Phuket (Thai: ภูเก็ต, [pʰūː.kèt] (About this sound listen), Malay: Talang or Tanjung Salang) 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. It lies off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. Phuket Island is connected by the Sarasin 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.
There are several possible derivations of the relatively recent name “Phuket” (of which the digraph ph represents an aspirated p): It is either derived from the word bukit (Jawi: بوكيت) in Malay which means “hill”, as this is what the island appears like from a distance.
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 or Junkceylon (a corruption of the Malay Tanjung Salang, i.e., “Cape Salang”)
Seal of Phuket
The seal is a depiction of the Two Heroines Monument along Highway 402 in Phuket. This commemorates sisters Thao Thep Krasattri and Thao Si Sunthon who helped protect the province from Burmese invasion during the Ten Armies’ Wars in 1785. 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.
The seal is a circle surrounded by a ka–nok line that shows the bravery of leaders in Phuket Province. The seal has been used since 1985.
Phuket is the largest island in Thailand. It is in the Andaman Sea in 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, the highest growth rate of all provinces nationwide at 7.4 percent annually. Some 600,000 people reside on Phuket currently, among them migrants, international expats, Thais registered in other provinces, and locals. The registered population, however, includes only Thais who are registered in a “tabien baan” or house registration book, which most are not, and the end of 2012 was 360,905 persons.
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).
Seventy percent of Phuket’s area is covered with mountains which stretch from north to south. The remaining 30 percent are plains in the central and eastern parts of the island. It has a total of nine brooks and creeks, but does not have any major rivers.
Forest, rubber, and palm oil plantations cover 60 percent of the island. The west coast has several sandy beaches. The east coast beaches are more often muddy. Near the southernmost point is Laem Phromthep (Thai: แหลมพรหมเทพ)(“Brahma’s Cape”), a popular viewpoint. In the mountainous north of the island is the Khao Phra Thaeo No-Hunting Area, 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 Han 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 which are part of Krabi Province, to the southeast.
Ref: Wikipedia Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phuket_Province