Phuket Island - Pearl of Andaman Sea
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Phuket, a large island in the Indian Ocean, is 867 kms. from Bangkok. It is the only island having provincial status, and was a regional headquarters as well, with a rich and colorful history.

weather2.jpg (9980 bytes)   Known as the Pearl of the Andaman, it derived much of its former glory and its enormous wealth from tin production, which in Phuket dates back over 500 year. Today, Phuket is the major tourist attraction of Thailand. The surrounding waters contain much varied  marine life, and the town is notable for its Sino-Portuguese architecture. It is a very attractive island for sightseeing, with lovely seashores and forested hillsides. Its population of 1.6 million people ranks sixth among all provinces. Approximately 1.75 million Rai of the area is forest land. The main occupation here is rice farming. The average per capita income is 14,343 baht.

Location and Boundaries
   Phuket is an island connected by bridges to southern Thailand's Andaman Sea coast, in the Indian Ocean, lying between 7'45" and 8'15" north latitude, and from 98'15" to 98'40" west longitude on the map. Phuket, Thailand's largest islands, is surrounded by 32 smaller islands that form part of the same administration, with a total area of 570 square kilometers. Measured at its widest point, Phuket is 21.3 kilometers; at its longest, 48.7 kilometers. it is bounded thus: 

North Lies The Pak Prah strait, spanned by two bridges running side-by-side, the older Sarasin Bridge, and the newer Thao Thep Krasatri Bridge.
South Is the Andaman Sea.
East Is Phang-nga Bay (In the jurisdiction mainly of Phang-nga Province). 
West Is The Andaman Sea.

anti.jpg (9686 bytes)Geography
   About 70 percent of Phuket is mountainous; a western range runs from north to south from which smaller branches derive. The highest peak is Mai Tha Sip Song, or Twelve Canes, at 529 meters, which lies within the boundaries of Tambon Patong, Kathu District. The remaining 30 percent of the island, mainly in the center and south, is formed by low plains. Streams include the Khlong Bang Yai, Tha Jin, Khlong Tha Rua, and Khlong Bang Rong, none of which is large.

 

weather023.jpg (8629 bytes)Climate
   Phuket's weather conditions are dominated by monsoon winds that blow year round. It is therefore always warm and humid. There are two distinct seasons, rainy and dry. The rainy season begins in May and lasts till October, during which the monsoon blows from the southwest.

The dry season is from November through April, when the monsoon comes from the northeast. Highest average temperatures, at 33.4 degree Celsius, prevail during March. Lowest averages occur in January, when nightly lows dip to 22 degree Celsius.

debuk_road.jpg (58447 bytes)Economy
   Since the early 1980's the tourist business has been Phuket's chief source of income. Hotels, restaurants, tour companies, and souvenir shops are much in evidence on the west coast. However, while once all-importance tin mining has ceased, tourism is by no means the island's only activity. Agriculture remains important to a large number of people, and covers by far the most part of the island. Principal crops are rubber, coconuts, cashews, and pineapples. Prawn farming has largly taken over the east and south coasts. Pearl farming is also important. Phuket's fishing port is at all time filled, and processing of marine products, mainly fish, makes a significant contribution to the economy. With so many healthy industries supplying income, construction has become a major factor in employment. This range from massive public works projects, large office buildings and hotels, and housing estates with hundreds of units, down to single family homes, apartments and additions.

 

phuket_town.jpg (51758 bytes)Population
   Official population as of December, 1998, was 231,206. This figure numbers those who are registered as living in Phuket. Phuket' s attraction as a center of economic activity has resulted in many living on the island whose registration is elsewhere. The total population of Phuket varies considerably depending on the time of year, through it is never less than the figure given above.

Government
   The island is divided into three districts, Thalang in the north, Kathu in the west, and Muang in the south. Thailand's system of government relies upon a strong central authority, thus the Provincial Governor is a civil servant appointed by the Interior Ministry in Bangkok, as are the Nai Amphoe, or District Chief. The cities of Phuket and Patong have their own city governments, with elected city councils, the leading members of which serve as mayor. There are also elected provincial, district, and sub-district, or Tambon councils. The local constabulary is part of the Interior Ministry.

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