Phuket (Thai: ภูเก็ต, formerly known as Tha-Laang or Talang) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighbouring provinces are (from north clockwise) Phang Nga and Krabi, but as Phuket is an island there are no land boundaries. The island is served by Phuket International Airport, located in the north of the island.
The name Phuket (of which the ph sound is an aspirated p) is apparently derived from the word bukit in Malay which means mountain or hill, as this is what the island appears like from a distance.
Before that its old name was Thalang, derived from the old Malay “Telong” which means “Cape”. The northern district of the province, which was the location of the old capital, still uses this name.
The most significant event in the history of Phuket was the attack by the Burmese in 1785. Captain Francis Light, a British East India Company captain passing by the island, sent word to the local administration that he had observed Burmese forces preparing to attack. Khunying Jan, the wife of the recently deceased governor, and her sister Mook then assembled what forces they could. After a month-long siege, the Burmese were forced to retreat March 13, 1785. The two women became local heroines, receiving the honorary titles Thao Thep Kasatri and Thao Sri Sunthon from King Rama I. During the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), Phuket became the administrative center of the tin-producing southern provinces. In 1933 Monthon Phuket was dissolved and Phuket became a province by itself. Old names of the island include Ko Thalang.
Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand
, located in the Andaman Sea off southern Thailand. The island is mostly mountainous with a mountain range in the west of the island from the north to the south. The mountains of Phuket form the southern end of the Phuket mountain range, which ranges for 440 km from the Kra Isthmus. The highest elevation of the island is Mai Thao Sip Song (Twelve Canes), at 529 m above sea level.70% of the island is covered by forest. The western coast has several sandy beaches, while on the east coast beaches are more often muddy. Near the southernmost point is Laem Promthep (Brahma’s Cape), which is a popular sunset viewing point.
In the mountainous north of the island is the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-hunting Area, protecting more than 20 km² of rainforest. The three highest peaks of this reserve are the Khao Prathiu (384 m), Khao Bang Pae (388 m) and Khao Phara (422 m). The Sirinat National Park on the northwestern coast was established in 1981 and protects an area of 90 km² (68 km² marine area), including the Nai Yang beach where sea turtles lay their eggs.One of the most popular tourist areas on Phuket is Patong Beach on the central western coast, perhaps owing to the easy access to its wide and long beach. Most of Phuket’s nightlife and its cheap shopping is located in Patong, and the area has become increasingly developed. Patong means “the forest filled with banana leaves” in Thai.
Other popular beaches are located south of Patong. In a counterclockwise direction these include Karon Beach, Kata Beach, Kata Noi Beach, and around the southern tip of the island, Nai Harn Beach and Bang Tao Beach. These areas are generally much less developed than Patong, and sought out by individuals, families and other groups with a preference for more relaxed and less crowded environs than Patong.
There are several coral islands to the south of Phuket, the Similan Islands lie to the north west, and Phi Phi Islands to the south east. All the islands are suitable for diving.

Phuket beaches
are similar, mostly with soft sand, clear warm water and enclosed in pretty bays, so pages are organised by accommodation available, e.g. best big budget, best isolated…Each section has one large picture followed by three small ones.
Phuket is the largest of Thailand’s islands and the country’s most popular sand and sea destination, though much of it is tourism of the package kind.Access is easy via the international airport, and roads are excellent. Recent development has spoiled a lot of the sights and tranquility of the island, but brought reliable power and water supplies, comfortable hotels, cold beer and good varied food to the beaches - and isolationists can still find secluded spots.Phuket town/port has no beaches or significant night life, but good local craft shops and a lively market. It’s a useful transit point for inter-island ferries to places such as Phi Phi Don, Ko Lanta or Krabi.
The beaches worth lying on are all on Phuket’s [pron. Pooket] west coast, with the busiest and being Patong in the centre.Bugbog researched and photographed all 11 beaches during December. This is the start of the best season in Thailand but weather was often unusually cloudy, very hot [over 30C] and all the island’s west shores had 1m - 2m waves, making sea lazing hazardous for adults and dangerous for small children.

These kind of waves are not uncommon at this time of year. Unfortunately the waves tend to rise suddenly for a short distance, so they’re not wonderful for surfer dudes, but rideable.Phuket is not a cheap island by Thai standards. Backpackers on a tight budget or travellers seeking a quieter life would fare better on other islands such as Ko Lanta or Ko Samet.

Phi Phi Island

Koh Phi Phi can be reached by boat either from Krabi or Phuket. In downtown Krabi tourists can take a boat at Chaofa pier. The boat leaves for Koh Phi Phi daily. Boat tickets are available at the pier or from travel agents in the town. It takes about 2 hours and a half for the journey. Regular boats from Ao Nang to Koh Phi Phi are also available during high season.
Mu Koh Phi Phi An archipelago of six islands consists of Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Le as the major islands. The superb scenery of the islands includes high hills with jutting cliffs surrounded by marvelous beaches and emerald sea, hiding underneath a bank of coral reefs and colorful marine life. Places to visit of Mu Koh Phi Phi include
Koh Phi Phi Don
covers a total area of 28 square kilometers : 8 kilometers in length and 3.5 at its broadest point. At the north end is Cape Laem Thong, where there is a Chao Ley, or sea gipsy village. These sea gypsies emigrated from Koh Lipeh in Tarutao National Park, near the border with Malaysia. Diving at Laem Thong is excellent, as it is also at Hua Rah Ket to the extreme south. There are long beaches with rocks scattered about. Two curving bays are especially beautiful : Ton Sai and Loh Dalam. This is also where accommodations and tourist services are found. Unfortunately this area has become a party place with lots of bars playing music until the early morning hours. For a quieter vacation it is advised to go to the other beaches which only can be reached by longtail boat or a jungle walk over the hills.
Koh Phi Phi Le

