|Laem Phromthep or the Phromthep Cape|
FROM a distance, this island looks like a hill, a huge one at that, and it was named as such – “bukit,” a Malay word that means “hill,” or the name more familiar to everyone today – Phuket (with the ph pronounced with an aspirated P, please.)
|Finally, convinced myself to see Phuket & visit Yashee, a friend, as well.|
Formerly known as Thalang, or Cape Salang, Phuket is one of Thailand’s southern provinces and the country’s biggest island – just about the size of Singapore. But this I didn’t find out until I arrived to the island one rainy afternoon via a very bumpy airplane ride.
|Arrived on a rainy day|
All I know about Phuket is what I heard from others who made it there – it’s busy, very busy and very, very busy, and it painted a picture of Pattaya in my mind. But the long ride from the airport to the opposite end of the island where Yashee lives dispelled my impression of the island. Phuket is h-u-g-e and the “busy” part was just in Patong City. It must have been the first area to boom in terms of tourism, where most of the region’s income is derived from today.
|Patong is the busiest spot in the province. But there is much more to Phuket than Patong.|
Transportation — a car or a motorbike — is clearly needed to be able to navigate the big island and enjoy Phuket’s sites. Here are the popular ones:
Two Heroines Monument in Amphoe Thalang. Built in honor of heroine sisters, Thao Thep Kasattri (Kunying Jan) and Thao Sri Sunthon (Mook), who successfully lead the islanders to repel Burmese invaders in 1785. Kunying Jan, after the death of her husband (and governor), and her sister, Mook, took the role of defense leaders and assembled what forces they had, cleverly disguising local women as male soldiers, to make it appear that Phuket’s military manpower has increased.
|Brave sisters honored|
Thalang National Museum, near the Two Heroines Monument, was established in 1985, on the 200th anniversary of the Thalang War, The museum showcases a permanent exhibition of life in old Phuket, ancient artifacts, and materials used during war with Burma (Myanmar).
|A glimpse of the old times inside the museum|
View Point located midpoint between Nai Han and Kata beaches. This highpoint in the island will afford you of the scenic Kata Noi, Kata, and Karon beaches, as well as the Ko Pu Island across.
Laem Phromthep or the Phromthep Cape is a headland forming the extreme south end of Phuket. Its name is derived from “Phrom,” Thai for the Hindu term “Brahma,” signifying purity, and “Thep” Thai for “God.” The local villagers used to call it “Laem Chao,” or the God’s Cape.
|Laem Phromthep aka God’s Cape|
The Big Buddha of Phuket, Phra Phutta Ming Mongkol Akenakiri or Ming Mongkol Buddha, at the peak of a mountain near Phuket Town. The 45 meter tall Buddha image is covered in white Burmese marble. Buddha, along with the rest of the temple, is still a work in progress.
|The temple is still a work in progress|
Wat Chalong is said to be the most important of the Buddhist temples in the province. It was erected in honor of two venerable monks, Luang Pho Chuang and Luang Pho Cham, who helped the injured of a tin miners rebellion in 1876.
|Home to two venerable monks|
Casa de Yashee F. Of course, you must personally know Yashee and be her friend to be able to step inside her exclusive parlor aka her residence. Luckily, her place is walking distance from a less touristy stretch of beach and this will be my home in Phuket.
|The best place to be in the island|