Phuket has a history dating back as far as A.D. 1020 and the word Phuket derives from the Thai words Phu meaning Mountain and Ket which means Jewel. Phuket is widely known as the ‘Pearl’ or the ‘Jewel’ of the Andaman Sea.

Phuket, as far as we know it, was first inhabited by an ethnic group known as the Negriots. They lived quite happily side by side with the local Sea Gypsies (Moken). The Negriots had come from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands –close to India.

Night Life
Night Life

Incidentally the Moken still live in Phuket and have villages throughout the west coast of Thailand. More recently in the 17th century was the time of the Portuguese sailors who arrived here in their droves, they traded in wild animal products, such as hides and ivory as well as precious metals and timbers.

The Portuguese actually liked the area so much that many settled in Phuket, and the Porto influence is still today reflected in the many Sino Portuguese buildings that remain in the main town. Phuket is very famous in Thailand for its rich traditions and heritage of multi cultured buildings, such designs are seen nowhere else in the country.

In Phuket Town you can find such wonderful old Temples, Museums and Shrines of both Thai and Chinese traditions alike. Phuket town was built on the successes of the mining industry that once dominated the Island. The money which was generated through the industry has been used to great effect. Some of the old buildings in town are extremely old and well preserved like the old Sino Portuguese Mansions.

Phuket Town is a complex system (recently upgraded from a Town and is now an actual city) of winding and narrow roads. Phuket Town has many hotels and backpacker establishments and is well worth a few days stay if you have time. It is not too far from the major resorts of Patong, Karon, and Kata, and even a half day visit is enough to get a feel for the place and the traveller will be rewarded with stunning old architecture to admire.

There are many restaurants and coffee shops to keep one well watered and fed whilst meandering through the streets. There has been a lot written about the old days and the tin mining industry of Phuket and a stroll down any of the major five roads will introduce you to the beautiful architecture of a more ancient era; as one walks down the roads of Thalang Road, Dibuk, Yaowarat, Ranong, Phang Nga and Krabi for a look at some of the finest buildings in town.

Phuket Town Romanee Road
Phuket Town Romanee Road

Phuket town is nowhere near the fast paced places of the local tourist resorts and is far cheaper too. Accommodation is fairly priced. And food is exceptional here; there is a huge night food market serving all the delights Thai Cuisine has to offer: from vegetarian food, to an extensive seafood menu and is situated just behind the Robinsons Department store and the Ocean shopping center.

Look out for The Old Thai Post Office, The Philatelic Museum, The Standard Chartered Bank and the old Police Station will all be restored to their former glories. Also the ON ON Hotel has recently been restored as well as the prominent Promthep Clock Tower The old Governors House on Talang road is another must-see, as is Rommanee road, which connects Thalang and Dibuk Rd.

In Town you also find plenty of Chinese Shrines which come to life every year during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.

This area used to be the red light district of the town but has since been replaced with an array of beautiful shops and houses. There are also several markets in town selling all manner of food, drinks, and souvenirs plus clothing all there to be enjoyed.

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