Lay of the Land
“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Floating in the Andaman Sea off the southwest coast of Thailand, Phuket is connected to the mainland by two bridges, leaving its whole coastline open to sprawling beaches and treacherously beautiful limestone cliffs.
The largest island in Thailand, Phuket is divided into three districts: Mueang Phuket, in the southeast and home of Phuket Town; Kathu, in the southwest around Patong; and Talang, in the north. Most of the luxury resorts are located along the western shore, which contains such famous beaches as Pansea, Kamala and Kata.
Only 8 degrees north of the equator, the balmy island is mostly mountainous and is home to many tropical forests, and while many of the forests have been cleared for rubber plantations, the untouched Khao Phra Thaeo Park remains to remind tourists of the island’s natural abundance.
Patong is the most popular destination (steer clear of Phuket Town, overpopulated and touristy), but the real beauty of Phuket is found at its secluded, pristine white beaches. Boasting spectacular coral reefs and found mostly on the western side of the island, the beaches tend to be crowded, so finding the right beach is necessary to soak up everything Phuket has to offer. Hundreds of serene islands dot the sea surrounding Phuket, including Phang Nga Bay, Phi Phi Island and diving hot spot the Similan Islands; all are easily accessible by boat.