Phuket Gateway
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Friday, 01 February 2008

Phuket Gateway

(มห.ภูเก็จ 2346)
Tin Mining Dredge เรือขุดแร่
Tin Mining เหมืองแร่
Yanat (Phuket Pineapple) ยานัด
Religion ศาสนา
Phra Thong พระทอง
Kapek กะเป๊ก

Tin ดีบุก
Kathu District อำเภอกะทู้
Thalang District อำเภอถลาง
Thungkha District  อำเภอทุ่งคา
Jao Muang Thalang Palm ปาล์มเจ้าเมืองถลาง

Muk มุก
Chao Le ชาวเลLocal Food
Saphan Hin สะพานหิน
Sai Kaeo Beach หาดทรายแก้ว
The Jakjan จักจัน
Thao Thep Krasatri and Thao Si Sunthon ท้าวเทพกระษัตรีท้าวศรีสุนทร

Rubber  ยางพารา
Phrom Thep Cape แหลมพรหมเทพ
Architecture สถาปัตยกรรม
Vegetarian Festival กินผัก
Junk Ceylon จังค์ซีลอน
Natural Resources  แหล่งธรรมชาติ
Local Culture and Entertainment นันทนาการ
Surin Beach หาดสุรินทร์
Lobsters and Prawns กุ้งมังกร

Phuket Gateway Engraving
Improved issue from committee opinions
18 August 2006

Submitted to
Phuket Provincial Organisation Administration
For translation into other languages (English and Chinese)

Written by
Asst. Prof. Sommai Pinphutthasin and Mr. Prasit Chinnakan


Tin Mining Dredge

(Sae Bi Jun)
This was first floating tin mining dredge in the world. Originally a harbour channel-clearing dredge from Australia, it was modified by Captain Edward T. Mile in 1909. It used a bucket chain to dig tin ore, which was put on a conveyer belt for transport to a plant for processing to obtain tin. In Phuket the dredge was first used to dig canals, then it was used to mine tin at Ban Thungkha, Ban Krathu, and Ban Kamala.


Tin Mining

There are many ways of mining tin. From 1491 to 1529, during the reign of King Rama Thibbodi II the people of Phuket sold tin to the Portuguese. At this time they used a wooden wok like “Liang” to separate tin from granite.
Later they used spades to dig a hole. A pool was created, which was then dredged using a “Pung Kee”, a bucket with two handles to which ropes were attached. This was called a “Ru”(hole) or  “Plong” mine.
In a “Lan” mine tin was found by digging the side or the foot of a hill. The ore was put into railway carts for transport to a plant, where it was processed using water to separate the tin.
The “Hap” mine was similar to “Ru” mine, but the hole was much larger, about 50 metres across. Workers dug until they found tin ore, which porters carried on their shoulders using a “Pung Ki” bucket.
In a “Cheet” mine a water jet was used to spray the mine area and the slurry created was pumped into railway wagons for transport to a processing plant.



(Phuket Pineapple)
The English bought the “Ananas” pineapple (a cultivar of the Queen variety) from Brazil to cultivate in southern Thailand. Merchants from Phuket took some of these pineapples for sale in Bangkok, thus they became known as “Phuket pineapples”. The leaves are pale green, but longer than the White and Intrachit varieties. There is a red strip in the middle of the leaf and a rough red edge. The Phuket pineapple is relatively small. Its flesh is dark yellow and crunchy with a sweet taste. Some religious sects believe that the fruit brings good luck because of its pleasant smell.



Several religions are practiced around Phuket. Although doctrines and pathways vary, followers of all religions believe in the pursuit of goodness.
In Phuket, through compromise and cooperation, all are able to live together in harmony.


Phra Thong

(The Golden Buddha Image)
This miraculous golden Buddha image sprung up two metres from beneath the earth. The likeness is protected by the plaster cast in the form of the Buddha’s head and shoulders that emerged from the ground, which can be seen today. Phra Thong is enshrined at Phra Thong temple in Thalang.



(Chinese water shoot)
Mr. Yinjok Eakwanich, a Chinese immigrant introduced and cultivated this shoot in the Bang Ngua area. Later cultivation was shifted to a location near the Bang Yai canal in Kathu. Its scientific name is Zizania latiflora “Turcz” and it is a member of the Gramineae family. A water plant, similar to rice, it takes 7 – 8 months before it is ready to harvest. The kapek flower is white and the shoot is has a sweet flavour. Kapek can be stir-fried on its own, but is usually mixed with seafood or beef.



