Thailand Travel Guide

Outdoor Tivities & Special Interests

25

Nov
2021

Phuket Town

Posted By : chauthihoaithuong/ 5 0

Phuket Town grew to prominence around the beginning of the 19th century, when the island’s tin resources attracted thousands of Chinese migrants. Many merchants made fortunes from tin, built splendid residences, and sent their children to British Penang to be educated. Hokkien speaking tin-mining families soon intermarried with the indigenous Thai population. Today, the bustling downtown area retains some of its earlier charm, though, unlike most of the island, it is geared toward residents rather than tourists. The Chinese heritage is preserved in the Sino Portuguese shop-houses, temples, the local cuisine, and the Vegetarian Festival

Chinese Mansions

Thalang, Yaowarat, Dibuk, Krabi, Ranong, and Phangnga roads. The heart of Phuket town is the old Sino-Portuguese quarter with its spacious, if now rather run down, colonial-style residences set in large grounds. Most date from the reigns of Rama IV and Rama V (1851–1910). Among the best examples are those used today as offices by the Standard Chartered Bank and Thai Airways on Ranong Road. Unfortunately, no one has yet seen fit to convert any of the old mansions into a museum, and none can be visited. Many of the commercial Chinese shop-houses are also dilapidated.

Thavorn Hotel Lobby Exhibition

The owner of this hotel in the center of town has assembled a collection of Phuket artifacts and pictures that he now displays in the lobby and adjacent function rooms. Among the exhibits are models of tin mines, pictures of the town center in the 19th century, Chinese treasure chests, and weavers’ tables, all of which are imaginatively displayed.

Fresh Produce Market

The 24-hour wet market is a treat that assaults the senses. The market and adjacent lanes are full of colorful characters hawking condiments, dried herbs and spices, pungent pickled kapi fish, squirming eels, and succulent durians.

 Rang Hill

On the top of this hill overlooking the town stands a statue of Khaw Sim Bee Na-Ranong (1857–1913), governor of Phuket for 12 years from 1901. He enjoyed considerable autonomy from Bangkok but is credited with bringing the island firmly under central rule, and also with importing the first rubber tree into Thailand. E Bang Niew Temple Phuket Rd. Open daily. This temple is where naga devotees climb knife ladders during the Vegetarian Festival. The inner compound is devoted to a number of Chinese mythological gods, the most prominent being Siew, Hok, and Lok, who represent longevity, power, and happiness

Bang Niew Temple

This temple is where naga devotees climb knife ladders during the Vegetarian Festival. The inner compound is devoted to a number of Chinese mythological gods, the most prominent being Siew, Hok, and Lok, who represent longevity, power, and happiness

. Wat Mongkol Nimit

This large, Rattanakosin-style temple has finely carved doors. Its compound acts as a community center where monks play takraw with the laity.

Chui Tui Temple

. A steady flow of people visit this Chinese temple to shake numbered sticks from a canister dedicated to vegetarian god Kiu Wong In. Each number corresponds to a preprinted fate that, according to belief, the person will inherit.

Environs

The island of Ko Sirey is linked to Phuket by a short bridge just beyond the commercial fishing port area. On this small but hilly island, rubber and coconut plantations vie with the natural fauna, and quiet beaches offer excellent seafood at low prices. Atop a hill in the center of the island, the temple of Wat Ko Sirey has great views and a massive image of a reclining Buddha. The island is also home to “sea gypsies,” who arrived here long before the current inhabitants, and do not speak Thai. Ko Sirey is developing though – the Westin Sirey Bay Resort, on the south of the island, offers every luxury.

Just east of the town, Monkey Hill, or Khao To Sae, offers scenic views, some culture in the form of a Taoist shrine, and a population of macaques quite accustomed to being offered food. They are great fun to watch, but afford them the respect you would any wild animal – don’t get too close or try to touch them. The Taoist shrine near the base of the hill reveres three resident spirits and attracts many locals wishing to win the lottery. The hill is also popular with fitness enthusiasts – the road is closed to vehicular traffic after 5pm, making it ideal for a sunset run, and there is a small fitness park as well. Don’t bother trying to reach the summit – the views and the ambience are marred somewhat by television and cell phone towers.

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