On our last visit to Phuket, Thailand we were lucky enough to get a private tour from a local around Old Town. Both Phang-nga road and Thalang road have many beautiful pieces of art scattered from large geometric birds to small lifelike paintings. This time we decided to go on our own Old Phuket Town tour and visit the sights of what Old Phuket Town had to offer…
Pro Tip: If you’re wanting to learn more about Phuket Town then consider getting a guided tour of the area.
We started our Old Phuket Town tour on Phang-nga road and headed straight into the tourist information, the big white building with the clock tower at the top. We asked the lovely lady behind the desk what she recommended to do and see before heading out. We picked up a free map which she circled a couple of attractions on for us. She asked us whether we would be getting around on a scooter or by foot so she knew what to suggest.
Walking down Phang-nga road with the tourist information centre on our left we headed down the street. On the right just opposite the tourist information centre there is the first bit of street art. The first piece of art you will see is down an alley of what seems to be a car workshop is a tiger. Each piece of art along these roads are hidden on side streets are tucked away on sides of buildings.
Further along the road on your left at Sinthavee Hotel and Amore Café, you will see a large geometric tiger, the best way to spot the tiger is to look back toward the tourist information centre. Moving further along there is a side street on your right, along that side street you will see Chinese inspired street art with a large white smoke dragon with small Chinese figures holding lanterns. Back onto the main road, on the other side of the road, you will see a large bird. The bird is wearing a cap backwards and is flying a kite.
On the same road you will have on your right The On -On Hotel, this hotel is in the Sino- Portuguese style building dated from 1929 and is famous for its appearance in The Beach with Leonardo De Caprio. Further along towards the end of the road is a lifelike painting of a family with an older lady sitting down.
At the very end of the road straight in front of you there is a lovely café called Gallery Café which we stopped in for a drink and a breakfast bagel. The café itself has been recommended by Lonely Planet Guides and is a lovely spot to have a break from the heat. If you don’t call in at Gallery café turn left towards the roundabout. If you do call in turn right towards the roundabout, this will bring you on to Yaowaraj Road, take the first exit to your left at the roundabout onto Ranong Road.
Walking along Ranong Road you will see that it is more of a hive of activity for locals within there is the fresh market along this road. There is also plenty of places to shop to buy anything from fabric to food and even a DIY shop. If you are looking to go to one of the beaches within Phuket this is the road you want to be on, you can get a bus to Patong, Kata Beach, Karon Beach and some other places along this road. These buses are easy to spot as they are light blue and have the destination along the side and the front.
Further along the road, you will see the Pra Aram Sakorn Khet Mansion, the mansion itself is named after the owner Phra Aram Sakorn who was one of the miners who played an important role in the trade and development in Phuket. Walk to the very end of the street and on your left, you should see Burn Bar. At the crossing take a right onto Patiphat Road, follow the road to the crossing. Before the crossing, there is a 3D mural of a family with an old man sprinkling what looks to be flowers.
When you get to the crossing you will then take a right onto Krabi Road.
Not long after turning onto Krabi road you will spot beautiful Chinese buildings on your left. This is the Jor Ong Shrine, while I wanted to find out more about this beautiful building I only found out that they hosted a Phuket Vegetarian Festival here.
Not much after the colourful buildings of the Jor Ong Shrine, there is a 24hr fresh fruit market. While this may not be a tourist attraction on the Old Phuket Town tour it is worth keeping a note of if you get a little peckish along the way.
Before reaching the Phra Phithak Chinpracha Mansion there is a side street just after the fresh fruit market that has some more street art. This time it depicts a woman and a man bowing their heads in prayer. It is a beautiful piece of art and is stunning to see.
Further along the road, you will also spot the Phra Phithak Chinpracha Mansion, the building itself was built in 1903 and was built in the Sino – Colonial Style. The mansion itself is open to the public on the ground floor and a couple of the bedrooms, they have been well kept and even house the original Italian floor tiles. There are also many pictures around the mansion that belong to the Tandavanitj clan.
This then leads you to the Blue Elephant Cookery School and Restaurant. Blue Elephant as a brand is growing in popularity around the world, they currently have 12 worldwide establishments. The Blue Elephant specialises in Royal Thai cuisine, once cooked purposefully for the Royal Palace now is open to members of the public due to the growing popularity of Thai food. The Blue Elephant uses rich and exotic flavours to create fine dining. You can enrol in a cookery class here fort 2,800++ Baht per person for one half day class.
Just opposite Blue Elephant on your right, there is Banburam Antiques Cafe if you need to have a rest or just fancy a coffee. Carry on Krabi Road and you will see the Phuket Thai Hua Museum, it is set slightly back off the roadside and has parking spaces in front. This building is built in the Sino-Portuguese style and is one of the best looking and well-maintained buildings. It was once a Chinese language school and is not a museum, function hall and exhibition space.
Once you reach the end of Krabi road you will then want to go straight over at the crossing into Thalang Road to continue the Old Phuket Town tour.
Straight away onto Thalang road, there is a couple of coffee shops to choose from. A few doors down there is also a Desert Moments shop with one of the oldest herb shop in Phuket. Thalang Road is the central street in Phuket’s charming old town. Thalang Road is host to the Sunday Walking Street Market (Lard Yai) which fills the street with back to back stalls selling homemade goods, gifts and clothing as well as every kind of food you can think of.
The street is picturesque and quaint attracting tourists from all over with its Sino-Portuguese architecture. The pastel coloured buildings make for great pictures and they are filled with eclectic shops, accommodation and cute coffee shops.
There is another tourist information centre along this road if you want to add more stops to your old Phuket town tour. Just after the tourist information centre on your left, there will be a small courtyard with a restaurant on one side, on the large side of the buildings in front of you will be a large geometric bird. On your left-hand side on the other wall, there will be a large tortoise/turtle baby, with a very decorative shell.
Moving on from the restaurant in the courtyard there is a small side street called Soi Romanee, this is the oldest street in Phuket. Down this street, there are more shops, coffee shops and an ice cream shop. There is a coffee shop called Dabru that hosts 2 small street art boys at either side of the building. This beautiful side street is picturesque and is a great place to visit on our old Phuket town tour.
Opposite you will see Torry’s Ice Cream shop, this is a pink building and is beautiful to look at. The owner and founder of Torry’s is a local main raised in Phuket and uses traditional Thai flavours and dishes to inspire his ice creams. He has made over 60 different flavours. This place is definitely a must visit on our old Phuket town tour.
Moving back up to Thalang Road you can explore the rest of the shops and place to eat. That is where we ended our tour.
If you wish to see more there are more streets and places to visit marked on the Old Phuket Town Tour map as well as other museums to see.