The “Pearl of the Andaman” is a phrase best describes one of the most majestic provinces in Thailand: Phuket. Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, which does not have distinct land boundaries and the only way to reach the island is driving across either of the land bridges. Relatively smaller than the size of Singapore, Phuket’s main economy is driven by tourism. The island is home to many scenic locations that draw in people from around the world to experience the opulence the province has to offer.
Once used to be a trading outpost, this former Chinese post is now one of Thailand’s booming tourist-driven locations in the entire country. The island used to be a rich source of tin for the Europeans and Chinese traders. With so much tin available, Chinese traders began establishing ports in Phuket to monetize this abundant resource. This shift leads to a lot of traders moving to Thailand with their families and establishing new livelihoods on the island. Although tin mining is no longer Phuket’s staple income, tourists can visit the Old Phuket Town and view the old Chinese-styled (or Sino-Portuguese) houses. Some of the houses have transformed into restaurants which are open to the public.
That was the old Phuket. The new Phuket is very different than what it was over two hundred years ago. The new Phuket is loud, daring and is a very in-your-face type city. Now, restaurants, entertainment venues, hotels and local attractions are what define the city into what it is today. However, masked behind blaring neon lights and crazy beats is still holds the charm of Phuket as paradise island.
Phang Nga Bay is extraordinarily beautiful, filled with limestone caves, lush islands, and underwater tunnels called ‘Hong’ or ‘Room’, in Thai. Many adventurists prefer to kayak around the bay to explore the natural wonders created by Mother Nature. For those wanting nothing more than sailing in the Phang Nga Bay, there’s an old-styled Chinese ship tour available, ready to set sail. There are other tours available which takes tourists to secret locations for snorkeling, diving or simply, fun under the sun.
In terms of spending a day at the beach, Phuket is home to a number of great atmospheric beaches to spend the day. In fact, many of the beaches in Phuket are great for surfing. Beaches such as Nai Harn Beach, Kamala Beach, Kalim Beach, Kata Beach offer up some of the best waves in Thailand. Most of the waves can be tamed by beginners to master ‘Wave Riders’. However, for those who are just starting out the craft of surfing, don’t forget to swing by Phuket Surf House which has its very own wave machine. This is a great place to learn how to surf.
Of course, in all parts of paradise are star-studded hotels to completely spoil guests during their stay. For example, on the western coast of Phuket in Patong is La Flora Resort Patong, Grand Mercure Patong, Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa and Novotel Phuket Vintage Resort are a couple of hotels to consider. These hotels provide outstanding services, amenities and are monitored by professionally-minded staff to ensure your stay is as hassle-free as possible. Guests don’t need to stray away too far if they need to hit the town to get some shopping or dining done.
Phuket, the Pearl of the Andaman is Thailand’s treasure trove. An unsinkable gem, the pulsating heart of paradise in the south that continues to draw in visitors from around the world. For anybody who may consider going to Phuket, don’t wait. Just go!