PHUKET: As we embark on the year 2014, there seems to be no better time to reflect on the monumental changes that have transformed Phuket over the past few decades, all the result of “Bangkok style” urbanization that continues to degrade what is left of the island’s natural beauty and diminish its appeal to foreign tourists.

In a recent Phuket Gazette online readers’ poll, only about six per cent of those who took part thought that the island’s beaches remained its premier selling point. This was the least popular among six possible responses (click

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