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What to do in Old Phuket Town

Our Old Phuket Town and Old Street Walking Guide will save you time and effort! The historical part of Phuket is not huge but is rich and exciting enough to explore in half a day. On this page, we break it down by streets and describe the main points of interest, significant landmarks and of course the best places to eat Thai food! It’s easy and fun to explore, even on a rainy day, plus there are plenty of little cafes and restaurants to take a break and enjoy lunch or even dinner.

Phuket Town Video


What to see in Phuket Town?

Expect to see a lot of Sino-Portuguese style shophouses on each side of the streets, small and colourful shops, some excellent local Thai restaurants, and lately a lot of young coffee shops. Walking around town will also be a chance for you to visit both Thai temples and colourful Chinese shrines, as well as a couple of Museums and some beautiful old mansions.

Lately, you also can enjoy a lot of beautiful mural paintings and street art ornating the walls of old buildings. It looks even better since Phuket municipality buried all electric cables underground on Thalang and Dibuk roads.


Phuket Town Historical Centre

The city centre and the famous Thalang road are the most exciting part of Phuket Town, but other streets are full of things to discover

ban-chin-thye-cafe


Street names you need to remember:

Street NameLandmarks
Thalang RoadChina Inn, Sunday Walking Street Market
Soi Romaneeused to be the red-light district of town!
Phang Nga RoadShrine of the Serene Light, The Memory at On On Hotel
Dibuk RoadThe Charm Phuket, Lock Tien Food Court, Kanom Jin Restaurant, Phuket Indy Market, Raya House
Yaowarat RoadOld Limpanon House, Endless Summer Mansion
Krabi RoadThai Hua Museum, Blue Elephant Mansion, Baan Chinpracha Mansion
Ratsada RoadThavorn Museum, Old Mansion
Ranong RoadPhuket city market, Thai Airways heritage house

Our suggested walking map, starting from the famous Thalang Road:


1. Thalang Road

Thalang Road (east) is where you probably will start and spend a lot of time. It’s charming and a popular Instagram playground, especially if you happen to visit during the Sunday Walking Street Market.

Sunday Walking Street Market

Don’t miss the little coffee shop right at the intersection called Chino Cafe Gallery (L). Not only do they serve a good coffee with sweet Phuket round cakes, but you also can admire some excellent photographs hanging on the wall, all taken by Phuket photographers (apparently, there will be a gallery soon on the second floor).

China Inn Cafe & Restaurant
China Inn Cafe

Walk further to find three famous restaurants, Wilai and Kopitiam (M) are two small local and affordable restaurants serving excellent Thai food. The famous China Inn Cafe (N) has a more elaborated but more expensive meal in a superbly renovated Chinese style shophouse, which also happens to be a handicraft shop.

Thalang Road Shrine
Thalang Road Shrine

Not far past China Inn Cafe (N) is a little Chinese shrine hidden inside an unassuming entrance. From there you will walk past a lot of Muslim fabric shops and tool shops whose owners are trying to continue their trade just as if nothing ever happened in Phuket. Look around for all the charming little guesthouses, bookshops, lovely small boutiques and plenty of little coffee shops.

Shopping in Phuket Town
Bulan Indigo Boutique

Don’t miss Oasis Walking Street, a very long and very narrow passage that connects Thalang and Phang Nga Road! It’s full of stalls selling original souvenirs and local snacks and is a great escape from the heat or the rain. Read more about Thalang road.

Read more about Thalang Road


2. Soi Romanee

Just off the famous Thalang road is Soi Romanee (P), with all the colourful buildings that make it the most photographed street in Phuket. However, the most beautiful part of Phuket Town was the red light street and the gambling area. You can now stay at one of the small guesthouses or have a drink at a cafe while watching the permanent Instagram competition going on here.

Soi Romanee in Phuket Town

Don’t miss a chance to visit some temples: at the end of Soi Romanee (P) is Wat Mongkol Nimit (Q), a significant place for Phuket people, where locals frequently hold ceremonies. It’s a beautiful temple with a golden Chedi (stupa) in the back and some beautiful heritage houses monks use as a dormitory.

Go back through Soi Romanee (P) and turn left again into Thalang road, where you can admire a few more renovated shophouses, especially the Honda motorbike showroom combined with a new coffee shop.

Read more about Soi Romanee


3. Phang Nga Road

Shrine of Serene Light
Shrine of Serene Light

The three highlights of Phang Nga road are the Shrine of the Serene Light (W), the amulet market and the On On Hotel (V). On On Hotel (V) has an exciting story, and almost everyone saw it in the movie The Beach, but not many people know that the hotel is not in Bangkok as shown in the film, but right here in Phuket Town. Until recently, On On hotel was almost as bad as in the movie and only cost 200 baht a night! In 2013 it was entirely renovated with great skill and sense, keeping the hotel’s spirit and still relatively cheap, but it is not a beautiful budget hotel.

The Memory at On On Hotel
The Memory at On On Hotel

Adjacent to On On Hotel, the Shrine of the Serene Light (W) also has an anecdote. For a very long time, the shrine hid in the back of a building, and only locals knew about it. It was a secret no one wanted to share. Finally, they did a great job renovating and widening the ornamented gate, and the shrine itself was left mostly untouched, and it is now a famous landmark.

