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Seen from Space 2008

The Pearl of the Andaman Sea, Phuket

 
Fig. 1 Vicinity of Phuket Island
Phuket (kmz, 2.90 MB, Low Resolution) as seen on Google Earth.
Figure 1 depicts Phuket Island and its vicinity in southern Thailand as observed in mid-January 2007. It is the largest island of Thailand in the Andaman Sea and lies near a narrow section of the Malay Peninsula, about 900km southwest from the capital Bangkok. Many tourists from all over the world visit this internationally famous resort. Its beauty has won it the name "The Pearl of the Andaman Sea."
On the west coast of the island facing the Andaman Sea, many arched beaches fringed with white sands make a strong contrast with the deep-blue ocean. It is quite obvious at a glance that they are fine beach resorts.
Famous beaches are, from north (top) to south (bottom), Nai Yang Beach, Bang Tao Beach, Patong Beach, and Karong Beach. Of these, shallow Patong Beach is the most popular for tourists who enjoy sea bathing, parasailing, and jet skiing. Cape Promthep at the southernmost tip is known as a famous spot for watching beautiful sunsets across the Andaman Sea.
Phuket came from "Bugit" in Malay meaning "Hill." Some small hills (300m to 500m above sea level) covered with tropical forest are actually visible in the island. Khao Phra Theo National Park in the middle of the island is called the last hidden scenic spot in Phuket. In the dense forest, deep in the mountains, untouched tropical nature remains. It is also an important water source for the island,
At the base of a mountain, tin was mined from the 16th century to the mid-20th century, and then rubber plantations have been operated. The runway visible to the north of the island is the Phuket International Airport. Direct flights from Japan are also available. The grey urban area on the eastern part of the island is the province capital Phuket Town (Phuket City).

Fig. 2 Close-up of Phuket Town
Figure 2 presents a close-up image of Phuket Town. This town was built by people from Portugal and China in quest of tin. In the center of the city, 100-year old Sino-Portuguese (Sino means China) style buildings, displaying vestiges of Chinese and western cultures, stand in a row. This townscape differs in atmosphere from a typical Thai town and can be enjoyed from Rang Hill Park north of the town.
Si-R(a)e Island located just to the right of center in the figure has a village of maritime people regarded as the native people of Phuket. They maintain a traditional lifestyle there closely related to the sea. A number of ponds dot the northwest of Phuket Town and are the sites of former open-cast tin mining pits. They are now used as a natural land formation of golf courses. The white structure along the coast facing Phuket Bay is the long quay of the Port of Phuket. To its south, Cape Panwa juts out south into the sea. The Phuket Aquarium, located at the tip of the cape, keeps freshwater fishes such as arowanas and marine life of the Andaman Sea.

On December 26, 2004, Phuket and other nearby areas on Thailand's western coast suffered extensive damage when they were struck by a tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The town recovered from the damage, beaches are bustling again, and now it is difficult to find the scars of the tsunami. Maritime people living along the coves of the island, immigrants came from Europe and China in quest for tin mining and trade, and tourists from all over the world looking for the beautiful Andaman Sea; Phuket is a tropical island always boasting a rich natural beauty and attracting people.



Explanation of the Images:


Figs. 1 and 2 Click the images twice to enlarge.
Satellite: Advanced Land-Observing Satellite (ALOS) (Daichi)
Sensor: Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer-2 (AVNIR-2)
Date: 0401 (UTC) on January 15, 2007
Ground resolution: 10m
Map Projection: Universal Transversal Mercator (UTM)
AVNIR-2 has four observation bands. Figures 1 and 2 were produced by assigning red to Band 3 (610 to 690nm), green to Band 2 (520 to 600nm), and blue to Band 1 (420 to 500nm). The resulting images have natural coloring as if seen by the naked eye. Thus, the following colors distinguish the ground objects.

Dark green: Forests
Light green: Grass fields or farmlands
Bluish grey: City area or roads
Blue: Water surfaces
White: Developing land, sand beaches or clouds
Black: Area with no data

Related Sites:
ALOS Research and Application Page
Maldives - A Pearl Necklace in the Indian Ocean
Districts Stricken by Giant Earthquake off Sumatra and Tsunami Seen from Space
Land, Seen from Space
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