This post is a tailor-made one-day in Phuket Old Town itinerary, which will guide you on how to spend an entire day exploring the alleyways in the old town of Phuket. It includes the must-see places and things while doing a walking tour on the picturesque streets of Phuket Old Town.
Phuket resonates with the picture-perfect beaches, luxurious beach resorts, enchanting views of pristine landscapes, lush untouched terrains, and of course a happening nightlife. However, Phuket has a plethora of offbeat experiences to offer to the wandering souls. One of them is certainly a walking tour of the Phuket Old Town.
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Most travelers are not aware of this side of Phuket which lets you take a walk on the streets coupled with captivating old mansions, aesthetic tiny cafes, Thai temples and colorful Chinese shrines, Thai boutique restaurants, and a few museums.
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WHERE IS PHUKET OLD TOWN?
Phuket Old Town is located in the heart of Phuket. This is the capital of the island. You cannot miss this town due to its most flamboyant character painted by the vibrant streets. This is not just an old colorful town of a popular destination, rather it is a treat to your eyes.
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TOP PLACES TO VISIT AND EXPERIENCE: PHUKET OLD TOWN ITINERARY
Here is the complete list of places and experiences you should include in your Phuket Old Town itinerary. You will find the top 10 best things to do in the old town of Phuket. Let us find out:
1. VISIT THE SHRINE OF THE SERENE LIGHT
The very first thing on your one-day itinerary of Phuket Old Town is to pay a visit to the sacred Shrine of the Serene Light. This temple is located on Phang Nga Road in the old town of Phuket. Also known as Sang Tham Shrine, the sacred Chinese temple is one of the must-visit places in Phuket Old Town.
Even though the temple is not located on the main street, a well-decorated vibrant alleyway with a traditional Chinese gate with colorful street art leads you to this hidden temple. Founded in 1891 by the descendants of the Tan Luan Jae family, the Shrine of the Serene Light used to be the finest secret site of Phuket Town at one point in time.
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With its distinctive architectural designs like a terracotta-tiled roof and single-storey construction with a red Chinese hanging lamp, the Shrine of the Serene Light certainly gives you a feel as if you are in one of the traditional sacred temples in China.
2. VISIT THE FAMOUS ON ON HOTEL
When you are on the famous Phang Nga road of Phuket Old Town, you cannot miss the iconic landmark of the street, which is the famous ON ON HOTEL. The ON ON Hotel is the first hotel in Phuket town. The hotel was in the spotlight when the famous Hollywood movie, “The Beach”, featuring the famous Hollywood celebrity, Leonardo DiCaprio, was shot here.
But very few know that the hotel is located in the old town of Phuket on Phang Nga Road and not in Bangkok as shown in the movie. The budget hotel got a complete facelift in the year, 2013. The architecture of On On hotel is in the Sino-Portuguese style. The hotel has become a point of interest for the tourists, and no one leaves without taking a few pictures with the iconic hotel.
3. DON’T MISS THE CLOCK TOWER BUILDING ON PHANG NGA ROAD
Take a few steps ahead and you reach the unmissable and the most stunning clock tower building. Painted in a striking yellowy-mango shade, the historic building is one of the most photogenic ancient architectures. Located at the intersection of Phang Nga Road, the very distinctive features of the clock tower are the early 1990s four-storey clock tower and a traditional police-cap roof. It used to be a police station and has now been converted into a museum.
4. VISIT PERANAKANNITAT MUSEUM
Just at the intersection of Phang Nga Road, the Phuket Museum is located. It is a must-visit place for history lovers. The tiny two-storey historical building lets you travel to old times through pictures, artifacts, and audiovisual presentation. Also known as Baba Museum, the museum is a good stop to know the history of Phuket.
5. GET AWED BY THE SINO-PORTUGUESE STYLE MANSIONS AND BUILDINGS
If you are a photographer, the Old Phuket Town is nothing less than a playground for you. It does not matter where your eyes travel, you will be stunned by the picture-perfect Sino-Portuguese style mansions and buildings. Whether you are on Phang Nga Road, Thalang Road, Krabi Road, or Dibuk road, your eyes will pop up each time you capture the colorful traditional architecture in Sino-Portuguese style.