Phang Nga Road in Phuket Town

Opposite on the same street is the amulet market (X), an extended covered alley where amulet aficionados come mostly on weekends to exchange and discuss amulets. For us, it is a mysterious topic, but some rare charms have very high value depending on their age, origins and the monk who gave them.

Phuket Peranakan Museum
Phuket Peranakan Museum

Keep walking until the end of Phang Nga Road until you reach The Clocktower building (S), which I think used to be a police station and is now the Peranakanittat Museum. Across the street is the old Standard Chartered Bank (R) which is also a museum.

Read more about Phang Nga Road


4. Dibuk Road

Luang Amnart Nararak Mansion
Luang Amnart Nararak Mansion

Continue on Dibuk road to enjoy more shophouse architecture with their typical archways, designed to keep walkers sheltered from sun and rain. Keep your eyes open and look for the shops selling some typical Phuket sweets and bread. If you happen to be on this part of Dibuk road at dinner time, don’t miss a chance to try excellent Phuket food at the newly renovated ‘The Charm Phuket.’

The Charm Restaurant Phuket
The Charm Restaurant Phuket

Then at the intersection of Dibuk and Yaowarat, you will find a trendy local food court called Lock Tien Restaurant (I), serving some unique Phuket specialities. Opposite Lock Tien, have a beautiful shop called Pink Flamingo Cafe (J) found inside an old corner shop that was initially the former headquarter of the Kian Nguan Mining Company when tin mining was Phuket primary industry? Read more about Dibuk Road (a lot more!)

Dibuk Road in Phuket Town

Read more about Dibuk Road

5. Yaowarat Road

Sa-Nguan Mansion or Limpanon House
Sa-Nguan Mansion or Limpanon House

To reach Yaowarat from the bus station, walk against the traffic flow toward the fountain circle (C) and turn left. If you are lucky, on the left, you will find a dark passage leading to the mysterious Limpanon House (D), a fantastic abandoned Sino Portuguese Mansion. Unfortunately, lately, the gate appears to be closed, but there is a way to admire the mansion from above. (contact us on Instagram to find out how).

Phuket oldest pharmacy on Thalang Road
Phuket oldest pharmacy on Thalang Road

On the opposite side is antique shops worth stopping at. One is an old Kanom Jeen shop (Y) run by a young guy who was smart enough to keep the shop in its original condition, making it an exciting photo opportunity. Next to it is also an ancient pharmacy (Y) with surprising dry roots and ingredients kept in a hundred wooden drawers. If you plan to take photos there, know that the owner can but grumpy as he probably gets more photographers than shoppers in a day, so buy something if you plan to take photos! 😀

Old Phuket Town

Continue straight until you reach the Thalang intersection. If you don’t have much time, turn right into the famous Thalang Road and jump to #6. If you continue straight, things get a little less exciting, but you will be able to admire a few more heritage mansions.

Sino Portuguese Mansion in Phuket City

Next to Flamingo Shop (J) are several other shops worth mentioning where some elderly ladies sit all day, selling some delicious Phuket speciality cakes and pastries. Try the famous Ice Kachang, shaved ice with syrup on top and red beans inside, a perfect way to cool down from the heat and long walks. On the opposite side is the ancient Lock Tien food court, a place worth stopping at for a light local lunch.

Endless Summer Coffee Shop in Phuket Town
Endless Summer coffee shop and boutique

If you cross the intersection and continue on the other side of Yaowarat road, you will find three small mansions well maintained. One of them is the lovely Endless Summer coffee shop and boutique (K). Many shophouses around old Phuket Town became coffee shops, heritage hotels and guesthouses.


6. Krabi Road

Thai Hua Museum
Thai Hua Museum

Turn left to enjoy the many superb shophouses all along Krabi road, notably the surprising Thai Hua Museum (E). You can stop and visit it; it describes how Phuket Phuket became what it is today.

If you continue further, you will reach the Satun road intersection, where you will find two major Phuket landmarks:

The Blue Elephant Restaurant (F) is a magnificent mansion built in a vast park that used to be the governor’s residence. It is now a fancy Thai restaurant and an upmarket cooking class. The price for a meal is relatively high, but you are welcome to drink at the bar or even browse the souvenir shop for free.

Blue Elephant Restaurant Phuket
Blue Elephant Restaurant Phuket

Just next to it, the Chinpracha mansion (G) is a privately owned museum that appeared in several famous movies. It is relatively modest, but you should visit it as it might disappear anytime as the owner passed away not long ago.

Baan Chinpracha
Baan Chinpracha in Phuket Town

To go back, turn right before Blue Elephant (F) into Satun road. From there, take the next right back into Dibuk Road, where you will find Luang Amnart Nararak Mansion (H), another beautiful Sino Portuguese that still stands in its original condition.


7. Ratsada Road

If you choose to walk back through Phuket road, you will step back to two buildings impressive in an unusual way. The first one is the quirky Thavorn museum (T), hidden inside the Thavorn hotel, probably the first hotel on the island. The museum consists mostly of a weird collection of old toys, photos and a mountain of objects from a vague past time of Phuket, most of which are the old apparatus used and the hotel history. It’s rather fun and very dusty!

