What to Do in Old Phuket Town
- What to Do in Old Phuket Town
- Phuket Town Video
- WHAT TO DO IN PHUKET TOWN?
- Popular Ways to Discover Phuket Town
- Phuket Town Historical Centre
- Street names to remember:
- 1. Thalang Road
- 2. Soi Romanee
- 3. Phang Nga Road
- 4. Dibuk Road
- 5. Yaowarat Road
- 6. Krabi Road
- 7. Ratsada Road
- 8. Phuket Road
- 9. Ranong Road
- WHERE TO STAY IN PHUKET TOWN?
- The Memory at On On Hotel
- WHERE TO EAT IN PHUKET TOWN?
- Tu Kab Khao
- Raya Restaurant
- The Charm Dining Gallery
- Torry’s Ice Cream
- WHERE TO SHOP IN PHUKET TOWN?
- Sunday Walking Weekend Market
- Chillva Market
- Endless Summer Boutique
- Naka Market
- HIDDEN PHUKET TOWN
- The Chair Cafe
- Khao Rang Hill
- Phuket Street Art
- PHUKET TOWN INFO
- Fast Facts about Phuket Town
- Walking Map of Old Phuket Town
- Video of Driving Through Phuket Town
- Phuket Town Photo Gallery
- FAQs about 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 dinner.
Phuket Town Video
WHAT TO DO 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, many 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.
Popular Ways to Discover Phuket Town
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
Street names to remember:
|Thalang Road||China Inn, Sunday Walking Street Market|
|Soi Romanee||used to be the red-light district of town!|
|Phang Nga Road||Shrine of the Serene Light, The Memory at On On Hotel|
|Dibuk Road||The Charm Phuket, Lock Tien Food Court, Kanom Jin Restaurant, Phuket Indy Market, Raya House|
|Yaowarat Road||Old Limpanon House, Endless Summer Mansion|
|Krabi Road||Thai Hua Museum, Blue Elephant Mansion, Baan Chinpracha Mansion|
|Ratsada Road||Thavorn Museum, Old Mansion|
|Ranong Road||Phuket 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 visit during the Sunday Walking Street Market.
Don’t miss the little coffee shop 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).
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 expensive meal in a superbly renovated Chinese-style shophouse, which also happens to be a handicraft shop.
Near China Inn, Cafe (N) is a little Chinese shrine hidden inside an unassuming entrance. From there, you will walk past many 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.
Don’t miss Oasis Walking Street, a long and narrow passage connecting 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.
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.
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 dormitories.
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.
3. Phang Nga Road
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, the 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.
Adjacent to On On Hotel, the Shrine of the Serene Light (W) also has an anecdote. For a 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.
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. It is a mysterious topic for us, but some rare charms have very high value depending on their age, origins and the monk who gave them.
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.
4. Dibuk Road
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.’
Then at the intersection of Dibuk and Yaowarat Roads, 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’s primary industry? Read more about Dibuk Road (a lot more!)
5. Yaowarat Road
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).
On the opposite side are 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! 😀
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.
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.
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
Turn left to enjoy the superb shophouses all along Krabi road, notably the surprising Thai Hua Museum (E). You can stop and visit it; it describes how 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.
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.
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 still in its original condition.
7. Ratsada Road
If you choose to walk back through Phuket road, you will step back to two buildings that are 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’s history. It’s rather fun and very dusty!
Behind the Thavorn Museum, don’t miss the next U-shaped 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 the Casa Blanca hotel, Quip rooftop bar, and 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.
9. Ranong Road
If you come to town on a local blue bus, you will arrive on Ranong road, next to the Phuket City Market (A), which could be your list’s first or last item. 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.
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.
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 Phuket foods and confectioneries.
WHERE TO STAY IN PHUKET TOWN?
Phuket has a wide range of budget hotels and guesthouses, including some in Sino-Portuguese houses. The most famous is, of course, The Memory at On On hotel which appeared in the movie ‘The Beach’ with Leonardo DiCaprio. There are also a few more luxurious hotels near the Old Town.
The Memory at On On Hotel
The On On Hotel is a renowned heritage hotel on Phuket Island, famous for its rich Sino-Portuguese history dating back to 1927 when it was originally named Un Un Hotel. Located in the bustling Phang Nga Road of old Phuket Town, the hotel was later renamed On On and became a popular backpacker destination, contributing to its selection as a filming location for the movie ‘The Beach’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio in 2000. Read more
Other popular hotels in Phuket Town
WHERE TO EAT IN 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
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
The Charm Dining Gallery
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
Torry’s Ice Cream
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
WHERE TO SHOP IN PHUKET TOWN?