Phuket was mentioned a major source of tin in the sixteenth century. Tin, which is always found in association with granite, was abundant here. It could be found from the west coast to the centre of the island. Tin was, at times, the most important source of revenue for Phuket.


Kathu District

In former times Kathu was known as “Krabathu”, which means “stony bay” Tin was found in abundance in the district. The Bang Yai canal, which flows though Bang Nieng village, was used to deliver tin to Phuket Bay to be exported over the world. In 1809 there were three villages in the area then known as Phuket, which was governed by Phaya Phuket Loha Kasetrarak (Kaew Ratanadilok Na Phuket). When Phuket was relocated to Thungkha village these areas were enlarged, and eventually became a district of Phuket province.


Thalang District

Thalang is now the northern district of Phuket province. It was originally known as “Junk Ceylon”, then “Silan, Salang, Chalang”, and eventually “Thalang”.
Thalang was one of the “Eight Western Chief Cities” in the south of Thailand. Some of its well-known governors include Okya Surintharacha (Jom Thao Bandon Na Thalang), Okya Surintharacha (Jom Rang Bankean), Phaya Surintharacha (Phaya Pimol A-ya Khan), and Phaya Pet Khiri Si Phichai Songkhram Ramkamhaeng (Thian Pratip Na Thalang). It was in Thalang that the two heroines, Thao Thep Krasattri and Thao Si Sunthon thwarted the Burmese invading troops, resulting in their withdrawal from Phuket in 1785.

Thungkha District

(now Ampheo Muang)
Phraya Wichit Songkhram (That Rattana Dilok Na Phuket) relocated the old Phuket from Get Ho village to Thungkha village, where sites at the end of  Bang Yai canal in 1852. There was history of Pho Than Somdet Chao (Chaem), who was the abbot of Wat Chalong on Chinese mop in mine in 1876
In 1894, during the reign of King Rama V, Thungkha developed into a commercial district with most activity on Yaowarat, Phang-nga, and Phuket roads. When Thungkha district became the provincial capital of Phuket, its name was changed to Ampheo Muang, which literally means “capital district”.


Jao Muang Thalang Palm

(Kerriodoxa, also called Lang Khao Palm)
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists this as one of the world’s most endangered palm species. Kerriodoxa was named for the Irish botanist, Dr. A.F.G. Kerr, who first attempted to identify specimens of the palm. Now only about 200 examples are known to exist, all of which are in Khao Phra Thaeo National Park. The difference between Kerriodoxa and other palms is the white fungus like appearance of the underside of the leaves. It has round brownish fruit, which look similar to lansa. When ripe and ready for propagation, they start to turn yellow and con. Kerriodoxa grows to about 5 – 7 metres in height.


Pearls are formed inside the shell of certain creatures, primarily bivalve molluscs such as oysters. They usually white, sometimes with a creamy or pinkish tinge. However yellow, green, blue, brown, purple or black tints can also be found. A 57.7 carat weight golden pearl from an conch - shellfish, the world’s largest known specimen, can be found at the Phuket Seashell Museum. Another large pearl is kept at Muk Doa Shell Shop in Rawai. Cultured pearl farming is an important industry in Phuket, with farms established at Khao Khat, Nakha Noi Island, Rang Yai Island and other places.
Most commonly sold pearls are from fresh water oysters, and are not expensive. However, natural pearls can cost in excess of 10,000 baht for a specimen the size of a pepper corn.


Chao Le

The origin of Chao Le
Urang La-ot and Masing lineage (Moken) have the floating boats ceremony on the middle of June and November. They built boats with Rakam woods and the bottoms of the boats are made of Thong Lang wood. They practiced building boats and test how well they can do.
The women perfume Rong Ngeng dancing around the boat, They believed that if they danced many rounds, they would get lots of good luck. Each Chao Le take the woods as number of family member to put them into the boats.
Chao Le float the boats on 15th of the full moon night in May and October. In the evening, there is a ceremony called “The wood sticking” in the sand for releasing by the magic. This ceremony is called “Kayu Phahadak”
Women will act Rong Ngeng dancing at Tho Hin Luk Diao spirit house. Tho Hin Luk Diao is the spirit who lives in the huge stone, will perform a ceremony of the spiritual to release or cure the suffering of people.

