Amazing Mansions of Old Phuket
- Amazing Mansions of Old Phuket
- 1. Blue Elephant Phuket (Phra Pitak Chinpracha Mansion)
- 2. Kiew Kai Ka Restaurant
- 3. Endless Summer Coffee Shop (Kanok Kwan House)
- 4. Luang Amnart Nararak Mansio (Dibuk Mansion)
- 5. Phra Aram Sakhonkhet Mansion (Thai Airways Offices)
- 6. Thai Hua Museum
- 7. Baan Chinpracha
- 8. Raya House
- 9. Limpanon House
- 10. Ban Krang Jinda
- 11. Mansion behind the Thavorn Museum
- 12. House on Bangkok Road
- 13. House on Bangkok Road
- 14. Sala Mae Pong
- 15. The Old Post Office
- 16. VT Namnueng Restaurant on Vichitsongkran Street
- 17. House on Satun Road
- 18. Thai Hua Hokkien Club on Dibuk Road
- 19. Kathu Museum
- History of Phuket mansions (Ang-Mor-Lao)
- More about Phuket Town
If the Old Sino Portuguese Mansions of Old Phuket Town fascinate you, you are in for a treat. There is more to Phuket than just the well-known Thalang Road, where everyone goes on a Phuket exploration. Yes, it’s a nice walk and a must-do, but if you too have a passion for old houses, you might want to explore a bit further where some fabulous mansions are still standing, and often hidden. When standing in front of these beautiful mansions, it’s so easy to imagine how Phuket was a hundred years ago. Better enjoy them now because sooner than later, someone will buy them and refurbish them with more or less respect for their original ‘soul’. Let us show them to you while some are still in their original condition. (These are ‘mansions’ or Ang-Mor-Lao, not shop houses).
That magnificent mansion is my dilemma. It used to be a fascinating building in Phuket and beyond for decades and was recently renovated to host the famous Blue Elephant Restaurant. Unfortunately, while still beautiful, it lost a lot of its original soul in the process.
Kiew Kai Ka is an excellent Thai Restaurant is at the intersection of Tung Ka Road and Bangkok road. This lovely mansion was for a long time, an expensive antique shop called ‘Private Collection’.
3. Endless Summer Coffee Shop (Kanok Kwan House)
This beautiful Sino Portuguese house is now a coffee show as well as a fashion boutique. It is easy to find and great for your photos and as an Instagram background. It used to be a Kindergarten, at the intersection of Dibuk Road and Yaowarat Roads.
4. Luang Amnart Nararak Mansio (Dibuk Mansion)
Luang Amnart Nararak Mansion, a fantastic large house, currently used a ‘gas tank delivery’ company, found at the intersection on Dibuk Road and Satun Road. Don’t miss the Kanom Jeen (rice noodles) restaurant at the intersection; you might see me there on weekends!
5. Phra Aram Sakhonkhet Mansion (Thai Airways Offices)
Phra Aram Sakhonkhet Mansion is a beautifully renovated white mansion now occupied by Thai Airways offices. Here too, people tend to miss it as you have to enter the Thai Airways property to see it and there is a security guard at the entrance.
Thai Hua is a beautiful and well-known house built in 1911 that used to be a school. It now often hosts stage event during Phuket Town Festivals and other ceremonies and can be visited. On Krabi Road.
Baan Chinpracha is a privately owned mansion, half house and half museum. You can visit it for 130 Baht and discover how life was a century ago. This house appeared in several movies including ‘Heaven and Earth’. It became hard to spot it after they built a lot of condos in front of it. Just know that is it located on Krabi Road, just next to the ‘easy to spot’ Blue Elephant Restaurant.
8. Raya House
Raya House is a good old-fashioned restaurant built in an old mansion on Phang Nga Road, and it is still in its original condition. It seems to be frozen in time. Food is excellent for both lunch and dinner. Just read the Raya House full story here, and you will want to go.
9. Limpanon House
Limpanon House, an old Phuket family house built more than 100 years ago, is now unoccupied. It is hidden at the Intersection of Bangkok Road and Phang Nga Road. For a long time, the door of the ‘tunnel’ leading to this mansion was locked. For unknown reasons, it is now open, but very few people dare to sneak in. Too bad, here is one of the most mysterious houses in town. The light is sometimes on, but every door or window is closed. A bit eerie.
10. Ban Krang Jinda
A restaurant built in an old government building. Beautiful, but unfortunately not very popular. Find it at the intersection of Yaowarat Road and Mae Luan Road.
11. Mansion behind the Thavorn Museum
Another example of a beautiful mansion abandoned probably beyond repair. We walked around this area a hundred times without ever noticing it, but once you do, its beauty is striking. In the back of Rasada Road, behind the weird ‘Thavorn Museum‘ where the very first Phuket Shopping Center used to be.
12. House on Bangkok Road
Next to ‘Kanok Kwan House’ just next to the Kindergarten above, this is a privately own house.
13. House on Bangkok Road
This beautiful mansion is just across the street of the two houses above. Gates are always closed, and the house is also privately owned.
14. Sala Mae Pong
15. The Old Post Office
Located on Montri Road, is now a philatelic Museum. Unless you are into stamp collections, there is not much to see inside. Just next to the new post office.
16. VT Namnueng Restaurant on Vichitsongkran Street
Another beautiful old house that used to be unoccupied. It is built on a large garden just next to Thai Hua school on Vichitsongkran street. This house is now a Thai Vietnamese restaurant but has lost a lot of its charm in the process of renovation.
17. House on Satun Road
This house sits on a vast land just opposite a school on Satun Road (between two favourite Kanom Jeen Restaurants). It has been for sale for a long time but didn’t get any buyer possibly due to some building restrictions.
18. Thai Hua Hokkien Club on Dibuk Road
I used to admire this almost unknown house for many years. Located on Dibuk Road, next to the Shell gas station and just opposite of the vast Wat Mongkol Nimit Temple, people tend to drive too fast in this street to pay much attention to it. Finally, someone saw its value and rebuilt the Thai Hua Hokkien Club entirely while respecting its original look. Nice work.
19. Kathu Museum
What used to be a very rundown house by the side of the road in Kathu is now transformed into a small but lovely museum about Phuket Food. It used to be part of the large beer storage warehouse.
History of Phuket mansions (Ang-Mor-Lao)
In the past (about 100 years ago) the communication between Phuket and Bangkok, the capital of Thailand was done with great difficulty. Despite the construction of railways to Kantang, Trang by King Rama V, travelling to Bangkok still required up to three to four days or even a week in comparison to travelling to Penang which only took a day via steamboat. This explains why Phuket businessmen travelled more frequently to Penang than to Bangkok.
Similarly, in the case of education, wealthy families in Phuket preferred to send their kids to school in Penang. When they return to Phuket they brought back with them the blueprints of the unique Sino-European architecture they were exposed to In Penang and commissioned builders to build their houses similar to the likes of Penang.
We call these Mansions ‘Ang-Mor-Lao’.
‘Ang-Mor-Lao’ or the mansions of tin mine era in Phuket still exists today and can be seen around Old Phuket Town. The architecture where the Chinese beliefs are mixed with European art resulted in delicate decorations of auspicious sculptures such as bats, pigeons and clouds on the head.
(as described inside the Peranakan Phuket Museum)