Lt Col Ekkachai Siri of the Phuket Tourist Police said that his officers were notified through the Tourist Police hotline 1155 at about 7:30pm that the tourist, Michael Hildebrand, was missing.
Mr Hildebrand had arrived in Phuket on July 31 and was staying at the Ideo Phuket Hotel in Sakhu, Thalang, just south of Phuket airport, he said.
Mr Hildebrand went for a walk along Nai Yang Beach at about 4pm, and decided to walk through the jungle and over the hills to Nai Thon. However, darkness fell and he was unable to find his way back, Lt Col Ekkachai said.
Mr Hildebrand called the Tourist Police hotline for help, and was able to give his coordinates, indicating that he was somewhere halfway through the jungle between the two beaches, Lt Col Ekkachai added.
A search team was quickly dispatched, comprising officers from Phuket Tourist Police, the Tourist Assistance Center (TAC) as well as officers from the Sakoo Police, Phuket Immigration and officers from Sirinath National Park, he said.
After making their way to where Mr Hildebrand had entered the jungle and a further hour of searching, the team found Mr Hildebrand at about 10pm fatigued but otherwise unharmed.
“He looked exhausted, so Tourist Police offered to take him to a hospital, but he declined to go,” Lt Col Ekkachai said.
Mr Hildebrand was treated for small scratches he had sustained during his trek through the jungle and safely returned to the hotel, he added.