Thavorn Museum
Old Thavorn Museum

Behind the Thavorn Museum, don’t miss the next U shape street on your left as a fantastic old mansion (U) still stands proudly beyond a wall. Most of the time, the villa’s gate is open, so if you are not shy, walk in and act normal, just as I did countless times to get my photos. After this mansion, you will be pretty much on your way back to the fountain circle (C).


8. Phuket Road

Phuket road doesn’t have many significant landmarks, but it connects Thalang Road to Ratsada road. It is mostly known for Casa Blanca hotel, Quip rooftop bar, the excellent One Chun local restaurant mentioned in the Phuket Michelin Guide. and the much loved Wanlamun Shop, a very local place serving a surprisingly large amount of delicious Thai sweets.

One Chun Restaurant Phuket
One Chun local restaurant

9. Ranong Road

If you came to town on a local blue bus, you will arrive on Ranong road, next to the Phuket City Market (A), which could be the first or last item on your list. The market consists of the main building where the buses stop and the old open-air market just across the street. Both are fun to explore as you will see veggies, fruits and spices you might never have seen before.

Thai Airways office in Phuket town
Thai Airways office in Phuket town

Don’t miss the Thai Airways office (B) in the same area, a superbly renovated white Sino-Portuguese house. Unfortunately, you can only take exterior photos from the parking, as the building is not open to the public.

Jui Tui Shrine in Phuket Town
Jui Tui Shrine in Phuket Town

If you continue walking following the traffic flow, you will reach the Jui Tui shrine (Z), a significant Chinese temple during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. Further, the unique Lor Rong market (a) sells very typically Phuket foods and confectioneries.

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Where to eat in Old Phuket Town


Tu Kab Khao

Address: 8 Phang Nga Road, Phuket Town (the restaurant with a giant lobster hanging on the side)
Open: Daily 11 am – 12 midnight
Phone: 076 608 888
Speciality: Southern Thai Food
Price: Affordable

Read More ►

Raya Restaurant

Raya restaurant in Phuket Town

Address: 48/1 Dibuk Road, Tambon Talat Yai, Phuket Town, Phuket 83000
Open: 10 am – 10 pm
Phone: 076 218 155
Price: a little expensive

Read More ►

The Charm Dining Gallery

The Charm Dining Gallery in Phuket Town, Dibuk Road

Address: 93 Dibuk Rd, Tambon Talat Nuea, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000
Open: 11 am – 9 pm, Wednesday closed
Phone: 076 530 199
Price: a little high

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Torry’s Ice Cream

Torry's Ice Cream Shop in old Town

Address: 16 Soi Romanee, Tumbon Talad Yai, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000
Open: 11 am – 6 pm, Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 9.30 pm
Phone: 076 510 888
Speciality: ice creams with a local touch

Read More ►

Walking Map of Old Phuket Town

See all Phuket Maps!


Video of Driving Through Phuket Town



Phuket Town Photo Gallery

Photos of Phuket Town

See More Photos ►


More reading

PHUKET TOWN

13 Best Thai Restaurants in Phuket Town and Nearby

The other side of Phuket Town – Ranong Road


Phuket Town Directory

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FAQs about Phuket Town

  1. ✳️ What is there to do in Phuket Town?

    a. Phuket has a lot to offer for a day away from the beach:
    The Shrine of Serene Light
    Thai Hua Museum
    Baan Chinpracha
    Phuket Aquaria
    Wat Mongkol Nimit
    Trickeye Museum

  2. ✳️ What are the most important streets of Phuket Town?

    a. The heart of Phuket Town is where the old historical streets are:
    Thalang Road
    Dibuk Road
    Phang Nga Road
    Soi Romanee

  3. ✳️ What are the best Thai restaurants in Phuket Town?

    a. There are many excellent restaurants to experience real Thai food:
    Tu Kab Khao Restaurant
    Raya House Restaurant
    One Chun Restaurant
    The Charm Dining Gallery
    Blue Elephant Phuket

  4. ✳️ Can I shop in Phuket Town?

    a. You’ll find endless shopping opportunities in Phuket Town:
    Phuket Sunday Walking Street Market
    Naka Weekend Market
    Central Phuket
    Chillva Market
    Endless Summer Boutique

  5. ✳️ What are the best hotels in Phuket Town?

    a. There are a few hotels in town, mostly guesthouses:
    Casa Blanca
    The Memory at On On Hotel
    Novotel Phokeethra
    Little Nyonya
    Sino House
    Sino Imperial Phuket Hotel

  6. How far is Phuket City from the airport?

    a. Phuket Town is 30 Km from Phuket International Airport, about 30-45 minutes by taxi (800 baht).

Willy Thuan
https://www.phuket101.net/
Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world early and never stopped until I settled in Thailand in 1994. Then for the past 27 years, my passion for photography and my natural curiosity has taken me to every corner of Thailand, jumping frequently between Bangkok and Phuket and basically everywhere I could go. I run Phuket101.net and manage large international online travel guides.
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