A stroll through the charming streets of Phuket Town has always been on our must do list. And now it is on the CNN Travels list too.
The most attractive district of Phuket City is its historical Old Town where you can discover an exciting mix of old and new. A simple and sophisticated blend of cultural influences from diverse nations. The streets of Phuket Town are heaving with beautiful Sino Portuguese architecture. From a variety of shop houses, galleries and stylish guesthouses. To converted cafés, restaurants and small bars. Not to forget Chinese shrines and Buddhist temples paying tribute to its diverse heritage.
White sand beaches to brightly coloured town houses. Phuket Town brings out a charming side of Phuket many people do not see. Often Phuket Town is left off people’s itineraries. Opting to spend their days soaking up the sun, sea and sand. However, now named one of Asia’s most picturesque towns by CNN Travel. We recommend you add it to the top of your Phuket to do list.
Located on trading routes between India and China, Phuket was exposed to many foreign influences. Giving Phuket a unique architectural appeal you won’t find anywhere else in Thailand.
Popular for its tin mining, Phuket attracted Dutch, French, the British and the greatest influence from Portuguese sailors. Arriving in masses, the Portuguese traded in wild animal products, such as hides and ivory. As well as precious metals and timbers.
The Portuguese traders actually liked the area of Phuket Town so much, many decided to settle in Phuket. The stunning Porto influence is reflected in the many Sino Portuguese buildings that remain along the main streets of the town. A beautiful feature of Phuket Town and one of the main reasons it welcomes so many tourists each year.
About two centuries ago, the tin boom also attracted many Chinese labourers. Making Phuket the area with the most ethnic Chinese residents. The influence of the Chinese is evident in some of the local cuisine, temples and shrines around Phuket Town.
A visit to Phuket Town offers something a little different from the usual three “S” sand, sun and sea linked with Phuket. All you will be thinking about are our three “C” culture, cuisine and camera. This historic city is rich in heritage and allure. Once you arrive in Phuket Town, the rest of the exploring is best done on foot. Just like an old town in Europe, you never know what local delights you might accidentally stumble across in the alleys.
Enjoy a stroll down the five main roads and several small streets. Or ‘sois’ in Thai. These include Rasada Rd, Phang Nga Rd, Thalang Rd, Dibuk Rd, and Krabi Rd.
One of the most popular streets to check out is Soi Romanee. Bursting with hip bars, street art and an all round Instagrammers dream.
If you do not know where to start exploring Phuket Town. Then, take advantage of the many guided walking tours available. That way you will ensure you see everything. If you are staying at the Pullman Phuket resort, you can join one of the exclusive tour programs. The first one is the “Visit Phuket Old Town & Night Market” from THB1,200++ per person. And secondly the “Phuket Discovery Tour”. This tour includes a visit to Phuket Town and few other attractions along the way. These great tours are available through the hotel Tour Desk. You can visit the team in the lobby once you arrive. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book ahead of your stay.
You’ll find some of the most authentic local Thai restaurants around Phuket Town. From local street vendors to Thai fine dining. There is an array of great restaurants and bars to sample the local delights of southern Thailand. One piece of advice, if you think you can handle spicy food then think again. Thai people love their food a little spicier than most. So maybe play it safe and order mild instead.
Here are three top picks by CNN Travel to try in Phuket Town:
Known as simply the go to Thai restaurant in Phuket Town, it is full of both locals and tourists for its true southern Thai delicacies. Their crab curry is a must try dish. So good it is ordered from patrons in Bangkok and delivered via plane. This 90 year old two storey house has been converted into beautiful dining areas. It truly takes guests pack to the past and delivers an authentic Thai dining experience.
Tucked away in an alley off the main Dibuk Road, you will find this gorgeous restaurant and bar. Age old Portuguese design meets modern velvet. Bringing a trendy fusion of old and new, and creative twists on popular Thai dishes. The onsite ‘Tanti Massage’ means you can eat, drink and massage all in one stunning place.
Try authentic southern Thai cuisine at affordable prices in this cool vintage restaurant. TV sets from the 50’s, old clocks and radio sets hang from the walls adding a vintage charm. There are many levels, each buzzing with local and visitors alike, eager to try the local delicacies on offer.
Like most cities in Thailand, local markets are where you can get a true sense of the culture. Meet the locals, and sample the best snacks and delicacies from the area. In Phuket Town you have a choice of two lively markets both held over the weekend.
The Walking Street Market is one of the most well known markets. Phuket Walking Street comes alive on Sunday nights with a feast for the senses. Bringing both locals and visitors together in the centre of Phuket Town. Try mouthwatering local food. Buy beautiful local handicrafts. And sway to the sounds of local live music. The facades of the gorgeous buildings are also lit up in vibrant colours. A true spectacle you do not want to miss. The market opens from 4pm to around 10pm. It is the place to be on a Sunday in Phuket Town.
With Sunday already planned, you can check out the Phuket Weekend Market on Saturday. Another colourful local market, known as Naka Market to Phuketians. Or simply Phuket night market to some. You can find plenty of second hand goods and a large amount of great local food to taste. Immerse yourself in these local markets every Saturday and Sunday from 4pm to around 9pm. The market is located along Chao Fa West Road just outside Phuket Town.
Not sure where to start exploring the bright coloured streets of Phuket Town? Our guide on the 25 Top Things to Do in Phuket Town is a good place to start. Explore our top picks from historical and cultural places, shopping, entertainment. Including the must see markets in Phuket. And off course where to eat like true Phuketians.
The CNN Travel team made a great choice adding Phuket Town to their list of Asia’s most picturesque towns. Make sure you add a day or two to explore the stunning sois of Phuket Town on your next trip to Thailand.