Phuket became a part of the Kingdom of Thailand in the 13th century. Its destiny has always been shaped by peoples from all over the world, from Burmese invaders to Dutch traders. Its sheltered position in the Andaman sea made it a perfect stopping point for ships travelling from India to China and the influence of many cultures can be found all over the island.
As the centuries wore on Phuket became important, not just as a way point, but for its wealth of natural resources – gems, hides and spices. During the Age of Exploration, the Dutch, Portuguese, English and French all took an interest in the island. Subsequently, the tin mining boom of the 19th and early 20th centuries drew thousands of Chinese labourers to Phuket and they, too, left an indelible mark on the island’s architecture, culture and government.
Phuket’s diversity is reflected in its beautiful Sino-Portuguese buildings, its many Chinese temples and festivals, and by the large Muslim population which co-exists peacefully alongside their Buddhist cousins. This tradition of acceptance and tolerance has helped pave the way towards making Phuket one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. One of the main reasons for this popularity is the warmth and friendliness of the people of Phuket who are known for their open attitude and ready smiles.
Throughout its history, Phuket has always been associated with ships and sailing and this maritime legacy is still strong today. Phuket is a highly popular port of call for sailors and ships from around the globe, from pleasure yachts to military cruisers. Although the tri-masted trading ships of yore are gone, they have been replaced by luxury yachts and charter boats, and regattas and boat shows are common occurrences.
The stunning waters of the Andaman Sea are Phuket’s most beautiful feature and many of the most alluring activities revolve around the water. Whether your interest is scuba diving, snorkelling, sea kayaking or simply relaxing on the beach you will find Phuket a world class destination for all things aquatic.
The influx of tourists has brought prosperity and wealth to Phuket and it now boasts the highest per capita income of any province in Thailand. The infrastructure and facilities are excellent, offering all of the amenities available in any major destination. From five-star hotels and restaurants to cutting edge hospitals and dentists, visitors to Phuket will certainly not be deprived of any modern conveniences.
Sun meeting sea in a tropical paradise with a long and diverse history? Warm and friendly people with a tradition of welcoming visitors? Modern conveniences with a Thai touch? It is no wonder why Phuket attracts millions of visitors each year.