A Day in Old Phuket Town

Old Phuket Town 

Old Phuket Town has it is an intoxicating mix of cultural influences that will keep you lingering, envisioning when the streets were full of Arab, Malay and European traders coming into town to barter for local tin and rubber.  The tin trade brought in the Chinese immigrants who heavily influenced the classical European architecture and coupled together it creates the Sino-Colonial (Sino-Portuguese) surroundings that brings you back to old days in Siam.

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Sino-Portuguese Architecture

Sino-Portuguese?  It’s that old world style architecture that you’ve always loved but didn’t know about.  The buildings exude a life of their own, their worn exteriors have years of stories and smog built up and the character of the area is an amazing look into the city’s past.

China Inn

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One of my top restaurants in Thailand, the China Inn.  The food is unique and delicious, offering traditional Thai food as well as a western infused side of their menu.

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The renovated building was a private home at one point and now the first few rooms display antiques and handicrafts for sale while the back is an open outdoor dining terrace that makes me feel like I’m at a private garden party every time I eat here.

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Baan Chinpracha House

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Over 100 years old, this house is owned by the sixth generation of the family and is open to the public to get a glimpse into the internal architecture of these beautiful homes.  You could only explore the first floor when I was there but it was an interesting look at how the mix of Chinese and European decorating can work so seamless together.

Italian tiles, a Feng Shui foyer and antique Chinese furniture will have you ogling at each corner.  Going batty?  Be sure to look for the hidden bats in Chinese furniture and architecture.  Westerners equate these flying nocturnes as a sign bad luck and darkness but Chinese think them to be an auspicious symbol of luck and prosperity, usually flying upwards.

The foyer of the house, bringing the Qi (energy) that the wind scatters to the water.
The foyer, bringing the Qi (energy) that the wind scatters to the water.

If you are a fan of old black and white photos, this place has one or two.

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Soi Romanee

The cutest damn street in Thailand.  It’s shophouse after shophouse of properly conserved old style architecture and the street has guesthouses, stores and cafes.  I didn’t discover it until this past trip and although small, it’s somewhere you can spend a lot of time, offering a quiet escape and as a bonus there is a small temple across the street at the end of the road.

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Phra Pitak Chinpracha: Blue Elephant

You get the best of both worlds at 96 Krabi Road, a previous mansion home turned famous cooking school and restaurant.   

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Phuket Thaihua Museum

Once a language school, this fabulously preserved building has continued as an educational spot now for visitors to get schooled in a lesson about the area and history of the town.  Be sure to look for the bat engraved in the roofline!

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Herbal Remedies for days

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Nguan Choon Tong is Phuket’s oldest remedy shop and it’s a must even just to stop in and see all of the ingredients loose in old tin bins.  I found myself standing entranced in the old Chinese woman working there, weighing out ingredients on a vintage scale and meticulosity preparing remedies for customers.

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Coffee Break

End your afternoon with a drink and a treat at Chino @ Cafe Gallery.  Stunning photography and refreshing beverages make for the perfect place to sit and relax after a full day touring the city.

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No Comments

  1. Reply
    Crisey

    Interesting how the traders influenced the area. Especially like the brightly painted buildings on Soi Romanee!

    1. Reply
      Mary Walto

      Beautiful architecture! Every time I read your blog I get hungry for Thai food 🙂

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