Phuket, the name presently used for the famous island was at one time called “Phukej” which means “Crystal city”. According to records dated 1,025 A.D., the meaning also coincides with the name ‘Maneekram’ that was given by the Tamil tribe. Today, Phuket is a province in the south of Thailand with over one thousand years of history and archaeological evidence. It was well known amongst sailors and navigators who traveled between China and India though the Malay Peninsula. The oldest evidence is found in the geography book and navigator map by Ptolemy dated 157 A.D. There was clear mentioning about the trip from ‘Suwannapum’ Peninsula down to the Malay Peninsula where ships has to pass through “Junk Ceylon” Cape, the location where Phuket Island is situated today.
Another major evidence in Thai history provided proof that Phuket was part of the Pornling Kindom which continued over to the Sriwichai Kingdom. Later, in the Siridhama Nakorn Kingdom, Phuket Island was called “Muang Takua Talang”, the eleventh in the constellation of twelve cities which had chosen the dog image as its symbol. During the Sukhothai Period, Thalang was under the rule of Tagua Pah. In the Ayutthaya Period, the Dutch arrived and built storage facilities for conducting tin trade in Phuket. Therefore, the island’s northern and central regions called Thalang were governed by Thais while the southern and western parts called Phuket were inhabited by foreigners who were there to conduct tin trade.
In the beginning of the Rattanakosin period, the Burmese king and his army invaded Siam and began attacking several major cities in the south. When they reached Talang, the discovered that the city had just lost its ruler. Not about to let the Burmese in without a figth, Khun Ying Chan, the late ruler’s courageous widower and her sister, Khun Mook gathered a militia and bravely fought the invaders until they were forced to retreat. So on March 13, 1785, King Rama I bestowed upon Khun Ying Chan the title of ‘Thao Thep Krasattri’ and Khun Mook, ‘Thao Sri Soontorn’ in honor of their bravery.
During the years that followed, Phuket prospered continuously from trading and mining. Later, King Rama V had order to integrate all the towns on the western coast together and called them ‘Montol Phuket’. In 1933, it was changed to Phuket Province which is being used until today.
Phuket is a province in southern Thailand with the west side next to the Andaman Coast in the Indian Ocean and the east side consisting of several islands. The island lies between 7’45” and 8‘15” north latitude, and from 98’15” to ‘98”40 west longitude on the map. Phuket, Thailand’s largest island and its surrounding 32 smaller island make up a total area of 570 square kilometer. The widest point of the island measures 21.3 kilometers while its longest part is 48.7 kilometers. Its boundaries are as follows:
Nouth : Pak Prah Strait in Phang-Nga Province connected by Sarasin and Thao Thep Krasattri Bridges.
South : The Andaman Sea.
East : Phang-Nga Bay.
West : The Andaman Sea.
About 70 percent of Phuket is made up of mountains which run from north to south, tying mainly on the west side of the island. The highest peak called ‘Mai Tao Sip Song’ (Twelve Canes) stands 529 meters above sea level and lies within the boundaries of plains found mainly in the central and east of the island. The west side is made up of mountains, beaches and streams such as the Klong Bang Yai, Klong Ta Chine, Klong Tah Run, and Klong Bang Rong.
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