Thursday, July 02, 2009

Phuket Trip Part I

12 Feb 2009

When I heard that a kick-off meeting to be held in Phuket, there was no excitement though. Perhaps the place was too near as I was hoping to go to somewhere further. Furthermore, I could arrange my own trip to Phuket with AirAsia if I were to go on my own. Another thing which made me felt 'cold' was the meeting would last until Saturday. Saturday was supposed to an off-day and I usually had my own things to do on Saturday. Nevertheless, I also felt that something was so strong attracting me to go to Phuket. So, don't forget to continue reading my journey until the end.

In this entry, I'm going to explain a little bit about Phuket's history. Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand and is about the same size of Singapore island. Phuket island is connected to the mainland via a bridge. In the past, Phuket, which is located in the Southern part of Thailand, was a sovereign region governed by ethnic Malay Muslim. The name of Phuket itself is actually a Thai distortion of "bukit", a Malay word which means hill. From far, the island looks like a hill and that was how Phuket has got its name.

Actually, the names of Southern provinces of Thailand are originated from Malay words as they are the original inhabitant here. After the controversial 1909 Anglo-Siamese Treaty, the sovereign region of Patani, which comprised Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, has been annexed by Siam, the names have been changed to Thai names. Satun is originated from "Setul", a type of mangosteen, Songkla from Singgora (Malay loaned word from Sanskrit which means Lion City), Yala from "Jala" which means net, Narathiwat from "Menara" (tower), Ranong from "Rundung", Trang from "Terang" (bright) and Nakhon Si Tammarat from "Bandar Sri Raja Dharma". Phattalung is from "Mardelong" or some say from "Petaling". Only Pattani has the name closest to the original name, Patani. Pattani is originated from local Malay dialect, "pata ni" which means this beach. Some opine Patani is originated from "Petani" which means farmer due to a lot of salt farmers alongside Patani beaches.

In the past, Phuket was also known as Tanjung Salang or Cape of Salang or Thalaang in Thai. During colonial times, English and French wanted to take control over Phuket due to tin availability here. At the time, Phuket was also known as Junk Ceylon. There is a technical school near Phuket airport named after Thalaang while a new shopping complex at Patong called Junk Ceylon.

From Phuket Trip - Around Phuket

Translation from Thai: Phuket Karon..

From Phuket Trip - Around Phuket

Translation from Malay: Bukit Karon?

From Phuket Trip - Around Phuket

Junk Ceylon - a new shopping complex at Patong, Phuket.

Actually I forgot to ask for a window seat during checking in. It was unusual for me not to be seated at a window seat. Thus, I could not snap pictures from above. According to a colleague who seated near a window, the beautiful Langkawi island could also be seen.

We started our journey in the morning and arrived at Phuket about one hour later. After landing at Phuket International Airport, there was no usual Thai environment where we normally could see in Bangkok like all those Thai architectures, clothes and Thai-looked people. The environment was very much like Malaysia, perhaps due to heavy influence from Malaysia in down South Thailand. Furthermore, there were a sizable Malay community here. The house and building architecture were very much similar to the ones in Malaysia.

From Phuket Trip - Around Phuket

A lot of rubber estates found in Phuket.

From Phuket Trip - Around Phuket

Shop houses in Phuket.

From Phuket Trip - Around Phuket

Common sight in Thailand. Electrical cables mesh from pole to pole. There are no underground cables.

From Phuket Trip - Around Phuket

A mosque in Phuket.

Despite being a beautiful island, one disadvantage of Phuket was that the airport was located very far from the town centre and main attractions. The airport was located up in the North while the tourist attraction areas were located in the South. Our journey from the airport to the place we stayed, Movernpick Resort, which was located at Phuket Karon Beach, took us more than an hour, exactly the same duration of our flight from KL to Phuket! be continued..

Reference for history: Wikipedia

From Phuket Trip - Around Phuket

A van that brought us to the resort was very unique - full of accessories including lots of lamps.

From Phuket Trip - Movernpick Resort

We stayed at Movernpick Resort.


Bangkok Hotels Thailand said...

The most suitable time to visit Phuket is from November to April, as there are no monsoonal rains during this period. The weather is good, the sea is beautiful and calm and diving and snorkeling trips to the surrounding islands is possible. Visitors should not forget to book accommodation 2 or 3 months in advance for the low season (May to October) and 4 to 5 months in advance for the high and peak season (November to April) as Phuket is popular year round, and tourists from all parts of the world come to visit.

Phuket Yacht said...

Nice post.
Phuket in Thailand is also the best choice for a tropical beach vacation and this is affordable and wonder place for enjoying holidays.

I would like to suggest Phuket Yacht.