is 6.6 square kilometers in total area : 3 kilometers in length and 1 at its broadest point. The island is entirely limestone and steep cliffs rising from the sea very nearly ring it. Surrounding waters average about 20 meters in depth, reaching 34 meters at the deepest point off the island’s southern tip. Phi Phi Ley has several beautiful bays : Pileh, Maya and Loh Samah ; Ao Pileh is very nearly enclosed by the limestone walls of the island’s cliffs, so that the water appears almost to be an island sea. On Phi Phi Ley’s northeast is the famous Viking Cave; this was renamed by H.M.Rama IX when he visited it in 1972, Tam Pya Nak, from the shape of a particular boulder, which resembles in shape the head of the great serpent of Buddhist legend, the Naga.It is a place much revered by the local people who come there to collect the swift’s nests used to make Bird’s Nest Soup, a Chinese delicacy.
On the eastern and southern walls of the cave are colored drawings dating from historic times. There are pictures of elephants and also of various boats : European, Arab and Chinese sailing ships ; baroques, motorboats, and steamships. It is theorized that these pirates who paused in their travels from west to east, sheltering in the cave to escape the monsoon winds, transfer cargo, or make repairs. Travel to the Phi Phi Islands Tour operators in both Phuket and Krabi provide transport and tour packages to this popular destination. Regular boat service is available form Jao Fah pier in Krabi.
  • Koh Phai lies also to the north of Phi Phi Don, not far from Koh Yung. Sandy beaches are on the north and east sides of the island. Broad coral reefs stretch away into the south.
  • Koh Yung lies to the north of Phi Phi Don. There is a rocky beach on the east side, and a smaller strand of sand in a fold of the hill. Many beautiful and various corals are found there.

Koh Samui

Koh Samui The most popular island where the long shores and number of attractive resorts belong.Thailand’s 3rd is a palm-fringed paradise with coastal roads encircling the whole island. Aside from the lovely beaches and coral beds, it is plentiful in coconut plantations and forested hills. The more popular beaches are on the northern and eastern coasts, namely Chaweng Beach, known for its party scene and combination of luxury resort and Lamai Beach. Many international diving schools have been established an nearby Koh Tao because of its pristine beaches and abundant coral reefs whichcontribute to its reputation as the best scuba diving spot in the Gulf of Thailand.

Koh Samui Back in the halcyon days of the 1960's, there were no Lonely Planets to guide the trickle of adventurers travelling overland between Europe and Asia. Unlike today's pampered and ubiquitous backpackers, yesterday's intrepid young explorers had to rely on word of mouth advice about the route lying ahead. Amongst other essentials, this included "approved" lodgings, where kindred spirits globe-trotting in opposite directions congregated, and exchanged information about rutted roads already endured.One such hostelry was the legendary Thai Song Greet Hotel, (alas, gone forever) near Bangkok's central Hualumpong railway station. At 20 baht (then worth US$1) a night, it was still considered "expensive" for it had grimy rooms, and guests shared a small, smelly toilet-cum-bathroom at the end of each cluttered and humid corridor. Those who could not afford the hotel's dubious luxury nevertheless came here to obtain that precious intelligence essential for their onward journey.If Koh Samui is well known today, the first reverent mention of the name was most likely heard in the packed downstairs restaurant of that dirty but charismatic tryst. Amongst the pungent smoke billowing from the cook's wok, word frequently passed around about an idyllic island in the south east of Thailand, very difficult to reach, a place with only walking tracks, and as close to being paradise as Mother Earth can possibly provide.
Furthermore, this was no tiny islet, but a large and mountainous tropical haven with rushing streams, thick forests, and dozens of deserted pristine palm-fringed beaches, the stuff of dreams and fantasy.Born therefore - like so many other resorts - of backpackers' private discoveries, Samui forty years on boasts a network of roads, an entire tourism infrastructure, and almost-hourly flights landing at the picturesque airport. If purists might lament this transformation, the island nonetheless retains much of its magic, and international tourism has done little so far to mar the intrinsic tropical beauty. Development has affected mostly the coastal areas, and much of the mountainous interior remains untouched. Up here, the friendly inhabitants carry on their lives cultivating coconuts, banana, durian and paddy just as before, accepting sun-lotioned foreigners as an inevitable result of progress, like telephones and television.Today, plump middle-aged codgers, who, as slim pimply-faced youths might have lounged under Samui's swaying palms in 1962, can still relive that lost island feeling today, albeit with luxury hotels and the conveniences of the 21st century all around, and the sense of real adventure long since gone.Roughly 250 square kilometres in size, and rising to a height of 635 metres, this rugged granite island is almost the size of Penang, and Thailand's third largest after Phuket and Ko Chang. ("Koh"is Thai for island) Settled originally by Malaysian and Chinese fishermen, it is thought that the name Samui derives from the Chinese word Saboey, meaning safe harbour. Less developed than Phuket, it boasts its own distinct personality, and the proud native population of around 50,000 speaks its own distinctive southern dialect.It has an enjoyable but often unpredictable mix of tropical weather conditions, the sunniest months falling between January and August, with occasional refreshing downpours. More frequent rainstorms arrive in September/October, lasting through to December. The hottest months are from March to June. The sea temperature averages 29 degrees Celsius year round.