Many tourists are pleasantly surprised at just how much more Phuket has to offer beyond beaches and nightlife. Culture and heritage add to the rich history of this place.
Old Phuket Town remains a favourite destination on the island. Its charming streets attract crowds of tourists keen to explore a different view other than beaches and greenery. The century-old Sino-Portuguese architecture and curios tasting Malay-style coffee offered by the numerous cafés in this historic area, lure people here.
Centuries back, Phuket was a prominent trading destination on the eastern shore of the Bay of Bengal with many ports along its shores. Plenty of ships sailed to and from the island from various countries loaded with cargo and merchant crews from what were then the Arab nations, Malay, China, India and other parts of Siam (Thailand today).
In the 16th century, large tin deposits were discovered in many areas across the island. Due to these incredible reserves, Phuket became an attractive proposition and was soon colonized by the Portuguese, British and French traders. By the time of the late 19th century, the robust tin mining industry had brought good fortune and attracted workers from all over, paving the way for the biggest trade network of that time.
Initially, there was only one street running through the Old Phuket Town—Thalang Road. This is where the majority of trading and commerce took place. People come to Old Phuket Town to buy goods and essentials, to eat and to have fun. The town grew and over time Thalang Road had five more roads linking to it.
Unfortunately, the boom in the tin mining industry eventually waned. Tin reserves decreased, so workers were forced to leave. Life in Old Phuket Town began to die down and in time, the area fell into neglect.
Today, the Old Town has seen an increase in popularity once more. It shines with its own unique personality, with shrines, temples and historically preserved shop houses. You’ll also find quaint cafes, museums, tiny print shops, and plenty of Old Town charm. So what are the “must see” in this area?
The Amulet Market is located in a tiny alley off Rassada Road, not far from the Fountain Circle. Here you will find the Phuket Buddha image being sold in the market, this continues to attract many Buddhists from around the world. The alley is filled with long rows of stands, all of which display various amulets. If you’re looking to discover the world of amulets and touch on the subject of spirituality, this place is worth visiting!
Baan Chinpracha is located at 98 Krabi Road. It is a the perfect example of a Sino-colonial mansion that many tourists admire. This mansion reflects the style in which wealthy Phuket families used to live, particularly during the booming tin mining industry era. Constructed in 1903, Baan Chinpracha boasts wonderful intricate architecture depicting that period.
To make the most out of your visit to Phuket Town, head over to Thalang Road. Its paved street and charming shophouses make it a popular Instagram destination. There are many little coffee shops including the firm favourite – Chino Cafe Gallery. Here they serve the best coffee, along with sweet Phuket round cakes. The cafe also pays homage to local photographers, with curated photographs hanging on all of its walls. If you look closely, you’ll see Phuket’s history captured in them.
As you plan your visit to Phuket, know that you’re in for more than just crystal blue waters and stunning sunsets. Rich history and culture well preserved for future generations are waiting to be explored. Old Phuket Town is an entirely different experience, a perfect and refreshing excursion during your beach getaway!
Old Phuket Town is an approximate 25 minute/15km drive from the more lively area of Patong. To have the best of both worlds, and for an enjoyable stay, book a room at the Andaman Beach Hotel Phuket located a mere five minutes from the white sands of Patong Beach. Enjoy stunning sea views, superb rooms and excellent service when you stay with us. We offer you only the best—reach out to us today!