The Rich History of Phuket Old Town


Phuket is a beautiful province that is arguably one of if not the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand. While tourists from around the world visit the place to enjoy all the attractions it has to offer—stunning beaches and exciting night parties—you should know that it wasn’t like this in the past. In fact, early visitors of Phuket didn’t come here to enjoy the attractions we know of today. Instead, they came here for one reason: tin.

Early in the 1800s, Phuket was actually the center for tin mining, attracting immigrants from all over the world, such as China, and Malaysia, among many others. Phuket was also a trade route for many Arab and European traders. All these people from different backgrounds, races contributed some of their cultures into the mix, creating the culturally rich Phuket we know today.

From its unique art to the music, and even the buildings you find in the province, you know that Phuket enjoyed a rich history filled with influences from around the world.

You can tell that such history really did take place, thanks to all the different architecture you encounter in Phuket Old Town, where many of the migrants once settled down.

To help these migrants feel at home, they started building various structures—temples, houses, and more—based on the designs of their home country. If you were to walk around Phuket town today, you will see all they built, from temples that look Chinese-based as well as shophouses based on Sino-Portuguese architecture. The shophouses served as a home and a shop, where the front end is the store and the back the home to the family that runs it.

While time took a toll on many of these structures, many of these structures have been beautifully restored to their former glory, allowing tourists to experience the past while walking down Thalang Road. Today, the road enjoys a lively crowd of people looking to sell their products. Beginning at 4:00 p.m., over a hundred stalls start to show up and are ready to do business. Here, you’ll find various food and items to purchase, from fried chicken to hand-made souvenirs.

What sets this market apart from any other, however, is the creative minds you’ll encounter. Here, plenty of young souls perform for the crowd, showcasing their dance talents while others show off their painting, bringing into life their creativity.

Speaking of painting, don’t miss Soi Romanee, especially if you genuinely want to see a piece of history or want to look at something unique. On this narrow street, you’ll find walls covered with paintings of time past and present. This place is perhaps one of the most photographed areas of the entire Phuket Old Town.

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