Local Food

Somtam puts with paper and serves with Mayom and Thonlang leaves.
Khao Yam Bai Phahom (mixed rice), Chingchang fish (very small fish), shimp-paste baking.
Namchup is divided in many types, including crush, baking roast, ect.
Kaeng Phung Pla is quite salt.
Chinese food has Thueng, Loba, O-aew, Bikomoi, Khanom Taoso, Bajang, Kijang, Patongko, A-pong.
Muslim food, such as Curry, Goat suop (Keang Pae), Kaeng Maning.

Saphan Hin

In the peir of Phuket Bay, there are mud and mire which are flown from Bang Yai and Tha Chin canal. When the tide gets low, there are one hundred metters far from the shore to the boats. So the passengers who come from Kantang, Penang and fishermen have to walk cross the mud when they get off the boats. Therefore Phuket government build the bridge (with stone=Hin) from the shore to protrude to the sea. They covered it with slates along to the South, so it is called Saphan Hin.

Sai Kaeo Beach

Some of the beaches on the west side of Phuket Island have sand which squeaks when it is touched. For that reason they are called “singing sand beach”. There are several beaches with squeaky sand in Ampheo Thalang, including Sai Kaeo, which is 2,000 metres long, and Naithon, which is 1,100 metres long. They both have a mixture of fine brown and grey sand. Also, U- tapao beach, which is 100 metres long and has fine white and grey sand.
In Ampheo Muang there are two “singing sand” beaches. Karon beach is 3,500 metres long and has fine sand in shades of brown, which contains small amounts of tin. Karon Noi is only 300 metres long and has fine brown sand.
The sand on these beaches has a high content of non-metallic silicon, and a melting temperature of about 1,410 degrees Celsius. It is suitable to use for producing glass.

The Jakjan

The Jakjan is a marine creature, which lives in the sand where waves break on beaches such as Naithon, Mai Khao, and Sai Kaeo.
The Jakjan is about five centimetres long when fully grown. It has ten limbs, two of which are claws, and one antenna sticking out of each side of its head. It has a large carapace covering its body and head. As the tide recedes the crabs bury themselves in the sand with just its eyes emerging, which create two small channels, making it possible to spot where they are. The Jakjan is usually pale yellow with a little green. Green/brown variants are known as “Jakjan Ling” or “Jakjan Chang”


Thao Thep Krasatri and Thao Si Sunthon

Because of Phuket’s abundant natural resources both neighbouring and distant countries have sought to occupy it. Thao Thep Krasatri (Lady Chan) and Thao Si Sunthon (Lady Muk) and heroic local women, old and young, saw off Burmese armed forces. After a month long siege, during which 300 – 400 lives were lost, the invaders were forced to retreat. Lady Chan and Lady Muk were credited with organising the successful defence on 13 March 1785.
A monument of the two heroines was erected as a memorial to the local women in the middle of the island.


The rubber tree is native to South America. In 1899 it was introduced to Monthon Phuket from Malaysia by Praya Ratsada Nupradit (Khosimbi Na Ranong).
Rubber is an important cash crop in Phuket. In 1997 rubber plantations covered about 70,000 rai of Ampheo Thalang, 20,000 rai of Ampheo Muang, and 10,000 rai of Ampheo Kathu. About 20,000 tons of rubber was produced with a value of about 600 million baht. The price paid for rubber has increased over the years. In 1991 the payout was 17 baht per kilogram, in 1994 it was 22 baht, in 1995 it was 32 baht, and in 1997 it was 70 baht.
There are three main steps in the production of rubber. The raw material from the plantation is either liquid latex or rubber sheets. These are processed into smoked rubber sheets or rubber bars. These are used by manufacturers to produce  a range of products from glues, gloves and shoe soles to industrial pipes.

Phrom Thep Cape

Phra Prom is one of the three forms of the god, Brahma. He has four faces, which represent goodwill, compassion, kindliness, and equanimity. In his four hands he has a textbook, a decanter, a two-sided drum, and a conch shell. His wife, Phranang Suratsawadi, resides in his celestial castle, and he rides on a legendary bird (swan). Believers present him with an elephant when a request they made of him has been fulfilled.
The southernmost point of Phuket is  known as Laem Kho Jao (The God’s Cape). It is a popular place to see the sun setting over the horizion.


