If you thought beautiful beaches and island hopping was all Phuket had to offer. Then, think again.
A stroll through the charming streets of Phuket Town has always been on our must do list in Phuket and now it is on the CNN Travels list of Asia’s most picturesque towns too. Walking through Phuket Town showcases a completely different side of Phuket. A side many visitors leave off their itineraries.
Now you can experience Phuket Town like a true Phuketian with our list of 25 top things to see, eat and do. The first tip; make sure you take these two essentials on your trip to Phuket Town. One, comfy walking shoes. And two, an empty stomach.
Enjoy a stroll down one of the several small streets or ‘sois’ as they’re called in Thailand. The main five streets are, Rasada Rd, Phang Nga Rd, Thalang Rd, Dibuk Rd, and Krabi Rd. This quaint area of Phuket is not a quick pit stop. It is definitely worth spending at least one day getting lost in the many small streets and sampling the best local dishes along the way.
You’ll find some of the best local Thai restaurants around Phuket town. Top picks from CNN Travel include Raya and Tantitium. 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. We recommend a spice level lower than you would usually order.
You won’t find bacon and eggs here. But you will find the real breakfast of the locals. At this 70-year-old shop in Phuket Town you’ll find crispy roti and mouthwatering beef curry. If curry in the morning is a bit much for you, then the sweet option with banana and condensed milk is just as good.
As local as it comes this street food vendor serves a unique stir fried mix of taro and seafood. Or try the mince pork. A style of street food that can only be found in Phuket. You’ll find this food stand on Phuket Road, opposite the Bang Niao School in Phuket Town.
Lined with shop houses in pastel colours and sinuous facades, this insta-worthy street will bring out the travel blogger in you. Many of the vintage buildings have been turned into bars, cafés and eateries attracting many couples for a romantic low key night out.
Located in the centre of Phuket Old Town surrounded by charming buildings. The Walking Street Market offers a large showcase of delicious street food and shopping sections featuring souvenirs, handcrafts and street performances from different cultures around Asia, making it a one stop destination for any evening. Located on Thalang Road every Sunday from 4pm to around 10pm.
Located along Chao Fa West Road just outside Phuket Town not far from Central Festival. You can find just about everything and anything at these markets, second hand goods to new goods. And a large amount of great local food to taste. Get lost in the Phuket Town weekend markets every Saturday and Sunday. Open from 4pm to around 9pm.
Known as simply ‘the’ Thai restaurant in Phuket Town, its loyal patrons include movie stars, prime ministers and royalty for its genuine southern Thai delicacies. The crab curry is often ordered from customers in Bangkok and delivered via plane. This 90 year old converted two-storey house takes guests back to the past with no compromise on authentic Thai food and furnishings.
Tucked away in an alluring alley off the main Dibuk Road you’ll find this gorgeous restaurant & bar. Old Sino-Portuguese architecture meets velvet green sofas in this stylish fusion of the old and new. The cuisine offers a modern twist on many Thai favorites. You can pop in for a coffee, cocktail or book a table in the stunning dining room for a date with trendy Thai food.
Try authentic southern Thai cuisine at affordable prices in this cool vintage restaurant. Televisions from the 50s, old clocks and radio sets hang from the walls adding a vintage charm. The Phuket style steamed pork belly with pepper and garlic is known to be a hit, with many visitors and locals naming this restaurant their favourite in Phuket.
This is the second highest summit in Phuket Town. Viewpoints in Phuket are very popular to capture the beautiful seascape from an elevated position. A glorious Phuket sunset from this viewpoint would be an idyllic experience.
Photo credit: Tourism Authority of Thailand
A new addition to Phuket town offering a fun family friendly activity. Experience the art of trompe-l’oeil (French for ‘deceive the eye’) with close to 100 paintings adapting a painting technique that creates a three dimensional illusion on a two dimensional or flat surface. Spend a few silly hours capturing quirky photos that will trick your followers.
Photo credit: Jamie’s Phuket Blog
With its deeply rooted Chinese heritage it is no surprise dim sum is on the menu in Phuket Town. Usually a lunch item but in Phuket fresh pork, shrimp, crab or chicken buns & dumplings are a delicious breakfast for local Phuketians. Owned by a 4th generation Chinese family you can count on the real deal dim sum.
This is the only example of a sino-colonial mansion in Phuket Town that is open to the public. There is a small entry fee, however it is worth experiencing such a well preserved piece of Phuket history.
One of the most well-known restaurants and cooking schools in Phuket. Blue Elephant serves Royal Thai cuisine at the Phra Pitak Chinpracha Mansion, most famous for its gold and fine china Thai food. Offering an outstanding fine Thai dining experience with beautifully presented dishes. You can enjoy a Thai Cooking Class or skip straight to the meal at this prestigious venue in the heart of Phuket Town.
The colourful culture of Thailand comes alive through a 3 part theatrical show of song, dance and traditional martial arts. This spectacular show runs once a day, so bookings are essential not to miss out.
A quirky new attraction that will turn your world around. On the border of Phuket town, this three storey house is built leaning on its roof. You’ll also find other unique fun activities such as a garden maze and the Chamber of Secrets at BaanTeelanka, an exciting room escape game.
Features exhibits on Chinese immigrant culture. And Jui Tui Shrine close by displays colorful statues of Chinese gods. For history buffs this is definitely an interesting visit to understand the history of Chinese people in Phuket. The displays are well presented and easy to follow.
This popular shrine has evolved with a number of renovations over the years. Therefore, it boasts a well maintained exterior and interior with three large altars featuring statues of Chinese gods. As the oldest and the most respected spiritual centres around Phuket Town, the Jui Tui Chinese Temple is a must see. Just for its beauty alone.
A newer addition to Phuket town, this modern shopping mall is located on New Dibuk Road. It is only a few steps away from Old Phuket Town. A 2-storey fully air-conditioned sanctuary to take a break from the heat or do a little retail therapy before you explore the picturesque Phuket town streets again. You will also find a large Tops Supermarket where you can stock up on any items you may need.
Cool down with a scoop or maybe two of the best ice cream in Phuket. The deep fried ice cream you have to try. Forget about the calories. You will burn them off in no time while exploring the streets of Phuket Town.
TripAdvisor Traveler photo: ratpranaya
You can’t visit Asia without trying the local noodle dish. This Phuketian style noodle dish, also known as ‘Yen To Fo’ is covered in a thick pink coloured sauce. But what makes it different from other styles of noodles around Thailand are the toppings. Choose from specialties such as fried shrimps and tofu or all of the above.
For the coffee lovers this is the best local spot to get your caffeine fix. The owner of Shelter Coffee was a Thai champion barista so you know your coffee is in great hands. You can find this coffee spot opposite the Tantitum restaurant on Dibuk Road. Make sure you check out the Shelter Garden for a relaxing oasis.
You won’t find any signage or advertising for this place, but it is packed every night. Enjoy delicious local food Thai style. Which means you order for the table not per person. Then share and try all the dishes together to enhance the fun factor. Come 9pm this hidden gem turns into party central. Think limbo contest, conga lines and more.
Charming by day and animated by night. The streets of Phuket Town are buzzing with small bars. After strolling the sois during the day, step out for an easy going night on the town. A few cool spots are Z1MPLEX Mixology Laboratory. This bar is all about mastering the art of craft shots. Quip Rooftop Bar offers an elevated haven to enjoy a quiet drink. Also, great to watch the sunset. And for the best music and mojitos, try Music Matters. A super cool local watering hole with live Jazz.