Phuket is one of the provinces of Thailand that lies in the Andaman Sea, off the west coast of the Malay Peninsula. It is located 863 km from Bangkok and it consists of the island of Phuket, the largest in the country, and another 32 smaller islands.
The province has an area of 576 square kilometres and a population, mainly Chinese and Thai, of 525,709 in the 2010 decennial census.
Phuket city, the capital, is located in the southeastern portion of the island and is a major port and commercial centre. Its harbour exports tin, rubber, charcoal, lumber, and fish products to Malaysia and Singapore. Rice and manufactures are imported.
Today its wealth is mostly derived from tourism.
Phuket features a tropical monsoon climate. Due to its proximity to the equator there is a little variation in temperatures during the year. The city has an average annual high of 32°C and an annual low of 25°C . Phuket has a dry season that runs from December to March and a wet season that covers the other nine months.
Data and Facts
- The word Phuket actually means mountain jewel.
- The currency used in Phuket is the Thai Baht.
- The main religion on Phuket is Theravada Buddhism. Many people also practice Daoism, usually together with Buddhism, due to the large number of Chinese immigrants who came during the 19th century. Thai Muslims make up approximately 35% of Phuket’s population.
- 70% of Phuket is covered in mountains stretching north to south.
- 60 percent of Phuket is covered with forest, rubber and palm oil plantations and the island has no major rivers.
- On the 12th month of their calendar (November) during a full moon, Loy Kratong is celebrated by releasing little floats made of leaves, flowers and incense on the water.
Phuket City is the administrative centre of the province. It was given city status in 2004. Phuket is administered at a provincial level by a governor and provincial council, the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO).
The island is divided into three administrative districts or amphoe; Thalang, to the north, Kathu to the west and Muang in the south. These amphoe are then subdivided into 17 sub districts or tambon. These are administered differently according to their municipal or thesaban status.
There are three levels or municipalities on the island: city or thesaban nakhon, town or thesaban muang, and subdistrict or thesaban tambon.
Finally there are six sub districts municipalities which are: Cherngtalay, Karon, Rassada, Rawai, Thepkasatree and Vichit. The remaining subdistricts are administered by their respective tambon administrative organisations (TAO) or OrBorTor.
The provincial governor is appointed by the central government in Bangkok while the PPAO council members and president are elected in a 4-year cycle.
Phuket has the second highest per capita income of any province in Thailand outside of Bangkok.
For much of its history, Pucket's economy was based on tin mining. Since the fall in the demand for tin in the 1980s and restrictions placed upon tin dredging to protect the coastal waters, the industry’s importance has greatly declined So Phuket's economy has mainly rested on two pillars: rubber tree plantations and tourism.
- Rubber became an important part of the local economy at the beginning of the twentieth century when large areas of rainforest were cut down to make way for rubber plantations, many of which can still be seen on the island.
Other contributors to the local economy include: Pearl farms; Agriculture and horticulture in the form of coconuts, cashews, tapioca, cacao, rice and pineapple; prawn farming, and the processing of marine products.
- In regards to tourism, Thailand has one of the most developed markets in Asia. The ‘Land o f Smiles’, is known for its hospitality, beautiful beaches, historical places and eco-attractions, its world-famous cuisine, good infrastructure and affordable accommodation. Tourism has dominated the island’s economy for the past two decades. Since the 2004 tsunami, all damaged buildings and attractions were restored and Phuket become intensely developed, with many new hotels, apartments, and houses under construction.
Each year, over 3 million visitors arrive to enjoy Phuket’s amenities. However the economy of Phuket is entering a period of recession. Despite a 4% rise in visitor numbers this year, the revenue from tourism is falling, according to research conducted by Prince of Songkla University's Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism.
Phuket International Airport serves the Phuket Province of Thailand. The airport plays a major role in Thailand's tourism industry, It is the third-busiest airport in Thailand in terms of passengers. In 2016 the airport setted a record of 15.1 million arrivals and departures.
