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Phuket Holidays Overview
Phuket is city located in Thailand’s largest island, Phuket. It is situated on the south east side and is the capital of Phuket Province. It was for a long time a town but was given city status in February 2004. The city is the economic hub of the island and Phuket though is not much of a tourist attraction on its own. It is however the starting point for any visitor to the greater Phuket area. It does however have a vibrant Chinatown which is well worth the visit.
This area of Thailand appears to have first been mentioned by the Greek philosopher Ptolemy in his book written in 157 AD. The area locally referred to as Jung Ceylon, later served as a stopover for trade ships and merchants from Persia, Arabia, China and India. It later became a popular trading post for the Portuguese, English, French and the Dutch. Immigrants from China and Portugal invaded the town in the 18th century attracted by the tin mines. After the decline of the tin mining industry, Phuket emerged as a major tourist destination with huge untapped potential.
The Phuket island is affectionately referred to as the “Pearl of the Andaman” or “Pearl of the south”. It is blessed with beautiful natural resources in the form of pristine white beaches, limestone cliffs, broad calm bays and an inland tropical forest which makes it the most visited island in southern Thailand. It is effectively also the wealthiest.
As is the case with most of Thailand, the majority of the population on Phuket Island follow the Buddhist religion. However, there is a significant Muslim population estimated to be about 30% of the total population. Many of the Muslims are ethnic Malays. A large number of people are of Chinese ancestry. The total population on Phuket island is just under 400, 000.
This general region of the Andaman Sea has a tropical monsoon climate. Thus, there is an occasional downpour every now and then. The area receives a healthy amount of rainfall annually with the wettest season being from April to November. The hottest months are from December to March though there is little variation in temperatures as result of the close proximity in the equator.
December 26th 2004 was a sad day for Phuket and other areas along the western coast of Thailand. A giant tsunami wave that was triggered by an Indian ocean earthquake came crashing down on the coastline and killed over 5, 000 people in the process. The dead included local people and numerous tourists.
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holidays - Top Events
With its rich culture and vibrant people, Phuket celebrates a number of festivals each year.
The hao Thep Krasattri and Thao Si Sunthon Fair celebrates two great heroines in Thalang folklore who led the people is repelling invaders from Burma. It is held on the 13th of March every year.
Every first day of the 9th Lunar Month, the Vegetarian Festival is held. Islanders of Chinese ancestry go on a 9 day vegetarian diet. This symbolizes purification and is believed to keep bad spirits away in the coming year.
In the middle of the 6th and 11th months of the lunar calendar, the Chao Le (Sea Gypsy) Boat Floating Festival is held. Small boats are set adrift and this is believed to keep evil away and attract good luck.
holidays - How to Get There
Direct flights to Phuket from Australia are possible and readily available. The main airlines operating scheduled direct flights to Phuket are Thai Airways, Virgin Blue, V Australia, Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Jetstar. The major departure citiesa re Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. It takes average of 9 hours to fly to Phuket from Sydney.