Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and roughly the same size as Singapore. Located in the Andaman Sea on Thailand's Indian Ocean coastline, the islands main income used to come from tin mining. As the industry declined, tourism took over as the backbone of the local economy. A large part of the island is fairly mountainous and covered by forests. The lowlands are home to rubber plantations, coconuts and pineapples. Today, Phuket's main claim to fame are its wonderful beaches which range from calm to totally ruined due to the sheer volume of tourists who visit every year.
The interior of the island is a fertile region with fishing villages, mangrove forests and various plantations. Expect prices to be more expensive than on the mainland. There is now little sign of the damage caused by the 2004 tsuami which hit the west side of the island. Although Phuket is widely known for its raunchy nightlife, it is not a place just for party animals. The island still has much to offer holidaying couples and families
Being a popular tourist destination Phuket has a variety of hotels and guesthouses. Booking ahead is a must if heading for the busiest resorts such as Patpong or Karen. Stear clear of these beaches if you are on a budget. Probably the cheapest rooms are to be found in Phuket Town itself. There are several cheap hotels and hostels located near the bus station and in the old town. Staying in town and getting to the beach by bus or motorcycle will definitely save money. Generally the best deals are found online or by contacting the hotels directly. A recent phenomenon is the rise of accommodation sharing websites, like Airbnb, offering even more options to find a holiday property. However renting from a stranger may be a little risky.
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