Travel Phuket

Tourist information for Phuket, Thailand

Phuket Town

Travel Phuket

Phuket Town, or as it's now called, Phuket City, is Phuket's capital city, as well as its largest center and financial hub, with a bustling business district and administrative center and virtually non-stop, round-the-clock activity.

Phuket Town is located about 30 minutes from Patong by car, and visitors can easily hop on a songthaew or tuk-tuk to get there rather than renting transportation.

A brief history

Phuket Town was originally founded in the 1st Century BC by Indian Merchants. The discovery of significant tin deposits in the 16th Century sparked colonization by Portuguese, French and British traders. By the early 19th Century, tin mining was in full swing, and attracted thousands of Chinese laborers hired by the European tin barons.

The Chinese intermarried with the Thai, and a new culture was created: the Baba. Baba descendants began building and developing Phuket Town, erecting homes with distinct Chinese and Portuguese influences. Today, visitors can stroll past some of the better restored homes featuring this 'Sino-Portuguese' architecture along Th Dibuk and Th Thalang in Old Town to witness their fine craftsmanship and glory once again.

Phuket Town is distinctly Thai, with fewer "Westernized" entertainment attractions, but for those looking for an authentic Thai flavour in their vacation, it's perfect.

Things to do

Early mornings visitors can see stoic monks out and around the city on their daily routines. At dawn, the fresh market is hopping with local restaurant owners purchasing ingredients for the day's specials. Phuket Town's daytime activity slows down slightly well into the evenings, but only if you want it to.

In Old Town, visitors can casually stroll the 10-block area to admire the architecture, or simply stop at some of the offbeat shops, grab a bite to eat at a local café, or admire the pieces on display at one of the local art galleries.

Many of the alleyways, or "sirs", hide some of the best secrets in Phuket Town. One of these is The Shrine of Serene Light, a temple that is virtually hidden down a somewhat unexciting alleyway off Phang Nga. The Chinese centuries-old shrine is adorned with elaborate murals and carvings, and numbered prayer points to make sure you pray in the right order.

A couple of other shrines, Jui Tui and Bang Neow are a short walk away for those that want to explore more of these serene settings.

Later in the day, visitors to Phuket Town can enjoy good company over dinner or at a quiet bar, or go dancing at one of the local discos. Or, for those looking for an entire night of fun, a combination of all three.

For something a little different, the famous Vegetarian Festival takes place in Phuket Town every year. Over the course of 9 days, vegan culinary delights are served up. The Festival wraps up with a procession from Phuket Town's shrines. Probably even more famous than the food, the festival features supplicants who walk on hot coals and perform other ritual tests of devotion.

A decidedly toned-down destination compared to Patong, Phuket Town is the ideal getaway for day trips or a low-key, relaxing night on the town.