Ever since the infamous 1974 James Bond movie, “The Man with the Golden Gun”, was filmed in Phang Nga bay, Phuket has been on the map as one of Asia’s most popular places to go on holiday. Phuket embraced the publicity from the movie and even re-named Koh Tapu, the island where much of the filming took place and which is now known as James Bond Island.
Phuket has changed enormously since the seventies. The growth in tourism has meant that the island has changed from an island of rubber plantations and tin mining to an island with dense pockets of hotel resorts and the accompanying restaurants, night life and family activities. The Phuket authorities have been clever though, as the infrastructure to support this growth has been thought through. Phuket has good roads, protected beaches and excellent hospitals, and has largely kept to its property development planning rules. There are 4 marinas in Phuket which are Boat Lagoon, Royal Phuket Marina, Phuket Yacht Heavens and Ao Por Grand Marina. The Boat Lagoon and Royal Phuket Marinas have become fantastic hubs for those interested in boating and, at long last, Phuket International Airport is being extended to ensure your arrival and departure from Phuket is not the longest part of your journey.
Throughout the year, Phuket has several great festivals which offer a genuine chance to see the island’s local culture. These festivals have not been developed for tourists, but many people plan their holiday so it overlaps with one of the festivals. The Vegetarian Festival, which takes place in late September, is the most famous and spectacular. However, there are events throughout the year. Thai New Year or Songkran is in April and is a celebration involving a lot of water – the whole day is a huge water fight and a lot of fun. If you don’t want to be doused, it’s best to stay home for the day. Loi Krathong, in November is a more subdued but magical festival.
The journey to Phuket is straightforward, with several international airlines now flying direct to the island. The normal route is an international flight to Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur and then a short flight to Phuket. There are no train links to Phuket but, if flying isn’t for you, there is a frequent bus service from Bangkok and, for those at ease behind the wheel, hiring a car is also an option.
Phuket is hot all year round, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 34°C. Phuket has 2 seasons: dry, and wet – with the dry season typically being from November to April. Over the last 15 years or so, foreign developers have recognised the attraction of Phuket and a range of villa and apartment projects have been constructed. Many investors have made substantial returns on their investments and, despite the global recession, the property market in Phuket remains strong.