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I felt as if I was lost in a wonderland. The intricate details, vivid colors, tiny perforated wooden windows, and the typical archways immediately catch your eye. A mixture of Chinese and European styles has influenced the architectural style of these ancient buildings which were built more than one hundred years ago. They are mostly single or two-storied buildings with a wider area inside.
6. VISIT BANN 92 CAFÉ
This is one of the beautiful cafes on Thalang road. The classic Bann 92 café is one of the Instagram-able spots which takes you back to a bygone time. The vintage furniture, exotic artifacts, traditional kitchen, and picture-worthy corners make it worth a visit.
This is a coffee shop on Thalang Road, but I had the traditional lunch prepared by the Baba community. The best part of the lunch was that it was served in steel tiffin boxes which reminded me of my school days. Set-up for the delicious lunch was in their backyard garden where I was entertained by a differently-abled talented musician who was playing Koto, a Japanese string musical instrument.
This is the most happening road in old Phuket town which has the striking Sino-Portuguese style buildings, amazing cafes, must-visit restaurants, and heritage buildings turned into shops.
7. LOCAL SHOPPING IN THE OLD TOWN OF PHUKET
You cannot miss shopping in the old town of Phuket. Whether you want souvenirs, beach bags, summer clothing, exquisite artifacts, or anything for that matter, the Thalang road is the ideal spot for that. This road is one of the most bustling roads among other landmarks in the old town of Phuket.
More than anything, it has the most striking Sino-Portuguese-style buildings, tiny cafes, popular restaurants, and heritage buildings. You will find everything here. Thalang road remains one of the busiest streets in the old town of Phuket.
8. CAPTURE THE STREET ARTS
You can’t miss the outstanding street wall arts in Old Phuket Town. One of the most prominent ones is the Alex Face mural graffiti on Soi Romanee Road. The ‘Red Turtle Cake’ mural by Alex Face is probably the most striking one.
The artwork often features a childlike character wearing an animal costume and an extra eye. Her name is Mardi. The artist believes that the third eye on Mardi represents a world that can only be seen with an extra eye.
On Phang Nga Road, you will come across an array of colorful Chinese street arts, especially on both sides of the alleyway to the shrine of the Serene Light. One of my favorites is the hand puppet performances to entertain the deities.
Also, the giant lobster and street art with a girl sitting on a ‘Sia Nah’ or Tiffin Carrier are unmissable on Phang Nga Road. I loved the fact that how the entire Phuket Old Town is revamped. It allows tourists to get a feel of an old world in the most pulsating way.
9. TRY STREET FOOD
In your one-day Phuket Old Town itinerary, you must include relishing the best street food. There are lots of cool cafes and heritage buildings that are turned into restaurants where you get the best of Thai cuisine. But the fun of having food on the street is beyond comparison.
While doing the walking tour in Phuket Old Town, look for street food vendors who sell mouth-watering fresh Thai food to suit your palate. If you are a non-vegetarian, you get plenty of food options on the streets.
10. DON’T MISS THE WALKING STREET NIGHT MARKET ON THALANG ROAD
Last but not the least, after exploring the streets of Phuket Old Town, relishing the best Thai food, experiencing museums, and capturing the street arts, it is time to visit the most famous walking street on Thalang road. Visit this night street market and feel the excitement of seeing a completely different side of Thalang road.
The entire street looks like a shopping carnival. Whether you want to have a variety of street food, shopping for home décor, exotic souvenirs, or want to enjoy some great music, you will find everything here. This market is open only on Sunday. Don’t miss some of the best local handicraft and gift stalls on the buzzing street.
The best part of the walking street is that you can bargain and buy. Mostly local artisans and entrepreneurs come here to sell their products.
What amazed me at the walking street night market is that even though it becomes crowded, it is not chaotic. Everything is quite organized. You will also find local artists drawing on the street or painting. The lively environment of the walking street needs to be experienced in Phuket. This is highly recommended.
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