Phuket Island covers an area of 540km2 and is approximately the same size as Singapore.
The Island is connected to the Thai mainland by means of the 1200m Sarasin Bridge.
Thai is the principal language of Thailand and is spoken by around 80% of the population. The spoken language is believed to have originated in the area between Vietnam and China. It is a tonal language and has changed little since it’s introduction.
There are four main dialects within Thailand which correspond to the southern, northern, south eastern and central regions of the country.
English is widely spoken in tourist areas and is taught in most secondary schools.
Currency and commerce in Phuket
The currency is the Thai Baht.
Shops are generally open from 10am to 6pm, with larger shopping centres open until around 8pm or 9pm.
Banking hours are Monday to Friday 8.30pm to 3.30pm. Some branches are open on Saturdays.
Thailand´s timezone is GMT+7,
Mobile phones in Phuket
Thailand and Phuket in particular have good mobile phone networks and you should have no problem using your mobile phone throughout the country.
If you wish to purchase a sim card these can be obtained from many mobile phone outlets and cost 199 Baht. This will enable you to make calls on a pay as you go basis. Top up cards are widely available from small independent retailers.
Using your credit cards in Phuket
Credit cards are accepted by most hotels and larger shops. The smaller local shops may not have the facility to accept credit cards. On occasion a surcharge may be added if you wish to purchase by credit card.
Medical facilities in Phuket
Medical facilities have improved dramatically in Thailand and Phuket has several International hospitals which are able to manage all types of illness and provide multi-lingual staff. Phuket International Hospital and Bangkok Clinic are two of the major international hospitals which offer private medical care. Insurance companies such as BUPA operate in Thailand along side several smaller insurance companies.
Phuket is becoming a major centre for cosmetic dental surgery which is offered at a fraction of the cost in Europe and America. Several companies offer cosmetic dental holidays for dental treatment e.g. teeth whitening and crowms.
International schools in Phuket
The British International School is situated in Phuket and offers private education for Thai and non-Thai children. The school is divided into two educational institutions, the Primary and the Secondary School. On campus, there is modern accommodation for students who wish to become boarders. Other areas include comprehensive sporting and recreational facilities available for both day and boarding students.
English language television in Phuket?
UBC is the main satellite company in Phuket and they offer a wide range of channels which are broadcast in English such as BBC prime, CNN and star sports. This is a subscription service and the cost is around 2,000 Baht per month for the full package. They also provide some other channels in French, Spanish and German.
The Thai Calendar
The official year in Thailand is reckoned from 543 BC, the beginning of the Buddhist Era. Year 2006 is equal to 2549 in Thailand.
The electricity supply is 220 volts Plug sockets are either, flat two pin or round two pin, most wall sockets will take either type. Adapters are commonly available from most hardware shops.
The internet is widely available. Most hotels provide ADSL or Wi-fi access and there are plenty of internet cafes. Internet cards can be purchased in many shops and give varying access times for a few hundred Baht.
Industries and natural resources of Thailand
Thailand only receives a small percentage of annual income from tourism. The country has many natural resources including:
Rubber, natural gas, tantalum(used in medical instruments), timber, lead, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, farm land and fishing
Thailand is the worlds’ second largest tungsten producer and the third largest tin producer.
Other industries are also popular within Thailand
Tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewellery, electric appliances and components, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, automobiles and automotive parts.