Phuket. The pearl of the Andaman

In Thailand, Phuket (pronounced ‘Pooket’) generally also named the ‘Pearl of the South’, is the largest island in the kingdom. From north to south the length is 48 km, and 21 km wide from east to west. Mountains and valleys are all over the island. The main mountain chain runs from west to south and covers about 70% of the island’s surface. The highest mountain is Mai Tao Song at 529 m. The other 30% of the island is flat flat and situated in the center and east.

phuket travel

Situated in the Andaman Sea, west of Southern Thailand, the island has fantastic scenery: rock formations, limestone formations, fantastic sand beaches, green hills, small creeks and lagoons, and of course a superb tropical vegetation.

In the history of Phuket, on ancient maps of the south-west region of Thailand, the name ‘Junk Ceylon’ can be seen as a description of the island we call today Phuket. Already in the 3the century the island of Phuket was a popular stop for ships and its name probably came from the Tamils en route to India by the start of the 11th century. The name means ‘gems’.

Phuket was part of the Malay Shivit kingdom, but most of it then became part of Thailand. By the time of the Thai Ayutthaya period tin was found on the island and the Thai government offered concessions to foreign companies. Later, in the 18th century, once again the Burmese tried to conquer Thailand and they attacked the island to take the ancient capital of Thalang. One of the bloodiest battles in that period took place in 1745 when Jan, the widow of the governor and her sister Mock drove the Burmese back into the sea.

After that time Phuket became prosperous from its tin mines, first on the island itself and later on the nearby sea bottom. Today there is almost no tin mining and the economy of Phuket depends on rubber production and of course most on on tourism.