The tropical island of Phuket is located in the southern part of Thailand, in the Andaman Sea on the west side of the Kra peninsula connecting Thailand and Malaysia. It is linked to the mainland by a bridge, and is therefore accessible not only by aircraft but also by land (422 miles from Bangkok). The biggest island in Thailand with an area of 312 sq mi, it is a province in its own right and the bulk of its income comes from tourism, after having massively expanded its infrastructures during the 80s and 90s. The main town on the island, Phuket Town, is located in the south-east, but is not frequented by foreign visitors. Indeed, with one or two exceptions, almost all of the beaches are concentrated along the west coast. The most visited areas are along the southern part of the coastline (beaches of Patong, Karon and Kata).
There is an array of seaside activities on offer and Phuket is known for the quality of its diving sites.
Check out: the Khao Phra Thaeo Natural Reserve in the north of the island., the butterfly farm in Thalang, the Similan islands and Ao Phang Nga.
Learn a few words words in Thai before leaving; the locals are very warm but people will appreciate the effort you make for them. To start, remember these few words:
"Sawatdee Kaa" (hello if you are a woman)
"Sawatdee Khrab" (hello if you are a man)
"Khorb khun ka" (thank you if you are a woman)
"Khorb khun krub" (thank you if you are a man)
There's a good reason why Thailand is nicknamed the 'land of smiles' so don't hesitate to join in - smile! Don't buy counterfeit goods, you'll only get yourself into trouble with customs. Also, avoid visiting during the monsoon - never pleasant for your holiday!
Thai cuisine is known for its finesse and variety. If you are into spicy dishes, you will love the local food, which features a marvellous blend of flavours and scents. Why not try the traditional tom yam soups?
The countless little stores will be bursting with a myriad of souvenirs you'll be tempted to bring home with you, and all at dirt cheap prices.
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