Phuket old town is here to prove that long before tourism, the island was economically prosperous. The old center of Phuket is also called Chinatown because of the important number of Chinese migrants who settled in Phuket to find work in mining.
Before tourism, the wealth of Phuket came from tin mining and during the golden age of this industry, beautiful houses were built in Phuket that are still visible nowadays. The typical architecture style of these narrow but long houses is called sino Portuguese because of its Chinese and colonial influences. With Malacca in Malaysia, Phuket is one of the main area in South-East Asia where you can admire such buildings.
The principal streets of Phuket old town are Dibuk Road, Krabi Road, Yaowarat Road and Ratsada Road.
The main buildings are Phuket’s Town Hall, the Provincial Court, and the Nakorn Luang bank. But the most representative building of this era is the Government House that was filmed in the movie “The Killing Fields” as the U.S. embassy in Phnom Phen.
While in this area, you can also see the On On Hotel, which was the first hotel to ever open on Phuket island. The hotel is where were shot the first scenes of the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo di Caprio, although it was mainly filmed in the neighboring island of Koh Phi Phi.
In Phuket Town, there are few tourists and you will be able to feel the Chinese culture at every street corner. There are many good restaurants and bars. Actually the nightlife in Phuket Town is very active, and without all the girls bars or go-go bars that you can see in touristic areas such as Patong beach, you will enjoy your evening in a more traditional way.
For shopping, there are two shopping malls in Phuket Town, Ocean and Robinson.
OLD PHUKET TOWN MAP