Phuket Province

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Phuket
ภูเก็ต
Province
Phuket Viewpoint.jpg
Official seal of Phuket
Seal
Map of Thailand highlighting Phuket Province
Map of Thailand highlighting Phuket Province
Country Thailand
CapitalPhuket City
Government
 • GovernorMaitri Inthusut (since October 2012)[1]
Area
 • Total576 km2 (222 sq mi)
Area rankRanked 75th
Population (2013)
 • Total600,000
 • RankRanked 68th
 • Density1,042/km2 (2,700/sq mi)
 • Density rankRanked 6th
Time zoneICT (UTC+7)
ISO 3166 codeTH-83
 
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"Phuket" redirects here. For other uses, see Phuket (disambiguation).
Phuket
ภูเก็ต
Province
Phuket Viewpoint.jpg
Official seal of Phuket
Seal
Map of Thailand highlighting Phuket Province
Map of Thailand highlighting Phuket Province
Country Thailand
CapitalPhuket City
Government
 • GovernorMaitri Inthusut (since October 2012)[1]
Area
 • Total576 km2 (222 sq mi)
Area rankRanked 75th
Population (2013)
 • Total600,000
 • RankRanked 68th
 • Density1,042/km2 (2,700/sq mi)
 • Density rankRanked 6th
Time zoneICT (UTC+7)
ISO 3166 codeTH-83

Phuket (Thai: ภูเก็ต,  [pʰūː.kèt] ( )) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. It consists of the island of Phuket, the country's largest island, and another 32 smaller islands off its coast.[2] It lies off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. Phuket Island is connected by bridge to Phang Nga Province to the north. The next nearest province is Krabi, to the east across Phang Nga Bay.

Phuket Province has an area of 576 square kilometres (222 sq mi), somewhat less than that of Singapore, and is the second-smallest province of Thailand. It formerly derived its wealth from tin and rubber, and enjoys a rich and colorful history. The island was on one of the major trading routes between India and China, and was frequently mentioned in foreign ship logs of Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English traders. The region now derives much of its income from tourism.

Name[edit]

The relatively recent name "Phuket" (of which the digraph ph represents an aspirated p) is apparently derived from the word bukit (Jawi: بوكيت) in Malay which means "hill", as this is what the island appears like from a distance. An alternative suggestion is that the name originates from two Thai words, "phu" (mountain) of "ket" (jewel), and this is said to be recorded in a Thai chronicle.

Phuket was formerly known as Thalang (ถลาง Tha-Laang), derived from the old Malay "telong" (Jawi: تلوڠ) which means "cape". The northern district of the province, which was the location of the old capital, still uses this name. In Western sources and navigation charts, it was known as Jung Ceylon (a corruption of the Malay Tanjung Salang, i.e., "Cape Salang"),[3]

The meaning of seal of Phuket[edit]

The seal is a depiction of the Thao Thep Kasatri and Thao Sri Sunthon Heroines Monument. These ladies protected the province from the Burmese in 1785 CE.[4] In 1785 Burmese troops were preparing to attack Phuket. Its military governor had just died, thus the Burmese thought the island could be easily seized. But Khun Jan, the widow of the deceased governor and her sister, Khun Mook, ordered the women of the island to dress as soldiers and take positions on the Thalang city walls. The Burmese called off their attack due to the perceived strength of the defenses. Short of food, they retreated. The two women became local heroines. They received the honorary titles, Thao Thep Kasatri and Thao Sri Sunthon, from King Rama I.[2]

The seal is a circle surrounded by a ka–nok line that shows the bravery of leaders in Phuket Province.[5] The seal has been used since 1985.

History[edit]

The French ambassador Chevalier de Chaumont with King Narai.

In the 17th century, the Dutch, English and, after the 1680s, the French, competed for the opportunity to trade with the island of Phuket (then known as "Jung Ceylon"), which was a rich source of tin. In September 1680, a ship of the French East India Company visited Phuket and left with a full cargo of tin.

