Bad News Sweden: Phuket Is Full
Bad news Sweden: Phuket is full. Well, not full exactly, but the Thai island (and its smaller nearby cousins, known for their white sand beaches and DEET-laced alcoholic cocktails) is on path for another record-setting year, with an estimated 4.7 million visitors expected to visit the island in 2012, up from 4.2 million in 2011.
Quite a turnaround for a region devastated by a tsunami just eight years ago. The problem is the island may already be at its breaking point. As the SMH reports, the airport alone is undergoing an expansion to fit all those northern Europeans on holiday, but is already expected to reach capacity just two years after its scheduled opening in 2015. Hotel consultant Bill Barnett points out that Phuket’s hotel capacity rate already averages 75% right now, and may be stretched beyond capacity by the double-digit growth in visitors despite the more than 5,000 new rooms scheduled to open in the next few years.
So what is a full-moon partying, gap-year Australian to do? As always, try exploring your options in outlying regions (Krabi, the Andaman islands, Malaysia) and plan way in advance for the best flights, as chances are that as flight options dwindle, prices will skyrocket. And whatever you do, never, ever accept a map by a guy named Daffy Duck in a dodgy Bangkok hostel. The results could be perilous.
[Kata Beach by Edwin Lee/Flickr]