EXPLORE AND EXPERIENCE OLD PHUKET TOWN
Old Phuket Town is a historical section of Phuket, Thailand, and should be placed on the must-see list of any Thailand tourist. Old Phuket Town is famous for its architecture, shops, museums, restaurants and hotels. Visitors can easily spend several days exploring this fun and interesting area of Phuket, where they can enjoy the illusion of being transported back in time to over a century ago. The Old Town region is primarily comprised of five roads and several small streets, and the quarter teems with culture and history following a major renovation.
The five roads listed below offer unique and exciting experiences for travelers of all ages and from all walks of life:
PHANG NGA ROAD
Just one turn off Yaowarat Road places visitors in the center of Phang Nga Road. A decorative alleyway depicting various Chinese characters leads to the celebrated Wind Bookstore, where both new and used books can be purchased for reasonable prices. Further along the road is the Shrine of the Serene Light, which dates back to the 19th century. Guests enjoy stopping at the shrine to rest and relax, take pictures, or enjoy its colorful and ornate interior. The Siam Indigo, a spacious eatery, is also located on Phang Nga Road. Here, visitors can indulge in modern cuisine or traditional, timeless Chinese favorites seven days a week.
Several Sino-Colonial style hotels pepper the road as well, featuring the classic fan-wafted lobbies and dramatic archways associated with the Far East.
The road is also lined with garden outlets, art galleries, tailors, candy stores and novelty shops where unusual souvenirs can be purchased.
Thalang Road is situated in the heart of Phuket's Old Town and is a street that no visitor should miss. Covered with an intricate system of archways, it is full of history and atmosphere. The sidewalk under the archways is referred to as the five-footways, which afford an easy walk for pedestrians who wish to stay out of the rain or sun. Offering an eclectic blend of commerce, Thalang Road is perhaps one of the most interesting and mysterious streets in Old Phuket. At the street's end, textile outlets, a bridal shop, music store and a bicycle shop can be found, as well as several upscale restaurants and cafés.
Through open windows, women can be seen in the darkened tailor shops working old-fashioned sewing machines to create handmade fashions. Opposite to the textiles, one can see noodles being made by cooks who supply many of Phuket's restaurants. The China Inn, which is also located on Thalang Road, offers foreign money exchange. This part of town is perhaps the most diverse and surprising of all Old Phuket Roads.
A simple right turn from Thalang Road will place visitors at the south end of Dibuk Road. This street is a must-see for those interested in Chinese style houses and other architectural wonders. The road is relatively wide, which is advantageous to those searching for photo opportunities and the latter abound from one end of this fashionable street to the next.
At the North end of Dibuk Road, where it intersects with Satun Street, travelers will find an exceptionally popular new shop called the Pheteow noodle shop. However, because locals have long since discovered just how tasty Pheteow dishes are, numerous office workers flood the small establishment at peak times. Therefore, tourists may wish to patronize the restaurant during less busy hours.
At the junction of Thalang and Yaowarat Road lies the renowned Krabi Road, where virtually any type of food one could imagine is available. From traditional Chinese and Thai cuisine to Indonesian fare and Thai-Western choices, anyone who is hungry will leave well satisfied after a visit to Krabi Road.
A few blocks past this section is the beautiful Thai Hua Museum, housed in a building that once served as a Chinese language school. It is surrounded by its own garden and several shop houses, and several tons of green coconuts grow on the property each year. A bit further down the road is the Old Town Guest House and Fruit Shop, which makes a terrific home base from which to explore.
The Phra Phitak Chyn Pracha Mansion and the Chyn Pracha House are other terrific landmarks located on Krabi Road and visitors are pleased to find that guided tours of both establishments are available throughout the year. At the end of the street, is the Sam San Shrine, which was created in 1853 as a place to hold ceremonies to pray for and bless newly launched marine craft. A bust of the goddess Matsu was transported from Fujian in China to Phuket following the 2004 tsunami and the Sam San Shrine is now the figure's permanent home.
Ranong Road is a great choice for those who enjoy learning about ancient Chinese gods, customs and traditions. When approaching the street from the center of town, visitors will not be able to miss the colorful Chinese shrine known as Jui Tui. This monument was dedicated to Kui Wong In, the Chinese vegetarian Taoist god, and is the center of attention each year for the duration of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.
Here, local residents can be seen using bamboo blocks to receive advice from the shrine's oracle. They typically ask a question that must be answered with yes or no and then proceed to gently throw the blocks in the air. If each block lands on the same side, this indicates that their answer is “no,” but if only one block lands down and the other lands facing up, this is taken as a “yes.”
Alongside the Jui Tui shrine is the 200-year-old Chinese Taoist Temple, which was renovated in 1908. This landmark is definitely worth seeing, and visitors will likely never forget its splendid architecture.
All travelers should plan an itinerary in advance to ensure they fully experience all Old Town Phuket has to offer. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, a visit to this intriguing and mysterious part of Thailand will never be forgotten.
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