Introducing Phuket Town
Long before tourist T-shirts or flip-flops, Phuket was an island of rubber trees, tin mines and cash-hungry merchants. Attracting entrepreneurs from as far away as the Arabian Peninsula, China, India and Portugal, Phuket Town was a colourful blend of cultural influences, cobbled together by tentative compromise and cooperation. Today the city is proof of the island’s historical soul. Wander down streets clogged with Sino-Portuguese architecture housing arty coffee shops, galleries, wonderful inexpensive restaurants and hip little guest houses; peek down alleyways to find Chinese Taoist shrines shrouded in incense smoke.
But it’s not just some lost-in-time cultural archive. Bubbling up throughout the emerging Old Town is an infusion of current art, music and food that attract a very hip crowd, both foreign and Thai. Investors have finally caught on that culture, not just slinky beaches and girly bars, is a commodity. Old shophouses and homes, once left to rot, are being bought up and restored, resulting in flash-forward gentrification.
If you’re on a budget, Phuket Town has the best lodging bargains on the island. From here you can hop on regular sŏrng·tăa·ou to any of Phuket’s beaches (which will take between 30 minutes and 1½ hours).
Best places to stay in Phuket Town
Vegetarian Festival: incredible self-mortification processions in Phuket, Thailand
Phuket Vegetarian Festival by Binder.donedat. Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY 2...
Phuket Town destination guides
Phuket's Vegetarian Festival: a festival of contradictions
It may seem hard to maintain a ritual of cleansing in Phuket, Thailand’s centre of sin and decadence, but once a year it’s easy to join in with the Thais on this nine-day purge, which starts this year on 8 October...
Simon Cabaret Show in Phuket
Experience the ultimate transvestite extravaganza at the Phuket Simon Cabaret Show. An entertaining night not to be missed! A show to rival Las Vegas, you will be amazed by the fantastic sets and costumes in this one of a kind show in Phuket. Since opening in October 1991, Simon Cabaret has established itself as Phuket's leading entertainment venue.
Who's game? Phuket's Vegetarian Festival
Ever seen a picture of Phuket’s yearly Vegetarian Festival? If you have, you would definitely remember– daggers piercing cheeks, razorblades cutting tongues – the makings of a child’s nightmare...