Culture on Tap Walking Around Old Phuket Town

Phuket is not just about the beaches. The Old Phuket Town offers a wealth of culture, food and art to the traveler in the know.

Often overlooked by visitors heading straight to the famous beaches, Old Phuket Town is in its ascendancy. 100-year-old Chinese shop-houses are now home to art galleries, boutique stores and artisan cafes. You can start the day with an Italian cappuccino at a cat cafe and finish it with sushi and a show. Talk to our staff at Bodega Phuket if you want some advice on the best spots to hit up!

Here’s our recommendations for a day spent exploring this gem of southern Phuket.

A Good Start to the Day

You can’t start a day’s exploration without a good breakfast, so head to the Gallery Café at 19 Yaowarat Road for a great selection. If smoked salmon eggs benedict won’t get you going then a full English breakfast certainly will. You’ll need your energy for the exploration to come.

After breakfast head up Yaowarat Road and turn left onto Krabi Road. On your right you’ll see the Thai Hua Museum, your first destination (200 baht entry). A visit here will help you understand the history of Phuket and will put the rest of the day into context. The museum is housed in a beautiful 1930’s colonial mansion so this counts as sightseeing in its own right too!

Coffee and Culture

After the museum, head east to Thalang Road and find Bookhemian Café. It’s time for a coffee stop with a difference! Here you can sip your drink while browsing the shelves of the attached bookstore, and the vibe is relaxed and welcoming. Take some time to check out the art gallery upstairs where you can pick up black and white art prints of the town at a very reasonable price.

After coffee, turn left onto Soi Romanee to see the houses of Phuket Town as they used to be. Here the colorful Sino-Portuguese houses have been sympathetically restored to their former glory, although without their former vices. You’re now walking down the old red-light district! Gambling haunts, brothels and opium dens used to crowd together along this road where now there’s only quiet cafes and upscale guesthouses.

The Tour Continues

It’s lunchtime now, so head left along Dibuk Road to find the Lock Tien food court. It doesn’t look like much but it’s decades old and is a local favorite for Phuket specialties. Try the por pia (fresh spring rolls with pork, 30 baht) or the homok talay (spicy steamed fish mousse, 50 baht).

Finish the meal with a wander to nearby Wat Mongkol Nimit. Entrance is free and the architecture is impressive, as always with Thai temples. If the monks are in the grounds then take the opportunity to say hello and learn a bit about their lives; they’re happy to chat.

Treat Yourself

It’s now time for something of a guilty pleasure- cats! In a café! This worldwide phenomenon has landed in Phuket so take a stroll to B Cat Café on Thepksatree Road to indulge yourself. Buy a drink and a cake and you win admittance to the inner sanctum- cats heaven. Pet them, stroke them, take pictures with them, go crazy!

There’s still time for one more bit of culture so head onwards to Phang Nga Road to the Shrine of the Serene Light. Once a hidden temple that only locals knew about, this ornate Chinese temple is now open to visitors and wows in the afternoon light. Enjoy the wall paintings, ceramic roof and peaceful courtyard gardens.

Finish in Style

A great sightseeing day should be finished with a great evening and the best dinner spot in Old Phuket Town is the Indy Night Market on Dibuk Road. This open-air food court boasts live bands, craft beers, multiple seating areas and every kind of Thai and western dish under the sun. Wander the stalls, choose your food and enjoy sitting out in the warm evening air while the music plays.

You’ve spent the day soaking up the best of the town so you deserve a rest. After all, tomorrow there’s always the beach!