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Dubbed as hedonistic by some because of the island’s prurient associations, Phuket remains a dream vacation destination. Thailand’s largest island is about the same size of Singapore and has a reputation that bypasses its island status. It has been named Tha-Laang or Junk Ceylon in Western translations. Its present name comes from the Malay word “bukit” which means hill. In turns both cosmopolitan and exotic, Phuket is home to 315 thousand people, mostly of Chinese or Malay ancestry.

When in Phuket, you will find yourself in what seems like a version of Bangkok. However, even if the island is this developed, it can still catch you off guard by glimpses of the Andaman Sea and of bits of rain forest. Do not sell your trip short by heading towards the expected, such as a bar-and-beer-vacation. Instead, discover more of what Phuket can really offer as a tourist island: enjoy the luxuries of top-class resorts or the simplicity of night markets. To keep safe, you should stay by well-worn paths, where the crowd is.

You get to enter the island at its north, through the Phuket International Airport. You can book flights coming from various countries in Asia, North America, Europe and Australia. If you are from a nearby island such as Phi Phi island or city, you can visit Phuket via a boat or domestic flight. Within Phuket, you can get around by minibus or metered taxi. Because it is an island after all, you will not get to use Thailand’s railway system. Phuket is hot all year round. So if you cannot tolerate extreme heat, it is better to visit from May to October. During this period, you may at least be able to tolerate the temperature which may range from 75 degrees Fahrenheit to 91 degrees Fahrenheit; you can think of Florida’s weather for comparison.

If you are visiting from the United States, you must at least have a tourist visa to Thailand. The visa may last up to three or six months. To apply for the visa, you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months. You must also show proof of sufficient funds and your return ticket. You may also avail of a temporary visa, which is a visa you will get upon arrival, but it will only allow you to stay for up to 15 days.

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