Sunday Walking Weekend Market
The Phuket Sunday Walking Street Market located in Phuket Town is a highly sought-after tourist attraction. This 360-meter-long marketplace has become an instant hit, providing a much-needed event in the historic district. Thalang Road, which was previously tranquil, transforms into a bustling street every Sunday from 4 pm to 9 pm, and sometimes even beyond. The Sino-Portuguese houses that line Thalang Road is adorned with ever-changing colour lights that contribute to the festive atmosphere. Delicious food, ice cream, and drinks are available on both sides and in the middle of this lively street.
Chillva Market Phuket is one of the best weekday night markets on the island, located on the outskirts of town, on the way to Patong Beach. The atmosphere at Chillva Market is youthful and enjoyable. The majority of items for sale are locally produced and unique, such as clothing, jewellery, athletic shoes, accessories, and gadgets that you may not need but will still purchase. The primary reason locals flock to this market is for the delicious local cuisine on offer. Furthermore, Chillva Market Phuket has cleverly repurposed old metal containers, which is a current trend in Thailand.
Endless Summer Boutique
Located on Yaowarat road, the heart of Phuket town, Endless Summer is a magnificent heritage house that serves as both a coffee shop and a fashion boutique. The beauty of this building is so captivating that anyone who passes by it will stop for a photo without hesitation. Despite being easily accessible and close to most travellers’ itineraries, many visitors overlook it and rush straight to the famous Thalang road nearby. Therefore, if you find yourself in Phuket Town, make sure to turn right onto Yaowarat road and step inside Endless Summer.
The Phuket Naka Weekend Market, previously called the Chaofa Variety Weekend Market, is a large night bazaar located near Central Festival on the outskirts of Phuket Town, driving south. This market is big, crowded, and full of fun, making it a bit overwhelming. You can spend hours wandering around and looking at all the different things for sale, even though most of it is not genuine.
HIDDEN PHUKET TOWN
Phuket Town is a trove of little gems, and while most people hang around the tourist streets of Thalang, Dibuk and Phang Nga Roads, there are many little places to look for, whether it is for a photo, a coffee or even a lunch (this section will keep growing).
The Chair Cafe
Chair Cafe on itself is not an exceptional coffee shop, but most people don’t know there is a terrace in the back with a superb view of a mysterious hidden mansion. The cafe is on Yaowarat road. (story to come soon)
Address: 19 Yaowarad Rd, Tambon Talat Nuea, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000
Hours: 8 am – 6 pm
Phone: 089 730 8335
Khao Rang Hill
Khao Rang Hill is not in the old part of town but if you have time, it is a nice panoramic viewpoint over the city as well as a great place to eat lunch or dinner. You can even see some monkeys up there, but remember not to approach them as they can be unpredictable.
Phuket Street Art
Phuket Street art is a collection of impressive mural paintings created by both local and Thai artists throughout Phuket Town. Some are easily visible, while others are very hard to find. Explore the town and see how many you can find. Although we have shared only a few here, we will continue to add more as we uncover them.
PHUKET TOWN INFO
Fast Facts about Phuket Town
|📷 Thing to do:||Old Thalang Road|
|🍴 Best restaurant:||Tu Kab Kao Phuket|
|🍴 Best local restaurant:||Raya Restaurant|
|🛍️ Best weekend market:||Sunday Walking Street Market|
|🛍️ Best night market:||Chillva Night Market|
|🛎️ Best luxury hotel:||Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town|
|🧳 Best mid range hotel:||The Memory at On On Hotel|
|🚙 Distance to Patong Beach:||14 km|
|🚙 Distance to Kata Beach:||15 km|
|🚙 Distance to Bang Tao Beach:||23 km|
|✈️ Distance from Phuket International Airport:||30 km|
Walking Map of Old Phuket Town
Video of Driving Through Phuket Town
FAQs about Phuket Town
- ✳️ 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
Wat Mongkol Nimit
- ✳️ What are the most important streets of Phuket Town?
a. The heart of Phuket Town is where the old historical streets are:
Phang Nga Road
- ✳️ 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
- ✳️ Can I shop in Phuket Town?
a. You’ll find endless shopping opportunities in Phuket Town:
Phuket Sunday Walking Street Market
Naka Weekend Market
Endless Summer Boutique
- ✳️ What are the best hotels in Phuket Town?
a. There are a few hotels in town, mostly guesthouses:
The Memory at On On Hotel
Sino Imperial Phuket Hotel
- 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).