The Old Town is really worth a day trip with its beautifully ornate old shophouses, Buddhist and Chinese temples, some lovely museums and magnificent Sino-Colonial mansions, once erected by Phuket’s tin barons.
A lot of renovation has been done in recent years and the ugly electric and telephone cables have disappeared, so the beautiful Sino-Portuguese or Sino-Colonial shop houses in Thalang Road are great photo motifs now. Here you also find a small, but good tourist information center and our favourite place for a coffee or snack, the beautiful garden terrace of the China Inn.
Many of these shop houses have covered arcades that join shops together and provide shelter from sun and rain for pedestrians. The architecture reflects both European (including Portuguese and British) and Chinese influence. The latter being the most important players in Phuket’s tin mining industry in the 18th century and also in building Old Phuket Town.
Another architectural highlight of Old Phuket Town are stately Sino-colonial mansions, being the former homes of rich Chinese tin barons or merchants. The greatest example is maybe the Blue Elephant Governor Mansion in 96 Krabi Road.
If you still have time left, you can also visit the Phuket Thai Hua Museum in Thalang Road. Built in 1911, this building was a Chinese school originally and now features a nice museum about Phuket’s history.
In the eastern part of Thalang Road is Queen Sirikit Garden, a small park built in 2004 to commemorate her 72th birthday. We like the place because the big Golden Dragon sculpture at its entrance is a great photo motif. Directly next to it you can find the building of Tourism Authority of Thailand.