Phuket, the teardrop-shaped Thai island in the Andaman Sea, has a reputation built on its stunning beaches and raunchy nightlife. But the 2004 tsunami that ripped through the region is the event that brought Phuket to a global stage. The island has recovered and is reaffirming itself as a top beach destination in southern Thailand. New luxury hotels, restaurants and a growing arts community have helped the transformation.

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