A year or two later, the Siamese King Narai, seeking to reduce Dutch and English influence, named as governor of Phuket a French medical missionary, Brother René Charbonneau, a member of the Siam mission of the Société des Missions Etrangères. Charbonneau remained as governor until 1685.[6]

In 1685, King Narai confirmed the French tin monopoly in Phuket to their ambassador, the Chevalier de Chaumont.[7] Chaumont's former maître d'hôtel, Sieur de Billy, was named governor of the island.[8] However, the French were expelled from Siam after the 1688 Siamese revolution. On 10 April 1689, Desfarges led an expedition to re-capture Phuket to restore French control in Siam.[9] His occupation of the island led to nothing, and Desfarges returned to Puducherry in January 1690.[10]

The Burmese attacked Phuket in 1785. Francis Light, a British East India Company captain passing by the island, notified the local administration that he had observed Burmese forces preparing to attack. Than Phu Ying Chan, the wife of the recently deceased governor, and her sister Mook (คุณมุก) assembled what local forces they could. After a month-long siege of the capital city, the Burmese were forced to retreat on 13 March 1785. The women became local heroines, receiving the royal titles Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Si Sunthon from a grateful 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 (มณฑลภูเก็ต) was dissolved and Phuket became a province.

2004 tsunami[edit]

Patong Beach on Phuket affected by the tsunami disaster of December 2004.

On 26 December 2004, Phuket and other nearby areas on Thailand's western coast suffered extensive damage when they were struck by the Boxing Day tsunami, caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The waves destroyed several highly populated areas in the region, killing up to 5,300 people nationwide, and tens of thousands more throughout the Asian region. Some 250 were reported dead in Phuket, including foreign tourists, and as many perhaps as a thousand of the illegal Burmese workers building new beach resorts in the Khao Lak area. Almost all of the major beaches on the west coast, especially Kamala, Patong, Karon, and Kata sustained major damage, with some damage caused to resorts and villages on the island's southern beaches.

By February 2005 many damaged resorts were back to business, and life slowly returned to normal. Following strenuous recovery programs, no tsunami damage can now be seen except on the most remote beaches.

In early December 2006, Thailand launched the first of the 22 U.S.-made tsunami-detection buoys to be positioned around the Indian Ocean as part of a regional warning system. The satellite-linked deep-sea buoys float 1,000 km (620 mi) offshore, roughly midway between Thailand and Sri Lanka.[11]

Geography[edit]

Phuket
PhuketMap.png
Map of Phuket (beaches in brown)
Geography
LocationAndaman Sea
Coordinates7°53′24″N 98°23′54″E / 7.89000°N 98.39833°E / 7.89000; 98.39833
Area576 km2 (222 sq mi)
Length50 km (31 mi)
Width20 km (12 mi)
Highest elevation529 m (1,736 ft)
Highest pointKhao Mai Thao Sip Song
Country
Thailand
Demographics
Population600000 (as of 2013)
Density1,042 /km2 (2,699 /sq mi)

Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand, in the Andaman Sea of 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 kilometres (270 mi) from the Kra Isthmus.

Although some recent geographical works refer to the sections of the Tenasserim Hills in the isthmus as the "Phuket Range", these names are not found in classical geographic sources. In addition, the name Phuket is relatively recent having previously been named Jung Ceylon and Thalang. The highest elevation of the island is usually regarded as Khao Mai Thao Sip Song (Twelve Canes), at 529 metres (1,736 ft) above sea level. However it has been reported by barometric pressure readings that there is an even higher elevation (with no apparent name), of 542 meters above sea level, in the Kamala hills behind Kathu waterfall.

