One of the world's most devastating tsunamis took place the day after Christmas in 2004. As locals and travelers awoke in the morning along the beautiful white-sand beaches of Thailand, a 9.3 Indian Ocean earthquake sent a tidal wave so large (57 feet at its peak) that it washed over the island of Phuket, destroying nearly everything in its path.
Around the world, nations watched the news in horror, as thousands were reported missing and palm-tree-filled villages were turned into piles of debris.
The Boxing Day Tsunami, believed to be the deadliest in history, ultimately impacted 14 countries and claimed the lives of more than 230,000 people, including 8,000 in Thailand alone. Phuket, Khao Lak and the Phi Phi Islands were hit particularly hard in the country.
Cleanup was swift. Within a year of the tsunami, Khao Lak beach was back as a vacation paradise, with brands like Marriott reopening their massive resorts.
But travelers were wary. One year later, only about 10 percent of hotel rooms in the country were being filled.