Despite having its prefix Koh removed (in Thai: island), Phuket is Thailand’s biggest island, connected to the mainland (Phang Nga province) thanks to a 700 meter long bridge. Before the construction of the Sarasin Bridge,the only way (besides by air!) to reach the mainland, was the ferry.
After the construction of the Sarasin Bridge in 1967, the Thai tourism authority in 2011 was forced to build a second bridge, the Thepkasattri Bridge, due to the imposing increase of vehicles headed toward the island. Today the Sarasin bridge is resigned to a simplistic touristic role; platforms were built to allow tourists to photograph the sunrise or sunset looking directly over the Andaman Sea.
With its 570 square kilometers, and three thousand inhabitants, the island of Phuket attracts more than 11 million tourists a year, thanks to its renovated international airport.
The island is predominantly mountainous, with its highest peak (Mai Thao Sip Song) reaching 529 meters above sea level. Excluding the 70% of territory covered by mountains, the remaining 30% is covered by rice paddies, bamboo and coconut plantations, and the park Khao Phra Thaeo.
This forest is the only remaining protected area on the island, with a surface area of 22 square kilometers composed of three hills with a maximum height of 422 meters. [Read more…]