Updated: Dec 27, 2022
One of the best things about living and working in Phuket, Thailand is that you’ll never run out of things to do. From sandy beaches to the unique architecture of Phuket Town, there is always something for everyone on this cosmopolitan island. If you’ve made the smart choice to make HOMA your home-away-from-home on the island, let us help you make the most of your time with this quick area guide to Phuket Old Town. So, without further ado, let’s jump on it and discover why Phuket island is such a beloved holiday and workation destination.
Far from the madding beach crowd is Phuket Old Town, a testament to days gone by. Here you’ll find oodles of charm and culture. Having undergone somewhat of a resurgence in the past few years, this quaint area is home to architecturally significant buildings, myriad Chinese shrines and Thai temples, colorful shophouses, historical museums, and a plethora of boutiques, cafes, bars, and restaurants. This well-known enclave is famous for its bright Sino-Portuguese mansions, once the home of the island’s rich mining titans. In recent years the small town has also become awash with striking street art, adorning the walls around town.
Phuket Town is perfect for exploring on foot as you don’t need transportation to get around. The ideal time to take a stroll and snap some photos is in the early morning or later afternoon. Let’s now highlight some of the main Phuket attractions you’ll want to visit on your walking tour around town.
For sure you won’t want to miss this popular open-air market that is held every Sunday in the heart of town along Thalang Road (limited parking is available at Wat Mongkol Nimit). Between 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM, this 350-meter-long commercial enclave comes alive with stalls selling all manner of items, from local souvenirs and knick-knacks to fancy jewelry, cheap clothing, electronic gadgets, and, of course, lots and lots of Thai and international food!
Set in a stunning two-story Sino-colonial mansion on Krabi Road, this former Chinese-language school is now a public museum. Built during Phuket’s tin mining boom in the early 20th century, the building features dozens of exhibition rooms outlining the history of Phuket, in particular, the prosperous families who emigrated here from China and helped make Phuket the success it is today.
Established in 1903, this Sino-colonial mansion is typical of the grand structures erected by Chinese barons during the peak of the tin mining boom on the island. Located just off Krabi Road, visitors can view two upstairs bedrooms, the kitchen, and the entire ground floor area (the remainder is set aside for the family currently in residence). For a sneak-peek into how wealthy Phuket families lived in the past, you can’t get better than this well-preserved private home.
This shrine is famous for the pivotal role it plays in the annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival. You should definitely put his landmark on your to-visit list as it’s the oldest and most respected spiritual temple in town. Residing just off Ranong Road, the temple complex features three main altars, with statues of Chinese gods, in particular Tean Hu Huan Soy, the patron saint of the performing arts and dancers (aka Peking Opera).
For something truly different, head on over to Blue Elephant to savor Royal Thai cuisine. Formally the sole preserve of the royal family, commoners are now allowed to sample this rich and exotic food at specially licensed restaurants. Housed in a beautiful Chinese-colonial mansion amid lush grounds near the Old Town, a fine dining experience here is like something out of a fairytale.