Phuket is commonly referred to as the Pearl of South and is the largest island in Thailand. Phuket Island runs 48 kilometers (34 miles) north to south and 21 kilometers (16 miles) east to west. Phuket is broken by a chain of mountains and valleys mainly from a north-south range running down the west coast. This accounts for about 70% of the land area. The tallest peak, Mai Tao Sip Song (12 Cane Peak) is 529 meters. The other 30% of the island is flat land located mainly in the central and eastern portions of the island. It is the only island having provincial status, and was a regional headquarters as well, with a rich and colorful history.
Laying in the Andaman Sea off southern Thailands west coast, the islands terrain is incredibly varied, with rocky headlands, long broad sandy beaches, limestone cliffs, forested hills, small estuaries, lagoons, and tropical vegetation of all kinds. Its large size has allowed microclimates to develop in different areas of the island.