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Kata Beach in Phuket Phuket Travel Information
Phuket is Thailand's largest island and is one of south east Asia's most popular tourist destinations. The island, formerly known as Thalang and Junk Ceylon, covers a total area of 209.7 square miles (543 km2) and is connected to Thailand's mainland by two bridges. Its capital is Phuket City and the province of Phuket is the sixth most densely populated in the country. The island of Phuket has developed a reputation for its tropical jungles, cheap, exciting nightlife and for its beautiful beaches, which include Patong Beach on the west coast, Phuket's most popular beach and one of Phuket's primary tourist attractions. Other notable tourist attractions include the Two Heroines Monument and The Big Buddha of Phuket. The island has also become a popular destination for retired expatriates and in 2005, Fortune Magazine named it one of of the world's top five retirement destinations.

Location and Geography
The island of Phuket is located off the west coast of mainland Thailand, to the south of the country, in the Andaman Sea. The island can be found between 7' 45" and 8' 15" north latitude and from 98' 15" to 98' 40" west longitude and is surrounded by thirty-two smaller islands. Phuket has been seperated into three districts - Mueang Phuket in the south, Kathu in the center and Thalang, the biggest of the three, in the north. Phuket's terrain is extremely mountainous, with as much as 70% of its surface area occupied by mountains, the largest of which is Khao Mai Thao. The island is 21.3 kilometers wide at its widest point and 48.7 kilometers long at its longest point. A large percentage of the island is covered by plant life and forests. Generally, the island's beaches can be divided into sandy beaches on the west coast and more muddy beaches on the east.

Climate
The climate in Phuket is a tropical monsoon climate, with the rainy season lasting from May to the end of October or early November. Temperatures remain fairly consistent for the duation of the year and the mean temperature for the year is around 28 °C (82 °F). The island experiences around 170 rainy days per year. According to the Thai Meteorological Department , during the months of January, February and March, Phuket averages just 4 rainy days per month. Meanwhile in September, the average rises to 23 days of the month. The region's record high temperature was 37.5 °C (99.5 °F), while its record low was 17.1 °C (62.8 °F).

Industry
Historically, tin mining has been the island's primary contributor to the economy. However, the tourism industry has served as Phuket's primary source of income since the tourist boom began in the early 1980s, with the beaches, nightlife and diving industry acting as the primary attractions for tourists and hotels and restuarants aimed at tourists seen in abundance. The region's second biggest contributor to the economy is its rubber tree plantations. Thailand is the world's biggest producer of rubber and Phuket's plantations make a significant contribution towards this. Other significant industries include the processing of fish and other marine products, coconut farming, pineapple farming and the construction industry, which provides a large percentage of jobs to the people living on the island.

Sandy beach in Thailand, Phuket Essential Precautions Before Travelling
Like with most other travel destinations, certain precautions need to be taken before travelling to Phuket, including the purchase of suitable travel insurance and ensuring you have arranged for any required vaccinations. Comprehensive travel insurance is vital because it will cover the cost of any medical expenses required during your trip and will provide protection against other travel related emergencies. Most travel insurance will cover the cost of a major crisis, such as medical evacuation. Some will also cover the cost of theft, loss or damage to valuable items. Try to find the insurance which covers all of the requirements you have. For vaccinations, it is best to go to your doctor and speak to them about which vaccinations you will require on your trip and it is advised that you do this at least eight weeks before travelling. According to the National Health Service in Britain, some of the most widely recommended vaccinations for travel to Phuket and other areas in Thailand include: Tetanus, Typhoid, the Flu vaccination, Hepatitis A and B, Cholera and Diphtheria.



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