The island of Phuket has that unique personality that many of Thailand’s Provincial capitals lack. The Phuket Old Town is a microcosm of this peculiar charm. This part of town is rich in heritage with many Buddhist and Chinese shrines, temples, private and public museums and so on. You can also find small printing shops, picturesque cafés, and well maintained and elegantly decorated shophouses.
During the 20th century, there was a drastic rise in the value of tin as a commodity. This has Phuket an economic boom and the whole of Phuket Old Town was built from the money reaped from it. Many brightly painted, resplendent Sino-colonial mansions which were constructed about 100 years ago and occupied by Phuket’s tin barons still exist at this part of the town. The Thai Airways office at Ranong Road is one such remarkably renovated Sino-Portuguese house. The street is not huge but still pretty extensive to explore. All the awe-inspiring sights of Phuket Old Town make it a perfect place to take a morning stroll through.
If you know your way around, a walk through Phuket Old Town will turn out to be a very fulfilling activity. If you are arriving by bus, it is preferable to start from Roaming Road next to Phuket City Market. The market has two areas - the main building where the bus stops and the old market area on the other side of the street. This market sells some exotic fruits, vegetables, and spices that you may never have seen before. On the other hand, a nearby market called Lor Rong sells very typical Phuket food and confectioneries. The Jui Tui shrine is a Chinese temple that should not be missed especially during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.
You could also start with the Phuket Town Historical Centre which is the most stimulating part of this town. The famous Thalang Road with its China Inn and Sunday walking street Market is located in this area.
Another major road in Phuket Old Town is the Yaowarat Road which is home to the Limpanon House, a monumental abandoned mansion. The Thai Hua Museum located in Krabi Road should be able to tell you more about Phuket’s history. If you continue further, you can reach the Satun Road which is home to Phuket’s two major landmarks - The Chinpracha mansion which is a privately owned museum and the famous Blue Elephant restaurant which used to be the governor's mansion.
The Dibuk Road has many shop houses with fantastic architecture including their typical archway. If you keep your eye out you will find a few shops selling traditional Phuket sweets and bread and don't miss a chance to have some delicious Phuket dishes from ‘The Charm Phuket’.