Regarding the regular city transit through the area, the Songthaews, a passenger vehicle adapted from a pick-up or a larger truck, are the cheapest mode of transportation from town to town. There are also conventional bus services and motorbike taxis. Traditional tuk-tuks have been replaced by small vans.
To travel by sea there are also daily ferry boats connecting Phuket to neighbouring islands like Phi Phi and Koh Lanta.
Inspired by the Thailand 4.0 economic development program launched in 2016, Phuket is trying to reshape its image by using the latest technology to create a smart city and prevent accidents and crime. The project includes smart energy and utilities, smart mobility, smart environment and smart infrastructures.
The urban population of Southeast Asia is expected to increase by as much as 90 million people by 2030, according to United Nations estimates. Countries are placing bets on new technology as this growth threatens to make issues that already afflict many cities - like traffic, pollution and flooding - even worse. Solving these problems will also help attract more foreign tourists and companies.
Information technology is also being used to make cities smarter and reduce their environmental impact. The technology is being applied to a wide range of fields such as smart grids and traffic management. For example, for tourists looking to dive into Phuket's waters, the latest accessory is a wristband with a QR code. Divers and other globetrotters must hold the bracelet in front of automated ticketing gates to enter the pier and board boats.
Startup businesses in Thailand are still at the exploration stage, and the market size for the businesses is relatively small.
2018's investment in start-ups was valued only at US$32 million, with most businesses concentrated in e-commerce. However, the government has a clear policy to promote start-ups with a target to create at least 10,000 new startups in 2020.
Several measures have been rolled out to boost their growth, such as tax incentives, legislation amended to encourage investment and the establishment of a 10-billion-baht digital economy fund to support the development of technology start-ups.
Some of the current most important startups in the island are tech companies like JetRadar and CloudHotelBooking.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
For a small island province there is a remarkable array of schools and learning establishments on Phuket from nurseries all the way up to higher education.
There are two government universities in Phuket: Prince of Songkhla University and Rajabhat University, both with undergraduate and graduate programmes.
Phuket also has a number of colleges offering technical courses and vocational training
Healthcare in Thailand is overseen by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), along with several other non-ministerial government agencies. Thailand's network of public hospitals provide universal healthcare to all Thai nationals through three government schemes. Private hospitals help complement the system.
Thailand is among the world's leading medical tourism destinations. However, access to medical care in rural areas still lags far behind that in the cities.
6 hospitals exist in Phuket. The main one, operated by the Ministry of Public Health, is Vachira Phuket Hospital.
Phuket has a well-developed media industry including two weekly English-language newspapers and a growing number of radio stations plus countless magazines in English and other foreign languages including French and Russian.
Thailand’s national daily English language newspapers are The Nation and the Bangkok Post. These have a good mixture of national and international news and are sold throughout Phuket.
Weekly editions of many popular British, European and American newspapers are sold in many bookshops as well as convenience stores in areas frequented by tourists and expats.
Thailand is a musical country where music plays an important part in the life of local people
Modern Thai music has a lot of traditional melodies, which were created many centuries ago. With the help of the songs, the people told about the rich history of their Kingdom to the next generations.
The traditional Thai music is characterized by a fast rhythm and a calm melody that is sung by the voice. The Thais celebrate all important events in their life (birthday, marriage, birth of a baby, etc.) with dances and playing music. Thai music combines the melodies of Indian and Chinese songs.
In recent years an effort has been made to keep a record and share the rich history of the island. Several new museums opened recently, and the Old Phuket Town has been renovated with a beautiful display of Phuket historical past.
Some of the other most interesting museums in the area are the Thai Hua Museum, Baan Chinpracha or Thalang museum.
The most famous national sport in Thailand is Thai boxing (MuayThai). This martial art uses kicks and punches in a ring with gloves similar to those used in Western boxing. The hands, shins, elbows, and knees are all used extensively.
Another sport played everywhere is Takraw, but it is Football the one that has overtaken Muay Thai as the most widely followed sport in contemporary Thai society. In Phuket, the football club that participates in the Thai League is the Phuket city football club.