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Khao Rang - another view of Phuket

If you have been here on holiday for some time you will probably have visited the viewpoints on the southern part of the island and enjoyed the spectacular sea views and sunsets from places like Promthep Cape or Khao Kad. For a contrast why not pay a visit to Rang Hill (or Khao Rang to give it the Thai name).

January 2009

The hill is located in the north western part of Phuket City and offers spectacular views of the town and surrounding areas like Saphan Hin (with its famous Tin Mining Monument). The sea studded with emerald islands forms the perfect backdrop. It's the stuff that picture postcards are made of, so don't forget your camera.

First things first. How to get there. You will probably already have visited Central Festival shopping mall (if not, you really should. It's one of the best on the Island). From there head towards Phuket City and after a five minute drive be on the alert for Kho Sim Bee Road on the left. You then follow this narrow winding road up to the viewpoint - it doesn't go anywhere else. You will find that it's quite a climb but the surface is tarmac and standard saloon cars will make it. With large shade trees lining the way, it is a very pretty ascent.

The hill top is landscaped and there is a fitness facility, a large park and picnic area and a sala offers welcome shade in the heat of the day. In the evenings this is where the locals come to exercise, go jogging or just chill out. There are a couple of very good restaurants offering excellent Thai cuisine. Why not book a table for dinner and enjoy the view as Phuket's nightlife comes alive - the lights shine like diamonds spilt on night-blue silk.

Right at the highest point is a statue of Phuket's favourite governor - Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahisornpakdi (originally known by his Chinese name - Kho Sim Bee). This statue was built by Chinese businessmen to commemorate the great man. It was under his careful stewardship during the reign of King Rama the fifth (1853 to 1910) that modern Phuket was first established and the island became wealthy on the back of tin mining and international trade.

Kho Sim Bee also promoted southern Thailand's economy by introducing rubber as a cash crop, when there was a crisis in the tin industry.

Kho Sim Bee had noticed the potential profitability of the crop while he was Governor of Trang so he made a trip to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and smuggled a few seeds back to Thailand. He kept them in wet cotton wool and wrapped in newspaper during the long sea voyage. He successfully planted the first tree in Trang and then distributed seeds to farmers all over southern Thailand. The Chinese tin miners abandoned this line of work and instead became rubber tappers. Thailand would go on to become the world's largest producer of rubber.

In recognition of his contribution King Rama the fifth named him the most successful governor in the kingdom. King Rama the sixth awarded him with the title of Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahisornpakdi which means holder of The Grand Cross of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant.

  Photo gallery : Khao Rang - another view of Phuket