Phuket Island Thailand – One of the World’s Great Island Holidays
Most people visit Phuket for the beaches and because it’s one of those ‘must-see’ tropical islands. For those who can pry themselves away from the regular tourist trappings and head across the island, they can catch a glimpse of what the island offered prior to the growth of the tourism industry.
At the island’s main crossroads at Ban Tha Rua stand bronze statues of Khunying Jan and her sister Mook, celebrating their heroic and successful resistance to the Burmese invasion in 1785. In Phuket City, the ornate Chinese wats of Jui Tai and Put Jaw are testament to the island’s economic history. Tin was once the primary source of wealth for the island, and from the 16th century onwards, Hakka Chinese entrepreneurs and their workforces came to the island to exploit the mines.
When the price of Tin dropped, the island shifted its primary production to rubber and pineapple plantations and then, in the mid 1970’s, turned it’s attention to maximizing the possibilities provided by an inexhaustible stream of tourists.
Between the headlands, particularly on Phuket’s west coast, are the sandy beaches fringing the Andaman Sea against a backdrop of the little explored interior of heavily forested mountains. Chief among these beaches is Patong, the eternally busy repository of most of Phuket’s hustle and bustle. This is where the Hawkers hawk, touts tout and the kathoey ladyboys bamboozle beer-soaked tourists in the bars of Soi Bangla.
In the 2004 tsunami Patong’s many hotel developments suffered badly, though Hat Kamala slightly to the north bore the full brunt.
If the pace of life in Patong is taking it’s toll, if the prospect of yet another karaoke night seems simply too demanding, there are a myriad of alternatives to chose from. After all, Phuket is a considerably large island, nearly the size of Singapore in fact, so your options are hardly restricted.
To find the quieter beaches it’s advised you head to the northern end of the island, where Phuket’s largest beach, Hat Mai Khao, remains relatively unspoiled and less crowded. Just round the corner of the islands southern tip is Rawai Beach, which (by virtue of its east coast location) offers some fabulous sunset views.
Away from the water and the ribbon developments visitors will find the interiors national parks and reserves, along with the rubber and pineapple plantations. If the mind is soothed by these peaceful surroundings, the body can also enjoy it’s own vacation during the nine-day vegetarian festival that falls each October, at the end of the cool season in Phuket – a true detox for body, mind and spirit.
Amongst the myriad of pleasures on Phuket is the fabulous local cuisine. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous and seek out the eating-houses where locals are dining on mass. This is a sure sign that the food is good and inexpensive. The experience alone is enough to satisfy you but the quality of the meals will draw you back time and again.
Relax and enjoy this slice of paradise, an island so rich with offerings and yet so peaceful and rejuvenating. The speedboat day-trips to Phi Phi Island are highly recommended. Take in James Bond Island and the location for the filming of Hollywood movie ‘The Beach’. It’s wonderful day on the water and a visual delight.
For a wonderful holiday that will not break the bank, Phuket Island Thailand has to be one of the most attractive destinations on the planet. Arrive, relax, indulge and experience…