Phuket’s infrastructure, such as road and air transport and telephone lines, are about to get short and long-term improvements.
Complaints about the lack of cheap, efficient transport on the island are one of the biggest criticisms from tourists, who find taxis and tuk tuks more expensive on Phuket than they would be used to in a place like Bangkok.
Patong’s one-way system, which has been through more changes than most people care to remember, can be baffling
The sight of unsightly overhanging telephone lines everywhere on the island are a blot on the landscape, often competing with stellar sea views, and winning.
Road transport between the West and East of the island is more difficult as increasing numbers of vehicles traverse a large hill between each coast.
Phuket International Airport, which processed a record 7.5 million arriving and departing passengers in 2010, is groaning under the pressure.
Now the local authorities are getting serious about building a light-rail between important points on Phuket to improve transportantion of large numbers of people and take pressure of the increased road transport traffic.
In Phuket Town, home to some of the island’s most stunning Sino-Portuguese architecture and steeped in history, municipal workers have started pulling down power poles lining several major streets to replace them with underground cabling.
The authorities have also held meetings on building a tunnel beneath the large hill running between Patong and Kathu, which is now subject to vastly increased traffic. If this was to become a reality it would improve traffic flow from West to East of the island enormously.
A major upgrade of the airport is under way to have it ready for the 2011-2012 high season.
And the one-way system in Patong is finally going to change to be more tourist friendly. Some of these projects are works in progress and the others on the drawing board. All of them are needed for Phuket to keep pace with its own growth.