Lying on the fringe of the Andaman Sea off the west coast of Southern Thailand, the island of Phuket is approximately 890km from Bangkok. It is Thailand’s largest island at 550sq km, roughly the same size as Singapore. The name Phuket is apparently derived from the word bukit in Malay which means mountain or hill, as this is what the island appears like from a distance. Phuket is surrounded by many smaller islands that add a further 70 sq km to its total land area.
Phuket is separated from the mainland by the Chong Pak Phra channel at its northernmost point, where a causeway connects the island to the mainland.Phuket is quite mountainous. There are a couple peaks above 500m, the highest being Mai Tao Sipsong at 529m. Many of these are covered in lush jungle. The lowlands consist of rice paddies, plantations of rubber, pineapple and coconut as well as the only significant area of rainforest remaining on the island, Khao Phra Thaeo Park which is now protected.The most beautiful beaches are found on the West coast, separated by rocky coves and headlands. The east coast comprises limestone shoals with only a few sandy beaches while spectacular limestone islands adorn the horizon. Coral gardens full of exotic marine life dot the emerald waters surrounding the island.