Compared to the many other Thailand provincial capitals, Old Phuket Town stands out uniquely in its personality. This city takes pride to a vast number of shrines, temples of Buddhist and Chinese, and beautifully preserved “shophouses”, small printing shops and quaint cafes.
Century ago, Phuket is a small tin mining town that has become a hub of tourism and culture and is home to stunning 100-year-old mix of western and Chinese influenced architecture known as Sino-Portuguese, a featured of which is narrow-fronted, long buildings with ornate columns, arches, windon and doors.
Phuket is so compact that all you have to do is to walk or stroll around it to discover its beauty. Based on my experience, a must not miss is a walk through Dibuk, Thalang and Krabi roads. You will find architecture that will take you back to the charms of a century back. These are reflection of the European influence on the island particularly of the Portuguese and British who once had been interested in Phuket’s tin wealth during that time.
The west bound of Thaew Naam intersection is the beginning of old town. At the corner of Phangga and Phuket roads is the old police station with its clock tower and opposite is the old chartered bank building. When you go forward to Talang road, Phuket’s main commercial centre, you will find well-preserved buildings although most of them are converted into hotels, restaurants or coffee shops.
Old Chartered Bank
The most famous building here is the On On Hotel, this is one of the oldest structure here which received big attention recently as a location for the famous movie, “The Beach”.
On On Hotel
At the middle of Talang Road, you will see Soi Rommanee. The old buildings here have been renovated as part of a drive to stake Old Phuket Town’s as an historic attraction. I noticed that Soi Rommanee is the most elegant although it is tiny and a short soi compared to other parts of Old Town. The unique orange/red color of the buildings here are well-preserved beautifully. Being one of the well known small streets (and most filmed) for its architecture, the name Romanee reflects popular activities during the tin-mining period as the worker’s entertainment place. Many building fronts in Phuket resemble a Dragon’s face. The eyes-big side windows, while the door becomes the mouth and eyebrows are the smaller shaped higher set windows.
Having been recently upgraded to city status, Phuket City features an exciting mix of old and new, simple and sophisticated, peaceful and pulsating.