The distinguished Old Phuket Town offers many scenes of interest to the enthusiastic traveller. Historically and culturally rich, this sector of Phuket contains numerous quaint temples and shrines, well preserved elaborate shophouses, charming cafes, public as well as private museums, and small printing shops.
Of special significance is the unique Sino-Portuguese architecture which seemingly transports visitors to an earlier age with the splendid buildings remaining impressive to this day. This architecture is considered to be a result of European influences in the island.
Old Phuket Town was created through the riches obtained through last century’s tin boom, at which time the metal was a very valuable substance. In this part of the city the traveller will encounter imposing Sino-colonial stately homes, which were once the residences of Phuket’s tin merchants. Numerous cafes and restaurants in the area mean that the visitor will never be in need of refreshment in this quarter.
Thalang Road is the hub of the Old Town, where Phuket’s former centre of commerce was based. Today the quaint shophouses are used as stores vending such fascinating goods as handicrafts and herbal Chinese medicines. Interestingly these shophouses and similar residences are far longer than they are wide, with lattice worked frontal areas. Numerous Old Town streets feature archways and arcades which join shops together and offer shelter for pedestrians.
On Dibuk Road the visitor will find more relics of Phuket’s past; ‘Dibuk’ means tin in Thai. Notable features are a French restaurant as well as arts and textile shops. Soi Romani in proximity to Thalang Road, has an intriguing past; it once functioned as a red light district which attracted the innumerable Chinese labourers who arrived in the area to work in the tin mines.
The Amulet Market is an exotic place where innumerable stands and tiny shops sell Buddha images and amulets. This is a reflection of the residents’ Buddhist cultural background, with many wearing these items on their person as a part of their daily life.
Soi Romani, Thalang Road and Krabi Road located nearby host the annual Old Town Cultural Festival each February celebrating Phuket’s affinity with China as well as the Straits Chinese of Singapore and Malaysia, known as ‘Baba’. The residents attire themselves in the customary ‘Yaya’ fashion and a historically based sound and light show is held in one of the mansions of the locale.
For the discerning traveller seeking a Phuket resort the obvious choice is the Anantara Phuket, Thailand. The fine Phuket villas offered by this resort provide excellent accommodation with gracious hospitality being part of the package.