Most travelers that come to Phuket have one thing, and one thing only in mind… The beach! And can you really blame them? Thailand’s most popular island is full of beautiful beaches that attract visitors from around the world. However, there is one place you can’t miss in Phuket Town! Take a trip with us down the colorful Thalang Road in Phuket Old Town and see why it’s a must-visit place on the Thailand island.
Getting to Old Town in Phuket
Old Town is located in the heart of Phuket Town, which is the capital of the island. You’ll be happy to know there are many ways to get to this historic district.
The majority of travelers will choose to stay on the west side of the island where the best beaches and resorts are. From there you can easily take a taxi, tuk-tuk, or rent a motorbike on Phuket and drive yourself. Some hotels even offer a free shuttle service to many of the beaches and Old Town in Phuket.
From the popular areas of Kata and Patong, there is an open-air bus called the Blue Songthaew that has service to Phuket Old Town. Normally we drove our motorbike rental from Kata Beach and it would take around 30 minutes.
About Phuket Old Town
So what makes Old Town in Phuket so special? Before we get to our 10 reasons not to miss this fun part of the island, you should know the historic area is extremely walkable.
This means no matter what means of transportation you use to get there you can easily walk all of Phuket Old Town by foot. The best time to go is in the morning or evening to avoid the afternoon heat.
Thalang Road is the main stretch where all the action is. However, one of the best parts about Old Town in Phuket Thailand is getting lost in the side streets. While exploring you’ll find amazing restaurants, street food, shopping, and a blend of colors that will make it hard to put your camera down!
10 Reasons You Can’t Miss Old Town in Phuket Thailand
1. History in Phuket Old Town
Before modern-day tourism, Phuket was a MUCH different place! For hundreds of years, the main industry was tin mining (along with fishing and rubber production) which started as early as the 16th century.
Traders came from all over Europe and Asia to take part in the mining and acquire precious metals. Early on the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and British were all involved. In the 1800’s Chinese migrants were the main workforce in the tin mines.
During this period is when Phuket Old Town really started to develop. The area was built up during the mining boom of the next century, yet with a much different atmosphere than you can imagine today! Believe it or not, tin mining lasted all the way up until the 1980’s in Phuket.
2. Sino-Portuguese Architecture
The best way to see history in Phuket Old Town is through its fantastic architecture. Due to Chinese and European influence, most of Old Town in Phuket is built in Sino-Portuguese style. If you’ve been to other cities in Asia, it may resemble the likes of Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and the fascinating Penang Island.
Among the buildings, you’ll find converted shops, restaurants, and old mansions all bringing culture to an island known most for its beaches and partying. The eye-popping colors will draw you in as they seem to hit every color of the rainbow in Phuket Old Town!
3. Delicious Food
The food is a highlight of any visit to Thailand, and some of the best can be found in and around Phuket Old Town! We were amazed by the amount of great and local places there was to eat. Not that you can’t find that around other parts of Phuket, but it seemed to be in abundance in this area.
Some of the tastiest street food can be found at the Night Market which takes over Thalang Road every Sunday. Also, you’ll find plenty of options while strolling around Old Town.
4. Phuket Old Town Sunday Night Market
Speaking of the Sunday Night Market… This is one of our favorite reasons to visit Old Town in Phuket! Every Sunday around 4pm Thalang Road fills with street carts that seem to go for miles. All kinds of delicious street food is served up, along with music, art, and clothing for sale.
Sunday is obviously a great time to visit Phuket Town. Yet, if your goal is to see the pretty colors and architecture then you might want to come on a different day. The street will be super crowded with people and excitement for this popular market.
5. Murals of Phuket Old Town
Although the buildings of Old Town in Phuket will captivate you, there’s something else going down on the side streets! Incredible murals can be found all throughout Phuket town.
The paintings started popping up around the Thalang Road area over the last few years and are done by both local and international artists. Some appear political in nature, while others detail the culture and history of Phuket.
6. Cafe Culture
Even with all the history around Phuket Town, the new age funky and eclectic vibes can not be ignored. Something you’ll notice right away is the gorgeous cafes that draw you in from the hot afternoon sun.
Now they might be a little pricier than what you’re used to paying in Asia, but the ambiance is worth it! If you’re looking for a view also make sure to check out some of the rooftop bars in Phuket Town for sunset.
7. Phuket Old Town Shopping
Another great reason to visit Phuket Old Town is the shopping! Here you’ll have no problem finding souvenirs or fun gifts to take home.
The clothing particularly stands out as its colors seem to match the ones popping off the wall in Old Town. So after you take in some of the cafes and restaurants around Thalang Road, be sure to get some shopping in.
More to See Around Phuket Town
Once you’ve spent some time strolling around the few streets that make up Old Town, know that there is much more to see close by! Phuket Town is actually enormous, so you’ll soon understand why it’s the capital of the island.
8. Central Market
While you may have already visited some of Phuket’s fun outdoor markets, this will be a totally different vibe! The Central Market in Phuket is more local and is 4 stories full of craziness.
You’ll find everything from fresh fish to flowers, and every spice under the sun. Make sure to visit is in the morning when it’s full swing, and you can even have a meal there if you’re hungry.
9. Phuket Temples
If you’re not looking closely you could miss the many beautiful temples scattered around the island of Phuket. Of course, everyone knows the friendly Big Buddha that sits high above Southern Phuket.
Yet, around Old Town in Phuket you’ll find many beautiful temples as well. Check out Wat Wichit Sangkaram, Wat Khao Rang Samakkhitham, and Wat Mongkhon Nimit to name a few.
10. Khao Rang Viewpoint
Just above Phuket Town is an amazing viewpoint to experience! Take the short drive into the mountains to get a different perspective before or after your trip to Thalang Road.
Just something to beware of, this is also where we saw the most monkeys during our time in Phuket Old Town. Don’t attempt to feed them or get too close!
Where to Stay in Phuket Town
Fun Vacation – The Memory at On On Hotel – Stay at Phuket’s first hotel! Built in 1927, the On On Hotel was constructed in the signature Sino-Portuguese style and retains its historical charm. It was even featured in the 2002 blockbuster “The Beach” with Leanardo DiCaprio.
Boutique Hotel – Casa Blanca Hotel – Located in the heart of Phuket town, Casa Blanca mixes elegance with vibrant decor. Swim in the pool after a day of exploring, all while being close to many great restaurants.
Budget But Nice! – Baan Sutra Guesthouse – Basic but clean rooms that are great if you’re on a budget. Set one street over from the famous Thalang Road and walking distance to everything in Old Town.
Hostel Life – Aekkeko Hostel – Fun hostel in Phuket Old Town. There is an onsite bar to meet other travelers and you can have your pick from both dorm beds or private rooms.
For more of the best hotels in Phuket Town explore the latest prices here!
Have any questions about this article or want to share your own experience visiting Old Town in Phuket Thailand? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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Phuket Travel Planning
Transportation: While traveling through Thailand 12Go is where we find all our ferries, trains, buses, and transfers! You can find everything from island hopping speed boats to the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over Phuket! You can find everything from a James Bond island luxury sunset cruise, to Phuket Old Town 15-taster food adventure, and 5-hour island tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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