The traditional house (“Ron” in Thai) is raised with sufficient space under the floor for people to stand. Most traditional houses have five or seven steps leading to a landing, which is a little lower than the outside balcony (“Biang” in local dialect). The wall is woven bamboo and has a shelf called “phra” in Thai. The living room and bedroom are inside, next to the balcony. There are two different designs of gable known as “Jua” and “Luk Kaew”. A “Ron” style of house without space under the floor is called a “Kwan”.
Single storied European style houses are known as “Ang Mo Lao”. The door represents the mouth of a dragon, and the windows and ventilators represent its eyes and eyebrows. The “Ang Mo Lao” is thought of as a great dragon in order to bring good fortune to the residents.
Chino-Portuguese architecture is a mixture of Chinese and Portuguese styles and usually has Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian pillars.

Vegetarian Festival

The Vegetarian Festival is held for nine days at the end of September and the start of October each year. Sacred ceremonies take place in the grounds of Chinese shrines (“Am”) including Bang Niao, Lorong, Jui Tui, Kathu, Samkong, and Tha Ruea shrines. The festival is started by installing a sacred pillar called “Sao Ko Teng” on which hang nine holy lanterns, which represent the spirit of Kiw Ong Tai Te. People who join the festival for more than three days are considered purified. There is a ceremony to invite Chao Lam Tao, Pak Tao. Other events include Khokun, Songkeng, Koi Hoi, Koi Han, and celestial worship ceremonies. There is a procession to Saphan Hin on the last night of the festival to send the gods off, back to heaven.

Junk Ceylon

The Greek map-maker, Claudius Ptolemy, marked Phuket island as
 “Junk Ceylon” on a map in 157 A.D. A group of monks who passed the area spreading the words of the Chiness Monk called it “Si Lan”. Later the name became “Sa Lang” and then “Chalang” in the Ayuddhya period. This was changed to “Thalang” in the early Rattanakosin period. “Thalang” is now the name of the northern district (“Ampheo”) of Phuket.

Natural Resources

There are many kinds of shellfish in the sea around Phuket Island, some of which produce beautiful, high quality Phuket pearls. “Amphan” once found on Phuket beaches was used as a perfume in royal palaces. Valuable aloewood could be found in the forests. In Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Park there are monkeys, wildfowl, gibbons, “Kra Hang” birds, porcupines, and wild pigs, as well as Thalang govenor palms. Many of the animals forage at night. At Yamu Cave there were a lot of elephants many years ago. Phuket also had tin in abundance in the ground on land, and offshore. 

Local Culture and Entertainment

The sea gypsy villagers have their own dance known as “Rong-Ngeng”. While dancing they may also sing in their own language. This type of singing is called “Tonyong”. Young men may use it when courting a woman.
In Platok shadow puppet shows a black monkey and a white monkey make sacred offerings to their gods.
In the shopping centre near the sea port area there is a song and dance show called “Yi-ge Rammana” which gives twelve public performances a day. One story is about a foreign boss who constructs and decorates a warship. Another popular story is “Khaek Daeng, Yayi (A-ji). Its characters include soldiers and a city governor.
The Chinese people enjoy Chinese opera and “Ka-le” shows.

Surin Beach

“Surinaracha” was the official title of the governor of Thalang from the last part of the Ayuddhya period. When Jaokhun Thesaphiban became “Phraya Surinaracha” he gave his title to the beach. He governed the province from 1920 to 1925.
The land near the beach was the first golf course in Phuket. It was there that a Royal Pavilion was built to welcome His Majesty King Bhumipol and her Majesty Queen Sirikit in 1959.

Lobsters and Prawns

These are crustaceans in the Palinulilus family. They have a spiky cylindrical head with two pairs of antennae. Their eyes are not contained in sockets, but are on the ends of one pair of antennae. They have five pairs of limbs, including one pair of claws. There are seven kinds of lobster and prawn found in Phuket waters including “kap”, “khiao”, “king kong”, “seven colour”, “red”, ‘drakon’ and ‘len” prawn and lobster. Their growth rate is quite slow so they are a scarce form of sea-food.

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