Its population was 249,446 in 2000, rising to 525,709 in the 2010 decennial census,[12] the highest growth rate of all provinces nationwide at 7.4% annually. Some 600,000 people reside on Phuket currently,[13] among them migrants, international expats, Thais registered in other provinces, and locals. The registered population, however, includes only Thais, and the end of 2012 was 360,905 persons.[14]

Phuket is approximately 863 kilometres (536 mi) south of Bangkok, and covers an area of 543 square kilometres (210 sq mi) excluding small islets. It is estimated that Phuket would have a total area of approximately 576 square kilometres (222 sq mi) if all its outlying islands were included. Other islands are: Ko Lone 4.77 square kilometres (1.84 sq mi), Ko Maprao 3.7 square kilometres (1.4 sq mi), Ko Naka Yai 2.08 square kilometres (0.80 sq mi), Ko Racha Noi 3.06 square kilometres (1.18 sq mi), Ko Racha Yai 4.5 square kilometres (1.7 sq mi), and the second biggest, Ko Sire 8.8 square kilometres (3.4 sq mi).

The island's length, from north to south, is 48 kilometres (30 mi) and its width is 21 kilometres (13 mi).[15]

Phuket's topography is exceptional with 70 percent of its area covered with mountains which stretch from north to south and the remaining 30 percent being plains in the central and eastern parts of the island. It has a total of 9 brooks and creeks, but does not have any major rivers.

Forest, rubber, and palm oil plantations cover 60% of the island.[citation needed] The west coast has several sandy beaches. The east coast beaches are more often muddy. Near the southernmost point is Laem Promthep ("Brahma's Cape"), a popular view point. In the mountainous north of the island is the Khao Phra Thaeo non-hunting rea, protecting more than 20 km² of rainforest. The three highest peaks of this reserve are the Khao Prathiu (384 metres (1,260 ft)), Khao Bang Pae 388 metres (1,273 ft), and Khao Phara 422 metres (1,385 ft). The Sirinat National Park on the northwest coast was established in 1981 to protect an area of 90 square kilometres (35 sq mi) (68 kilometres (42 mi) marine area), including the Nai Yang Beach where sea turtles lay their eggs.

The most popular (and overcrowded) tourist area on Phuket is Patong Beach on the central west coast, perhaps owing to the easy access to its wide and long beach. Most of Phuket's nightlife and its shopping is in Patong, and the area has become increasingly developed. Patong means "the forest filled with banana leaves" in Thai. South of Patong lie Karon Beach, Kata Beach, Kata Noi Beach, and around the southern tip of the island, Nai Harn Beach and Rawai. To the north of Patong are Kamala Beach, Surin Beach, and Bang Tao Beach. These areas are generally much less developed than Patong. To the southeast is Bon Island and to the south are several coral islands. The Similan Islands lie to the northwest, and the Phi Phi Islands to the southeast.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Phuket is divided into three districts (amphoe), which are further subdivided into 17 sub-districts (tambon), and 103 villages (muban).

  1. Mueang Phuket
  2. Kathu
  3. Thalang

There are nine municipal (thesaban) areas within the province. The capital Phuket has city (thesaban nakhon) status. Patong and Kathu have town (thesaban mueang) status. There are further six sub-district municipalities (thesaban tambon)—Karon, Thep Krasattri, Choeng Thale, Ratsada, Rawai, and Wichit. The non-municipal areas are administered by nine tambon administrative organizations (TAO).

Climate[edit]

Under the Köppen climate classification, Phuket features a tropical monsoon climate. Due to its proximity to the equator, in the course of the year, there is little variation in temperatures. The city has an average annual high of 32 °C (90 °F) and an annual low of 25 °C (77 °F). Phuket has a dry season that runs from December through March and a wet season that covers the other eight months. However, like many cities that feature a tropical monsoon climate, Phuket sees some precipitation even during its dry season. Phuket averages roughly 2,200 millimetres (87 in) of rain.

