in itself, and is located 867 km south of Bangkok in the Andaman Sea. It covers a total area of 539 km² which represents about the same size as Singapore. This surface reaches a total of 570 km² when adding the numerous islands nearby that are included in Phuket province. There are 3 districts in Phuket: Mueang Phuket, Kathu and Thalang. The administrative capital of the province is Phuket Town.

Climate
Phuket benefits with a tropical monsoon climate and as such there are only two seasons per year. The dry season is also regarded as the best season for tourism and lasts from November to April. The rainy season starts at the end of April with the Thai Happy New Year’s celebrations called Songkhran, and it ends in November. The temperatures vary between 23°C and 33°C and average 29°C. To know what will be the weather in the next days, go to Phuket’s weather forecasts. Water temperatures range from 26°C to 28°C.

Geography
About 70% of Phuket is mountainous. The highest peak is Mai Tha Sip Song in Kathu at 529 m. The remaining 30% of Phuket are low plains, mainly in the center and south of the island. The West coast is where are located the longest and most beautiful white sandy beaches of the island. Thus, major tourist developments are also in Phuket’s West coast.

History
View Phuket History.

Population
There are around 525,000 persons living on the island, including 115,000 foreigners mainly from neighboring countries (Burma, Laos, and Cambodia). There are also many retirees who settle in Phuket as the island was voted one of the World’s top 5 retirement destination by Fortune Magazine. During high season, Phuket welcomes more than one million tourists.

Language
Central Thai is the official language but many people use southern Thai dialect. English is well understood in tourist areas.

Religion
The majority of Phuket population is Buddhist, yet Muslims are representing a large part of the population (30%). As Phuket was the theater of an important migration from China, there are also many Taoists. As a result, there are many Buddhist temples in Phuket, but also Chinese shrines and Mosques, as well as a few Christian churches.

Economy
Since the early eighties, Phuket’s main resources come from tourism. Most tourist developments are set on Phuket’s West coast and the biggest tourist center of the island is Patong beach. In the past, Phuket’s main economic activity was tin mining, which is well explained in Phuket museums. Nowadays, and after tourism, agriculture represents an important part of the economic activity. Main crops are rubber trees, coconut trees, cashew nuts, bananas and pineapples. Due to its location in the Andaman Sea, fishing is a significant part of Phuket’s economy, as well as prawn and pearls farming. Thanks to the development on the island, construction has become a major factor in employment.

Currency
The official currency is the Thai Baht (THB). Vendors generally do not accept other currencies but the island has many exchange offices. The main bills are 1,000 THB, 500 THB, 100 THB, 50 THB and 20 THB. There are coins of 10 THB, 5 THB, 2 THB, 1 THB, and then 50 Satang (100 Satang = 1 THB), 25 Satang, 10 Satang, 5 Satang and 1 Satang.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) – Phuket office
Areas of Responsibility: Phuket, Phang Nga
Address: 191 Thalang Road, Tambon Thaladyai, Amphoe Mueang, Phuket 83000
Tel: +66(0)76 211 036 or +66(0)76 212 213
Email: tatphket@tat.or.th
Website: www.tourismthailand.org/phuket

Emergency Contacts
Police: 191
Tourist Police: 1155
Phuket Tourist Rescue Center: +66(0)76 383 907-9
Emergency Medical Service: 1669

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