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The only island province of Thailand, Phuket is one of the top tourist destinations in the “Country of Smiles.” In the first millennium CE, it was part of a Hindu kingdom (in Thai, called Tam Porn Ling) in Malay Peninsula. Situated on the trading route between India and China, it was a resting place for seafarers. It became a part of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th century, when the Thai army overran the Srivijayans based in Sumatra, Indonesia. Located in the Andaman Sea of southern Thailand, the island of 222 square miles is wrapped by mountains that cover 70% of the total area.

The name Phuket is derived from the Bhasa Malaysia word bukit, meaning hills. According to some, the name is indigenous, originating from ...

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