Climate data for Phuket (Mueang Phuket District) (1981–2010)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)32.7
(90.9)
33.6
(92.5)
34.0
(93.2)
33.9
(93)
32.8
(91)
32.4
(90.3)
32.0
(89.6)
32.0
(89.6)
31.5
(88.7)
31.5
(88.7)
31.7
(89.1)
31.7
(89.1)
32.48
(90.48)
Average low °C (°F)24.5
(76.1)
24.9
(76.8)
25.4
(77.7)
25.8
(78.4)
25.6
(78.1)
25.5
(77.9)
25.1
(77.2)
25.3
(77.5)
24.6
(76.3)
24.5
(76.1)
24.7
(76.5)
24.4
(75.9)
25.02
(77.04)
Rainfall mm (inches)30.3
(1.193)
23.9
(0.941)
73.5
(2.894)
142.9
(5.626)
259.5
(10.217)
213.3
(8.398)
258.2
(10.165)
286.8
(11.291)
361.2
(14.22)
320.1
(12.602)
177.4
(6.984)
72.4
(2.85)
2,219.5
(87.381)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1 mm)43511211919192322168170
 % humidity70697175797979798282797576.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours286.2271.5282.3247.9188.5139.5172.6174.1143.2179.8197.1244.32,527
Source: Thai Meteorological Department (Normal 1981-2010), (Avg. rainy days 1961-1990)

Economy[edit]

Sino-Portuguese Architecture influences many of the buildings in Phuket
Wat Chalong

Tin mining was a major source of income for the island from the 16th century until petering out in the 20th century. In modern times, Phuket's economy has rested on two pillars: rubber tree plantations (making Thailand the biggest producer of rubber in the world[16]) and tourism.[citation needed]

Since the 1980s, the sandy beaches on the west coast of the island have been developed as tourist destinations, with Patong, Karon, and Kata being the most popular. Since the 2004 tsunami, all damaged buildings and attractions have been restored. Phuket is being intensely developed, with many new hotels, apartments, and houses under construction. A total of 5,080 additional hotel rooms are expected to be completed by 2015.[17] In July 2005, Phuket was voted one of the world's top 5 retirement destinations by Fortune Magazine.[18] There are thousands of expatriates living on Phuket, many of them retirees.[citation needed].

Demographics[edit]

As with most of Thailand, the majority of the population is Buddhist, but there is a significant number of Muslims (20%) in Phuket, mainly descendants of the island's original sea-dwelling people. Among the Muslims, many are of Malay descent.[19][20] People of Chinese ancestry make up an even larger population, many of whom having descended from tin miners who migrated to Phuket during the 19th century.[21] Peranakans, known as "Phuket Babas" in the local tongue, constitute a fair share of members Chinese community, particularly among those who have family ties with the Peranakans of Penang and Malacca.[22]

Phuket provincial population in preliminary count of the 2010 census was counted to be 525,018 people, including some 115,881 expatriates, or 21.1% of the population. However, it is admitted this is inaccurate since The Phuket Provincial Employment Office currently records for more than 64,000 Burmese, Lao, and Cambodian workers legally residing on the island.[23]

The number of tourists on Phuket swells to over a million people on the island during the high tourist season, as tourists mainly from the Western Europe, Britain, and United States flock to Phuket, with the peak being at Christmas break.

Transportation[edit]

Phuket International Airport is in the north of the island. There are many scheduled flights and chartered flights from domestics and other countries in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America landing in Phuket. The airport commenced a 5.7 billion baht (US$185.7 million) expansion in September 2012, scheduled for completion in April 2015. The airport will increase its annual handling capacity from 6.5 million to 12.5 million passengers, and add a new international terminal.[17]

There is no rail line to Phuket. Trains run to nearby Surat Thani. Songthaews (passenger pick-up vehicles) are a common mode of transport on Phuket. Phuket's songthaews are larger[citation needed] than those found in other areas of Thailand. Songthaews are the cheapest mode of transportation from town to town. They travel between the town and beaches. There are also conventional bus services and motorbike taxis. The latter are found in large numbers in the main town and at Patong Beach. Traditional tuk-tuks have been replaced by small vans, mostly red, with some being yellow or green. Car taxis are quite expensive and charge flat rates between towns.

