Phuket Old Town
Before there were tourists, Phuket was home to tin mines and merchants. With cultural influences from the Arabian Peninsula, China, Portugal and India, the old town is a fascinating peek into the past. The heritage area, centred around Thalang Road has been redeveloped to attract tourists, with the shop houses restored, new pavements laid and many cables put underground. Phuket town was modelled after Penang when it was built, this is clearly seen in the architecture of the shop houses and mansions.
Restaurants in Phuket Old Town
We used lonely planet to look up a few local restaurant recommendations and they were all excellent. We’ve been using Lonely Planet a bit more than Trip Advisor for restaurants, because Trip Advisor can be quite overwhelming at times. Lonely Planet will give a number of recommendations at different price points from the fanciest to the little known local spots, they haven’t steered us wrong yet.
Kopitiam by Wilai in a gorgeous old shophouse, has a real old town feel and delicious Thai food, in particular the Massaman Curry.
Eleven Two and Co – is a more modern Phuket restaurant and boutique shop. A great place to get a seat at the front and people watch on Thalang Road. Their Panang Curry with Prawns was delicious.
12 years ago while on a stopover in Dubai on our way to get married in New Zealand we ate at the Blue Elephant Thai restaurant. It was a stunning meal in beautiful surroundings, I’ve always remembered it. The Blue Elephant also has restaurants in Bangkok and Phuket. Since it was our 12th wedding anniversary while in Thailand we decided to treat ourselves to a trip to The Blue Elephant.
We had a 5 course tasting menu with such delicacies as Butterfly Pea Dumpling, Black Pepper Prawn, Andaman Crab Souffle, Coconut Flan and lots more.
The Blue Elephant Phuket is a the Phra Pitak Chinpracha Mansion, a historic 105 year old mansion built in the Sino-Portuguese style. I didn’t get a really good picture of the building so I nabbed one from the internet so you can see how gorgeous it is!
On our final night we headed back to the old town to Eleven Two & Co since we had enjoyed it so much 2 nights before. We got there to find a street market / festival on to celebrate Chinese New Year. There was singing, dancing, food stalls etc all the way along the streets. It was an amazing atmosphere to be part of. I particularly love these unplanned moments of travel where you find yourself in the middle of a truly local experience and are welcomed into it.
While in Phuket we stayed at the Royal P Hotel. This new hotel was very good value with family rooms having a small kitchenette. While the location means you need to taxi or GRAB / UBER everywhere, the cost saving compared to a resort is significant, and we really enjoyed being able to eat out in the Old Town each night. It was new, modern and clean. Breakfast was pretty basic but overall the stay was incredibly good value.
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After Phuket we flew North to Chiang Mai, elephants, monks, temples and so much more coming soon.