Phuket Town Among Asia Most Picturesque

July 17, 2020.
Tags: Phuket

CNN Travel has recently published their pick of the thirteen most picturesque towns in Asia. To the surprise of no one who has visited Phuket, the island’s largest town, simply named Phuket Town, has made the list.
The reason for its inclusion on CNN's list is evident from the moment you enter the town and stroll along the alleys and streets. It’s mainly the architecture that has made Phuket Town one of the most picturesque towns in all of Asia.
The town is a seemingly endless treasure trove of colourfully painted shophouses and homes that feature Sino-Portuguese architecture. It’s also referred to as Peranakan, Chinese Baroque, and Straits Eclectic architecture. It evolved up and down the Malay peninsula wherever Chinese and European settlers and merchants co-mingled in the pursuit of trade and a better life. 

Beautiful Company

When you look up pictures of the other towns around Asia that have made the list, you’ll find that they are all charming and stunningly photogenic places to visit. Phuket Town is in beautiful company. We’ve included the entire list of towns, courtesy of CNN Travel so that you can see the calibre of stunning beauty that the list represents:

  • Sai Kung, Hong Kong
  • Ghandruk, Nepal
  • Mawlynnong, India
  • Zhouzhuang, China
  • Galle, Sri Lanka
  • Kota Gede, Indonesia
  • Kampot, Cambodia
  • Luang Prabang, Laos
  • City of Vigan, Philippines
  • George Town, Malaysia
  • Yufuin, Japan
  • Hoi An, Vietnam
But beauty is only skin deep. Many towns trade on their history alone. Historical buildings and structures that the current residents inhabit are the town’s sole attraction in drawing visitors. The town only offers a pleasant, visual backdrop to what is otherwise a run-of-the-mill travel experience that doesn’t offer anything exceptional other than a photo opportunity.
But Phuket Town stands out because of the home-grown culture they’ve established among all the historical and beautiful shophouses, homes and hotels of the town. They've taken advantage of what the forefathers of the town have left them and turned it into an incredibly unique and charming culture all their own.
One of the main attractions of Phuket Town only becomes apparent when you spend some time exploring the shops, restaurants and cafes of this quaint and peaceful town. Sometime in the recent past, Phuket Town began developing a reputation for offering some of the most unique and attractive coffee shops and cafes in Thailand. 

Coffee Culture of Phuket Town

The town has become a bohemian paradise for coffee lovers. By making good use of the numerous, colourful Sino-Portuguese shophouses along the pleasant alleys of the town, they’ve transformed the town into the most attractive location to while away the hours sipping an excellent cappuccino or latte.
These cafes and coffee shops offer artwork, craft beers, cakes and pastries, and of course, Thai food delicacies to enjoy as well. They also provide modern music in the background and creatively eclectic design accents to create a unique atmosphere that modern Bohemians will undoubtedly appreciate.
People are drawn to the town because of the laid-back atmosphere, the vibe and the essence of a unique, artistic culture that has been inspired by the town’s architecture.
Café’In, Rose Espresso, Gaolad Café, Eleven and Two, Feelsion Café, and The Old Phuket Coffee are just some of the more popular cafés in Phuket Town. And they all are good representatives of this ambiance, but they are certainly not the only examples of this phenomenon.
Venture down one of the alleys or quiet streets of the town. You're sure to find a unique café that suits you to a tee and becomes your favourite hangout during your visit.

Touring Old Phuket Town

If you can manage to tear yourself away from the cafés and coffee shops of the area for a couple of hours or so, Phuket Town is well worth a tour. A tour of 'Old Phuket Town' is what you should look for, and many tour companies are offering just that. Many of these are walking tours, so be sure to wear light, comfortable clothes and footwear, and bring along some sunscreen and water. Also be sure to have your phone or camera fully charged up, because the stunning beauty of the architecture will have you taking photo after photo.
The old town is in the centre of Phuket Town, which is on level ground so it won’t be a strenuous walk by any means. All the attractions are centred relatively close to one another. One of the major highlights of the tour will be simply walking down some of the numerous alleys and walking streets of the town and soaking up the unique, artistic atmosphere that seems to come from everywhere within the town. 

Dibuk Road to Ratsada Road

Dibuk Road to the north, and Ratsada Road to the south, serve as the borders to the old town section of Phuket Town. It’s here where you will find the greatest concentration of the Bohemian, coffee culture that has enthralled backpackers and wealthy travelers alike. The area encompasses about three to four blocks of art galleries, curio shops, book shops, handicraft stores and more coffee shops and cafes than you can imagine.
Between Dibuk Road and Thalang Road in the heart of the old town, you’ll find a small lane named Romanee Road. This small gem of a street looks like it's part of a Hollywood set and will have you snapping pictures like crazy.
The tours will also give you a chance to see and explore other architectural treasures of Phuket town like The Memory at On On Hotel, the Thai Hua Museum, and Phra Pitak Chinpracha and the Blue Elephant.
The Memory at On On Hotel opened in 1929 and is the oldest hotel in Phuket. It's almost as much a museum of the history of Phuket as it is a hotel. It also has the distinction of serving as the location of the opening scenes of Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie The Beach. The hotel is located right in the heart of Old Town on Phangnga Road between Phuket Road and Bangkok Road.
The Thai Hua Museum offers a look back into the Sino-Portuguese culture that played such a large part in the development of the island. It’s also a stunning example of Sino-Portuguese architecture. The museum is located just a couple of minutes walk further west on Thalang Road where it turns into Krabi Road after it crosses Yaowarat Road. The museum is well-worth a visit.
The Phra Pitak Chinpracha mansion now is the home of the Blue Elephant restaurant, featuring Royal Thai cuisine. In its heyday, this gorgeous 105-year old mansion was the largest home in Phuket and the residence of the governor and one of the island’s tin-mining barons. It’s also within easy walking distance. Just walk to the end of Dibuk Road, take a left and you’ll soon see it in all it’s historical glory on your right.
If you’re out and about at sunset on a Sunday, you’re in for a treat as well. Right in the centre of Old Town on Thalang Road, you’ll find the Sunday Walking Street Market. This is a fascinating market to visit as it adheres to the new traditions of Phuket Town and offers a wide variety of secondhand items for sale. It’s the perfect way to end a walking tour of the old section of Phuket Town.
Phuket Town is easy to reach from the Phuket International Airport by either taxi or mini-bus, with the mini-bus being the cheaper alternative. The trip takes about an hour. There is also a regular public bus service from the airport that is cheaper but takes a bit more time. 

Rentals for the Holidays has modern and spacious accommodations for rent all over Phuket Town. Our accommodations can immerse you in the Bohemian atmosphere of Phuket Town so you can explore the architectural and coffee culture riches of the town at your leisure. On your next trip to Phuket, get in touch with Rentals for the Holidays to book the perfect accommodations for your adventure.