Phuket is Thailand's largest island and is located in the tropical part of country's Indian Ocean coastline in the southwest. Before it became a tourist hotspot Phuket's economy came from tin and rubber, and enjoyed a rich and colourful history as a major trading routes between India and China. Nowadays Phuket's income comes mainly from tourism which has transformed the island into Thailand's wealthiest province. The west coast of Phuket was hit severely by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, but almost no evidence of the damage now remains. Phuket enjoys great popularity as a travel destination especially for Scandinavians, Russians, Americans, Israelis and many others. Most beaches are on the west coast of the island with Phuket Town to the south-east and the airport in the north. The Gay area of Phuket is located in Patong Beach at the Royal Paradise Complex and it is filled with plenty of bars, nightclubs and other forms of entertainment.
I had the pleasure of renting a scooter (for only $7 a day) and I scooted up past a rubber tree plantation to the highest hill on the island to the 45 meter (150 feet) high statue of Buddha. Phuket's Big Buddha has become one of the island's most important and revered landmarks. The statue sits on top of the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and it is easily seen from far away. We stayed at the large and luxurious Hilton Arcadia Resort in Phuket and the next stop will be just a 2 hour ferry ride to the picturesque Koh Phi Phi Island which is about 40 miles southwest of Phuket and it is famous for being the location where they filmed Leonardo DiCaprio's The Beach.
Our hotel, The Hilton Arcadia Resort in Phuket
Beautiful Buddhist structure on Hilton Arcadia Resort Property
The Big Buddha, all 150 feet high of it up close and personal
Video of Big Buddha and view of Phuket below