Phuket pronunciation is so obvious to us; we are still surprised when someone says “f*** it”, so what is the correct way to pronounce Phuket?
The correct way to pronounce Phuket is ‘Poo-ket’ [pʰuːkɛt] (in Thai: ภูเก็ต). The emphasis is on the first syllable, and the “oo” sound is similar to the “oo” in “cool”.
We thought the 2004 tsunami put Phuket and its name on the map once and for all, and its pronunciation would be clear to most people. But not; we still hear lots of hesitation, snickering and giggling. Lately, some overseas offices called us and asked if our residence was in “Fook… (hesitates), Fuuk, Faak it? (usual giggles like twelve years old)”. I couldn’t help but giggle back at the embarrassed tone; the poor guy wanted to say the ‘F’ word so badly. There was even an Air Aisa airline joke about the name.
Phuket is pronounced ‘Poo-ket’; it’s that simple! Just like ‘Phi Phi‘ is pronounced ‘Pee Pee’ and not Fee-Fee, and ‘Phang Nga‘ is ‘Pang Nga’ and not Fang Nga. But, strangely, ‘Suvarnabhumi‘ airport is pronounced “Sue-wanna-poom”!
The spelling seems to be as challenging as the pronunciation: Phuket or Phucket or Puket or Pooket; you name it.
Where does the name ‘Phuket’ come from?
It seems to originate from the Malay ‘Bukit’ (Book it?), which means ‘hill’, but was previously named ‘Thalang’ by locals. Thalang is still north of the island where the original main town was long ago.
In the 17th century, when tin mining made Phuket very attractive to the Occident, Europeans called it ‘Jungceylon’. Yes, that’s the origin of the name given to the giant Jungceylon Shopping Mall in Patong, and looking around the shopping centre reveals a few hints about old Phuket. You can visit the Tin Mine Museum in Kathu to know more about Phuket’s history.
Phuket History Photos
All this Phuket pronunciation story is an opportunity to share these fun photos showing some of Phuket’s Streets and buildings in the past and how they look like today 😀
Phuket is a beautiful island in southern Thailand with a rich history dating back to the 13th century. The island was once a major port and centre of tin mining and played an important role in the trade between China and other parts of Southeast Asia. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Phuket became a popular destination for travellers and traders, and it has since developed into a major tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches and diverse attractions.