Bus[edit]

Phuket’s recently constructed Bus Station 2 BKS Terminal is the long-distance arrivals hub for buses to and from Bangkok and other major Thai cities and provinces. Located four kilometres to the north of Phuket’s town centre and port, the complex is large and modern, linking with transportation by tuk-tuk, metered taxi, motorcycle taxi, songthaew or local bus to the island’s beaches and resorts. There are daily scheduled buses from private and government run companies going to Phuket from Bangkok's Morchit and Southern terminal stations.

Attractions[edit]

Monument to Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon in Phuket
Big Buddha, Phuket

Local culture[edit]

Ko Hae Island, Phuket Province
Phromthep Cape and Kaeo Yai Island

Cuisine[edit]

Local dishes include:

A Phong, Phuket food, Malay-style

Phuket Chinese, Peranakan, and Malay Food[edit]

Desserts[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Phuket Gazette "New Phuket Governor to focus on tourism development", Oct 1, 2010
  2. ^ a b "Phuket". Amazing Thailand. Tourism Authority of Thailand. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  3. ^ Smithies, Michael (2002), Three military accounts of the 1688 "Revolution" in Siam, Itineria Asiatica, Orchid Press, Bangkok, ISBN 974-524-005-2, p.179
  4. ^ ตราประจำจังหวัด . Retrieved 22 Oct 2013 from http://www.phuket.go.th
  5. ^ กุศล เอี่ยมอรุณ, จตุพร มีสกุล. Phuket. Bangkok: Sarakadee Press.
  6. ^ New Terrains in Southeast Asian History, p.294, Abu Talib
  7. ^ Smithies 2002, p.179
  8. ^ Smithies 2002, p.50
  9. ^ A History of South-east Asia p. 350, by Daniel George Edward Hall (1964) St. Martin's Press
  10. ^ Smithies 2002, p.185
  11. ^ "NOAA Provides First Tsunami Detection Buoy for the Indian Ocean". NOAA. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  12. ^ "Thailand Census 2010". National Statistical Office Thailand. National Statistical Office Thailand. Retrieved 12 Sep 2014. 
  13. ^ Administrative Division of Thailand: Provinces and Districts - Statistics & Maps by »City Population«. Citypopulation.de (2011-11-12). Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  14. ^ http://stat.bora.dopa.go.th/stat/y_stat55.html
  15. ^ Phuket Town Treasure Map www.phuket-maps.com
  16. ^ "Top rubber producers again eye joint moves to arrest sliding prices". Reuters. 6 Feb 2014. Retrieved 12 Sep 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "An evergreen dream". TTGmice. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "Paradise Found: Where to Retire Abroad". CNN. July 11, 2005. 
  19. ^ Tristan Jones (1999). To Venture Further. Sheridan House Inc. p. 53. ISBN 1-57409-064-X. 
  20. ^ Walter Armstrong Graham (1913). Siam: A Handbook of Practical, Commercial, and Political Information. F. G. Browne. pp. 115, 124. 
  21. ^ Annabelle Gambe (2000). Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurship and Capitalist Development in Southeast Asia. LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster. p. 108. ISBN 3-8258-4386-6. 
  22. ^ The Peranakan trail MICHAEL D’OLIVEIRO, March 31, 2007, The Star
  23. ^ Phuket NEWS: Phuket population "only" 525,000: Census. Phuketgazette.net. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  24. ^ "Two Heroines Monument". Amazing Thailand. Tourism Authority of Thailand. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  25. ^ "Phuket Museums". Amazing Thailand. Tourist Authority of Thailand. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  26. ^ "Phuket King's Cup Regatta". Phuket King's Cup Regatta. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  27. ^ "Sister Cities". Heinan Government. 
  28. ^ "Nakhodka celebrates the day of twin-cities". Nakhodka City Administration. 2009-04-24. 
  29. ^ "List of twinned cities". Ministry of Urban Development, India. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 7°53′24″N 98°23′54″E / 7.89000°N 98.39833°E / 7.89000; 98.39833