18 Fun Facts About Phuket, Thailand

by Janis on February 25, 2014

Since we will visit Phuket, Thailand for the first time next month via a cruise ship, we’ve been doing a little pre-trip research.

Here are 18 Fun Facts we found about Phuket, Thailand

1. Phuket (pronounced Poo-get) is Thailand’s largest island situated off the west coast in the Andaman Sea. Two bridges connect the island of Phuket to mainland Thailand.

2. Phuket is one of the 76 provinces that make up the country of Thailand.  With 69.5 million people, Thailand is the world’s 20th most populous country.  Tourism has helped convert Phuket island into Thailand’s wealthiest province.

3. More than 600,000 people live on the island of Phuket but the official registered Thai population was 360,905 people at the end of 2012. A combination of migrant workers, international expats, long-term tourists and Thais registered in other provinces who live in Phuket at least part of the year swell the population.

4. Phuket Town — the largest town in Phuket Province — is the economic hub of the island.

Cruise ships at anchor tendering into Putong Bay, Phuket, Thailand

To call on Phuket, Thailand, cruise ships at anchor tendering into Putong Bay, in Phuket, Thailand

5. Cruise ships calling on Phuket can dock at Ao Makham Deep Sea Port approximately five miles south of Phuket Town, but during the favorable weather of November to April they often in anchor on the west side of the island and tender to a temporary pier at the south end of Patong Beach. Kalim Beach on the north end of Patong has also been used as a tender pier for cruise guests.

Coral Island, Phuket, Thailand. Photo by Andrzej Buryan Photography

Coral Island, Phuket, Thailand. Photo by Andrzej Buryan Photography

 6. Phuket is hot and humid throughout the year with the highest temperatures between March and early May. During the summer monsoon season of May to October, mornings are often sunny and clear with afternoon and evening rain. November to February is the “cool” season and the most popular time for tourist visits.

7. Phuket suffered extensive damage from the December 26, 2004 tsunami resulting from an Indian Ocean earthquake. Many of the damaged resorts were back in business by February, 2005 and little tsunami damage can be seen on the island today.

8. Thailand launched the first of the 22 U.S.-made tsunami-detection buoys positioned around the Indian Ocean as part of a regional warning system in December, 2006. The satellite-linked deep-sea buoy floats 620 miles offshore near the midway point between Thailand and Sri Lanka.

9. Mountains that stretch from north to south cover 70 percent of Phuket.

10. Phuket has nine brooks and creeks but no major rivers.

Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon monument. Photo by Sry85.

11. Thepkassatri Road, one of Phuket’s main roads leads past the “˜Heroine’s Monument’ paying tribute to Thao Thep Kasatri and Thao Sri Suntorn.  When the Burmese tried to invade in 1785, the widow of the deceased governor and her sister ordered the women to dress as men and take positions on the Thalang city walls. Tricked into thinking Phuket had many troops, the Burmese were afraid to attack Phuket and retreated due to starvation. The two women became local heroines. They received the honorary titles from King Rama I.

12. Throughout history, Phuket was on one of the major trading routes between India and China, and was frequently mentioned in ship logs of Portuguese, French, Dutch and English traders. Tin mining has been a major source of income for the island since the 16th century. Tin and rubber contributed to Phuket’s rich and colorful history.

13. Today 60 percent of Phuket is covered with forest, rubber and palm oil plantations. Phuket’s rubber output helps make Thailand the world’s largest producer of rubber.

14. While Buddhism is practiced by 95 percent of Thailand’s population, Phuket is a melting pot of indigenous Thais, Thai-Chinese, ethnic Malays and sea gypsies. The majority of the Phuket’s rural population is Muslim.

15. Patong Beach on the central west coast is Phuket’s most popular tourist area with inexpensive shopping and an intense nightlife scene. In Thai, Patong means “the forest filled with banana leaves.”

16. Karon Beach, Kata Beach and Kata Noi Beach are popular beaches south of Patong.  North of Patong are the more relaxed and less-crowded Kamala, Surin and Bang Tao Beaches.

17. Snorkelers and scuba divers flock to the coral of Similan and Phi Phi Islands south of Phuket.

Ko Tapu known as James Bond Island, is part of the Khao Phing Kan islands, in Thailand's Phang Nga Bay.  Photo by Diego Delso

Ko Tapu known as James Bond Island, is part of the Khao Phing Kan islands, in Thailand’s Phang Nga Bay.  Photo by Diego Delso


18. After its starring role in the James Bond movie The Man With the Golden Gun, the bizarre, why-doesn’t-it-fall-over island of Koh Tapu in Phang Nga Bay was renamed James Bond Island. This famous bay is known for a number of limestone cliffs that jut out of the emerald-green water like skyscrapers. During high season, the entire area is often crowded with tour boats.

Learn more about Phuket and traveling in Thailand with these resources:
Lonely Planet Pocket Phuket


Thailand’s Best Street Food: The Complete Guide to Streetside Dining in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Other Areas

Lonely Planet Thai Phrasebook & Dictionary

Have you visited Phuket? What ‘fun fact’ can you add to this list?

Other Fun Facts posts:

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