Exploring Phuket Town
I have always liked Phuket Town. Big enough to be interesting, small enough to be easily explored, busy but without crazy traffic (most of the traffic bypasses the town), lots of interesting areas, hills and views, parks, temples, local people who seem rather detached from the tourism that grips the main beaches. Phuket Town is where you can find local life a plenty, local festivals and a different nightlife scene to the tourist zones.
I realised today there is a lot of information relating to Phuket Town on this blog, so this post is a way to tie it all together. I still want to blog more about the town - the big fresh market for example and the Chinese shrines, and one day I must "blog" a ride on the local buses that run from town all over the island. There are also loads of little specialist shops that you just can't find anywhere else. As I say, I like Phuket Town, always something new to find.
Old Phuket Town
A few square blocks in the center is where to find the best of the "Sino-Portugese" architecture, old buildings and quiet cafes. I love walking around this area, could do it every day looking at this quiet area with an old fashioned feeling. There's always something interesting to find and photograph.
• Walking in Old Town (June 2011)
• Phuket Heritage Trails tour in Phuket Town
• Phuket Photo Walk 2010
• Phuket Photo Walk 2009
• A walk around Old Phuket Town
• Phuket Thai Hua Museum
• Old Phuket Street Festival
• Mongkhon Nimit Temple
Hills and Views
On the north side of Phuket Town you find a couple of hills where you can find views, monkeys, a couple of restaurants, temples and local folk getting some fresh air. Rang Hill is more popular, featuring a fitness park and a well known restaurant (Tunk-Ka). Further east is "Monkey Hill" (actually called Khao To Sae), where there are lots of monkeys near the top, some views (but its quite jungly) and a little monkey temple.
• Rang Hill
• Monkey Hill
Yes I will blog the main central market one day! It just opened in 2010 after a major rebuild. There's also a "new" fresh food market just outside town on Chao Fa road and more a couple of blocks south of the main market. At the weekend there's the weekend market just outside town at Naka Temple, well worth a visit.
• Weekend Market
Phuket Town is the center for several festivals such as Chinese New year, the Old Phuket Festival, the Phuket Food Festival and the one and only Phuket vegetarian Festival. If you are in Phuket when a festival is on, make an effort to see something! The vegetarian festival in particular is quite incredible, with daily processions through town.
• Phuket Vegetarian Festival Introduction
• Phuket Vegetarian 2009 Photos
• Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2008 Photos
• Jui Tui Shrine (near the market)
• Phuket Food Festival
• Phuket Street Show Festival 2010
Around Phuket Town
Out of the center of town are various interesting areas as well as the large shopping centers like Central, Lotus and Big C. At Sapan Hin you find lots of open spaces for exercise, a sports center, a Chinese shrine, sea views and a mangrove walkway (being renovated last time I went there). On the edge of town is Suan Luang Park, a large green space very popular at weekends, and every morning and evening you find locals jogging, walking and doing tai chi. Just to the east of town, past the Rasada ferry terminal (for boats to Krabi and Phi Phi) is Sirey Island, still quiet and home to sea gypsies.
• Sirey Island
• Suan Luang Park
• Sapan Hin
• Phuket Butterfly Garden
Eating out in Phuket Town
I am making an effort this year to try some Phuket Town restaurants. We've eaten recently at Natural restaurant, Rimtang and Uptown. Phuket Town is a good place to get "real" local food. Once I have a good long list of restaurants in town, there will be more information here. For now, check:
• Phuket Restaurants
There's plenty more to blog yet! Phuket Town is worth a bit of your time if you want a day off the beach and want to see a bit of local life. The contrast between the town and the beaches is quite something. More to come soon! I want to blog markets, buses, more temples, more restaurants...