Phuket, as we know, is not just a white sand beach, nightlife, hotels and resorts. Phuket is rich and full of history and culture. For your next holiday in Phuket, it is worthwhile to take a day tour to explore what Phuket town has to offer.
The history of Phuket can be traced back as far as ” the 1st Century BC when the Indian merchants arrived on the island. Phuket has known for centuries as an important trading post on the eastern shore of the Bay of Bengal as it connected Arab and the Malay World as well as India, Burma, China, and Siam – Thailand. History of Phuket. (2010-2014). Retrieved http://www.travelphuket.com/history-of-phuket.html
Before Phuket known as one of the world famous tourist destinations, it was rich with tin mines. The tin- mining boom era started in 19th Century when tin found and mined by Chinese labourers. The settlement of immigrant Chinese and the mixed culture of Chinese and Malays has created a Peranakan Culture or Baba – Nyonya Culture in Phuket. History of Phuket, (2010-2014) retrieved http://www.travelphuket.com/history-of-phuket.html
The old town is not big, and you can explore on foot. Sign up for a walking tour with professional tour guides or create a tour yourself. Walking around town is easy.
2014, January 13. Old Town Phuket Map. Retrieved http://holidaysguidephuket.com/phuket-old-town
Route A. – Ranong Road
The Market or ” Ta-lad-yai” for local, meaning the big market, is the place to start because all the local buses are centralised here. Some hotels offer their guests a ride from the hotel to Phuket town by hotel minibus or you can choose to take a local public bus. Don’t forget to ask for the return time table. You might miss the last bus back to your hotel.
Ta-lad-yai is a fresh market where local people used to get their groceries in the old day – fresh seafood, meats, fruits, vegetables, rice, sugar, beans, etc. before the modern supermarket introduced to town. Even now and then, the local still love to go to fresh market for their grocery shopping. The big market is also serving all hotels and restaurants for the wholesaling. The market usually starts from 2 am and winning down at 8 or 9 am. If you can get up early in the morning and be there by 6-8 am, you still can experience local fresh market.
Pud Jor and Jui Tui Tao Shrines. A few minutes walk to the left from the Market, two shrines are sitting next to each other. It’s worthwhile to visit the inside of the shrines that are highly respectful of the local people.
Pud Jor Shrine, a Taoist shrine, is dedicated to Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. The Shrine built 200 years ago and renovated in the past 100 years due to the big fire. The Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin is highly respected by the local Chinese.
Jui Tui Tao Bokeng Shrine was a dedication to Kiu Wong In, a vegetarian God. Every year at the end of September to early of October, the Shrine celebrates the big Vegetarian Festival
Route B – Phanganga Road
Phanganga road was one of the main business roads before tourism boomed. There are major commercial banks, companies, and hotels sitting along the road.
The Memory at On- On Hotel Phuket. It is the oldest hotel built in Sino –Portuguese architectural style – Interestingly the architecture was designed to open up the roof in the middle section of the building, allowing the air to circulate and the sunlight to flow through.
Charter Bank Building The first foreign bank permitted to operate in Thailand. The building was built 100 years ago to service the tin mine boom. Being closed in Thailand, the building has reopened as a museum after 30 years.
Route C – Thalang Road
The old Sino- Portuguese style shop houses along Thalang Road, once were busy with Indian merchants running textile stores and Chinese merchants running diamond & gems shops at the other end of the street. Some of the shops converted to Café and small guest house but still maintain the original appearance and structure.
Route D – Krabi Road
Across the road, Krabi road is where the first school Phuket Thai- Hua, built in 1917. Chinese entrepreneurs sent their children to school to learn Chinese as a second language. The school has been closed down and reopened to a Museum where you can find out everything you would like to know about the history of Phuket, a must visit if you are in town. An Admission fee is required.
Old private mansions are around the old town. Bann Chinpracha (The house of Chinpracha family), built in 1903, on Krabi Road. It is now the Blue Elephant Thai restaurant. Luang Amnat Naraarac’s house on the corner of Dibuk Road. Luang Anuphat
Route E – DiBuk Road
From Krabi Road, turn left on Yaowaraj Road, you are heading to DiBuk Road. There are more Sino – Portuguese architecture style houses. Take a challenge, try the local street food while you are in Phuket town.
How to get there
– Hotel Service Bus. Some hotels offer a drop off -pick up from hotel to Phuket town. Usually, charge from Bht 150 per person.
– Public bus – Song Thaews and Mini bus – price vary from your hotel location from Bht 30-50
– Tuk Tuk – Tuk Tuk in Phuket is slightly different from Tuk Tuk in Bangkok.
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