- Key Details
- Cultural Discoveries
- Explorations of Land and Sea
- A Gourmand’s Paradise
Discover the history, sights and flavours of Phuket Town. This intriguing town has a vibrant Thai, Chinese and European heritage and is worth walking around and exploring temples, markets, and fascinating provincial buildings.
Phuket Town's shop houses and mansions are a colourful imprint of the island's rich history. Check out the Sino-Portuguese mansions near Yaowarat Road. Baan Chinpracha (Tel: 076-211167 and 076-211281; open Mon.-Sat 9-4:30 pm) is one of the island's finest Sino-Colonial mansions. Along Krabi Road, the house is lovingly maintained by a widow who opens the ground floor of her residence to visitors. The house has been featured in American and Thai feature films for its beautiful architecture.
Take a stroll along the pleasant and tree-lined streets of Phuket Town. The Provincial Hall or ‘Sala Klang', designed by an Italian architect, is a delicate, beautiful and airy structure. Built to maximise the coastal breezes, the house is blissfully open. Check out the Governor's Mansion, another gem-like building on beautiful grounds.
ChinatownExplore the vibrant Chinatown along Krabi, Yaowarat and Thalang Roads, reflecting the prominent Chinese cultural heritage of Phuket. Peer into Chinese shop houses, temples and restaurants. The commercial centre, Yaowarat Road, means ‘golden dragon area', blessing the area as fortuitous for business, especially the many gold shops which line the streets. Many buildings are decked in colourful tiles and classical design. Visit the Pud Jow Taoist Temple, over 200 years old. Just down the street, the Jui Tui Shrine is a bold and spiritual religious centre. If you're here in October for the Vegetarian Festival, be sure and join in on the festivities.
Golden stupas, colourful carvings and stellar wall-paintings. Explore the intricate Thai Buddhist temples around Phuket. Wat Chalang is a superior example, and Wat Phra Thong holds a golden Buddha, half-buried in a sacred place. Wat Phranangsang is the famed temple where the population gathered strength to defeat the Burmese invaders.
Meet the people who descend from Phuket’s first inhabitants. Long ago, they arrived as sea-based nomads, yet gradually fixed their homes in Phuket, attracted by the excellent fishing. Some historians believe they emigrated from Malaysia during the Muslim invasion of Burma, while other accounts hold that they came from India. Visit their traditional communities and try to overhear their conversations, spoken in a language wholly distinct from Thai, and which has no written form.